Creating a delicious and hearty goulash has never been easier with this slow cooker recipe. Perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends, this dish combines tender chunks of beef, a medley of vegetables, and a rich, flavorful broth that simmer together to develop a mouthwatering taste.

Not only is this recipe simple to follow, but it also allows you to set it and forget it, ensuring you have a warm, comforting meal ready whenever you are. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a kitchen novice, this slow cooker goulash is bound to become a family favorite.

Origins of Goulash

Goulash, a rich and hearty stew, originates from Hungary and dates back to the 9th century. Traditionally, it was prepared by Hungarian shepherds who would cook it over an open fire in large cauldrons. The dish’s name, “gulyás,” is derived from the Hungarian word for herdsman or cowboy. Initially, goulash was a simple fare made with meat, onions, and water, thickened with bread, and flavored with a pinch of black pepper.

Over time, the recipe evolved, incorporating spices like paprika, which is now a defining ingredient in Hungarian goulash. This comforting dish reflects Hungary’s agricultural heritage and continues to be a beloved culinary staple both within the country and worldwide.

Essential Ingredients in a Goulash

Creating an authentic goulash requires a selection of key ingredients that contribute to its rich and robust flavor. The cornerstone of any goulash is the meat, traditionally beef, though variations with pork or lamb can also be found.

Next, onions play a crucial role in the base, providing a depth of flavor and sweetness as they caramelize. Paprika, a quintessential spice in Hungarian cuisine, is indispensable; it imparts a vibrant red color and a mildly sweet, smoky taste. Garlic adds an aromatic complexity, while caraway seeds introduce a subtle, earthy note. Fresh or dried marjoram and bay leaves offer herbal undertones, further enhancing the stew’s depth.

Finally, a well-balanced goulash wouldn’t be complete without bell peppers and tomatoes, which contribute freshness and acidity, rounding out the dish with their natural sweetness. These ingredients come together harmoniously to create the rich and hearty flavor that defines a classic goulash.

Best Meat to Cook a Goulash

When it comes to selecting the best meat for cooking goulash, beef is the traditional and most popular choice. Specifically, cuts like chuck or shoulder are ideal due to their rich marbling and connective tissue, which break down beautifully during the slow cooking process, resulting in tender, flavorful meat.

These cuts are not only more economical but also imbue the stew with a deep, hearty taste. For those seeking alternative flavors, pork shoulder or leg can also be used, offering a slightly sweeter taste and softer texture. Lamb, though less common, can lend a unique richness and a hint of gaminess that pairs wonderfully with the spices in goulash.

Regardless of the meat chosen, the key is to opt for well-marbled cuts that can stand up to long, slow simmering, ensuring the dish develops its characteristic depth and succulence.

What to Serve with a Goulash

When serving goulash, the right accompaniments can enhance the overall dining experience, balancing the rich and hearty flavors of the stew. Traditionally, goulash is paired with egg noodles or spaetzle, which soak up the flavorful sauce and provide a comforting, chewy texture. Another classic option is a crusty loaf of bread, perfect for sopping up every last bit of the stew.

For a lighter option, potatoes—whether boiled, mashed, or roasted—work wonderfully, adding a simple, earthy counterpoint to the robust goulash. Additionally, a fresh green salad with a tangy vinaigrette can offer a crisp, refreshing contrast. To round out the meal, consider serving goulash with a side of pickled vegetables, such as cucumbers or beets, which can cut through the richness with their bright acidity.


In summary, goulash is a rich and hearty stew that benefits from the use of well-marbled cuts of beef, pork, or lamb, which break down during slow cooking to create tender, flavorful meat. Traditional accompaniments such as egg noodles, spaetzle, or crusty bread complement the stew beautifully by soaking up its savory sauce.

For a lighter side, potatoes in any form or a fresh green salad with tangy vinaigrette provide balance to the robust flavors. Additionally, serving pickled vegetables offers a bright, acidic contrast, enhancing the overall dining experience.

Slow Cooker Beef Goulash

  • 750g Stewing Beef
  • 2 Onions
  • 1 Teaspoon of Garlic Puree
  • 1 Tablespoon of Tomato Puree
  • 2 Red Peppers
  • 1 Beef Stock Pot
  • 2 Tablespoons of Paprika
  • 1 Tin Chopped Tomaotes Handful of Parsley
  • 2 Tbsp Flour