3 small round white dishes of prepared goulash with one in front and two behind with a white and grey towel on a wooden surface (with logo overlay)

One-Pot Goulash

Goulash, eaten at the Yule Ball, has many varieties. This recipe is hearty comfort-food at it's best made in only one pot for easy cleanup.

Goulash is one of the foods that is mentioned briefly in Harry Potter but never described further. During the Yule Ball, Professor Dumbledore orders pork chops by talking to his plate. The only other item that we know must have been on the menu that night was goulash. A few paragraphs later, Harry is laughing into his plate at a comment Dumbledore makes to Professor Karkaroff.

Harry snorted into his plate of goulash.

-Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

One-Pot Goulash
The entrance to Hogwarts Castle at Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, FL

Goulash is one of those dishes that can be made in a variety of ways, depending on where you are from and what style you are cooking. Being in the United States, I made an American version of the dish. I’m sure it’s a bit different than what Harry would have eaten at the Yule Ball.

Goulash originated in Hungary and was more of soup than a stew. Almost everywhere else you go in Europe, goulash is a rich stew with hearty meat in it. Either way, goulash always has paprika in it. Of course, being American and the way things tend to work here, our goulash doesn’t use paprika, and we use cheap meat (ground beef) instead of the steak that most Europeans use.

Goulash in the United States is a comfort food that originated in the midwest and the south using simple ingredients thrown together in one pot. Every American goulash recipe I’ve seen has elbow macaroni in it, which is a massive deviation from the Hungarian original.

Whether you agree with changing so much from the original or not, this Americanized version is absolutely delicious! You can make it in one pot, and the leftovers reheat for lunch with no problem!

Step by Step

To make American goulash, brown the ground beef in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Make sure it’s cooked all the way through and no longer pink. If you used meat with high fat content, you might need to drain the meat. I always buy the leanest meat possible, so there was so little fat I didn’t worry about draining it.

Large stockpot with browned ground beef on a wooden surface

Add the onion and garlic to the meat and cook for about 3-5 minutes, until they are soft and the garlic is fragrant.

Large stockpot with browned ground beef, cooked onions, and garlic on a wooden surface

Throw in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, seasoned salt, and uncooked macaroni noodles. Mix everything together and bring it to a boil.

Large stockpot with uncooked goulash including tomatoes, noodles, ground beef, and onions in tomato sauce on a wooden surface

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the stew simmer, covered, for about 25-30 minutes, until the pasta is cooked and soft. Remove the stew from the heat and serve immediately! You could also add a dollop of sour cream or a bit of mozzarella cheese to the top if you want.

3 small round white dishes of prepared goulash with one in front and two behind with a white and grey towel on a wooden surface (vertical)


Originally Published On: June 23, 2018

Last Updated On: November 20, 2019

3 small round white dishes of prepared goulash with one in front and two behind with a white and grey towel on a wooden surface


Goulash, eaten at the Yule Ball, has many varieties. This recipe is hearty comfort-food at it’s best made in only one pot for easy cleanup.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ground beef, Harry Potter
Servings: 8 cups
5 from 4 votes


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 30 oz diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 30 oz tomato sauce
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 16 oz elbow macaroni (uncooked)

Recommended Equipment


  • In a large stockpot or Dutch oven brown ground beef over medium heat until cooked through
  • Drain any excess grease and add the onion and garlic
  • Cook for 3-5 minutes, until the onion is soft and garlic is fragrant
  • Add all other ingredients and mix well
  • Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low
  • Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until macaroni is cooked
  • Remove from the heat and serve immediately
  • Garnish with a dollop of sour cream or mozzarella cheese if desired
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Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 554 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 8g40%
Cholesterol 80mg27%
Sodium 1275mg53%
Potassium 1050mg30%
Carbohydrates 55g18%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 29g58%
Vitamin A 595IU12%
Vitamin C 19.2mg23%
Calcium 102mg10%
Iron 5.5mg31%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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When making any recipe, it’s essential to make sure you have the correct equipment. The following items are hand-selected for this recipe and are all items I have personally used and/or recommend.

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34 thoughts on “One-Pot Goulash”

  1. this reminds me of my trips to budapest and austria! The are obsessed with goulash and I can totally see why. So hearty and filling!

  2. Being a mom of 4, one pot meals are a huge life savor for me. It likes one of those meals that just warms your soul on a cold winter night.

  3. Mmmm I could totally veganize this & make a simlar dish! I will have to try this recipe in the coming weeks. I cant help but love any dish with pasta in it!

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