One Pot American Beef Goulash

This American Goulash made with ground beef, and melted cheese is a simple one-pot meal that the whole family is going to love! Watch how it comes together in this quick recipe video!

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.

image: small gray bowl of cheesy beef goulash, with small scoop on a fork.

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 seem 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.

image: gray bowl with beef goulash in it

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

image: beef goulash in a skillet witha. wooden spoon

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.

image: looking down on a skillet full of beef goulash with melted cheese on top

One thing I should mention is that I often swap out the regular paprika for smoked paprika. It adds a smoky flavor to this dish that’s ridiculously delicious.

Can you substitute ground beef in this recipe?

While this goulash recipe uses ground beef, you could opt for ground turkey, chicken, or pork. The recipe has enough flavors to swap the protein for another and still be ultimately delicious.

Can you make this recipe vegetarian?

While I nearly always have frozen ground beef in the freezer, I often make this meal with one can of beans, rinsed, and it’s just as delicious. My favorite meat substitute for this recipe are white beans because they are very mild in flavor and pick up all the seasoning. It’s a terrific meatless meal too.

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 this recipe gluten-free?

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 American Beef Goulash

one pot american beef goulash

Smoky, hearty American goulash made with ground beef, paprika, tomatoes, and cheese, this one-pot meal is crazy simple and one dish everyone will love.

  • Author: Laura Fuentes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 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


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the ground beef, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon or spatula, as it cooks. Cook for 7 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes (including the liquid), and water. Bring to a simmer.
  5. 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.


  • Calories: 382
  • Fat: 13.4g
  • Carbohydrates: 29.2g
  • Protein: 36.2g

9 thoughts on “One Pot American Beef Goulash”

  1. Sarah says:

    Hi Laura! I have been finding myself searching your YouTube channel and website more and more. I love how your recipes are quick, easy and good for my family. I am making this goulash right now and I love how quick it came together.

    We just finished eating and it was delicious! The pasta came out perfect!

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Thank you for watching my videos Sarah! I’m thrilled this recipe was a hit with your family and I hope many more in the future.

      1. Sarah says:

        This has been a family favorite since you posted it. Thank you so much!

        1. Laura Fuentes says:

          I’m so glad! I Just made it last week for my kids and it’s devoured every single time!

  2. Kathy says:

    Great recipe, and delicious. To freeze: prepare through step four in recipe directions [can add water before freezing, or when ready to use – your choice]. Serving Day: thaw, add water if needed, and bring to a simmer; pick up recipe in step five

  3. Sharon says:

    Hi Laura,
    Will this recipe still turn out well if I just cook it over the stove top instead of baking it in the oven in the last step?

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Hi Sharon, absolutely. Cook it up in the stove, on low heat, simmering for about 15(ish) until the pasta absorbs the liquid and is tender. Enjoy!

      1. Sharon says:

        Thank you Laura! It turned out delicious, and so simple and easy to make! I’ve always been apprehensive about adding pasta and cheese to recipes because I felt that I would gain weight easily, but I’m learning that it’s ok to eat it in moderation, and it’s important to enjoy what you are eating!

        1. Laura Fuentes says:

          Like you, I eat lower-carb but some days… there’s nothing like a bit of pasta to refuel. I am glad you enjoyed this.

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