Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash | A Farmgirl’s Dabbles

Authentic hungarian goulash recipe slow cooker

This Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash is a simple stew with chunks of tender meat that melts in the mouth and vegetables. It has a rich fleshy broth flavored with Hungarian paprika, authentic homemade food at its best!

Aerial view of a bowl of Hungarian goulash

Authentic Hungarian


Goulash recipe

This slow-cooking Hungarian Goulash recipe features a rich fleshy broth flavored with Hungarian paprika. With tender bites of beef and vegetables, it’s a simple, hearty dish that’s great in comfort. And so easy to do in a Crock Pot!

My sister’s family once lived in Romania and flew in and out of the airport in Budapest, Hungary. Every time they traveled to Budapest, they stopped at a small panzió (small hotel) by the roadside to take bowls of their hot goulash.

The goulash was cooked in a large cast iron pot over the fire, then served with loaves of fresh, crispy bread to dip and slide to the last drop of delight


So this recipe is a compilation of my sister and mother’s gastronomic memories. They helped me create this goulash recipe, to copy the flavors of the bowls they enjoyed in Hungary. Now our whole family can enjoy this dish whenever we want, wherever we are!

Angular view of bowls of authentic Hungarian goulash

What is Goulash?

Goulash is a simple stew of beef and vegetables, with a good dose of the characteristic spice of Hungary, paprika


Its origin dates back to the 9th century, to the stews eaten by the Hungarian shepherds. The name comes from the Hungarian gulyás. The word gulya means “herd of cattle” in Hungarian, and gulyás means “shepherd” or “cowboy”.

Goulash is a common Central European food

, and one of the national dishes of Hungary. Hungarian Goulash


American Goulash

Although the names are similar, Hungarian goulash is very different from American goulash


The American version, also called American Chop Suey, consists of ground beef, elbow macaroni and tomato sauce. And the Hungarian version is a stew that features pieces of meat and potatoes, and is very spicy with paprika.

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Both are tasty comfort foods, but they don’t come close to the same dish!

<img src="" alt="Aerial view

of Hungarian goulash ingredients” />

What you’ll need

For this goulash recipe, I got as close as possible to authentic Hungarian ingredients, from my sister and mother’s experiences when they ate goulash in Hungary.

Be sure to check the recipe card below for complete measurements and instructions.

  • Beef Chuck Roast – When cooked for a long time, chuck roast becomes tender that melts in the mouth. And it tastes great!
  • Vegetables: Carrots, yellow onions and mushrooms add nutrients and substance to the stew
  • .

  • Potatoes – Red potatoes will hold up best during the slow cooking process, but feel free to use a yellow potato if you wish.
  • Broth
  • Garlic meat – Use a

  • low-sodium broth, so you can control the amount of salt
  • .

  • Tomato paste – Just a little adds a rich flavor to this dish!
  • Worcestershire Sauce – This adds another layer of salty flavor that is beautiful with meat.
  • Hungarian sweet paprika – I know the amount seems like a lot, but believe me: traditional Hungarian goulash includes a strong dose of paprika. Use any paprika that you already like personally. Our family prefers Hungarian sweet paprika.
  • Brown sugar – Just a little helps soften the taste of the broth
  • .

  • Dried mustard – This helps improve the other flavors, but it won’t give the goulash a mustard flavor.
  • Salt and pepper

What is Hungarian paprika?

Hungarian paprika is a key ingredient in making this authentic goulash recipe… But what is the difference between Hungarian paprika and regular paprika?

In general, paprika is a spice made from dried and ground red peppers. And “regular” paprika, which does not specify on the package what it is, can be any type of paprika and is often mixed with other types of chili peppers.

Hungary is an important source of this vibrant spice. In Hungary, the word paprika translates to “pepper.”

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Hungarian paprika is made from peppers that are roasted, then mixed, to create different combinations. You can find everything from sweet to spicy Hungarian paprika, but it always has sweet red pepper flavor notes, as the peppers used for paprika in Hungary tend to be milder.

For this recipe, I like to use Hungarian sweet paprika.

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Pieces of grilled in a slow cooker” /> <img src

=”” alt=”Chuck roast, potatoes, mushrooms and carrots in a pot large slow cooker

” /><img src="×1051.jpg" alt="Hungarian

goulash in the

slow cooker” />

Aerial view of a bowl of Hungarian goulash

How to make a slow cooker Hungarian goulash

This stew can be simmered for hours on the stove, or in a large teapot over an open fire, if you want to be truly authentic. But I choose to let the slow cooker do the work!

  • Seal the meat. Season the meat with salt and pepper, then seal for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. You can do this in the “brown/stit-fry” function if you have a multi-cooker or in a pan on the stove.
  • Add everything to the slow cooker. Place the meat in the slow cooker. Add carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, onion and garlic. Whisk the broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings, and then pour over the other ingredients and stir gently to combine.
  • cook. Cook over high heat for 4 to 6 hours, or until meat is super tender.
  • enjoy. Ladle in individual bowls, sprinkle with fresh parsley and enjoy.
A hand holding a spoon in a bowl of goulash

Tips for success

This is a simple dish and I only have a few simple tips for you!

  • Use a tasty cut of beef. A cheap cut is best: the meat baboon is my #1 choice. It’s full of flavor and the slow cooker will magically transform this otherwise difficult cut of meat into irresistible, tender mouthfuls of fleshy sky. If you can’t find chuck, the top round would be my second choice.
  • ALWAYS include Hungarian paprika! There are many different types of paprika, but I always look for “Hungarian sweet paprika” for this recipe. If you use a hot paprika, you’ll probably want to cut back on the amount (unless you LOVE all things spicy, of course!).
  • Don’t skimp on cooking time. The slow cooking process produces a stew with an intense, well-rounded flavor and fabulously tender chunks of meat. My recipe sets a cooking time of 4 to 6 hours, and while it usually doesn’t take 6 hours for the meat to become tender, I always allow that time to ensure the best taste and texture.
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A spoon over a bowl of goulash

What to serve with Hungarian goulash

The broth is wonderfully rich and fleshy, with a hint of tomato flavor. Just ask to be sucked into some hot, crispy bread or tender cookies. For a slightly different twist on the bread, try some Texas Toast butter. Or these honey cornbread muffins: my family goes crazy for them!

This stew would also be wonderful over a steaming mashed hot potatoes. Although then I would alter the goulash recipe to remove chopped potatoes and add more carrots and mushrooms.

The noodles would also be great. I would recommend some wide egg noodles, cooked only al dente. Add some of the hot noodles to a plate or bowl, then place the goulash over the top.

How to store and reheat


Hungarian goulash makes big leftovers… and you know how I live for leftovers!

  • fridge. This homemade stew recipe will keep great for up to 5 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Simply reheat single or multiple portions in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove.
  • freezer. Goulash also freezes perfectly. Use larger freezer-safe containers or smaller single-serving freezer containers, and then thay them in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. It’s wonderful to have goulash on hand for a quick and delicious homemade meal!

More slow cooker soup


Slow cooker beef and barley stew Slow cooker beef soup

    and slow cooker sweet potato

  • Slow cooker
  • Italian

  • beef stew
  • Lasagna
  • soup Do

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” />Aerial view of a bowl of Hungarian goulash

Aerial view of a bowl of Hungarian goulash

This post was first published in 2014 and last updated in 2023.

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