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Magyar Gulyás – Hungarian Goulash

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Adjust Servings:
500 g Beef
2 tbsp Lard or sunflower oil
1 tbsp Paprika powder sweet
1 tsp Ground cumin
1 tsp Salt
3 Bay leaf
2 cloves Garlic
1 tsp Grounded black pepper
100 g Onion
150 g Carrot
100 g Celery root
70 g Hungarian yellow paprika
200 g Potatoes
100 g Tomato fresh optionally
100 g Parsnip optionally

Magyar Gulyás – Hungarian Goulash

  • Dairy-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • 4 h 15 min
  • Serves 4
  • Medium


  • beef:

  • lard:

  • seasonings:

  • vegetables:



Goulash is a signature dish of Hungarian cuisine. Today most Budapest restaurants serve goulash soup or Gulyásleves. Originally, goulash was a thick meat stew made by Hungarian shepherds. Even the name of the dish, gulyás, means “shepherd”. The original version of goulash didn’t include paprika because it was introduced to Europe only in the 16th century, so today’s goulash is very different from the one eaten by shepherds. Besides, as goulash was becoming more widespread, more and more versions of it were developed. During the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austrians took a liking to goulash and it became one of the national dishes of Austrian cuisine. Goulash is also popular and can be considered as a national dish in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and some regions of Italy.

Today I’m suggesting you cook a classic Hungarian beef goulash. I’m calling it classic, but it’s not old-fashioned shepherd’s goulash we’re going to cook. It’s going to be modern, with paprika and tomatoes.  

I was taught to cook modern Hungarian goulash in Hungary. The cook shared some important details that determine the taste of goulash. This recipe can be used to cook both goulash stew and goulash soup.


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Making goulash, just like any meat stew, starts with choosing the right meat. It should have streaks of fat and silverskin. The best choice is meat from forelegs and hind legs like shank, shoulder, chuck, etc. These least expensive parts will contribute richness, thickness, and deliciousness to goulash.

15 min

Cut the meat into 3-4 cm chunks. Peel the onion and cut each one into 6 parts. Chop the tomatoes. Dice the rest of the vegetables.

10 min

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat some lard or sunflower oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook stirring until brown on all sides. Make sure it doesn’t burn. This step is essential because the browned onion makes the flavor more intense.

15 min

Add the meat and cook together. The meat should get brown on all sides.

5 min

Remove from heat. Add the seasonings and the crushed garlic cloves. Stir for 1-2 min or the paprika can burn and make the goulash bitter.

3 h

Return the pot to heat. Pour the water to cover the meat. Add salt, chopped tomatoes, and diced yellow peppers. Cook for 3-5 hours. Add more water, if needed. Once the meat is fork-tender, the goulash is done.

30 min

When the meat is already tender but doesn’t fall apart yet, add the rest of the vegetables. Pour more cold water to cover the ingredients (or more if you want the consistency of soup). Season with salt, stir, bring to a boil and cook until the vegetables are done (30-40 min). Serve hot, with sour cream.

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