Grandma’s One-Pot Old-Fashioned Goulash

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Whenever I say that we are going to have goulash at  my house, the moans and groans that come out of my kids are like something out of a horror movie. My husband and I grew up on food like this so he loves it when I make it, and so do I. I don’t want my kids to go hungry though, it’s kind of my job. I usually make them something extra, which is way more work than what I want to do most times.

Good thing they are happy with buttered noodles. The last time I made goulash, my son started to get curious. It was this recipe that I found on Recipe Lion that I was trying out for the first time.

I’m not sure if it was the aroma of the seasonings or the idea of putting cheese in it that got his attention but I had it. “Can I try some mom?” Magic to a mom’s ears if they have finicky eaters. “Of course you can!” He loved it and even ate the leftovers the next day. I think we have a winner!

Recipe is courtesy of Recipe Lion. Photo credits to Gonna Want Seconds.



Quick Tip: Garnish with sour cream and cheese for a unique flavor.


  1. joan dugan says

    Don’t call it goulash, call itJohnny Marzetti. Maybe that will help. If you’re from Ohio or the Indiana, or PA that’s what we call it. My mother used to call it”conglomeration” but she was original.

    1. Peggy Ryan says

      It is not Goulash. Goulash is a very specific stew with a very different texture and with it’s own place in a cookbook or file. I tend to agree with Joan, being from Indiana. We did not call it Johnny Marzetti – would love to hear the story behind that – We called it chili-mac. It’s a comfort food for me and this is a good recipe. I still call it that, however, having moved out west chili takes on a whole new meaning. I would like to see a good recipe for Goulash as it has a whole yumminess of it’s own.

    2. Claudia Medure says

      I am from Ohio and this was a “staple” dinner menu! Mom called it Goulash (but other moms called it Johnny Marzetti ) LOL I had forgotten that Marzetti name till you mentioned it Joan Dugan. Love it. I will try this recipe, cause I make goulash from time to time…. I made it twice in 2017 already 🙂

    3. Teri says

      I agree I am from Ohio, not goulash. This is Johnny Marzetti!
      I sauté celery garlic green pepper and onion with ground beef. Add can of diced tomatoe, 1 tiny can tomatoe paste, 5 ominutes later add cooked macaroni noodles and 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese toss. Serve. Have teenage athletes. All the boys love it. Yummy.

      1. Teri says

        Sorry plus a teaspoon of Italian seasoning if I am out 2 pinches of oregano

    4. Penny says

      I’m from Hamilton, Ohio. Our Mom always called this dish “sharmenzetti”. Or that’s what it sounded like anyway. Mom was raised in Kentucky so I don’t know if that’s where the name comes from or not.

    5. Ralph says

      We called it hamburger hotdish. I (age 73) make it frequently. Maybe better the second day.

    6. Jodi says

      Johnny Mazetti has mozzarella, green and black olives and mushrooms and is baked. This is goulash. 🙂

    7. Jodi says

      Johnny Mazetti has mozzarella, green and black olives and mushrooms and is baked at least in WI. This is goulash. 🙂

    8. sally clay says

      It is not Johnny Marzetti. Johnny Marzetti is made with egg noodles and is baked. It was invented at Marzetti’s restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, where I grew up.

    9. Susie says

      We were from Chicago and we always called it Johnny Marzetti or Mouzetti (can’t remember the pronounciation.) It was always so delicious! I am thrilled to find this recipe! Feeling blessed!

    10. Kathy says

      My grandmother was from Hungary and this is NOT Goulash. I am from Ohio and have tasted a recipe like this and it is really good but please don’t call it Goulash – just call it Johnny Marzetti! Thank you.

    11. Marcia J says

      You are correct on Johnny Marzetti. I grew up in southern Ohio. Some small town restaurants have it on their menus.

    12. Neda says

      I’m from Ohio and you’re right, we call it Johnny Marzetti and it is DELISH!!!

  2. Linda says

    I love goulash, but this recipe sounds better than the one that I make.

    1. Mary Clark says

      My dish that I call goulash consists of a box of Kraft deluxe macaroni and cheese prepared as directions on the box, 1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained, 1 jar (16 to 20 onces) of Salsa. I use mild but you could use whatever you like best. After the ground beef is browned, the macaroni is cooked, I just stir everything together.

  3. Carol says

    My Mom used stewed tomatoes. And in MA we call it American chop suey.

    1. Didi says

      yes!! in Massachusetts this is even sold in supermarkets,,ready to eat…

    2. Michelle says

      Exactly what we called it in Rhode Island!

    3. Barbara says

      My mom made this often for us. We loved it with her homemade tomato sauce (she never bought store bought tomato sauce). She would call it American chop suey one day and American Goulash the next. She wasn’t very consistent! Ha Ha

    4. mimi says

      same here!

    5. Dee Espinosa says

      I also come from MA (I’m in California, now), and we called it American Chop Suey, too. Dee

  4. Ruthie says

    When does Bay leaf go in

    1. Karla Golden says

      bay leaves goes in when you add the sauces. Be sure to take them out before you serve. SO don’t crush them.

    2. Barbara says

      No bay leaf in this.

  5. Sherry says

    I don’t like Hunts products, flavor is bitter and too strong. I use Campbell’s tomatoes soup.

    1. Barbara Walsh says

      I agree, Campbells is better but I still use drained canned tomatoes as well.

    2. Sula says

      You can put some sugar that what I do when making spaguetti sauce. It takes the bitterness part out and taste good.

    3. Linda Garlinghouse says

      omg, my friends dad did to and it was absolutely the best I’ve ever had!

    4. Jane says

      Sugar! That what Campbells soup has. That’s what you want. Add a tsp of sugar to canned tomatoes to reduce the acidity.

    5. Missy says

      always add a smidgen of sugar to cut into that bitterness. It helps a lot and it is what i always do when I add anything tomato

    6. Cheryl says

      I use Campbell’s Tomatoes soup to that’s how my Mom always made it. I never tried it any other way.

  6. sharon says

    too much for just me and my husband can
    i cut it in have

    1. Barbara Raskis Flowers says

      You can freeze any leftovers for another meal!

    2. Fawn says

      I cut my recipes in half a lot since its just for me or I cook what it calls for & freeze in little containers for a quick lunch or dinner.

  7. Karla Golden says

    My grandmother put cream style corn in hers. Still a good recipe with or without the corn. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Elaine says

    When you make goulash don’t boil the macaroni just add it to your meat and tomatoes,and boil till macaroni is tender,you will be surprised how much better it taste and thick it is. Put bay leaf in before you add macaroni….bet you won’t make it any other way again.

    1. Dianne says

      Thanks for the tip, Elaine!

    2. norma says

      I like to boil the macaroni and rinse out the starch before adding it in the sauce..

  9. Ellen says

    In ME we call it. American Chop Suey but we don’t put in the spaghetti sauce.

    1. Julie says

      That’s what we call it in NH too, and we don’t use spaghetti sauce or cheese.

    2. Debbie says

      Yup, American Chop Suey! Tomato soup, diced tomatoes and paste. Now that we live in N.C. we are sharing with new folks! Still love it.

  10. Sue Riche Knight says

    my mom used to make this in Shawnee Pottery Corn Casserole dish..bake slow in oven..really delicious..

  11. Ruby West says

    I use catsup instead of tomatoes macaroni, meat with onions cooked with it salt and pepper. I put can of corn in. Don’t use bay leaves.only in meat dishes. Roast or stews. Love goulash

  12. Retha says

    Thanks for the recipe . I haven’t made it like this but I sure will . Sounds delicious!!

  13. Helen Marie Aull McAvella says

    grew up on it, my grandmother, who then passed it on to my mom, when her son and my mom got married <3 love love love it, and yes, in Canada, we call it Goulash

  14. Regina Swearingen says

    I call it macarony and Hamburg and I use tomato juice

  15. Emily says

    I made this and it was delicious! My whole family loved it!!

  16. Florence Walker says

    I always use tomato juice, instead of water and Walmart brand ( green pepper and mushroom ) sauce!

  17. Mandy says

    When do you add the water?

  18. Kim Skaggs says

    My 10 year old granddaughter makes this when the girls come to stay all night. She makes it with Velveeta Macaroni and cheese though. With ground beef and a can of diced tomatoes, it is easy for a young girl. She thought her and her mom made it up. Perhaps this was a favorite of an ancestor of my DIL. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Esther says

    When I was in grade school our cook…made this and I tried to copy the taste and never could till one day years later I bumped into her and asked her what she did different. I told her I tried it with tomato sauce, and paste .. tomato soup and just ketchup but couldn’t get it to taste like hers….she said try tomato juice…oh wow how easy is that… i made it with diced tomatoes and tomato juice and he was just like her’s loved it then at age 6 to 10 and love it now…at 66. yum.

  20. Paula says

    I love this sight because it has many recipes I grew up with but have been lost Thank you

  21. pat says

    Mom always cooked macaroni separately and drained it. Browned the meat with the onion and used tomato juice.
    Oldest son comes down and if he sees I have made goulash, he will always take some home with him. We were poor so just used the ingreds I mentioned. I add the diced tomatoes that have different spices in them–one that is good has green chilies. I, myself, can eat cheese on just about everything but have not tried it on goulash. My husband is not a cheese man.

  22. Jill says

    how do you make it in a crock pot

  23. Barbara says

    In MA we called this American Chop Suey. My kids loved it and so did my friends. I use American Cheese in mine. Usually 6 or 8 slices cut up and stir until melted. My mother-in-law would put the sauce on toast. She loved it.

  24. Tiana says

    My Kids’ Grandma called it Glug.

  25. Marti says

    much like I make mine only I just use garlic.

  26. Sandra says

    My mom called it Slumgullion?????

  27. Kathy says

    My Gramma and Mom have always made this. They just called it beef macaroni, but it’s a go to quick meal for me. I use to call it home made Hamburger Helper! haha

  28. Deborah Dixon says

    Delicious. Will make it again and again!

  29. Judy Flory says

    I’ve been making this for 54 years and it was presented to me as Chili Macaroni because it calls for chili powder. I think I will try this recipe since you don’t have to boil macaroni separately. 😊

  30. Sandy says

    I use tomato soup also with can of diced tomatoes ,kids love it!

  31. EVE LYON says


  32. Julie says

    We had brown sugar to ours to give it a sweeter baste, my kids love it

    1. Julie says

      Sorry a sweeter taste.

  33. Aurelia says

    My mother and grandmother made this but we added peas to it. They called it peas, chop meat and macaroni.

  34. Janet says

    I can eat left over forever but they just don’t last that long. I’m sure you can half the recipe.

  35. Victor Kaufhold Jr says

    When it is so cold and you need to have something warm in your tummy and a warmth that makes your body feel great this is the right food! Even when it is warm or summer months this food still satisfies the hunger! Than you Mom for introduction to this wonderful dish.

  36. phyllis says

    I would have to cut this recipe in half, I guess that would work. Orherwise i
    t’s way to much for my husband and I.

  37. Cheryl says

    My mom always put a squirt of catsup in hers. I always add a tbs of sugar! And it is called goulash in Illinois!

  38. SUE MacDonald says

    Family recipe for me! Grandma used ground beef, onions, bell peppers,celery, oregano, salt, pepper, home canned tomatoes, and home canned crushed tomatoes. She added 2-3 bay leaves. She added the pasta after it had simmered for a few hours. By dinner time, we were pulling out the fresh bread from the oven about the time it was ready! We have been making it this way for over 50 yrs!

  39. Lee says

    We always called it macaroni my kids only really like it when I add cheese and bake it in a the oven.

  40. Lori says

    here in southern california we call that there some good ‘ol poor mans special! so delish!

  41. E Thede says

    Why is so hard to find the receipt? If it’s not handy to get to forget it.

  42. Rita says

    Will have to try this version….have not been able to find a goulash recipe as good as the one we made in Home-Ec, when I was in school, which was MANY years ago. Maybe the secret is not cooking the macaroni first!

  43. KC says

    No paprika? Not goulash without paprika. Would leave put the green pepper too. !Y mother would cook it in the oven in a casserole bowl.

  44. Greg says

    growing up we called it American Chop Suey

  45. Leila says

    We called it Slumgummie.

  46. Julie says

    In New Hampshire, we call it American Chop Suey.


    sounds more like spaghetti sauce with macaroni than goulash….no italian anything in my goulash…..just burger, onion, mac, and tomatoes salt and pepper….

  48. Denny Sorah says

    Have tried for years to make goulash like mama made with no success and one day it hit me that mama made hers with home canned sausage. Well, who has home canned sausage anymore so I tried polish sausage and mama’s dish is again served at our home.

  49. sondra says

    With just some slight personal taste changes, my family calls it

  50. Susan says

    What can make this a little better is using your own canned tomato products out of your own garden! I use tomato juice and just let it simmer down! Mm mm good!

  51. Gail says

    I add Italian sausage, hot and mild, basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, red wine and lots of garlic, no cheddar cheese for me, mozarrella and Parmesan . Family and friend love it!

  52. Gaye says

    I grew up on this, but mom added corn and did not have Italian seasoning, cheese or garlic. She called it “Snakes in the Grass”…lol It was always better the next day.

  53. Helen says

    Too much tomato tomato tomato for me, over powering.

  54. Helen says

    Grandma’s Goulash was so good. Tasted like I remember my aunt making years ago.

  55. Candy Louise says

    I made this last night for my husband and I. It was delicious! I cut the recipe in half and we still had enough for dinner tonight, and maybe lunch tomorrow. I still used the whole jar of pasta sauce , but left out the can of tomatoes since I halved the amount of pasta. I also still used a whole green pepper and added slice mushrooms.

  56. Luanne says

    Love goulash. A wonderful comfort food!

  57. Connie says

    I love goulash. So do my kids, thank heavens, because it’s really a budget friendly meal. We made ours by cooking the crumbled burger in canned tomatoes with a bit of water. Then, adding sliced carrots, small diced potatoes, chopped onions, and elbow mac. Salt & pepper to taste.

    I always say I’m going to make enough to put away for a quick lunch later in the week…… but it’s gone before the next day’s dinner.

  58. Sandy says

    Sandy says: I grew up on goulash & have made it all my adult life. Loved this (even better left overs next day)! I tried the not cooking macaroni & loved the way it turned out! Macaroni tends to over cook when precooked. This way I could make sure to take it off heat when al dente, leave lid on & let sit for about15 minutes before serving.

  59. Elaine Willis says

    What a great recipe. It was delicious!

  60. Jessey says

    Made this and it is delicious! I made my own Italian Seasoning to put in and this does make alot!!! Thanks for posting the recipe.

  61. ellen van says

    My mother and future mother in law called this dish slumgullion. I thought they made it up, but then I saw a recipe for it in the newspaper. No matter what its name, it is delicious.

  62. Traci says

    Simple and very tasty. We serve this with cornbread in NC

  63. MOE VANNIER says

    Try using 1 lb ground beef add 1/2 chorizo chop and you will think you found Ma.

  64. Chellie says

    That’s NOT goulash that is like spaghetti made with elbow macaroni! LOL

  65. Marie Gaudreau says

    I made this last night and my husband loved it he wants me to make it more often it was awesome . From Ontario Canada

  66. Vicki says

    Try skipping the spaghetti sauce and add cream corn and Worcester sauce! That’s my grandmas recipe!

  67. Twyla Wilson says

    add some rotel to it…

  68. Kathy says

    From Southeast Missouri- my Arkansas born momma always called it goulash. She sometimes added kidney beans to it. Loved it!

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