Chef John's Beef Goulash Recipe -
Chef John's Beef Goulash Recipe
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How to Make Beef Goulash
See how to make a succulent, saucy Hungarian beef stew. See more
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Chef John's Beef Goulash

Recipe by  

"This Hungarian-style goulash is a thick beef stew that is great served over buttered noodles and garnished with sour cream."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    30 mins
  • COOK

    2 hrs

    2 hrs 30 mins


  1. Season beef with salt and black pepper. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat; cook and stir beef in hot oil in batches until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a large stockpot and reserve drippings in the skillet.
  2. Return skillet to medium heat; stir onions into the reserved drippings, drizzle olive oil over onions, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the stockpot with beef.
  3. Combine paprika, caraway seeds, black pepper, marjoram, thyme, and cayenne pepper in the skillet and toast over medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken broth and stir; transfer to the beef and onion mixture.
  4. Stir 3 cups chicken broth into beef mixture. Add tomato paste, garlic, vinegar, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and bay leaf; place stockpot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until a fork inserts easily into the meat, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
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  • Chef's Note:
  • Real goulash is more like a soup, so if you want yours thinner, just add 2 or 3 extra cups of broth.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Feb 01, 2013

Boy is this a great recipe! I had the front window open and a neighbor and the UPS man stopped by to ask what was cooking! A couple of things that are not mentioned in the recipe but are in the video - first Chef John used a mortar and pestle to grin the caraway seeds - well let me tell you caraway does not like to be crushed, but this is really an essential part of the recipe, if you have a spice grinder - use it, otherwise be prepare for some heavy duty crushing with the mortar and pestle. Also, cool the skillet between doing the onions and toasting the spices - I came dangerously close to burning those preciously ground spices! The video recommends simmering with the lid off - which I did and is probably also why the neighbors came asking about dinner. This was a rich and beautiful stew - company worthy for sure, especially on a cold fall or winter evening.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Feb 07, 2013

Dad & I thought it was alright but it was w-a-y too zippy for the four kidlets ages 10 and under. If I ever make this again, it'll be with serious alterations.

Feb 16, 2013

Absolutely delicious! I added about half a green pepper, diced and sauteed along with the onion, which I had seen in other Goulash recipes. Went light on the cayenne pepper. (Chef John's nothing without his red pepper!) This was simple, delectable and even better the next day. Served over buttered egg noodles. Will make again! Thanks Chef John! Highly recommended, and I would encourage the grinding of the caraway along with the use of fresh marjoram if at all possible.

Feb 09, 2013

We loved this! It's true it is a little spicy, so if you're sensitive to heat just cut back on the cayenne pepper a bit. We think the noodles and sour cream tamed the spice for us. I was afraid at first it was going to be a little too vinegary, but when it was done....nope. It was really tasty and perfect for a cold night. Smelled great while simmering, but be sure to keep it at a simmer with no lid so it reduces properly. A keeper in this house for sure.

Feb 04, 2014

Merriam-Webster's definition of "goulash": (1) a dish of meat, vegetables, and paprika that is slowly cooked in liquid; (2) a mixture of different things. And that's exactly what this recipe is. Plus, it's a delicious mix of flavors (as evidenced by the many, many 5-star reviews) -- perfect for a cold winter's night!

Feb 25, 2014

Another winner from Chef John! . It is simply delicious with many layers of flavor and interest. I left out the cayenne because I didn't want it spicy. And really loved the flavor. Thanks Chef John for another fabulous recipe to add to my repitoire.

Feb 11, 2013

This recipe is phenomenal! I printed out the recipe and my husband was the one who wanted to make it - the beef turned out so tender and my 15yr old son called the sauce "pure flavour" and "intensely beef-y" and asked that this be put into the recipe rotation! He's learning to cook now, so maybe he'll make it the next time. Thanks, Chef John.

Dec 29, 2013

This is a great recipe. Since it did not specify whether to use spicy or sweet paprika, I used a bit of both. Also, made sure I used traditional Szeged Hungarian Paprika (lucky for me it was on sale when I went to purchase)---I think it makes a difference. Be sure to watch the goulash the last 10-15 minutes. You want to make sure the liquid has cooked down enough but not too much that it burns. Great recipe, Chef John!


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  • Calories
  • 573 kcal
  • 29%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 13.4 g
  • 4%
  • Cholesterol
  • 134 mg
  • 45%
  • Fat
  • 41.2 g
  • 63%
  • Fiber
  • 2.4 g
  • 10%
  • Protein
  • 36 g
  • 72%
  • Sodium
  • 1757 mg
  • 70%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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