Preview: Beef Goulash with Ketchup combines ground beef, macaroni, tomato sauce, cheese, and ketchup. Only one pot is needed to make this comforting dish.
This American Beef Goulash recipe (as opposed to Hungarian Beef Goulash) is not exactly gourmet cooking. It’s more of a what-can-I-throw-together-that’s-quick,-filling,-and-something-everybody-likes kind of dish.
Try it tonight. You will only have to wash one pot.
Is it Goulash or Chop Suey?
My mother-in-law used to make a dish she called Beef Goulash. She told me she cooked the macaroni and ground beef then added ketchup and Cheddar. That’s it!
When I recently saw a recipe for “American Chop Suey” in Cook’s Illustrated, I was puzzled by the title. Then, however, I recognized the food in the magazine picture as a first cousin to my husband’s beloved goulash.
Never before had I heard a mixture of beef, tomatoes, sauce, and macaroni called “Chop Suey.” Sounds Chinese, doesn’t it?
I’ve learned this dish is known as Chop Suey in the northeast. They traditionally add soy sauce to add umami.
Instant Pot vs. slow cooker vs. stovetop
Using the Instant Pot takes about the same amount of time as cooking on top of the stove. The advantage of using the Instant Pot is that you can make this casserole ahead of time.
When the cooking time ends, the pot will automatically switch to “warm.” So whenever you come home, your goulash will be warm and ready to eat.
The slow cooker will take all day if you use the “Low” setting. Then, again, dinner will be ready and waiting for you at the end of the day.
All of these methods require only one pot. Winner!!
Ingredients and substitutions:
Beef: This is the perfect place to customize your goulash. Substitute sausage for the beef, or go half beef and half sausage. Use leftover roast beef instead of ground beef. Cut the amount of beef in half if you prefer. Vegetarians can leave it out altogether.
Pasta: Macaroni is traditional. Ditalini (sometimes called salad pasta) is fun. If you only have spaghetti in the house, break it into small pieces and use that if you want to.
Tomato sauce: Because I wanted this recipe to be something you could make without going to the grocery store, I called for tomato sauce. Substitute pasta sauce instead or even pizza sauce.
Water: Amp up the flavor by substituting 1/2 cup red or white wine for 1/2 cup of water.
Worcestershire sauce: This magic brown liquid adds umami flavor to anything. If you prefer, substitute soy sauce or coconut aminos. Another way to add umami is with a dry mushroom seasoning like the one sold at Trader Joe’s. Alternatively, you can make your mushroom seasoning mix with this recipe for mushroom seasoning mix.
Catsup is the defining feature of this recipe as we know and love to eat it. If you’re not a catsup lover, you might want to add an extra can of tomato sauce for sauciness.
Cheese: We like LOTS of Cheddar. Mozzarella or Velveeta would also be delicious and melty.
Onions and Garlic: Feel free to chop up fresh onions and garlic instead of using powdered. I often opt for “easy” with this recipe. After all, this is not intended to be a gourmet recipe. Instead, it’s first-degree comfort food.
Miscellaneous seasonings: We like a little kick, so I add red pepper flakes and a quick squeeze of Sriacha. Leave this out if you prefer your food milder or you are serving kids.
If you don’t have Italian seasoning on hand, improvise with oregano, basil, and a touch of thyme.
FAQ for Goulash recipes:
How is American Beef Goulash different from Hungarian Goulash?
A typical recipe for Hungarian Goulash is a paprika-flavored broth full of meat and other vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers. The consistency is more of a cross between a soup and a stew.
Can I freeze Beef Goulash?
Let prepared goulash cool completely in the fridge. Then, double wrap it and keep it in the freezer no longer than three months.
How can I make this ahead of time?
Prepare recipe entirely except for the final sprinkling of Cheddar. Wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
When ready to eat, stir the casserole and microwave or heat in the oven until hot. (If the pasta has absorbed all the moisture, stir in some water or more catsup to make it saucy again. Sprinkle the final cheese over the top and let it melt.
What can I serve with Goulash?
How to make Easy Beef Goulash with Ketchup
1. Brown ground beef in a large, heavy pot.
2. Add onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and red chili flakes.
3. Add 1/2 cup water and scrape the brown bits off of the bottom of the pan.
4. Stir in tomato sauce, tomatoes, and remaining water.
5. Add uncooked macaroni and stir. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes or until the macaroni are soft.
6. Add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and Sriacha if using. Stir.
7. Stir in half of the Cheddar.
8. Sprinkle remaining Cheddar over the top when ready to serve. (If the goulash has cooled off a bit, pop it back into the microwave to melt the cheese on top.
Eating Hamburger Goulash brings back so many memories for us. Maybe this recipe will be the beginning of new memories at your house.
More recipes with ground beef:
If you enjoyed this recipe, it would help others and me if you gave it a five-star rating inside the recipe card below. 🤩 No comment required. Thank you.
Hope to see you again soon!
p.s. Questions or suggestions? Please email me: Paula at saladinajar.com.