This Instant Pot Goulash is a spin on the Hungarian classic using macaroni and ground beef for a hearty, comforting family dinner made in one pot!
What is Goulash?
Goulash is a very thick stew (or soup) that originated in Hungary, and usually made with meat and root vegetables that are seasoned with paprika and other spices. The dish is often served with potatoes, pasta, or bread.
There are many varieties of goulash and an abundance of different recipes can be found in cookbooks and online. Typical meats used to make goulash are beef, veal, pork, or lamb. Common vegetables include carrots, celery, green bell peppers, and potatoes. Some goulash recipes (like this one) call for pasta to be added into the goulash, while others have the stew served on a bed of egg noodles.
Making Goulash in the Instant Pot
Goulash is sort of like a mix between pasta and a stew so it works beautifully in the Instant Pot.
Here are the easy steps to making Instant Pot Goulash:
- You’ll brown the beef, onions and garlic on saute mode for a couple minutes
- Add seasonings (Italian seasoning, Worcestershire, paprika, etc.)
- Add the rest of the ingredients such as the tomato sauce, broth and pasta
- Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes then do a quick release
- Stir in cheese, then serve!
Tips for getting Instant Pot Goulash just right
Here are some handy tips and tricks to making sure your goulash turns out perfectly every time:
- Brown the beef first, but don’t overcook it – the beef will provide some grease for the bottom of the pot so ingredients don’t stick to the bottom (this may result in the burn message otherwise)
- Layer all the ingredients in the order that they are listed, and don’t stir them once added as this can result in the burn message
- You will want to push the pasta under the liquid a bit to ensure it all cooks evenly
- Gently stir the cheese in at the end – stirring too roughly may break the cooked pasta up
Paprika – the common denominator
Paprika is a common ingredient called for in nearly all goulash recipes. It is a very popular spice made from dried red peppers (ie. bell peppers, sweet peppers, tomato peppers). There are two types of paprika; sweet (Hungarian) paprika, and smoked paprika. Traditionally, sweet paprika is used in goulash, and it is what I use in Instant Pot goulash. That being said, smoked paprika will work in a pinch.
Is paprika good for you?
Paprika offers some incredible health benefits. Here are a just a few of them:
- Anti-inflammatory properties. It’s helpful in treating gut issues and inflammation from diabetes.
- Rich in Antioxidants
- Rich in Iron and Vitamin B6, both of which help to prevent hair loss and are helpful in the treatment of anemia.
- Great for overall cardiovascular health
You can feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand at home. That’s the beauty of goulash: it’s just a hodge podge of ingredients all mixed together to create something hearty and delicious.
Here are some additional ingredient ideas to mix in or swap for the other veggies in this recipe:
- Bell peppers
- Spinach (mix this in at the end if adding)
Adding in more veggies makes this a healthier dish and most can go in during the pressure cooking cycle, making dinner delicious and hands off.
What do you serve with Instant Pot Hungarian goulash?
Instant Pot goulash is a delicious, hearty, complete meal all on its own. It truly doesn’t need to be served with anything, but if you want to have something to go alongside, I suggest that it’s something light. Some side dishes to consider, including some more traditional ones:
- A thick, crusty loaf of bread
- Spaetzle (a type of German egg noodles)
- A healthy garden salad with a light dressing, like a vinaigrette.
- Cucumber and onion salad
- Sour cream
Can you freeze Instant Pot Goulash?
If you have any leftover goulash, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. If you don’t think you’ll finish the leftovers within that time, then it’s best to freeze it.
Divide the leftover Hungarian goulash into individual or family-sized portions. Place them into meal prep containers, airtight freezer-safe containers, or heavy-duty freezer bags. The goulash can be kept in the freezer for up to three months.
To reheat: Place the frozen goulash into the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Then reheat on low in the microwave or in a large saucepan on medium heat, stirring often.
More Instant Pot comfort food
Do you love this goulash recipe? Want more ideas for other hearty stews and soups to add to your recipe collection? Here are some of my favourite easy Instant Pot stew and soup recipes:
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Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on using the Instant Pot goulash in your weekly lunches.
- I get all my grass-fed ground beef from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls for up to 3 months
Instant Pot Goulash
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp paprika (preferably smoked paprika)
- 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
- 1 (796mL) can diced tomatoes
- 1 lb macaroni pasta
- 1 (680mL) jar tomato sauce
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- Turn Instant Pot to saute mode. Add olive oil and ground beef, sauteeing for 2-3 minutes until browned. Add onion, garlic, Worcestershire, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt & pepper, stirring for 1-2 minutes. Turn off saute mode, then add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, macaroni, and beef broth in that order, gently pushing pasta under the liquid.
- Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure valve is set to seal. Press the pressure cook button and set to high, then cook for 5 minutes. Instant Pot will take about 10-15 minutes to come to pressure then pressure cook the 5 minutes.
- Do a quick release of the pressure on the Instant Pot by flicking the switch at the top with a spoon. Open the lid when pressure gauge has dropped and the lid opens easily.
- Stir in cheese, garnish with parsley, then serve and enjoy!