A Thrifty Supper – Old Fashioned Goulash Recipe

When I was growing up, a good Homemade old fashioned Goulash recipe was a staple in our household. And why not? It’s frugal, easy to make, and it dirties very few dishes. It’s the perfect recipe for a busy family!

Need a quick and thrifty supper for your family? Homemade Goulash is the perfect way to get a hearty meal on the table fast!  #homemadegoulash #oldfashionedgoulash #frugalmeal #thriftymeal #frugalrecipes

Homemade Old Fashioned Goulash Recipe

My children now love to eat this simple recipe because it’s so tasty and what child doesn’t love noodles? This recipe is perfect for using home canned tomatoes because you need the liquid for cooking the pasta. You can use fresh tomatoes but you will need to add some kind of liquid (water or beef broth) to be able to cook the noodles.

Homemade Goulash in a Green dish on a pink background.
4.5 from 2 votes

Old Fashioned Homemade Goulash Recipe


  • 1 pint Canned Tomatoes Can also use 2 cups canned diced or stewed tomatoes. Do not drain.
  • 16 oz. Pasta Use whatever you have!
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 medium Onion
  • 1 tablespoon Minced Garlic fresh or dried
  • Salt and Pepper To taste


  1. Brown up hamburger first with onion. 

  2. Add in the garlic. 

  3. Pour in tomatoes and all the liquid with them.

  4. Add in the noodles and cook until the noodles are al dente.

Serve your old fashioned Goulash Recipe with a side salad and some fresh veggies. We love serving it with green beans because that just seems to go together. This is a wonderful hearty dish that should be able to fill up even the hungriest eater.

How long is Homemade Goulash good for?

I like to store leftovers from our old fashioned Goulash recipe for no longer than a week in the fridge. After that, the noodles are so great anymore.

How to make Homemade Goulash Soup?

You could easily turn this recipe into a tasty soup! Put all of the ingredients together in a large saucepan or a stockpot and add some tomato sauce and some homemade broth until it creates a soup instead of a fried dish.

What is the history of goulash?

This is kind of fun and interesting to know. Maybe something to share around the family table while you are enjoying the old fashioned goulash recipe at home! The origins of goulash came from Hungary where it was made to be fed to Hungarian herdsman while they were tending their sheep. It quickly spread to other European countries. The recipe I have here most closely resembles German Gulasch because my family is mostly German and this recipe came from my paternal grandmother. It’s common to see German Gulasch or any goulash made into a soup and have the addition of paprika, but this is how my grandma and my mom made it so this is the recipe I’m passing down to you.

Beef Goulash Recipe

Here are some other delicious beef based main meal recipes that you can add to your meal plan this week:

You can also find a huge list of Main Meals here.

Has your family ever had goulash? Is your recipe similar to my old fashioned goulash recipe?

This recipe for Old Fashioned Goulash was originally published on Little House Living in July 2009. It has been updated as of December 2018.

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Recipe Rating


  1. How did you get free noodles from freecycle? Did someone just not want them? Lately I am making 3 meals on weekends and eating them during the week. It cuts down on cooking on nights I am tired after work. I have been freezing the leftovers for workday lunches. It has been so helpful!! This week we had skillet meatballs (my grandmother’s recipe), a chicken & broccoli casserole and a chicken tortilla soup in the crockpot which I added leftover kielbasa which was charred from the grill. It was yummy! Thanks for the recipes and meal ideas!

      1. I’m happy for you & your family that they posted the noodles. Where I live, they would have been thrown in the trash bin, just because the person didn’t want them. I’ve seen unopened cans of food in the trash too. Wasteful and selfish!

  2. I make something similar.. but I add small cans of tomato paste and sauce as we like it more “tomato” based. And if I have it I’ll throw green pepper in there.. My mother in law used to add corn, but I don’t do that.. but this is one of my husband’s favorite meals 🙂

  3. Ground beef for $1.79? Here in NJ we haven’t seen those prices since 2009! I just came back from the store (I shop at the “cheap” market) and I paid $2.99 for ground beef. That was on SALE. I guess your property taxes aren’t over $7,000 a year either! You see, people like me MUST be dedicated followers of yours because our state is one of the most expensive in the nation. This is a long round about way of saying “thank you” to you for your blog! Hugs, Jeannie

  4. Love this recipe!!! This is how we fix it with the exception of our recipe adds corn (adds a sweet crutch). Love your story!!!

  5. I fed mine goulash many a time, but I learned to make it with chili powder. I think it’s cheaper, ‘warmer’, and not as mild or sweet a flavor as paprika although I think Hungarian paprika, in particular,5 is more authentic since it’s Hungarian goulash.

    Thank you for the list, Merissa! ( 2016 )

  6. This has been a long time favourite in my family too for at least three generations … well four I guess since I’ve taught my teenage son to make it too.

    I make it pretty much the same as you do, except I cook the macaroni noodles separate and then mix them in after they are cooked.

    Like one of the other people mentioned in the comments it is good with tomato soup too. Sometimes I use that if I don’t have canned tomatoes on hand.

    I’m sort of thinking now I want this for dinner tonight! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    I am wheat intolerant so use the Explore Cuisine organic gluten free pasta’s, the ones I use are made from red lentils, green peas, chick peas & black beans, 1 portion = 1 serving of vegetables, so if you have veg hating kids try these, the red lentil lose their colour during cooking, but the green pea & black bean don’t, so use plenty sauce 🙂 These makes are available in USA on Amazon, Explore Cuisine, Chickapea, The Only Bean, Profusion, Probios, Bentilia, & Tolerant. I mix my pastas in a jar so I get a bit of each in my meal, Explore Cuisine also make green lentil lasagne sheets, they are in my pantry but I haven’t used those yet.

  8. 4 stars
    I grew up on this, except Mom called it “Braised Macaroni” and used elbow mac. It was a favorite of my dad’s, but I didn’t like it much, it was boring and not very flavorful. I’m going to have to make it again and see if I like it now, I’ll add paprika and I’m not sure what else to liven it up! Corn sounds good in it!

  9. In Maine this is called American chop suey. Sometimes a can of tomato soup is added and we always used macaroni pasta. Also, salt and pepper, and maybe a little sugar. I can’t remember ever using garlic, but I do use it now. I am almost 70 and my mother made American chop suey when I was a little girl. It’s a very old recipe probably from England originally.

    1. We used to call it American Chop Suey, too, so I think it might be a New England thing. It was a staple growing up in Mass.

  10. I love one dish meals. Reading todays story has given me some excellent. Ideas. Also going to try some drying leaves. I will be making pesto in a week or so.