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Hungarian Goulash an Authentic Gulyasleves

My Hungarian Goulash recipe comes from the true home of gulyas, the Great Hungarian Plain, it features beef, veggies & homemade csipetke (pasta).

Portrait image of a Traditional Hungarian beef goulash or gulyasleves with handmade csipetke (pasta)

A Real Deal Gulyasleves Recipe.

It is very apt that the first recipe on my website is a beef goulash from my adopted homeland.

Over time I will be introducing a host of Hungarian dishes, everything from langos and lecso to rakott krumpli and Brassói aprópecsenye with a load of stops in between!

I have been here on the Great Hungarian Plain since 2008 and it really is the spiritual home of what I know as Gulyásleves.

There is much written about this dish which dates from the 9th century in pretty much my backyard! The first thing to note is that it is a soup, this is not negotiable.

You may have seen thick stews called Hungarian goulash, these more closely resemble what Hungarians call marha porkolt if beef and birkapörkölt if it is mutton.

Black and white image of traditional hungarian cooking over an open fire

If you can serve it on a plate it is not a Hungarian Goulash! It is traditionally cooked in a cauldron called a bogrács over an open fire and comes in many varieties.

Halaszle is a form of “fish gulyas”, then there is the ever-popular babgulyas which features beans.

I also have a lamb goulash that is simply stunning.

This version my Alfoldi Gulyasleves adaptation that cooks it on a stovetop and your choice of pot is essential. I use a 20cm pan that holds around 2.5-3 litres of liquid.

A larger pot will allow too much evaporation, too small and it will not all fit in!

Portrait overhead image of a Traditional Hungarian beef goulash or gulyasleves with handmade csipetke (pasta)

Ingredient Guide.

A traditional Hungarian Goulash is a simple dish, it is beef and cooked with water and paprika. Simple hey!

But your choice of ingredients really do define how “authentic” your dish will taste and eat.

First of all we need to talk about the fat, this dish is SO much better cooked with a hard meat fat. Lard, beef dripping, duck or goose fat are all perfect.

You can use oil if you absolutely must but it i will not taste or eat the same.

Next up, paprika. You need sweet Hungarian paprika, and you really should avoid smoked paprika. You can add a pinch of hot Hungarian paprika if you like but I prefer to add heat at the end.

Then the potatoes, you want these to stay whole throughout the cooking process so go for something waxy. A salad potato like Charlotte or Anya are perfect.

This recipe is a little sweeter than a true Hungarian gulyás as I have added parsnip here. Traditionally a parsley root would be used which is fantastic, but tough to find in most of the places you guys are reading.

Finally I must mention the peppers that I use green peppers, avoid red yellow or orange as they add too much sweetness. Particularly if you as using parsnip.

Again in Hungary a fairly niche type of pepper would be used. A very mild white or pale green pepper called TV paprika or feher paprika would be used.

Portrait close up image of a Traditional Hungarian beef goulash or gulyasleves with handmade csipetke (pasta)

The Csipetke or Pasta.

A take on pasta is not unusual in Hungarian food the nokedli that I serve with my chicken paprikash is similar to pasta.

I also serve my catfish paprikash with csusza testa, which is a really popular Hungarian pasta dish.

This goulash recipe features a hand made pasta called csipetke, which means “pinch”. If you watch the video you can see why!

You literally just take a pinch of the rough pasta dough. Then either roll between your fingers or in the palms of your hands.

The you simply cook in the pot for 10 minutes. If you cannot be bothered to make your own then you can add small pasta shapes if you wish.

One final word on serving. You want a big bowl and sprinkle of crushed chilli flakes, some crusty bread and if you can get them some Hungarian hot wax peppers (fresh jalapeno make an acceptable substititute).

Square image of a Traditional Hungarian beef goulash or gulyasleves with handmade csipetke (pasta)
Yield: 4 Servings

Hungarian Beef Goulash Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

A 'traditional' Hungarian goulash or Gulyásleves is not the thick stew most people believe but it is rather a glorious and simple soup!


  • 500 g (17 oz) Beef
  • 225 g (1.5 Cups) Onion
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 15 g (1 Tbsp) Lard, Duck Fat or Beef Fat
  • 1 Tsp Caraway Seeds
  • 35 g (1/3 Cup) Sweet Hungarian Paprika
  • 150 g (1 Cup) Carrot
  • 150 g (1 Cup) Parsnip
  • 300 g (2 Cups) Waxy Potato
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 2 Medium Tomatoes
  • 1 L (4 Cups) Water
  • 100 g (3/4 Cup) Plain Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • Salt to taste


  1. Cut the onion into a 1cm dice.
  2. Mince the garlic.
  3. Remove any sinew and cut the beef into a 2cm dice.
  4. Add the fat to the pan over a medium high heat.
  5. When is has melted add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and caraway seeds and cook for a minute.
  7. Throw in the beef and one teaspoon of salt and cook for 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally.
  8. Reduce the heat to low then sprinkle the paprika on top of the meat, onion and garlic mix. 
  9. The paprika should sit on top of the mix and not on the base of the pan so that it can almost steam in the juices from the previous items.
  10. Add a lid and cook on the lowest temperature possible for an hour.
  11. Peel and cut the potato into a 2cm dice.
  12. Scrub and cut the carrot and parsnip into 1.5cm lengths.
  13. Cut the tomatoes into wedges.
  14. Cut the green pepper into a 1cm dice.
  15. Add the carrot, potato, parsnip, pepper, and tomato.
  16. Pour in the water and stir to combine.
  17. Have a taste and add a load more salt.
  18. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently without a lid for another hour.
  19. About 25 minutes before the dish is ready add the egg to the flour and knead to form a dough.
  20. Rest the dough for 15 minutes.
  21. Pinch of a small amount of the dough between your thumb and forefinger and roll to a small ball.
  22. Repeat with the remaining dough then add to the pot.
  23. Cook for 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 688Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 163mgSodium: 758mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 10gSugar: 10gProtein: 43g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Saturday 18th of September 2021

Hi There,

My dad had many Hungarian restaurants here in British Columbia.

Ours is very similar to yours, but a few differences.

We added green peppers to garlic and onions, caraway seeds, and sautéed with the paprika . This caramelizes and makes the flavour better. Then add your cubed beef (pot roast cubed) more paprika, and Sweat the meat for an hour, then add in everything else, water veggies, ( potatoes, carrots, parsnip) seasoning, salt pepper and bay leaf.


Brian Jones

Sunday 3rd of October 2021

Hi Ildiko...

There are so many variants on Gulyas, the lid on with paprika sat on top of the meat seems to be very specific to the Alfold region, the place where we lived for 13 years. I love it all though, can't get enough, one of my favourite things to do was take a trip to one of the many dozens of gulyas festivals spread across the country.

Interestingly the Hungarians never use parsnip, it wasn't even available in rural stores in the east of the country until recently, traditionally parsley root would have been used which is far less sweet. But I love adding parsnip, the sweetness is a great addition as far as I am concerned, my Hungarian neighbours thought I was mad ;)

All the best.



Friday 30th of April 2021

SO IF i DOUBLE THE REICPE I also double the Paprika??

Brian Jones

Sunday 9th of May 2021

Yes that is correct :)


Thursday 1st of March 2018

I was curious to read your recipe for this "real goulash" vs the recipes you see around the net, well surprise, it's really the real one LOL! Such a hearty soup, I love all the ingredients you put in it, enjoyed the video too!

Brian Jones

Thursday 1st of March 2018

Well when you say "the" real one, it is "a" real one ;) I live in a village of 180 people and they all argue about a real gulyás but it is at least a gulyás that Hungarians would recognise as being what it is called...

Jacqueline Debono

Thursday 1st of March 2018

I love goulash. I have actually had it a couple of times in Hungary cooked by Hungarian friends! But I have never made it! This really makes me want to try! Not sure if I can find parsley root here in Italy. What could I use instead?

Brian Jones

Thursday 1st of March 2018

It is such a simple dish, you can use any roots you have to hand, lordie knows the Hungarians do ;) If you wanted a flavour similar to parsley root then add some parsnip but reduce the amount of it and add more potato, parsnip is much sweeter than parsley root.


Thursday 1st of March 2018

I love your video Brian and I'm really intrigued by the parsley root as I've never heard of it. This goulash looks delicious!

Brian Jones

Thursday 1st of March 2018

Thanks Amanda, parsley root is very similar to parsnip although not as nice to roast as parsnip but it gets used a great deal in this part of the world.

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