Authentic Hungarian Goulash Recipe - Traditional Beef Stew from Hungary

Authentic Hungarian Goulash

Authentic Hungarian Goulash Recipe - Traditional Beef Stew from Hungary
Region / culture: Hungary | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 2 hours | Servings: 6


Authentic Hungarian Goulash
Authentic Hungarian Goulash

Authentic Hungarian Goulash is a traditional dish that has warmed the hearts and bellies of families for generations. This hearty stew, known for its deep flavors and tender meat, is a staple of Hungarian cuisine. Made with simple, yet robust ingredients, it embodies the essence of comfort food. This recipe takes you through the steps to create a goulash that's both authentic and satisfying, perfect for a cozy dinner at home.


The origins of Hungarian Goulash date back to the 9th century, to the Magyar shepherds of the region. Initially, it was prepared as a dried food (cooked and then dried in the sun) that could be stored and later rehydrated. Over the centuries, it evolved into a hot soup or stew we recognize today. The key ingredient, paprika, was introduced to Hungary by the Turks in the 16th century, which significantly transformed the dish into the beloved national dish of Hungary.


How to prepare

  1. Place beef chunks in a large bowl. Sprinkle them liberally with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss them with flour.
  2. Heat a heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Place beef chunks in a single layer and brown them on two sides. You will probably need to do this in batches. Do not crowd the meat or it will boil instead of browning. Remove the browned beef chunks to a bowl.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low. To the drippings in the Dutch oven, add the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil, sweet onion rings, mushrooms, and garlic. Toss to coat them with the olive oil. Cover tightly and sweat the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until the onions are limp but not browned and the mushrooms are releasing their liquid, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add red wine to the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. Add beef broth, roasted red peppers, and paprika. Return the beef and any accumulated juices to the pan. Stir until well-combined. Cover tightly, reduce the heat, and simmer on low heat for 1.5 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beef is fork-tender.
  5. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and wait for the boiling to subside. Taste and add additional salt if necessary. Stir in sour cream until it is completely incorporated into the gravy.
  6. Serve Hungarian goulash over hot buttered noodles with chopped parsley.


  • For a twist on the traditional, try adding a few diced carrots or potatoes to the stew. For a spicier version, a teaspoon of hot smoked paprika can be added along with the sweet paprika.


  1. ↑ The amount of paprika is correct. Please do use it all. If you cannot use the wine, use an equal amount of additional beef broth. The goulash may be refrigerated or frozen, before the addition of the sour cream. Reheat and stir in the sour cream just before serving.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To achieve the perfect goulash, consider browning the meat in batches to ensure it gets a good sear. This process adds depth to the flavor. Using sweet Hungarian paprika is crucial as it lends the dish its authentic taste and vibrant color. Don't rush the cooking process; slow and low is the way to go, allowing the beef to become tender and the flavors to meld beautifully.

Serving Suggestions

Hungarian Goulash is traditionally served over egg noodles or with a side of crusty bread to soak up the rich, flavorful sauce. A side salad of crisp greens can add a refreshing contrast to the hearty stew.

Cooking Techniques

Browning the meat and sweating the vegetables are crucial steps in building the foundation of flavor for this goulash. Simmering the stew slowly allows the ingredients to tenderize and meld together, creating a depth of flavor that can't be rushed.

Ingredient Substitutions

For a gluten-free version, cornstarch can be used in place of flour to thicken the stew. Greek yogurt can be a healthier alternative to sour cream for those watching their fat intake.

Make Ahead Tips

Goulash tastes even better the next day, as the flavors have more time to develop. It can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the goulash in a deep bowl or plate, garnished with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of chopped parsley for a pop of color. A side of buttered egg noodles or a slice of crusty bread makes the meal complete.

Pairing Recommendations

A full-bodied red wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Merlot, pairs beautifully with the rich flavors of the goulash. For beer lovers, a dark lager or stout can complement the dish's hearty nature.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover goulash in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove over medium heat, adding a little beef broth or water if the stew has thickened too much.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of this goulash recipe contains approximately 450 calories. This makes it a hearty meal that can fit into a balanced diet, especially on colder days when your body craves more energy.


A serving of this Hungarian Goulash contains approximately 20 grams of carbohydrates. The primary sources of carbs in this dish come from the onions, mushrooms, and flour used to thicken the stew.


This recipe contains about 25 grams of fat per serving. The fats are primarily sourced from the olive oil used for sautéing and the natural fat within the chuck roast. The sour cream also adds to the fat content, contributing to the dish's creamy texture.


Each serving of goulash is rich in proteins, providing about 35 grams. The protein mainly comes from the beef, making this dish an excellent option for a protein-rich meal.

Vitamins and minerals

Hungarian Goulash is a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B12, iron, and zinc from the beef, as well as Vitamin C and potassium from the vegetables. The paprika not only adds flavor but also contributes Vitamin A and E.


This recipe contains gluten (from the all-purpose flour) and dairy (from the sour cream). Those with sensitivities to these allergens should consider suitable substitutions.


Overall, Hungarian Goulash is a balanced dish, offering a good mix of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It's a hearty, comforting meal perfect for nourishing the body and soul.


This Authentic Hungarian Goulash recipe offers a taste of Hungary's rich culinary tradition. With its deep flavors, hearty ingredients, and comforting warmth, it's a perfect dish for gathering around the table with family and friends. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or explore variations, goulash is sure to satisfy.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the sense of wonder I felt when I first saw this recipe for Authentic Hungarian Goulash. It was many, many years ago when I was just a young girl, visiting my grandmother in her cozy kitchen. The savory aroma of paprika and garlic filled the air as she chopped vegetables and browned cubes of beef in a large pot on the stove. I watched in awe as she added in a mixture of spices and simmered the stew until it was rich and flavorful.

As I sat at the kitchen table, I asked my grandmother where she had learned to make such a delicious dish. She smiled and told me the story of how she had first encountered Hungarian Goulash many years ago, when she was a young woman living in a small village in Eastern Europe.

It was during a bustling market day that she had come across a traveling Hungarian family who had set up a food stall selling steaming bowls of goulash. Intrigued by the tantalizing smells wafting from their cooking pots, my grandmother had approached the family and asked if she could watch them prepare the dish. To her delight, they welcomed her with open arms and showed her all the secrets to making an authentic Hungarian Goulash.

From that moment on, my grandmother became obsessed with perfecting the recipe. She spent hours experimenting with different combinations of ingredients, tweaking the proportions of paprika and garlic, and slowly simmering the stew until it reached the perfect consistency. Over time, she became known in her village as the goulash queen, and people would come from far and wide just to taste her delicious creation.

As my grandmother finished telling me the story, she handed me a tattered old recipe card with the instructions for making Authentic Hungarian Goulash. I took it home with me, determined to carry on the tradition and make the dish for my own family.

Over the years, I have made Hungarian Goulash countless times, each batch a little different from the last as I continue to experiment and tweak the recipe to suit my own tastes. I have added in extra vegetables, swapped out different cuts of meat, and even tried using different types of paprika to see how it changes the flavor profile.

But no matter how many times I make it, the taste of that first authentic Hungarian Goulash I learned to make with my grandmother will always hold a special place in my heart. It reminds me of the sense of wonder and excitement I felt as a young girl, watching my grandmother work her magic in the kitchen and learning the secrets of a truly delicious dish.

And now, as I pass on the recipe to my own children and grandchildren, I hope that they will feel that same sense of wonder and joy as they create their own versions of Authentic Hungarian Goulash. For in the end, it is not just a dish to be eaten, but a tradition to be cherished and passed down through generations.


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