October 20, 2018
This American beef Goulash is made with melted cheese and it’s a simple one-pot meal that the whole family is going to love!
This simple weeknight meal is one you, or your teens, can pull off in a flash on your busiest night.
Best-Ever Cheesy Goulash
In colder weather months, when all you want to do is curl up on the couch with a hot bowl of cheesy goodness for dinner but don’t want to eat macaroni and cheese this recipe is it. Plus, it’s made with ingredients we all have in our pantry, fridge, and freezer and it’s not coming out of a box.
It’s one of those meals that tastes fully homemade. One that no one complains about either; as a matter of fact, they often grab seconds.
Although, with three kids and a 78-lb dog that always seems to need something; curling up with a hot bowl of food on the couch never happens, but a hot bowl of cheesy goodness? That’s an easy fix.
While the traditional goulash originated in Hungary and is a slow-cooked stew made with cuts of beef and paprika this American version cuts down the cooking time with ground beef, pasta, and canned tomatoes. I also like to add a little somethin’ cheesy with shredded Cheddar cheese.
I mean, just look at that layer of melted cheese….. YUM. #cheesegoals
Annnnd, it’s a crowd pleaser. Despite feeding picky eaters, the first time I made this dish everyone LOVED IT. I’m talking about total silence at the dinner table because everyone was scarfing down their bowl.
The next time, I added chopped spinach right before serving. Another time, I added finely chopped broccoli. Another likes peas… do you get where I’m going with this? Yes, I have picky eaters, but this is one of those meals that became a vessel for a lot of nutritious things.
Yes, this homemade goulash has macaroni and cheese. But just adding a few more simple ingredients, we have a cozy meal that’s ridiculously tasty!
Here’s what you need:
- Dry pasta: I use elbow macaroni, but you can use your favorite regular or gluten-free pasta.
- Olive oil: to use when sautéing
- Aromatics: diced onion and minced garlic cloves.
- Spices: paprika (regular or smoky), Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Ground beef: you can also make this recipe using ground turkey, chicken, or pork. Even white beans are an option to make this dish a meatless meal.
- Can crushed tomatoes: the base of the sauce.
- Can fire roasted diced tomatoes: for a delicious smoky Southwestern flavor. You can use regular diced tomatoes if that’s what you have in your pantry.
- Water: for the sauce.
- Shredded Cheddar cheese: to make this goulash extra cheesy!
Get the measurements and full directions in the recipe card below.
How to Make Cheesy Beef Goulash
One skillet to cook and mix ingredients is everything you need to make this cheesy beef goulash happen. A hearty and nutritious dinner has never been so easy to make!
Preheat the oven to 400F.
In a large, oven-proof skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and sauté until soft, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Sauté for 1 or 2 additional minutes.
- Brown the meat
Add the ground beef, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon or spatula as it cooks. Cook the beef for 7 minutes, until it is cooked through.
- Add tomatoes
Stir in the garlic, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes (including the liquid), and water. Bring to a simmer.
- Add the pasta
Add the uncooked pasta to the goulash. Cover and transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until the pasta is tender and the sauce has thickened.
- Make it cheesy!
Top with shredded Cheddar cheese and return to the oven, uncovered, until the cheese is melted.
Can you make this recipe dairy-free?
Of course! While the cheesy goodness is something my kids absolutely go nuts over, you can use half of the amount called for in the recipe with dairy-free soy cheese or omit it all together.
Can you make gluten-free Goulash?
Oh yeah. Easy peasy. This goulash can be gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free pasta. My favorite, without naming any brands, is corn pasta because it holds its texture best. Of course, you use your favorite brand.
Can you freeze this goulash recipe?
I don’t recommend freezing. Shocker, right? I would if I could, but cooked pasta doesn’t hold up well in the freezer and results in a mushy consistency when reheated.
You’re better off making a fresh batch. Besides, it tastes so good, you probably won’t have leftovers to freeze, and you can keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days.
What are some of your favorite comfort meals?
One Pot Cheesy Beef Goulash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 15 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup dry elbow macaroni
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a large, oven proof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, sauté until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper, sauté for an additional minute.
- Add the ground beef, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon or spatula, as it cooks. Cook for 7 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes (including the liquid), and water. Bring to a simmer.
- Add the pasta to the goulash. Cover and transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until the pasta is tender and sauce thickened. Top with cheese and return to the oven, uncovered, until the cheese is melted.