Make this hearty beef stew recipe to get the true taste of ultimate Hungarian comfort food. This recipe is the closest-tasting Hungarian Goulash out there.

It costs approximately $21.94 to make this goulash. The recipe makes four servings and costs about $5.48 per serving.

Hungarian Gulyás in a white bowl that's served on a platter with bread and sour cream.

After visiting Hungary and falling in love with the goulash there, I knew I had to make my own copycat version. I have repeatedly tested this recipe to get the tastes and flavors right. Once you make this recipe, I am positive you will love it as much as I do and almost feel like you are in Hungary while enjoying this cuisine.

What makes a Traditional Hungarian Goulash Recipe

While there, I tried a few different versions of Goulash (gulyás) (not to be confused with American Goulash), and each one was slightly different. 

Some of the Hungarian Goulash meals I enjoyed were more of a beef stew, some were more of a soup, some had very few veggies, and others loaded up on the veggie content. I’m not going to lie, while in Budapest, I never met a bowl of goulash that I didn’t like!

When I got back home, I quickly got to developing my Goulash recipe because, unfortunately, I never knew my great Hungarian grandmother, and my mom didn’t have any of her recipes to pass down to me. 

I have been working on this Hungarian Goulash for quite some time, and today I’m finally ready to share it with you!

Paprika in markets in Budapest.

Authentic Hungarian Goulash recipes use tomatoes that are cooked and simmered for hours. For my recipe, I wanted to get the same excellent tomato flavor that a long simmer provides, but in a fraction of the time.

That’s why I opted for using tomato paste! I get robust, tomato flavor without spending all day at the stove!

What spices do you put in Goulash?

Sweet Hungarian paprika is the star spice of this dish. Additionally, salt, pepper, and crushed caraway seeds season the soup. 

Don’t worry if you haven’t made a trip to Hungary lately to stock up on Sweet Hungarian Paprika; Amazon has a top Hungarian brand available.

Goulash Hungarian Ingredients

Traditionally, Hungarian Goulash has beef, onions, and vegetables. Most use paprika to flavor it. My recipe calls for bell peppers, garlic cloves, tomato paste, beef broth, carrots, and potatoes. 

How to make Traditional Hungarian Goulash

You make goulash by sautéing the meat and aromatic vegetables and then simmering it in a tomato broth mixture until the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened. The meat and veggies are nicely tender.

Close up picture of Hungarian Goulash

What beef is best for this Hungarian Goulash Recipe?

When shopping for the meat for this goulash, look for a lean beef chuck. You should avoid buying cut-up stew meat and look for a single cut of meat instead. 

Using a single hunk of meat will yield the best results. The inexpensive cuts are the best to use because they have lots of flavors and result in soft bites of beef. 

Recipe for Hungarian Goulash Tips

This recipe doubles nicely. You’ll just need to make sure you use a large pot. Additionally, you’ll probably have to sear and cook the meat in batches because it won’t all fit in the bottom of the pot at once. Since the volume of the soup will double, it will take longer for it to reach a boil. Outside of those changes, the times noted below should still be the same.

How do you thicken goulash?

You can thicken goulash by adding cornstarch to some water and stir until thoroughly combined. Then slowly stir cornstarch mixture into the goulash until it reaches the appropriate consistency. 

Overhead picture of Hungarian Goulash on a pretty serving platter.

Goulash Recipe Hungarian storage

  • Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (I think it tastes better the second day!)
  • Also, I like to extend leftovers by heating and reducing the broth, so it thickens a bit more; I then serve it over a bed of buttery egg noodles. Now THAT’S some serious comfort food!

Goulash in a white bowl.

How much will this recipe cost?

Per Serving Cost: $5.48

Recipe Cost: $21.94

  • 3 Tablespoons butter or bacon drippings – $0.42
  • 2 large yellow onions – $0.90
  • 1 ½ pounds stew meat – $8.97
  • ¼ cup sweet Hungarian paprika – $6.16
  • 1 teaspoon salt – $0.06
  • 1 large green bell pepper – $0.79
  • 4 ounces tomato paste – $0.48
  • 1 large red bell pepper – $1.25
  • 4 large garlic cloves – $0.20
  • 5 cups beef broth – $2.10
  • 1 bay leaf – $0.03
  • ¼ teaspoon caraway seeds – $0.04
  • 2 large carrots – $0.32
  • 2 medium russet potatoes – $0.26

NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The recipe cost is calculated by the amounts needed for the recipe. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have. I updated the pricing for this recipe in December 2023.

Check out more International Recipes:

Hungarian Gulyás
5 from 7 votes

Recipe for Hungarian Goulash

Recipe Cost $ $21.94
Serving Cost $ $5.48
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
4 people
Goulash is the ultimate Hungarian Comfort food. It’s a hearty beef stew that’s so flavorful thanks to sweet Hungarian paprika, peppers, onions, garlic, tomato paste, and caraway seeds. 


  • 3 Tablespoons butter or bacon drippings
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 ½ pounds stew meat, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ¼ cup sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced into ½-inch pieces
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • sour cream
  • fresh parsley, minced
  • hearty bread


  • In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat melt the butter or drippings. Add the onions and sauté while stirring frequently until they’re translucent and beginning to brown on the edges, about 6-7 minutes. Add in the meat 1 Tablespoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring often, until the meat has a nice sear on the outside and is no longer pink on the inside, about 10 minutes.
  • Add in the bell peppers, and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the bell peppers are softened. Add the remaining paprika, tomato paste, and garlic and stir constantly until fragrant and combined, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour in the beef broth and stir in the bay leaf and caraway seeds. Bring the mixture to a low boil and then reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the carrots and potato, cover, and cook until the vegetable are tender, about 20 more minutes. 
  • Remove the bay leaf, and season the goulash with salt and pepper to taste and serve with sour cream, minced parsley, and some nice crusty bread.



Calories: 531kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 2133mg | Potassium: 2022mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 11470IU | Vitamin C: 106.2mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 7.8mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. Brian Jones says:

    You are pretty spot on with your flavour combinations there, so many people omit caraway.

    I’ve been living in Hungary for 10 years and have eaten Hundreds, nay thousands of gulyás dishes. It is traditionally more of a soup dish eaten by the herdsmen with lots of vegetables although as society changed the settled communities added much more meat and vegetables making it much more of a stew, herdsmen had far less whilst out on the puszta.

    The simple rule is though that every Hungarian will tell you that whilst your gulyás is nice it is wrong because it is not the way Neni made it 😉

  2. I love goulash! It’s one of my favorite dishes that always reminds me of my childhood – so comforting, hearty and delicious and simply perfect on cold rainy days ♥♥♥

  3. Wow, this is packed with so much flavor it looks to die for!

    1. Thank you so much, Carrie!

  4. Danielle Wolter says:

    I’m totally making this! What an awesome comforting meal 🙂 So easy, and I love stuff that’s good to eat left over!

    1. Enjoy! I hope you like it! 🙂

  5. I received some sweet Hungarian paprika in a subscription box and knew I just had to try this recipe. I must be part Hungarian too because I loved the goulash! lol It was so rich and satisfying and I loved the idea of the tomato paste in lieu of an all day stove cook. Thanks so much for the recipe that I’ll be making again and again.

  6. Renee Goerger says:

    I adore Hungarian goulash and this is the best recipe I’ve tried!

  7. Sounds hearty, I never had this before. Great recipe.