German Goulash Recipe- A Love Letter From the Kitchen

Goulash frequently showed up on my childhood dinner table. Why not? My mom’s recipe tasted delicious, and the meal fills everyone up without argument. Fun added bonus… when things were “tight”, the meal could be stretched ….. more sauce, some added veggies, and less meat. Served over everyone’s favorite homemade Spätzle, Goulash was a crowd pleaser. I can hear it now, “Goulash isn’t German, it’s Hungarian”. Well, I’m sure that at one point the concept of cooking pieces of meat in a sauce flavored with paprika floated west from Hungary to Germany… but that time was very long ago, and now you’ll find Goulash with all of its variations (Wild, Pork, and even Würstchen!) on restaurant menus and dinner tables across Germany.

german goulash recipe

Now, I realize that like Potato Salad, there isn’t one “official” German Goulash Recipe. Regional differences, personal preferences from the cooks, even availability of ingredients means that what my mom makes might be different from what your Oma makes. But the beauty of a dish like this, is that it’s open to interpretation and variation. Don’t like carrot? Leave them out. Want it “spicey”? Add a dash of Cayenne pepper (it’s delicious, trust me). I’ve even seen a Silesian version made with Sauerkraut (intriguing). I started using Ghee (an Indian clarified butter) for browning the meat, instead of oil, because I like the flavor it imparts. (Don’t panic, oil is just fine.) Use this recipe as a starting place, then experiment, if you like.

german goulash recipe

German Goulash Recipe

A delicious way to warm hearts and fill stomachs.

german goulash recipe

German Goulash Recipe

This rich and tasty German Goulash is made with chunks of tender beef in a delicious sauce flavored with paprika. Serve with Spätzle, Klöße, or even mashed potatoes.
5 from 3 votes
Cook Time 2 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine German
Servings 4


  • 1 Dutch Oven or Soup Pot


  • 3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil or Ghee I love the rich flavor Ghee imparts
  • 1 1/2 lbs Lean Rump Roast
  • 1 Yellow Onion diced
  • 2 clove Garlic chopped
  • 1 Carrot cut to 1 inch chunks
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 3/4 cup Red Wine
  • 3 Tablespoons Sweet Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Marjoram
  • 1 3/4 cups Beef Stock
  • Salt to taste I used 1/2 teaspoon


  • Slice the beef into 1 inch chunks. It's best to start by cutting with the grain, then go to across. I find the outcome is better this way. (And yes, you can purchase stew meat... leaner is better)
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil (or Ghee) in a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed soup pot over high heat. Add half of the beef chunks to brown. Don't crowd it. You want the beef to just brown, not cook. Remove the pieces to a bowl and set aside, then brown the other half. When done add to beef in bowl. Reduce heat to medium.
  • Add remaining oil or Ghee to pot. Add onions and garlic, stir to scrape up any bits in the pot. Cook 3-4 minutes to soften. Add carrot pieces if using. Add tomato paste, stir and cook for another minute.
  • Add red wine, stir, scraping up any cooked bits from the bottom of the pot. Keep the heat on medium, and stir occasionally until the wine has reduced by half.
  • Add the beef, paprika, marjoram, and beef stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Put the lid on the pot, and let it cook for 1 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally.
  • Take the lid off of the pot, and let the Goulash simmer for another 30 minutes to reduce. Taste for seasoning, and add salt if needed. It should thicken a bit as it reduces. If you want it thicker, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a few tablespoons of water, and add to the pot. Stir. It will thicken right up.
  • Serve over Spätzle, Klöße, or even mashed or boiled potatoes..


Carrots may not be traditional in all families. My mother always added carrot to the Goulash, both to add flavor, and also to "stretch" the meal a bit further. You can leave them out without affecting the flavor. 
The recipe says 4 portions, but these aren't MASSIVE portions. Feel free to multiply the ingredients to fill/feed your family properly. 
Goulash always tastes great hot off the stove, and is extra tasty as leftovers. You can also freeze it.
Keyword Goulash

Learn how to make Spätzle here… Spaetzle Recipe
HOw to make Spaetzle

Stretch Goulash Flavor Even Farther… Make Goulash SOUP

authentic goulash soup recipe

Like this Recipe? Find more in my Easy German Cookbook

80 Traditional German recipes made simple for the American Kitchen

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Make this German Goulash Recipe

german goulash recipe

Cut the lean beef into cubes… go with and across the grain.

german goulash recipe

Brown the meat… don’t COOK it, just brown it

German goulash recipe

Soften the onion and garlic, then add the carrot (if using)

german goulash recipe

After wine reduced, add beef, paprika and marjoram

german goulash recipe

Add beef stock, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer… put a lid on it and walk away for a bit.
Stir occasionally

german goulash recipe

For last 30 minutes, remove the lid so that the liquid reduces

Taste for seasoning, add salt if needed

german goulash recipe

You will end up with rich thick sauce
(If you find it isn’t reducing quickly enough, help it along with a cornstarch slurry)


german goulash recipe

german goulash recipe

8 thoughts on “German Goulash Recipe- A Love Letter From the Kitchen

  1. I must copy your goulash recipe! My ancestors were also from Schlesien-Near Landeshut. So wish I could go to Wroklow to see the church records for this city. Enjoy Schlesien when you go. Where did your ancestors live there? Love your website! Anything German!!

    1. Thank you so much! My family comes from the Glatz region (a little appendix that sticks into the Czech Republic)

  2. 5 stars
    My mom made her Goulash like you, but she never added vegetables to her Goulash. It always looked like yours. We aeted with potato’s and Gurken salad. That rich brown gravy was gabbled up in no time. Never had any leftovers. My 2 daughters’ friends always wanted to be invited when I made Goulash. Sunday was family days and we trasher’d it.

  3. 5 stars
    I recently bought your Easy German Cookbook and have made the Easter Lamb of God cake in an antique mold I recently bought. Turned out delicious. Today I made your German Goulash over egg noodles and we loved it. I didn’t have time to cook it on the stove so I followed the directions except I cooked it in my slow cooker on low for 6 hours. Delicious! I think the sauce wasn’t quite as thick but otherwise excellent. Reminds me of how my grandmothers house smelled when she made it! Thank you!

  4. I like my Goulash without any vegetabales. We eat it over potatoes or noodles. The picture of your goulash made me mouth water. I never have any left overs. When our friends know I make it, they all want to be invited. Got my daughter to thank for it. She ought to run an add in the newspaper. My Mom s making her Goulash, you all come, Everybody licks there plate. Wished she would cut it out. When my time comes, I know I will be remembered for my Goulash. Maybe they ought to put my recipe on my grave stone. I would be the talk of the town. LOL. Thank you Karen for sending me the recipe for the Vanillas sauce in my email. Had problem with my printer. I have to remember to put paper into my printer. I think that would help. Have a great evening. Gigi.

  5. 5 stars
    Made this last night and it came out perfectly. Have been hunting for a recipe that was like the goulash my mother made. This was almost identical. She never put vegetables in her goulash. Just tender chunks of beef in delicious thick gravy – served with boiled potatoes and red cabbage. My parents were from a small town outside of Düsseldorf – and while her recipes were simple, they were some of the most delicious foods and cakes I have eaten in my 70 years.

    1. I’m so glad you like it! My mother learned to cook in NRW… in the Münsterland… about an hour or so from Düsseldorf. That might explain the connection.

      I like the simple dishes too. Fancy cooking always feels intimidating or extra. A simple dish done well is always best.

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