Easy American Goulash

$10.96 recipe / $1.83 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.81 from 63 votes
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Oh my goulash, you guys. It’s not often that I use wine in my cooking because it can be pretty pricey, but something magical happens when you add red wine to beef, and it’s something that I just can not resist. Luckily I live near an Aldi store now so I can get a bottle of wine for about $5 that is not only good enough to cook with, but good enough that I’ll happily drink the rest of the bottle with my meal. This One Pot American Goulash is the ultimate comfort food with the richest, most yummiest red sauce ever, thanks to a splash of red wine. Seriously, you’ve got to try this one.

A bowl of warm and comforting One Pot American Goulash with Red Wine Sauce

Do I Need Red Wine in my Goulash?

If you want this dish to be as scrumptious as humanly possible, yes. But if you can’t use red wine, you can substitute beef broth in its place. You’ll still have a pretty rockin’ red sauce, but it just won’t be like “make me weak in the knees” good.

Where’s the Paprika?

This is American Goulash, which is basically just beef, macaroni, and red sauce. It’s totally different than Hungarian Goulash. So if you’re looking for chunks of beef that have been slow simmered in a delicious paprika sauce, this is not it. This is just straight up American comfort food.

Can You Freeze Goulash?

Yes! This One Pot American Goulash recipe is very freezer-friendly. Just make sure to cool the goulash completely in the refrigerator first, then transfer to the freezer for long term storage. I suggest freezing goulash for three months maximum. And remember, label and date everything that goes in your freezer!

What Do You Eat with Goulash?

I would consider this a “one pot meal” which means this one dish covers everything you need in a meal: carbs, proteins, and vegetables. If anything you might want some crusty bread to sop up that delicious gravy, or maybe a green salad on the side for extra vegetables.

Can I Add Cheese?

Yes! A common twist on this recipe is American Goulash with cheese. I would choose medium or sharp cheddar, and simply sprinkle it over top of each bowl, or stir it into the pot to give an overall cheesy flavor, similar to my Cheesy Vegetarian Chili Mac.

What Kind of Pot Should I Use?

Any large, heavy duty soup pot will work well for this recipe. For “one pot pastas” you really need cookware that is thick and heavy, so the contents heat evenly. Thin cookware will create hot spots and cold spots, and cause the pasta to cook unevenly. I used an enamel coated cast iron Dutch Oven, which can be found in my Amazon Shop.

Want more One Pot answers to dinner? Check out our archive of over 50 One Pot Meals!

close up of american goulash in the pot

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Easy American Goulash

4.81 from 63 votes
This easy one pot version of American Goulash cooks the pasta and beef in the same pot with a homemade red wine tomato sauce for extra flavor. 
close up of american goulash in the pot
Servings 6 About 1.5 cups each
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 1 hour
Total 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.32)
  • 2 bell peppers ($1.58)
  • 1 lb ground beef ($5.29)
  • 1/2 cup red wine* ($0.72)
  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes ($0.89)
  • 1 15oz. can tomato sauce ($0.59)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.12)
  • 2 whole bay leaves (optional) ($0.30)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper ($0.02)
  • 1/2 cup water ($0.00)
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni (about 1/2 lb.) ($0.50)
  • salt to taste ($0.05)


  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Sauté both in a large soup pot with the olive oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent. While the onion and garlic are sautéing, dice the bell peppers, then add them to the pot and continue to sauté for about two minutes more.
  • Add the ground beef to the pot with the vegetables and continue to sauté over medium until the beef is cooked through. Add the red wine to the pot and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), tomato sauce, soy sauce, bay leaves, oregano, basil, crushed red pepper, and water to the pot. Stir to combine, place a lid on the pot, and allow it to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn it down to low, and let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
  • After the sauce has simmered for 30 minutes, add the macaroni and stir to combine. Continue to let the macaroni simmer in the sauce, with the lid on, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender (about 10-12 minutes).
  • Once the pasta is tender, taste the goulash and add salt to taste. Remove the bay leaves, then serve.

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*The type of red wine is flexible, just stay away from very sweet varieties. I used Cabernet Sauvignon.


Serving: 1.5CupsCalories: 467kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 22gFat: 19gSodium: 920mgFiber: 5g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

A forkful of warm and comforting One Pot American Goulash

How to Make American Goulash – Step By Step Photos

Sauteed Onion Garlic and Bell Pepper in Soup Pot

Begin by dicing one yellow onion and mincing four cloves of garlic. Add them to a soup pot along with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onion are translucent. While the onion and garlic are sautéing, dice two bell peppers, then add them to the pot and continue to sauté for about two minutes more.

Browned Beef and Red Wine

Add one pound ground beef to the pot and continue to sauté over medium heat until the beef is no longer pink, then add 1/2 cup red wine to the pot and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the pot.

Add Tomatoes and Seasoning then Stir to Combine

Add one 28oz. can diced tomatoes (with the juices), one 15oz. can tomato sauce, 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp basil, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, and 1/2 cup water. Stir everything to combine, place a lid on the pot, and allow it to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Keep the lid on as it simmers, lifting it only occasionally to stir.

Add Macaroni to American Goulash

Once the sauce has simmered for 30 minutes (OMG it’s already smelling good), add 2 cups macaroni (that’s about 1/2 lb.). Stir to combine the macaroni with the sauce, place the lid back on top, and let it continue to simmer to cook the noodles for about 10-12 minutes, or until the macaroni is tender. Stir occasionally as the pasta simmers to keep it from sticking, returning the lid after each stir.

Finished One Pot American Goulash

Once the macaroni is tender, give the American Goulash a taste and add salt if needed. Remove the the pot from the heat, fish out the bay leaves, then serve that one pot goodness!

One Pot American Goulash being ladled into a bowl.

I’mma eat that goulash!!


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  1. I have had this recipe with and without the wine and with the wine gives it way more flavor. Excellent!

  2. I have made this recipe multiple times. The only change I make to it is to add a tablespoon or two of Worcestershire sauce and a big handful of cheddar cheese. It’s so good! The last time I made it, I forgot to simmer it before adding the pasta, and it was still delicious — although it probably would have been even better if I’d simmered it. :)

  3. So I grew up in central Ohio, where this is usually called Johnny marzetti. Over the years I’ve added mushrooms and recently tried harissa paste that I had on hand. Delicious.

  4. My gma would make american goulosh all the time. It was absolutley a favorite. However she always used shell pasta which is the only thing I changed in this recipe. There is something about the meat and sauce getting trapped in the shells that I just love. I feel the red wine actually makes it a step up from my gmas version. It is sooooo amazing!

  5. This was so incredibly good. I didn’t have wine so I used beef broth but that is the only thing I changed.

    It left me and my fiancé full and satisfied and we have leftovers for the next couple days for lunch.

  6. Made this multiple times. Never bothered to print and when I went to find it today, I nearly cried. Can’t find your blog! Ugh. This recipe is FABULOUS!

  7. This is one of my most favorite go to recipes. Trying to feed a crowd? Trying to stretch the grocery budget a bit more this week? Trying to accommodate food allergies? This dish is almost always the answer.

    I measure seasonings with my heart, often substitute ground turkey for ground beef,
    sometimes use chickpea or lentil pasta,usuallyy omit the wine and often add additional seasonings (Worcestershire sauce is excellent) but it’s always based off of this recipe and is always a bit.

  8. I’ve made this a dozen times. I use impossible meat because I’m a vegetarian. It’s a hit every time!! LOVE

  9. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Got great reviews from the husband. Used fresh tomatoes and green peppers from the garden. An all around win! Thanks for another great recipe!

  10. I made this tonight. I did add more spices (I usually do!) and it was delicious. I would absolutely make this again. 

  11. Loved this recipe! So easy and easy to alter. I used chickpea pasta instead. Cooked just fine. I measured all seasonings with my heart.