In this delicious goulash recipe, tender chunks of beef are simmered in the slow cooker in a rich, paprika-infused sauce.
It's the ultimate comfort food, and it's truly easy to make - you don't even have to brown the meat before adding it to your slow cooker.
On a cold winter night, there's nothing better than a bowl of slow-cooked stew. It's an easy and comforting meal that I make often for my family.
Hungarian goulash is even better. It's like beef stew on steroids! It's basically a slow-cooked stew that's heavily seasoned with paprika. The paprika used is sweet paprika, not spicy or smoky. It adds warmth and depth of flavor to the dish.
I love simple pot roast. But I enjoy this dish even more - it's just so flavorful.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this very flavorful slow cooker goulash. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Boneless chuck roast, cubed: I simply buy the whole roast, then trim the fat and cube it myself. It's not difficult to do. You can also buy meat labeled as "stew meat."
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you might want to reduce the amount you use.
Onion and garlic: Tasty aromatics that infuse the stew with their wonderful flavor.
Spices: Paprika and cayenne pepper. Since we're using a significant amount of paprika in this recipe, it's important to make sure it's very fresh. Check the date on the jar, and buy a new one if yours has been open for many months.
Beef broth: Store-bought is fine. And if all you have on hand is chicken broth, that will work in a pinch - that's actually what I use in the video below.
Tomato paste: About ¼ cup. It adds a nice layer of flavor to the stew.
Cornstarch: I use a small amount of cornstarch to thicken the stew. Its impact on the nutritional profile of the dish is minimal.
Making this tasty goulash couldn't be easier! Your slow cooker does all the work. Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Add the ingredients to your slow cooker pan. Simply add everything except for the cornstarch to your slow cooker, then gently mix.
Slow cook. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 7 hours.
Thicken the liquids. Whisk some cornstarch with cold water until smooth. Stir the slurry into the beef mixture. Cover and cook on high for 30 more minutes, until the cooking liquids thicken.
Frequently asked questions
You don't have to! I used to brown the meat in a skillet, then cook the onions, garlic and paprika, and add the cooked mixture to the slow cooker pan.
I no longer bother with this extra step. While browning the meat and cooking the aromatics enhance the flavor of the dish, I honestly don't think it makes big enough of a difference to justify the extra effort.
This recipe was written for 2 lb. of meat. If your chuck roast is larger, say, 3 lb., you'll probably need to cook the stew for 4 hours on high (8 hours on low).
You should also add more seasonings and liquids - I would try adding an extra tablespoon of paprika and an extra half a cup of broth.
Yes. You can use pork shoulder in this recipe. Although the traditional Hungarian goulash is made with beef, the pork version is excellent too.
There are a few ways to thicken it:
1. Dust the beef pieces with flour and brown them on all sides prior to adding them to the slow cooker. The flour will help to thicken the stew.
2. Add potatoes. The starch in the potatoes will act as a thickener.
3. My chosen method is to add a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch mixed with cold water) to the dish after it's done cooking, then continue to cook it until the cooking liquids thicken.
I usually serve this tasty stew on a bed of mashed cauliflower, to absorb the yummy juices. I also like to add a green veggie, such as steamed spinach or sauteed green beans. Alternatively, you can serve it in soup bowls.
As with most stews, leftovers are wonderful. They keep well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days. I reheat them very gently, in the microwave, covered, on 50% power, to avoid drying out the tasty meat.
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Slow Cooker Goulash, Rich and Flavorful
- 1 large onion sliced, slices separated into rings (8 oz)
- 2 lb. beef chuck roast fat trimmed, cut into 1.5-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (use less if using fine salt)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup beef broth
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Add all the ingredients except for the cornstarch to your slow cooker pan.
- Gently mix everything together.
- Cover, and cook on HIGH for 3 hours. You can also cook on LOW for 7 hours.
- When done, whisk the cornstarch with the water until smooth. Stir the slurry into the beef mixture. If you cooked the goulash on high, the stew should thicken immediately. If you cooked it on low, or if it doesn't thicken right away, set the slow cooker to high, cover, and cook for 15-30 more minutes, until it thickens.