Oma's Gulasch ~ How to Make Goulash

➤ by Gerhild Fulson

Learn how to make goulash, aka Gulasch, the way Oma (that's me) makes it! It's one of my best beef recipes, and it's similar to a Hungarian goulash recipe.

The main difference is that the Hungarian version usually has potatoes added, and the German one doesn't. But, nowadays, even that difference doesn't always exist. :) yet some argue about this!!!

Scroll instead to find lots of important & interesting info about this recipe.

Oma's German goulash served with potato dumplings and red cabbage. The traditional way!

Instead of arguing over where goulash comes from, let's just enjoy this hearty beef stew! And, it's so easy to make! REALLY!

Easy, because this German goulash recipe is actually quite quick to put together. Once that's done, it's just a matter of waiting for it to cook to delicious tenderness, with the flavors amplified because of the browning process. This is German food at its best.

Where did goulash originate?

The name goulash originally comes from the Hungarian word Gulyas - meaning cowboy or herdsmen. Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with goulash, well, here it will make sense.

While on cattle drives on the plains of Hungary, the herdsmen would pick out the weaker cattle in the bunch and butcher them for stew. A stew similar to our German Gulasch!

This goulash is a fun recipe to make and because it's so easy, it's the perfect recipe to make with the grandkids. It can be very versatile as well. You can alter the spices to whichever you prefer, or add more veggies. Perhaps celery, or potatoes. 

This recipe is so comforting and heartwarming. Just imagine cozying up on the couch on a cold winters night with a hot bowl of goulash. Why keep imagining, go make Oma's German goulash recipe now!

What to serve with your goulash:

A northern German tradition is to serve the goulash over boiled potatoes. In southern German, it's often served with Spätzle, homemade egg noodles. Below, I've served it with creamed Brussels Sprouts, though many love this served over hot mashed potatoes as well.

Here's a fantastic recipe for how to make goulash the German way!

This German cold weather favorite is perfect here in Canada during the cool autumn and freezing cold winters. At the top of the page, I've served it with potato dumplings and red cabbage. An absolute favorite at our house!

You'll see a difference between the two photos. The top one is more reddish because I used more paprika and red wine. The one that isn't so red only has a bit of paprika, no red wine, and I didn't have tomato paste, so I made it without.

In fact, I didn't have carrots in it either. However, both tasted amazing. Just a bit different from each other, but amazing.

Use the method of how to make goulash I show you below, and then you alter it according to your likes. You can add whatever your family loves … veggies, peppers, extra spice.

Will this be traditional goulash? Nope. But, it will become a traditional dish for your family, one that they love.

There’s something absolutely mouth-watering about having a German meat-and-potato dinner. Get Oma's revised collection of her favorites in German Meat Dishes.

Take a look at Oma's German Meat Dishes eCookbook filled with traditional favorites.

Take a peek at all Oma's eCookbooks. They make sharing your German heritage a delicious adventure!


Lydia Remembers...

I have so many wunderbar memories in the kitchen with my Oma, and have had MANY of her most popular and traditional recipes, like this German goulash recipe.

I remember Oma making it for my sister and me once during a sleepover weekend. We loved our sleepovers at Oma and Opa's growing up! It meant staying up late, outside adventures, and of course, lots of Oma's yummy snacks and dishes! 

We enjoyed our goulash served over mashed potatoes (my sister's favorite) as we all watched movies together. I recall making this recipe with Oma again when I was older, most likely for a family get-together. 

Everyone LOVES this goulash. With its tender buttery beef and bold flavors, how could you not love that! Let's not forget that it's super simple and made German … the best way! 

Learn a little bit about me, Lydia, and my kitchen adventures with Oma!


Oma's Secret to making amazing Goulash

Here's my secret to a delicious goulash:

  • brown the meat well!

It's really that simple. That's where the flavor starts. And then the onions, too. The darker, without getting black, the more extra flavor there is.

Make sure you stir up those browned bits at the bottom of the pan when you add the liquid. That's what will make that fabulous gravy taste so good. Wunderbar! Lecker!

Let's talk about leftovers!

Even though this German goulash recipe is oh-so delicious, it's hard to believe there could be any leftovers! But let's say you've made a huge pot of goulash for a family get-together, and just don't know what to do with all your leftovers. No problem! Like most soups and stews, goulash will save just fine in the freezer.

Send your dinner guests home with a little doggie bag and let them know they can save their leftovers by freezing them. After all, some things really DO taste better the next day!

Different versions of beef goulash

While there are many variations of goulash across Europe and even within Germany and Hungary, they are all made with cubed stewing beef.

American goulash is quite different. It is a popular dish in the United States that is made with ground beef, elbow macaroni, and tomato sauce.

Ready to make this German goulash recipe?

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How to make Goulash - Oma's way!

Learn how to make goulash, aka Gulasch, the way Oma makes it. This classic dish of tender beef and root vegetables in a delectable gravy is the ultimate comfort food. Try serving it with a little sour cream stirred in for a special treat.

Oh, and do try my German Goulash Soup as well!

Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

105 minutes

Total Time

115 minutes

Servings:

This will make 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) butter or olive oil, more if needed
  • 2 pounds (0.9 kilograms) boneless beef chuck or round steak, cut into approx ¾-inch cubes
  • 3–4 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons (32 grams) tomato paste
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 1–2 tablespoons (7–14 grams) sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) red wine (or water)
  • 2 cups (280 milliliters) beef broth, beef stock, or bouillon cubes & water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons (24 grams) cornstarch

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot or large dutch oven, brown meat in two batches in the butter or oil over high heat, removing browned beef chunks to a bowl.
  2. Add onions and garlic (if using) and fry until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add extra butter/oil if needed. Stir in tomato paste and fry for about 1 minute.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, stirring up the browned bits at the bottom of the pot, and add the browned beef.
  4. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover.
  5. Simmer for about 1½ hours or until meat is tender.
  6. Mix cornstarch with a bit of cold water and stir in just as much as is needed for a thicker consistency.
  7. Check seasonings and adjust as needed. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Notes/Hints:

  • Try adding 1 pound green beans.
  • Try adding green and/or red bell peppers.
  • You can add the carrots after the goulash has simmered 45 minutes if you like it to have a bit more texture.
  • Try adding 1 or 2 tsp caraway seeds with onions and garlic. 1 tsp thyme is also a nice addition.
  • You can add about 4 potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes, if you wish to make this more of a stew. Add it when you add the carrots.
  • Adding cayenne pepper gives a bit of spice. Or, try adding Montreal Steak Seasoning (totally non-German, but Opa and I like the 'kick' it gives!)
  • You can also use a slow cooker to make goulash

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Unless otherwise noted recipe, images and content © Just like Oma | www.quick-german-recipes.com

02.17.2022 revision update

How to make Goulash in a Slow Cooker

Want to learn how to make goulash the German way? Click here to see how Anna does it!
Anna Hanssen

Here's a German goulash sent in by one of our readers, Anna Hanssen.

She uses a slow cooker to make this and it's also become a favorite on this site. 

Doesn't it look wunderbar!?! 

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German goulash, just like Oma used to make.

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