Dinner Tonight: Skillet Ground Beef and Macaroni Goulash
This cheesy-beefy-tomato-saucy pasta sensation is a comfort food dish that will surely be on regular rotation. Made in one large skillet, it’s the easy weeknight dinner your family has been craving.
Healthier, better-tasting meals are easier than you think with help from Yummly! Try it free now.
School is back in session, which means weeknights are extra busy in our house. My son is also at an age where he eats everything in sight, so even though it’s just the three of us, I usually need to prepare enough food to feed an army. Having an arsenal of hearty, one-dish dinner ideas in my back pocket is a godsend. That’s why l love this Skillet Ground Beef and Macaroni Goulash.
You may have heard of Hungarian goulash, a thick stew of beef and vegetables flavored with a paprika-spiced broth, but this is not that. And while I do love the hearty beef stew version, this stovetop Skillet Ground Beef and Macaroni Goulash is a take on the classic American goulash. To me, it’s reminiscent of Hamburger Helper I had growing up: a big pot of cheesy, meaty noodles. The quintessential comfort food. Better yet, my son gobbles it up, and there’s only one pan to clean. Plus, the total time (prep time plus cook time) from start to finish is only 35 minutes. That’s a win-win in my book.
Jump ahead to:
Note: The Yummly Meal Planner is available to paid subscribers.
Before we get started on how to make this popular comfort food, we answer some frequently asked questions about the dish
What’s the difference between Hungarian goulash and American goulash?
Hungarian goulash is a beef stew with root veggies, seasoned with paprika and cooked low and slow for several hours. American goulash, also known as old-fashioned goulash or beefaroni, is a one-pot meal featuring macaroni noodles, ground beef, and spaghetti sauce. The ground beef goulash is also seasoned with paprika, but not as much as the Hungarian version is.
What is Skillet Ground Beef and Macaroni Goulash, and is it something kids will like?
My favorite thing about this skillet goulash recipe is that it’s made in one pan for easy cleanup. That, and my whole family loves it, especially my 8-year-old son.
How to make the goulash ahead of time
If you like to prep meals ahead of time like I do, this ground beef goulash recipe is a great candidate for that. You can make it up to 2 days in advance and then reheat it in a nonstick skillet or Dutch oven with a splash of water to loosen the sauce.
How long does this goulash last?
If you’ve got any leftovers, place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Can you freeze this recipe?
You can! This ground beef goulash can be made ahead and frozen. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
What is a good substitute for the ground beef?
This recipe calls for lean ground beef, but you can use ground turkey (not turkey breast) if you prefer.
What are some spices that might be used in goulashes?
The traditional seasoning for Hungarian goulash is paprika. There is paprika in this skillet ground beef goulash and Italian seasoning, too.
What can you serve with goulash?
The great thing about this recipe is that it’s a one-dish meal. You’ve got the elbow macaroni noodles for the carbohydrates factor, ground beef and shredded Italian cheese for your protein, and diced tomatoes and roasted red peppers for your veggies. When I make this, I like to add a green salad and some crusty bread on the side.
How to make Skillet Ground Beef and Macaroni Goulash, step by step
Here’s how to make this yummy one-pan dish from beginning to end
Step 1: Gather all ingredients
For this dish you’ll need lean ground beef, elbow macaroni, roasted red bell pepper, a can of diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, marinara tomato sauce, chicken broth (or beef broth), Italian cheese blend (or cheddar cheese if you prefer), Worcestershire sauce, yellow onion, and extra-virgin olive oil.
Step 2: Drain, chop, and prep your ingredients
Having everything set up and ready to use will make the process go much quicker. Drain and chop the roasted red bell peppers. You’ll also want to make sure that the yellow onion is diced in a uniform way so the pieces will cook evenly.
Photo by Ashley Strickland Freeman
Step 3: Add ingredients to a hot skillet
Brown the ground beef, onion, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper in hot extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the elbow macaroni, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, broth, red peppers, and Worcestershire sauce and simmer, covered.
Step 4: Cook the noodles and add the cheese
Stir and cook, covered until the liquid is absorbed and the macaroni noodles are tender. Uncover and stir in half of the cheese. Serve with more cheese and parsley, if desired.
Photo by Ashley Strickland Freeman
Get the recipe: Skillet Ground Beef and Macaroni Goulash
Now that you know what you need to make this easy weeknight meal, check out the recipe for yourself.
More friendly dinner ideas
On busy weeknights, when time is limited, but there are still hungry bellies to feed, look no further than the articles below.