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Skillet Goulash Recipe: Quick and Comforting Dinner Idea

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Skillet Goulash Recipe

If you’re looking for a delicious and easy meal, you can’t go wrong with skillet goulash. It’s the perfect weeknight dinner, combining ground beef, pasta, and a flavorful tomato sauce in a single pan.

The best part about this recipe is that it all comes together in one skillet, making cleanup a breeze. You’ll love how the pasta absorbs all the savory flavors while cooking right in the sauce. Grab your ingredients, and let’s get started on this cozy, comforting dish.

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

To make skillet goulash, you will need the following ingredients. If you don’t have something on the list, don’t worry! You can make easy substitutes.

Main Ingredients

  • Ground Beef: 1 pound. If you prefer, you can use ground turkey or ground chicken.
  • Onion: 1 medium, chopped. Shallots or leeks can work in a pinch, though they have a slightly different flavor.


  • Bell Pepper: 1, chopped. Any color works, and you can use zucchini or carrots if needed.
  • Garlic: 2 cloves, minced. Garlic powder can be a substitute – about 1/2 teaspoon.


  • Italian Seasoning: 1 teaspoon. If you don’t have this, mix dried basil, oregano, and thyme.
  • Paprika: 1 teaspoon. Smoked paprika or chili powder can be used if needed.
  • Salt and Pepper: to taste. Sea salt, kosher salt, or black pepper alternatives are fine.

Liquid Ingredients

  • Tomato Sauce: 15 ounces. Crushed tomatoes or marinara sauce can also be used.
  • Beef Broth: 2 cups. Chicken or vegetable broth work too.


  • Elbow Macaroni: 2 cups, uncooked. Any small pasta like penne, rotini, or shells can replace it.


  • Cheese: 1 cup, shredded. Cheddar, mozzarella, or a cheese blend is perfect. If you’re lactose intolerant, use a dairy-free cheese.

Having these ingredients on hand makes your cooking straightforward and adaptable. Enjoy creating your tasty skillet goulash!


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

  2. Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes until they start to soften.

  3. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional minute until it’s fragrant.

  4. Add the ground beef. Break it up with a wooden spoon and cook until it’s no longer pink, about 5 minutes.

  5. Drain the grease from the skillet if there’s any excess.

  6. Add bell peppers (if using) and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes until they are tender.

  7. Pour in tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Stir to combine everything well.

  8. Season with paprika and any other desired spices. Mix thoroughly.

  9. Add Worcestershire sauce and stir in until it is well blended.

  10. Simmer the mixture over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  11. Cook the elbow macaroni separately according to the package instructions until it’s al dente.

  12. Stir the cooked macaroni into the skillet with the beef and tomato mixture. Mix everything together until well combined.

  13. Continue to simmer for a few more minutes to let the flavors meld together.

  14. Serve hot. You can optionally garnish with chopped parsley or grated cheese.

Feel free to tweak the spices and veggies to suit your taste! Enjoy your delicious skillet goulash.

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh onions, garlic, and bell peppers add a lot of flavor.

Seasoning Is Key: Don’t skip the paprika and Italian seasoning. They give the dish its distinct taste.

Brown the Meat: Make sure to brown the ground beef thoroughly to enhance the flavor.

Drain Excess Fat: After browning the beef, drain any excess fat to avoid a greasy dish.

Cook Pasta in Sauce: Simmer the macaroni right in the sauce so it absorbs all the flavors.

Low and Slow: Cook the goulash on low heat for a richer taste.

Stir Occasionally: This prevents the pasta from sticking to the skillet.


Refrigeration: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Freezing: Goulash freezes well. Place it in freezer-safe containers and store for up to 3 months.

Reheating: Reheat on the stove over low heat, adding a splash of broth if needed, or in the microwave.

Quick Tip: If freezing, slightly undercook the pasta to prevent it from becoming mushy when reheated.

Keep these tips in mind to enjoy perfect skillet goulash every time!

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

Mix Up the Meat
Instead of ground beef, try using ground turkey, pork, or even chicken. Each one gives a different flavor to your goulash.

Add More Veggies
Include vegetables like carrots, celery, zucchini, or mushrooms. Dice them small and add them with the onions and peppers.

Spice it Up
For extra spice, add red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper. If you prefer a smoky flavor, use smoked paprika.

Cheesy Twist
Mix in some shredded cheddar, mozzarella, or Parmesan cheese towards the end of cooking for a cheesy touch.

Creamy Version
Stir in some sour cream or cream cheese right before serving. This will make your goulash creamy and rich.

Swap the Pasta
Use different types of pasta like penne, shells, or rotini instead of macaroni. You can also try gluten-free or whole wheat pasta for a healthier twist.

Serving Suggestions

Classic Combo
Serve your goulash with a side of garlic bread or a simple green salad. This makes a balanced and delicious meal.

Topped with Cheese
Sprinkle some fresh grated cheese on top before serving. It melts beautifully and adds great flavor.

Hot Sauce Lovers
Offer a variety of hot sauces on the side so everyone can add their own level of heat.

Fresh Herbs
Garnish with fresh parsley or basil. This adds a fresh and vibrant note to your dish.

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.