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Slow Cooker Goulash

If you’re hunkering down for the winter, chances are you’re cooking more at home. Soups, stews, pot roast – it’s high time for comfort food. If you want a stick-to-your-bones recipe that’s perfect for those 30 degrees and below days, make slow cooker goulash.

There is a lot of conversation around goulash and how to make this popular wintertime dish. While we aren’t calling our recipe Hungarian goulash, the dish did originate in Hungary. It’s a meat and vegetable stew seasoned with lots of paprika and other spices.

Americans have reworked the recipe into a more familiar Hamburger Helper-style dish – and we aren’t complaining. The slightly spicy sauce, ground beef, and pasta (elbow macaroni is synonymous with Americanized goulash) combine for a comforting  meal both the kids and adults at the table will love.

Make the meat sauce in your slow cooker, then stir in cooked elbow macaroni and plenty of cheddar cheese. Switch the slow cooker to WARM and melt a little extra cheese on top before serving or transfer to a baking dish and melt the cheese under the broiler for a few minutes. No matter how you serve it, slow cooker goulash is sure to warm you from the inside out this winter.

Slow Cooker Goulash

Author: Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 can (28 ounces) tomato puree
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 box (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
  • 1 package (8 ounces) shredded cheddar, divided


  1. In a large skillet over medium-high, heat oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in ground beef, cooking until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain fat if necessary.
  2. Add meat mixture to slow cooker crock with tomato puree, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, bay leaf, paprika, salt and black pepper.
  3. Cover slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or LOW for 7 to 8 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and stir into crock with 1 cup shredded cheese.
  5. Top with remaining 1 cup shredded cheddar.


Serves 10

More slow cooker comfort food recipes:

Chicken and Cornbread Dumplings

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

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  1. I am not the most experienced cook so I have a question for clarification regard the “meanwhile”. My biggest fear is having mushy pasta so I am wondering when, exactly, in the process that I stir in the pasta?

  2. Don’t have ground beef on hand. Have 1lb. Italian sausage and 1lb. bulk sausage instead. Should this still turn out ok if I used those?

  3. I let my noodles sit in my goulash much longer than this recipe indicates. Also goulash is always better the second day, like chili! So don’t worry about mushy noodles, just don’t overcook and be gentle when stirring 🙂

  4. you wait till ten min before the 4th hr or as i did and the cheese and it went in perfectly and it was still hot from the mixure

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