The Best Goulash

Goulash, a hearty and flavorful stew, is a cornerstone of culinary tradition in many Eastern European countries. Originating from Hungary, this dish has transcended borders, becoming a beloved meal worldwide. Our guide delves into the art of creating the most authentic and delectable goulash, promising an unparalleled gastronomic journey.

Essential Ingredients for Authentic Goulash

To create a genuine goulash, the selection of ingredients is paramount. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Beef: Choose cuts like chuck or shoulder for their rich flavor and tender texture after slow cooking.
  • Onions: A generous amount of onions is key to achieving the classic base of this stew.
  • Bell Peppers: Adds sweetness and color to the dish.
  • Garlic: For that essential aromatic kick.
  • Paprika: The soul of goulash, use high-quality sweet Hungarian paprika for authenticity.
  • Tomatoes and Tomato Paste: For a tangy depth of flavor.
  • Caraway Seeds: Their distinctive taste complements the paprika.
  • Beef Broth: Enhances the meaty flavors.
  • Potatoes: Optional, but adds heartiness to the stew.

Step-by-Step Cooking Process

Preparing the Beef

  1. Cut the Beef: Trim any excess fat and cut into 2-inch cubes.
  2. Season: Lightly season the beef with salt and pepper.

Building the Base

  1. Sauté Onions: In a large pot, cook the onions until golden.
  2. Add Garlic and Spices: Stir in minced garlic, paprika, and caraway seeds, cooking until fragrant.
  3. Incorporate Beef: Add the beef cubes, browning on all sides.

Creating the Stew

  1. Tomatoes and Peppers: Mix in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and bell peppers.
  2. Pour in Beef Broth: Add enough broth to cover the ingredients.
  3. Simmer: Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally.

Final Touches

  1. Potatoes: If using, add cubed potatoes in the last hour of cooking.
  2. Adjust Seasonings: Taste and adjust for salt, pepper, and paprika.

Cooking Time and Tips

  • Simmering Time: Let the goulash simmer for at least 2-3 hours. The slow cooking process is essential for the flavors to meld together and for the beef to become tender.
  • Stirring: Occasional stirring prevents sticking and ensures even cooking.
  • Thickness: For a thicker stew, simmer with the lid off. For a soupier consistency, cover the pot.

Serving Suggestions

Goulash is traditionally served with a side of egg noodles or dumplings, offering a comforting and satisfying meal. A dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh parsley can enhance the flavors further.


This traditional goulash recipe promises a delicious journey into the heart of Eastern European cuisine. By following our detailed guide, you’re guaranteed to create a dish that’s not only authentic but also capable of bringing people together over a shared love for hearty, comforting meals.

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