Nana’s Classic Goulash Recipe

classic goulash in a bowl

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Growing up, I would often eat dinner at my Nana and Papa’s house. Nana had a handful of signature dishes that I grew up with. As soon as I walked in the door, I knew exactly which one we were having that night for dinner. Although Nana passed away years ago, I’m so grateful to have her recipes written down, so I could continue to make them for my kids. It’s a tradition I hope we can pass on forever. Today, I want to share one of my personal favorites, Nana’s classic goulash recipe.

Funny story… Nana actually didn’t call this classic goulash. In fact, I’m not even sure she knew that’s what she was making. I didn’t even realize it was goulash until very recently myself. It’s also very similar to some beefaroni recipes. Nana actually used to call this “Laura”. It may sound strange to give a dish a name, but there was apparently a good reason for it. It was because her doctor’s wife gave her the recipe, and her name was Laura.

I thought about naming this “Laura” for the blog, but for the sake of most people who don’t name dishes after the people that gave them a recipe, we will call this classic goulash. I’m sure it will be easier for those people searching for an American goulash recipe because unless they know the lovely doctor’s wife, they won’t be searching for “Laura”.

Beef, pasta, onions, peppers and spices, in a tomato sauce. This classic goulash recipe brings me back to my childhood every single time.

ground beef in a pan

ground beef, peppers, onions, pasta and garlic in a pan

ground beef, peppers, onions, pasta and garlic in a pan

ingredients for classic goulash

This classic goulash recipe is similar to beefaroni. It's a one pan dish that's easy and perfect for a family dinner.

What I love most about this recipe is that everything cooks in one pan. You don’t have to cook the pasta first either, so it’s quick, easy and even tastes good the day after, so you can make extra for leftovers. I usually double this recipe for our family of five and cook it in my electric skillet. We have dinner and lunch for the following day.

It’s the perfect dish for those hectic days when you just don’t have a ton of time to spend in the kitchen. Once the meat is cooked and the ingredients are stirred in, it’s just a matter of simmering for 20 minutes.

You can make this exactly as Nana’s recipe calls for, but you are welcome to add additional seasonings as well. My uncle told me that he likes to add basil and oregano to his. He also tops his with parmesan cheese. I haven’t tried that yet, but look forward to adding those in next time I make it. I’m sure it would add another great layer of flavor to it. Plus, my family loves to add cheese to just about anything.

Actually, most classic goulash recipes include cheese, so go ahead and add it (or don’t), it’s your meal, so make it your own!

classic goulash in a pan

classic goulash in a bowl

classic goulash in a bowl

Now that you know a little about this classic goulash dish and why it means something to our family, I’m excited to share the recipe with you. If you do make it, I’d love for you to share a photo and tag us on social media or comment below and let me know what you think. We love feedback from our readers!

Nana’s Classic Goulash Recipe

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classic goulash in a bowl

Nana’s Classic Goulash Recipe

  • Author: Heather l The Super Mom Life


The perfect combination of beef, pasta, onions, peppers and spices, in a tomato sauce. It’s a recipe that my Nana made once a week and brings me back to my childhood every single time.


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp oil, vegetable or olive
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • (2) 8oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 16 0z water
  • 3 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Saute ground beef in oil, on medium high heat until browned and cooked completely.
  • Add uncooked macaroni, inions, green pepper and garlic. Stir and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  • Drain excess oil.
  • Add tomato sauce, water, worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Stir well.
  • Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Don’t forget to check out our other family friendly recipes, especially Nana’s Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Homemade Gravy and her Claremont Salad! Stay tuned for her other signature recipes that I’ll be sharing very soon.

One of my favorite childhood memories is eating my Nana's classic goulash. I'm excited to share her recipe with you!

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Hello There!

I'm so honored that you've found us! I'm Heather, a Mom of 3 who blogs about parenting, food, occasional travel and how I overcame my daily struggle with anxiety. I miss sleeping and rely on coffee and laughter to get me through the day. I hope you enjoy and visit often!

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Recipe rating

  1. I have a lot of friends that talk about making goulash, but I’ve never tried it! Your recipe sounds delicious, and it is nice to have those childhood memories.

  2. Even just the photo brings up all these nostalgic feelings of warm lunches as a kid… thanks for sharing this recipe!

  3. Yum! I love American Ghoulash! I haven’t had it since I was a child. I just pinned your recipe to make later. Thank you!

  4. You have a great recipe there and it seems easy to make. Besides, it’s hard to resist giving it a try after seeing your attractive photos and I hope I can make it as good as you do.

  5. Wow! This looks delicious and easy to make. Very timely since my husband has been asking me to cook pasta. Would love to try this. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  6. This goulash looks so delish! I love classic comfort food like this, will have to make it for the family soon! 🙂

  7. My mom used to make goulash all the time. I haven’t had it in forever. This makes me want a giant bowl of it and bring back some memories

  8. We used to call this American Chop Suey. It is a comfort food staple to this day!

  9. How comforting and delicious! This looks like such a perfect meal for the family and easy to make too!

  10. I had goulash in Prague, but it’s quite different from American goulash. Yours looks so hearty and perfect for even the pickiest of eaters!

  11. This classic goulash recipe is great for the budget and makes enough to have leftovers for lunches.

  12. I do love a bit of home cooking too, I am vegan so I am always baking up a lot of stews and curries yummy…

  13. American Goulash is one of our favorite dishes. I am sure that everyone in my family will love your recipe. Sounds so delicious!

  14. Ooh what a fantastic recipe. I don’t think I’ve actually tried goulash before so this will be the first one I try out.

  15. I love goulash. I haven’t had it in so long. I definitely will be saving this recipe. I’ll love to make this sometime this week.

  16. It has been forever since I have eaten goulash. My mom used to make it. Now I am craving it!! haha 🙂

  17. I used to make goulash at least once a month and for some reason I stopped. I can’t wait to get back at it with this recipe.

  18. I am making it tonight, then. All ingredients are lined up in my fridge and pantry. Would like to taste your classic nana’s recipe!

  19. One and done. That’s my kind of dish with how my days have been going lately. The Laura I’m looking at here looks fabulous though 😉 lol

  20. This kind of reminds me of something my mom used to make when I was younger. Looks like an easy family dinner

  21. I love a good meaty dish! This is awesome that you were able to recreate this plate. It looks delicious.

  22. I love anything one pot – makes life so easier. This looks like such a crowd pleaser – thanks for sharing.

  23. That is the perfect meal for my family! They’ll love the taste, and I love how easy it is to make. Everybody wins!