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Authentic Hungarian Goulash Recipe

Updated on August 3, 2012
4.5 stars from 4 ratings of Hungarian Goulash

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 1 hour 30 min
Ready in: 2 hours
Yields: This stew can be served for at least 6 people
Goulash stew
Goulash stew | Source


  • 11 ounces beef or pork (or mixed), diced
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 2 parsnips, sliced
  • 1/2 celery roots, sliced
  • 18 ounces potatoes, diced
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 bunches celery leaves
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons oil


  1. It's best to buy meat meant for stews which should be cut into 2 centimeter cubes. Cut the onions into very small pieces and add to fat in a pot and cover until the onions start to turn brown. Add the meat to the onions and fat. Add salt and 1.5 cups of water and cook covered until the meat is nearly done.
  2. While the meat is getting cooked we can clean and slice the vegetables (carrots, parsnips and celery root) and add them to the pot. We pour enough water to have the ingredients covered. Once the meat is nearly done we can add the potatoes that have been also cut into cubes.
  3. Now we can spice our soup with paprika, ground black pepper and ground cumin. I usually place the celery leaves to the top of the soup so I can easily remove them before serving. We can also add more salt if necessary and slowly cook everything until the potatoes begin to soften.
  4. Once both the veggies and the meat are cooked, we can serve the soup in bowls with fresh sliced bread. We can also spice up our Goulash with hot pepper sauce.

Authentic Hungarian Goulash (gulyásleves)

There are many bastardized versions of goulash out there, but this recipe is for how Hungarian goulash is made in Hungary itself!


The word gulyás means herdsman and leves is soup. The origins of this dish can be traced back to herdsmen of the Great Hungarian Plain. As these men oftentimes spent days in uninhabited areas they had to carry their food with them. The ingredients for goulash were easy to carry, making this a popular hearty food for them. Goulash was cooked in a black cauldron called a bogrács (see photo above) over an open fire. The goulash cooked in these cauldrons are much heartier and are more of a stew than a soup. Once the dish started becoming popular in Hungarian towns it was prepared as slightly lighter soup.

Goulash has become world famous and is oftentimes the first thing that people think of when they hear the word "Hungary". There are different versions of goulash throughout Central and Eastern Europe, but they all bear some version of the original Hungarian word gulyás.

As a soup goulash is usually served as an appetizer before a main dish. As a stew goulash is a meal in itself, especially with the thick slices of ideally fresh bread as stated above. Many Hungarians add hot chili to goulash to make it even more flavorful.

Cooking goulash outdoors in a cauldron is a favorite weekend or holiday activity more many Hungarians during the summer months. It is sort of a Hungarian BBQ. The simplicity and heartiness of goulash stew is perfect for keeping even large gatherings of people from going hungry.

It is also easy to find many special spices or creams that can be added to goulash on the internet or at ethnic groceries. Whether you enjoy goulash in soup or stew form is a matter of taste, but there are very few people who do not enjoy this typical Hungarian dish which has become world famous.


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    • frantisek78 profile image

      frantisek78 5 years ago

      @coolenconnections : thanks for the comment!

    • coolenconnections profile image

      Suzanne Coolen 5 years ago from Toronto

      Sounds so good! The videos are very well done!