Warm and comforting Beef Goulash with tender chunks of meat in a rich, flavour packed gravy sauce is what we all need in the dead of the winter. Here is my recipe for this delicious and filling winter warmer.
Serve this wonderful stew with my homemade rye bread for an authentic Eastern European taste!
Winter is here and not the weak kind. Proper winter has arrived to England. For me the gravity of the situation has always been measured by whether or not I need a hat. And I do!
Whenever cold weather strikes, I find myself in a desperate need for something warm. That is when this fantastic beef goulash comes to the rescue.
I know what you are thinking…beef goulash doesn’t just materialise on its own. This delicious, paprika-flavoured Hungarian stew takes hours for the flavours to meld together, and for the beef to turn into melt-in-your-mouth little morsels of joy.
All true but apart from the length of time it takes to make this stew properly, it’s an easy and mostly hands off task.
What is Beef Goulash?
The origins of Beef Goulash is in Hungary although it is nearly as popular in many neighbouring countries. You will see it on the menu in most restaurants in Prague, Vienna and many other places in Central and Eastern Europe.
We know goulash as a hearty stew but it has the consistency of a soup in its original form. Whatever thickness you prefer, the main ingredient, which sets it apart from other beef stews, is undoubtedly paprika.
If want to get the most authentic flavour, track down the best quality sweet Hungarian paprika. Or you can experiment with smoky paprika for a bolder taste!
Beef Goulash is often made with tomatoes but interestingly tomatoes were not one of the original ingredients. However, I love the sweet and slightly tangy taste crushed tomatoes bring to this stew!
If you love these flavours but prefer chicken, take a look at our classic Chicken Paprikash recipe.
- As I mentioned above, the recipe itself is very easy but it takes time. 2.5 hours in the oven is what will deliver the best results.
- The most common question I hear is what beef to use in stews. For this one I recommend using stewing beef. It comes already diced in bite-sized pieces, which makes it very convenient. And after hours of being cooked in the delicious sauce the beef comes out beautifully tender and full of flavour.
- Make sure your paprika is of the best quality you can afford and up to date. Smell it before using to ensure it has a nice aroma, which will flavour your stew. If there is no smell left, it’s out of date.
- A pinch of caraway seeds is usually added to the traditional versions of the goulash, which brings a true Eastern European taste. However, caraway has a very strong flavour, so it might be a bit overwhelming for those not familiar with it. I omit in my recipe but give it a go if you are after the authentic taste!
- Don’t forget to add a dollop of full fat sour cream or yogurt before serving. It adds a nice creamy texture to the goulash. It also tames the paprika flavour just a touch.
More Comforting Stew Recipes:
This recipe was originally published in 01/2016. Updated and republished in 01/2021
- 2 lbs stewing beef
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 large red pepper diced
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp sweet paprika or smoked
- 2 bay leaves
- 400g/14 oz canned diced or crushed tomatoes
- 750ml/ 3 cups beef stock
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- flat leaf parsley for garnish
- sour cream to garnish
- Peel the onions, garlic and chop onions and red pepper. Dice the meat and coat it in flour
- Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or a deep pan and cook onions, peppers over low heat for 7-10 minutes until softened, add chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute longer, add the paprika and beef and cook while stirring for 2-3 minutes.
- Add diced tomatoes, beef stock, a pinch of salt and pepper, bay leaves and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer covered for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Then uncover and cook for 1 more hour. Alternatively this could be cooked in a preheated to 300F/150C oven for 1 hour 30 minutes covered and 1 hour uncovered.
- Serve with hot noodles, dumplings or mashed potatoes. Swirl sour cream or plain yogurt into your beef goulash for added creamy texture.
- Omit the flour in step 1 if you are on a gluten-free diet and thicken the sauce with 1 can of blended butter beans. Add them 30 minutes before the goulash is done cooking.
I found your Mulligatawny recipe and had a bit of a snoop around!
Some years ago, I was on business in Germany and a restaurant I used served Gulaschsuppe. It was delicious. Each time I went, I had it. But once business was concluded that was the end.
However, a couple of years later I decided to contact the restaurant and asked them politely for the recipe, which they were more than happy to give me. For all practical purposes, it was similar to yours. But the key was the Caraway Seeds. They really do make a difference – to the extent that I often add them even to normal stews, since they give a new layer of taste.
You can speed up the cooking time immensely if you use a pressure cooker (as you obviously know). I often make stews now in one of those, and what would be a 2-3 hour cook in a conventional oven becomes half an hour.
Incidentally, I’m trying your Mulligatawny later this week 🙂
Julia Frey (Vikalinka) says
Thanks for your comment, Sualdam. Have you read the post? I mentioned the addition of the caraway seeds right in there. 🙂
Travis Snyder says
This was rich and delicious.
I modified the original directions. I used stew meat from Whole Foods, a mix of pork and beef. I coated the meat with smoked paprika from Spain. I then put it into a bag with a 4oz jar of goulash sauce I purchased in Budapest. I then cooked the meats sous vide at 162F for 10 hours.
From there, I basically followed this recipe except I didn’t put in the meat until time to serve.
The meat was tender and juicy but still had good texture and bite to it.
Sounds delicious, Travis!
Is it red bell pepper or a different type of red pepper?
Hi Sheri, yes, red pepper is the same as red bell pepper. Different terms in the UK! 🙂
I have reduced the meat , still so delirious I have loved it and highly recommend it.
Thank you for sharing your success, Mandana!
Megan d says
I made the stove top method and it was delicious. Not sure I will find the t-fal companion in Canada but works just great the old fashion way.
I am so glad you tried and liked it, Megan…such a comfort food meal!
Louise | Cygnet Kitchen says
Your goulash looks SO good Julia! I like using my slow cooker, but love the idea of something preps everything too! x
Angela - Patisserie Makes Perfect says
This looks delicious – I bet it would be great in the slow cooker too. I like the idea of a kitchen gadget that does all that work for you. Sometimes when I’m in a rush to cook dinner, it’s all the chopping that takes the time!
Hannah Hossack-Lodge says
My fiance would love this goulash, any kind of meaty stew goes down very well with him x
This looks incredible. I had an amazing beef goulash when I was in Bratislava, so this is taking me back.
Such beautiful photos, I’m almost tempted to dive in. Love warming stews at this time of year and smoked paprika is a sure fire winner.
Marina | Let the Baking Begin! says
This dish looks so comforting. And this post is missing a picture of your beautiful brown locks 😀 I need an updated picture 😀
Aw, you are so sweet. The locks have been cut recently I am in the process of growing them out. Every time I cut my hair I immediately start growing it back! 🙂
Lucy Parissi says
You know that machines intimidate me a little but I have to say that the Tefal Cook4Me has become indispensable after I dismissed it initially. It is great that the kids can get involved and cook with it – I can see Mitchell taking over and doing some of the cooking real soon! The goulash looks great too – I haven’t made it before but I think I once had it in Budapest many years ago. I love a good beef stew : )
Anything that can take mystery out of cooking and empower my children to make healthy meals for themselves now and later in life is a winner in my books. Goulash is very popular in Russia as well but I think every cook puts her own spin on it. 🙂
What a great kitchen helper that is! Loving this goulash. Will definitely try the stove-top version.
Thank you, Jennifer! I hope you enjoy it, it looks like something you would love! 😉
I know what you mean, Emma. I can’t believe we are officially living in the era of the robots, who do the housework for us! Finally!! 🙂