Spicy Hungarian Goulash

One of the best winter foods, in my humble opinion, is a nice, rich, hearty, soup or stew.  Hungarian goulash fits that to a "T".  This is not the goulash you sometimes see here in the U.S. that is some kind of hybrid of macaroni and hamburger, this is a chunky beef stew in a rich tomato/paprika broth with peppers and veggies.  This variation is slightly sweet and spicy.

My sweetheart and I spent our honeymoon in Eastern Europe, and one of the places we visited was Budapest.  That's where I fell in love with this dish, and that's where I bought my paprika.  If you visit the great market hall in Budapest, you'll find stalls entirely devoted to paprika, and there are lots of varieties.  The word paprika in Hungarian means "little pepper" and some of them are sweet, some are mild and some are spicy hot.  In addition you might find a smoked paprika or other fancy style.​​

The key to a good goulash is to use enough paprika, and to make sure you don't scorch it.  This recipe calls for 4 heaping tbsps of paprika.  You want to use a good stewing cut of meat, preferably with a little fat in it.  It's hard to find the little spicy cherry peppers like they use in Hungary, this recipe uses red and yellow bell peppers instead.  But if you can find them (Trader Joe's sometimes has them), they will add another layer of rich flavor and spice.   Jó étvágyat kívánunk !  


Hungarian Goulash

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 45 min

Total Time 1 hr 5 mins Servings: 6 servings

Calories: 181 kcal*Compliant Kitchen Friendly**Kosher Friendly


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 tbsp Hungarian spicy hot paprika

3 tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika

2 pounds beef chuck roast, cubed

1/4 tsp caraway seeds

3 tbsp garlic, minced

2 red bell peppers, 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch chunks 

6 oz can tomato paste

2 carrots, diced

4 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks

5 cups beef broth

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Add 2 tbsp of the olive oil, caraway seeds and beef to large, deep, skillet, sear over medium high heat until beef chunks are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Set beef aside. In same skillet, add the rest of the olive oil and onions, saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the paprikas. Add the beef and garlic, and a splash of beef broth, return to the heat, and cook for about 10 minutes, over medium heat until the beef is no longer pink.  Take care not to let the paprika scorch.

Add the bell peppers and cook for another 5 minutes until they begin to soften.

Add carrots, tomato paste, potatoes, beef broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.

Add salt to taste.

Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts

Traditional Hungarian Goulash (Gulyas)

Amount Per Serving (1 serving)Calories 181

Calories from Fat 27% Daily Value*

Total Fat 3g 5%

Saturated Fat 4g 20%

Cholesterol 35mg 12%

Sodium 483mg 20%

Potassium 441mg 13%

Total Carbohydrates 10g 3%

Dietary Fiber 3g 12%

Sugars 2g

Protein 10g 20%

Vitamin A 53%

Vitamin C 48%

Calcium 4%

Iron 14%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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