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Goulash For One

This American Goulash is an easy, one-pot meal made with ground beef, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and macaroni. It's a simple skillet dish that can be ready in 30 minutes.

A bowl of american goulash topped with fresh parsley.

This classic goulash is single serving comfort food at its finest! It's a dish that reminds me of my childhood since my mother made it often when I was growing up.

Goulash is quick to make, so delicious, and everything cooks in one pot for easy cleanup.

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This old fashioned goulash recipe is a wonderful one to use if you have leftover marinara or tomato sauce. You can also add in additional vegetable such as mushrooms or spinach.

Goulash cooking in a pan filled with ground beef, noodles, and tomato sauce.

What Is American Goulash?

American goulash is a one-pot meal made with ground beef, vegetables and macaroni which simmer in a tomato based sauce.

It's a quick dinner that can be ready and enjoyed in 30 minutes. It's also sometimes called simply "goulash", "DIY Hamburger Helper" or "American Chop Suey".

What Is The Difference Between American and Hungarian Goulash?

There are two distinctly different styles of goulash: Hungarian goulash and classic American goulash.

Hungarian goulash is more like a stew than American goulash. It's prepared with cubes of beef and vegetables that cook slowly in a paprika spiced tomato broth.

Ingredients

See recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  • olive oil
  • chopped onions
  • chopped bell peppers
  • garlic
  • ground beef
  • tomato sauce
  • diced tomatoes
  • water
  • pasta

How To Make This Recipe

  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil 30 seconds. Add onions and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes until tender.
  • Add garlic and ground beef, breaking up the ground beef as it cooks. Cook, stirring occasionally until meat is no longer pink and is starting to brown, 5 minutes.
Ground beef, onions, green bell peppers, and garlic cooking in a frying pan.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, tomatoes and water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Ground beef, onions, green bell peppers, and garlic simmering in a tomato sauce for american goulash.
  • Add the pasta, cover, and simmer over low heat until pasta is tender, 15 minutes.
  • Transfer to a bowl and enjoy hot.

Expert Tips

  • Feel free to add shredded cheese and sour cream to the top of goulash.
  • You can use a different type of noodle than what is suggested in this recipe. Use what you have on hand.
  • Don't forget to stir the noodles every now and then so that the pasta doesn't stick together.
  • Add more flavor to this goulash by using chicken or beef broth instead of water in this recipe.
  • Use ground turkey instead of ground beef for a lighter version.
  • Chop and use a fresh tomato instead of using canned tomatoes.
  • You can easily double the ingredients in this goulash recipe and it will be enough for two or possibly more meals.
A bowl of american goulash topped with fresh parsley.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Should Beef Goulash Be Stored?

If you want to freeze goulash, I recommend undercooking the macaroni slightly so that the noodles don't get mushy when you reheat it.
After cooking, removing the goulash from the heat to cool. Transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze until you are ready to eat it. Defrost the goulash in the refrigerator overnight.
I recommend freezing goulash for no longer than 3 months.

Do The Noodles Have To Be Cooked In The Sauce?

No, you don't have to cook the noodles in the sauce. In fact, if you don't think you'll be eating goulash right away, you might like to store the noodles separately from the rest of the dish. When you're ready to enjoy your meal, mix the noodles and the sauce together.
Keep in mind that when cooking the noodles along with the sauce, the noodles end up absorbing all of the wonderful flavor from the pasta sauce. You might miss out on a more flavorful goulash if you cook the noodles separately.

What To Eat With Goulash

Goulash is a one pot meal which means it's packed with everything you'd want for one meal already. If you'd like to add something else, I would suggest any of these single serving recipes:

An overhead view of a bowl of american goulash topped with fresh parsley.

What To Do With Leftover Ingredients

Click on the recipe titles to go straight to the recipes.

Diced Tomatoes

You will only need to use 1/2-cup of diced tomatoes in this easy goulash recipe. You can make a quick salsa by adding chopped onions, chopped green peppers, a touch of salt, lime juice, and black pepper to the remaining diced tomatoes. Serve with homemade tortilla chips.

You can also use them in:

Elbow Macaroni

You will use 2-ounces of macaroni so you might like to use the rest in any of these single serving recipes:

Ground Beef

You might consider using any leftover ground beef in any of these recipes:

Bell Peppers

You will need to use 1/2-cup of chopped peppers. You may like to use the rest in any of these single serving recipes.

For this goulash recipe I use a 10-inch skillet. For best results, use a pan of similar size.

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Goulash served in a light blue bowl

Goulash For One

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keywords: ground beef, one pan, pasta
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 576kcal
Author: Joanie Zisk

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 4 ounces ground beef
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 ounces elbow macaroni

Instructions

  • In a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil 30 seconds. Add onions and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes until tender.
  • Add garlic and ground beef, breaking up the ground beef as it cooks. Cook, stirring occasionally until meat is no longer pink and is starting to brown, 5 minutes.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the pasta, cover, and simmer over low heat until pasta is tender, 15 minutes. Be sure to stir the pasta occasionally so that the noodles don't stick together.
  • Transfer to a bowl and enjoy hot.

Notes

Expert Tips
  • Feel free to add shredded cheese and sour cream to the top of goulash.
  • You can use a different type of noodle than what is suggested in this recipe. Use what you have on hand.
  • Don't forget to stir the noodles every now and then so that the pasta doesn't stick together.
  • Add more flavor to this goulash by using chicken or beef broth instead of water in this recipe.
  • Use ground turkey instead of ground beef for a lighter version.
  • Chop and use a fresh tomato instead of using canned tomatoes.
  • You can easily double the ingredients in this goulash recipe and it will be enough for two or possibly more meals.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 576kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 902mg | Potassium: 1267mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 671IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 6mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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About The Author

7 thoughts on “Goulash For One”

  1. Diane Pontbriand

    I grew up eating this … though we called it American Chop Suey. (Maybe a regional thing – I grew up in New England.) I still make it once in a while, but since I don’t liked peppers, I usually add mushrooms and/or black olives. Great with freshly baked Small French Loaf. YUM

    1. I don’t care for green peppers, male or female, because of the bitterness. However, I sometimes add red, or yellow Peppers. Most of the time though, I add frozen peas & carrots, and after 5 minutes (to regain a simmer), I add the noodles. My kids LOVED it with wagon wheel pasta, but now I use multi-colored “twisties”.

    1. Hi Katie,
      Although the recipe doesn’t call for using cheese, you can add some as a topping if you’d like. I would recommend using any cheese you love. Shredded cheddar or smoked gouda would be good choices.

  2. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious. Possibly a little more than one serving, but so good I did eat the whole thing. I added a small amount of cheddar cheese.

    1. Hi Bonnie,

      I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe! Cheddar cheese is a great addition. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed the goulash.

      Have a wonderful week.

      Joanie

    2. 5 stars
      like bonnie mentioned more than enough for one.I added 1/8 of a teaspoon of hot smoked paprika 1/8 of Italian herbs a couple of drops of Worcestershire sauce for more flavour absolutely delicious.

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