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Quick and Easy American Goulash In One Pan

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Last Modified: April 8, 2020
Published: April 8, 2020

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A Hallelujah Recipe For Busy Families

American goulash

What comes to mind when you hear the word goulash? I was surprised by how many people have said, "This isn't goulash!" It's not Hungarian goulash, that's for sure.

So, what is American goulash? It's hearty, simple, and full of flavor but uncomplicated. It's an easy one-pan, quick, and easy dinner you can have on the table in about 30 minutes using a pound of hamburger and a few other simple pantry ingredients! (That is if you remember to defrost the hamburger!)

It's got elbow macaroni, petite diced tomatoes, a can of tomato soup, and some simple seasonings. It's mild, and kids eat it up. Hungry men and boys love it, and it's been a family favorite with us for three generations now. I think your family will love it, too.

Why You'll Love This 1-Pan American Goulash

Let's start with the one-pan thing. It's a big deal to discover you don't have to boil and drain the macaroni separately. That means fewer dishes!

It's quick and easy to make and pretty inexpensive. There are no fancy ingredients in it, and it's easily doubled for larger families. All you need is a bigger pan! The leftovers are great and easy to warm up in the microwave.

American goulash is virtually a meal in one pan, and all you might want to add is a green vegetable or a salad. Garlic bread goes great with it, too! When everyone is starving, you don't need to keep them waiting too long!

What You Will Need To Make American Goulash:

  • 10" non-stick skillet with tight-fitting lid
  • A tool to brown and crumble the hamburger
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Wooden spoon or other spoon for non-stick cookware
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Petite diced tomatoes
  • Tomato soup
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Elbow macaroni
  • Instant minced onions
  • Salt and pepper
  • Brown sugar
  • Water
  • Garlic powder

How To Make One-Pan American Goulash

How's this for easy? Brown the beef and crumble it right in the skillet. I love my Pampered Chef Mix and Chop. I use it for lots of stuff, but it's a must for quickly getting ground beef ready for so many dishes! It does a great job of breaking up the beef just the way we like it.

Now it's a simple dump-dump-dump process of adding the tomatoes, soup, macaroni, and the rest. (Hint: If you can't find the petite tomatoes, you can grab your kitchen scissors and snip regular diced tomatoes into smaller pieces right in the can!!)

Experiment with some of the already seasoned petite diced tomatoes you can find nowadays and adjust the garlic and onion accordingly. You may find a flavor your family will love! Fire roasted? Basil, garlic and oregano? Yum!

Stir it all up, cover it tight, and give it another stir or two while it's cooking til the macaroni is nice and tender. While it's doing its thing, you've got time to toss a salad (bagged, of course) and heat a veggie like some French cut green beans or peas if you like 'em. Oh, and maybe pop some garlic toast in the oven. Mmmmmm! Heavenly smells wafting from the kitchen!

Another recipe that goes great with this goulash is MIllie's Dilly Bread! So good, and it was a Pillsbury Bake-Off Winner for a woman right here in Nebraska!

Here's one more hint. Whoops, one night, I didn't have tomato soup on the shelf; what the heck?? What's a girl to do? I grabbed a can of cream of mushroom soup instead, and it was awesome! I dubbed it "Golden Goulash" instead of "GB goofed!"

Yield: 4 generous portions

Easy One-Pan American Goulash

fast fabulous American goulash

A quick and easy main dish you make in one pan starting with a pound of ground beef. Tasty, kid-friendly comfort food.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 pound ground beef, browned and crumbled
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 soup can water (about 1 1/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cup dry elbow macaroni
  • 1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp instant minced onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder


    1. In a non-stick skillet with a tight-fitting lid, brown the beef and season it to taste.
    2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir it. Bring to a boil.
    3. Reduce heat, put on the cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the macaroni is tender.
    4. Remove the lid and stir a couple of times to ensure it is not sticking.
    5. You may need to add a little water to keep the macaroni from sticking and ensure it is fully cooked.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 463Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 698mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 36g

If you don't want to use mushroom soup, here are some ideas for making your own with tomato soup substitute using simple ingredients! Clever! I'm proud to say the last one is from right here at Nebraska University Lincoln's excellent food service and technology department, a top-notch program!

How To Make A Condensed Tomato Soup Substitute

Copycat Campbell's Tomato Soup

How To Substitute Tomato Sauce For Other Forms Of Tomatoes

If you liked this recipe, you are my people! So please share this post on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest if you enjoyed this recipe today. It would sure tickle me, and I'd be ever so grateful; thank you! 

If you haven't already, please check out my Facebook page and find me on Pinterest, where I will post easy, delicious, and family-friendly recipes every week!

Love, GB (Betty Streff)

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39 comments on “Quick and Easy American Goulash In One Pan”

  1. We had a similar dish growing up in New England. We called it American chop suey. My Chinese husband says doesn’t look like any chop suey he ever had. But chop suey is not a Chinese dish.. Yours looks gourmet with canned tomatoes. My mother used Ragú jar sauce. Getting ready to make some this week.

    1. Yay!! You go girl! The only gourmet I do is quick and easy make it at home! I think you'll really like it- so far, it's been a hit with folks who tried it! I really do prefer the petite diced tomatoes but as I said if you have trouble finding them just chop them up right in the can with kitchen scissors! And, there are several varities and brands to choose from!
      Let me know how it goes!!!

  2. […] Old favorite recipe you can whip up in one pan with just a pound of hamburger and a few simple ingredients from the pantry. Full instructions below. GB’s Go Go Goulash Recipe […]

  3. Looks very similar to a Ohio dish called Johnny MarzettI invented for Ohio State hungry students by a cook in the restaurant of the same name. Could DD GREEN PEPPER AND SOME CHEESE. POPULAR IS SCHOOL CAFETERIAS IN THE 50'S & 60"S.

    1. I've heard of that but didn' know it was so close to goulash! Thank you!!! Our girls went to a small town school where lunch in the cafeteria was the highlight of their day! They even put out a cookbook after the school closed. Now you prompted me to see if I can still get one!

  4. My son spent a week at Grandma's and came home saying she added peas to hers and he said it was funny but good. My daughter said it needs some cheese just before serving

    1. Peas and cheese are sure to please!! 🙂 Grandma probably LOVED cooking for the grandkids. I know I sure do! Thanks for sharing!! ❤

  5. I used your recipe as a guide (for lack of a better word) and used what I had in my pantry/freezer. Ground turkey instead of beef. RoTels instead of petite dice tomatoes and cut down the macaroni by 1/2 cup. It's got a little bite to it from the RoTels which my husband is happy about. I'll circle back and make the original at some point. Thank you for sharing.

  6. […] GB’s Go Go Goulash Recipe […]

    1. I've never tried it, Lana. Let me do some checking- I'm guessing not because the hamburger needs to be browned and the macaroni needs to cook at a temperature close to boiling. An InstantPot would sure work but I'm late to the party on them and haven't used mine a whole bunch.

    2. https://www.thereciperebel.com/slow-cooker-baked-ziti
      A quick look online says yes you can cook pasta in a crockpot but you do need to brown the hamburger or sausage in a pan first.
      I think you could use this recipe and her method and it should work. If it was me, though, I'd make it on a day I was going to be around or at least in and out so I could check on the progress. Let me know!!

  7. Thank you for the quick and easy recipe for a Monday night. My husband loved it, and it took so very little time! We love spicy, so I put a can of Ro-Tel into it instead of regular tomatoes, so it was awesome.

  8. […] Quick And Easy American Goulash In One Pan […]

    1. If the ground beef has a higher fat content or has water added, yes. If I use good, lean ground beef like 93% lean, then I don't. If you drain ALL the fat, you lose a lot of flavor. Thanks for asking! It is so darn easy and good!!

  9. Thanks For Sharing this amazing recipe. My family loved it. I will be sharing this recipe with my friends. Hope the will like it.

    1. Gosh, thanks for taking the time to comment!!! ❤ Glad you liked it and the one-pan simplicity of it is probably what I like the most! (But it tastes awfully good, too!!)

    1. In the recipe card, I list the tomato soup as a 10.5-ounce can. Thanks to your question, I added condensed. 😊 Thanks! It's the standard size can of add-water canned soup. Campbells or store brand, both work nicely.

  10. Had this in school always liked it but they had kidney beans in theirs. Going to make for supper one night this week. YUM

    1. That is awesome! The kidney beans are another smart way to stretch a pound of hamburger and add more protein and fiber. It's so good, the whole family loves it. We'll try adding beans sometime! ❤

  11. I loved the fact it is in one pan, however I found it lacked taste. I chopped an onion and two stalks of celery, sautéed and added them and substituted spaghetti sauce for the soup.

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