Goulash (American Chop Suey) is a classic comfort food made with macaroni, bell peppers, garlic, beef, Worcestershire, and diced tomatoes.
This quick and easy American goulash recipe will bring you straight back to your childhood with the most nostalgic flavors! We love serving goulash with sourdough bread, garlic bread and almond joy cookies!
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Why you’ll love this recipe!
📌 Ready and on the table in less than 30 minutes!
📌 The perfect easy meal for a busy weeknight.
📌 Made with simple pantry staples that you probably have on hand.
American Goulash Ingredients
- Pasta – Elbow macaroni or any other kind of short pasta.
- Butter – Unsalted.
- Onion – Yellow onion, diced.
- Bell pepper – Green bell pepper, diced.
- Garlic – Fresh cloves, minced.
- Beef – Ground beef.
- Sauce – Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste.
- Seasonings – Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper.
- Diced tomatoes – Undrained.
How do you make American Chop Suey (step-by-step directions)
⭐ First, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the elbow macaroni. Cook according to package directions and drain.
⭐ Next, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until just softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
⭐ Then, add the ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and cook until the beef has browned. Drain the grease if needed.
⭐ Finally, lower the heat and stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Bring to a light simmer and stir in the cooked elbow macaroni. Heat through and serve!
Scroll down to the printable recipe card toward the bottom of this article for ingredient measurements and detailed cooking instructions.
Can goulash be made ahead of time?
Yes, this can be made a day in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to serve. Reheat in the oven or on the stove top for best results.
What kind of pasta should be used for goulash?
Traditionally goulash is made with elbow macaroni but if you don’t have that on hand, you could use any other short pasta like penne, farfalle or rotini.
What kind of meat should be used for goulash?
Typically goulash calls for ground beef but you could also change that up to your liking with ground sausage or ground turkey.
Storage and leftovers
How long does goulash last?
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave, oven, or on the stovetop.
Can goulash be frozen?
Yes, cool the dish completely and store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and reheat on the stovetop or in the oven.
What’s the best way to reheat leftovers?
For optimal taste and texture, it’s recommended to reheat goulash on the stovetop or in the oven. Microwave is convenient but may result in softer pasta. You can stir in a little extra water, broth, or tomato sauce as necessary.
Tips and tricks
✅ Add in some chopped celery for extra texture and flavor.
✅ If you like a little heat, throw in some red pepper flakes or diced jalapenos.
✅ Sprinkle with cheese before serving if desired.
✅ Red or yellow bell pepper will also work for this recipe if you don’t have green pepper on hand.
Frequently asked questions
Can I use ground chicken or turkey instead of beef in this American goulash recipe?
Yes, you can substitute ground chicken or turkey for the beef if you prefer a lighter option. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.
Are there any alternatives to Worcestershire sauce in this recipe?
If you don’t have Worcestershire sauce, you can substitute it with soy sauce or tamari for a similar umami flavor.
Can I adjust the spice level?
Absolutely! Customize the spice level by adding more or less black pepper, and feel free to include chili powder or hot sauce if you enjoy a spicier kick.
What to enjoy with this easy goulash recipe (serving suggestions)
Other great pasta dishes to try
- Cincinnati Chili (Skyline Chili)
- Meatball casserole
- Slow cooker chili mac
- Lemon pasta
- Spaghetti carbonara
- See all our easy pasta recipes!
Tools we love
- Garlic peeler – This works wonders to help with all those pesky garlic peels!
- Enameled cast iron pot – This is a great and super versatile pot that can be used in both the oven and on the stove top.
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How to Make Goulash (American Chop Suey)
Goulash (American Chop Suey)
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1 medium green bell pepper diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 can diced tomatoes 14.5 ounces, undrained
- 1 can tomato sauce 15 ounces
- 1 can tomato paste 6 ounces
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the elbow macaroni and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until just beginning to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook until the beef has browned and cooked through, drain the grease if desired.
- Lower heat and stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste, bringing to a light simmer. Cook about 5 minutes, then stir in the cooked elbow macaroni and heat through.
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