What Is Goulash?

If you hear people speaking of goulash, they are referring to the popular Hungarian Goulash. This is a staple food in Hungary and is known as one of the most famous dishes in the world. 

What Is Goulash?

It is a delicious beef stew or soup, with a broth that is heavily seasoned with paprika. It can be served over noodles, with potatoes, or with a side of bread, so you can scoop up every last bit of the delicious dish. 

This article will be discussing what Hungarian Goulash is, where it came from, and how you can make it yourself! 

Keep reading, and enjoy this delicious journey across the globe! 

Goulash Explained 

Goulash is known as one of the most comforting dishes you can make as the summer starts to disperse. Traditional Goulash is a stew or soup that is made with beef, onions, and paprika. 

However, many other variations add all kinds of vegetables to the mix, such as carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes. 

Red meat is the beef that is used in this dish, and you don’t even need to use expensive cuts, as the meat is simmered for a long time, making it nice and tender no matter what cut you choose to use. 

It is seasoned with fragrant spices such as paprika, caraway seeds, and cajun.

Another bonus of this dish is that it freezes very well, meaning you can make a large batch, and warm it up a serving at a time, perfect for those cold winter nights when you don’t have the energy to cook! 


This scrumptious dish dates back all the way to the 17th and 18th centuries, as it was a meal that was eaten regularly by shepherds.

This was due to the fact that there were many cattle in the region, so beef became the main meat used in the dish. It was also very simple, and easy to make. 

Due to this, it became popular not only among peasants but among soldiers too.

Its simplicity made it very popular for those living in humble conditions, and its delicate taste made it popular among the nobles also. 

As we entered the 19th century, the dish gained even more popularity, appearing in cookbooks and restaurants all over the world. 

Nowadays, many variations of it are available across Hungary, and it is still the staple meal of the country. 

How To Make The Best Hungarian Goulash

Now that you know what Hungarian Goulash is and how it became popular, we will now discuss how you can make it yourself at home! 

We recommend using a large cast-iron skillet for this, as you’ll definitely want to make a large batch, so you can freeze it and give yourself a lovely, comforting meal when you don’t have the time to cook. 

What Is Goulash?

Onions And Beef

Begin by frying off some onions in your large cast-iron skillet with some oil on medium heat.

This is so you can get all the flavor out of the onions without frying them too quickly and burning them. 

Fry them and keep stirring until you notice the onions are translucent and soft. Once you’ve noticed this, you are going to turn the heat up slightly and add your meat. 

Do this for around 6 minutes so the meat browns up, giving a crusty sear on the outside. This is what is going to give your dish a delicious flavor later on. 

Time For Aromatics

As your onions and meat remain in the heat, it’s time for the best bit, adding all your delicious aromatics! Here you will add paprika, marjoram, caraway seeds, and garlic.

Since your onions and beef are still cooking in the pot, they prevent these yummy additions from burning, so the flavors have the time to really develop and coat the meat and broth (which we will cover next). 

Water And Starch

Next, you’re going to add in some more vegetables, such as carrots and parsnips, along with water.

Traditional Goulash doesn’t have any pre-made broth added to it – it’s a shepherd’s stew! 

The broth will create itself as the dish cooks. Here, all the flavors from the spices, vegetables, and meat will begin to get to know each other, mixing together in order to create a blend of heart-warming flavors. 

Once you’ve added your vegetables and water, you are to cover the pot and let it simmer for at least an hour, so everything tenderizes. 

Keep checking the Goulash, and when you notice the beef is tenderizing, which is normally around 40 minutes in, you are to add some potatoes.

Nothing says comfort like some soft, warm potatoes, and you are to continue cooking the stew without the lid until you can push a fork through the potatoes without an issue. 

The potatoes will also thicken the broth as they have natural starch in them, so there’s no need to use any extra additives! Healthy and delicious! 

Extra Add-Ins

Traditional Goulash is left as it is above, but as it has gained popularity in other parts of the world, there are other ingredients you can add in order to make it pop that bit more. 

Some enjoy adding tomatoes and peppers after the potatoes have become soft. These will break down as the dish continues to cook, and will take around 10 minutes. 

If you find that more flavor is needed, rather than adding all the spices to your heart’s desire, simply reduce the heat and let it cook for a further 20 or 30 minutes. 

Reducing the head increases the flavor as it continues to tenderize the beef. 

Final Thoughts 

In summary, Hungarian Goulash is the traditional food of Hungary and has become one of the most popular stews across the globe. 

Its simple, yet delicious attributes are what have made this stew so popular, and there are now many variations of it available all over the world. 

Get ready as winter sets in, by making this heart-warming dish, the new family favorite. 

Jeff Pratt
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