Kalyn's Kitchen

Better-than-Mom’s Stovetop Goulash

When you need comfort food, this Better-than-Mom’s Stovetop Goulash that uses macaroni, tomatoes, and ground beef will do the trick! This easy recipe is kid-friendly and freezes well.

PIN the Goulash so you can make it later!

Better-than-Mom's Stovetop Goulash with Macaroni, Tomatoes, and Ground Beef found on KalynsKitchen.com

A couple of weeks ago I confessed on Twitter that I was making a recipe by Paula Deen, and this Stovetop Goulash was pure comfort food for me. I remember my mom making this kind of dish, but mom’s goulash was never like this. It’s hard to say just what makes this recipe so lick-the-plate delicious, but Jake and I could not stop remarking on how good it was when we tested the recipe. I changed up the seasonings a little and also cut the recipe in half so I wouldn’t be able to overindulge too much!

The recipe starts with lean ground beef, onions, tomato sauce, and canned tomatoes, and then macaroni is simmered with the other ingredients for 30 minutes. And everyone needs comfort food once in a while, and since I’m currently sorting through and packing up twenty-five years of accumulated stuff in preparation for the move to my new house, I’m not going to be too hard on myself for enjoying it.

Better-than-Mom's Stovetop Goulash with Macaroni, Tomatoes, and Ground Beef found on KalynsKitchen.com

How to make this recipe:

(Scroll down for complete printable recipe.)

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a large non-stick pan and brown the ground beef until it’s well-done, about 6-7 minutes.
  2. Then push the beef over to the side of the pan and cook the onions until they start to brown, about 5 minutes more.  Add the garlic and cook a couple minutes more.
  3. Add the water, tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, Italian Herb Seasoning (affiliate link), bay leaves, soy sauce, garlic powder, Steak Seasoning (affiliate link), and salt and pepper to taste and let the mixture simmer covered about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the macaroni, stir it into the sauce, cover the pan, and simmer on low for 30 minutes.
  5. Paula Deen says to let the mixture sit another 30 minutes before you eat it, but we only managed to make it about 10 minutes.
  6. Serve hot, with a dollop of low-fat sour cream.

Better-than-Mom's Stovetop Goulash with Macaroni, Tomatoes, and Ground Beef found on KalynsKitchen.com

More Tasty Comfort Food Recipes:

Turkey Shepherd’s Pie ~ Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Ground Turkey and Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Baked Ziti ~ Simply Recipes
Sausage and Kale Mock Lasagna ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Mushroom Barley Soup ~ The Shiksa in the Kitchen

Better-than-Mom's Stovetop Goulash

Better-than-Mom's Stovetop Goulash

Yield Makes 6 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

When you need some homemade comfort food, this Better-than-Mom’s Stovetop Goulash will do the trick!


  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz. petite diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 T Italian Herb Blend
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning (or use your favorite purchased steak seasoning)
  • salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup macaroni
  • sour cream for serving, optional


  1. In a large non-stick pan, heat the olive oil, add the ground beef, and cook until it’s well-browned, breaking apart with the turner as it cooks.
  2. Push the beef to the side of the pan, add the onions and cook until the onions start to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the minced garlic and cook about 2 minutes more.
  4. Add the water, tomato sauce, petite dice tomatoes and juice, Italian Herb Seasoning (affiliate link), bay leaves, soy sauce, garlic powder, Montreal Steak Seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  1. Stir the mixture together, then cover the pan and simmer about 20 minutes.
  2. Add the macaroni, cover the pan again, and simmer 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaves, and let the mixture sit for a few minutes before serving.  (We only made it about 10 minutes, which was fine.)
  4. Serve hot, with a dollop of low-fat sour cream if desired.


This recipe adapted slightly from Bobby’s Goulash by Paula Deen.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 322Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 5gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 1013mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 24g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
I was thinking more about comfort food than I was about carb-conscious eating when I made this, and even though it’s mostly made of low-glycemic ingredients, simmering the macaroni in the tomato sauce mixture for 30 minutes means this recipe is probably best limited to Phase 3 for South Beach dieters, even with Dreamfields or whole wheat macaroni. This is not a low-carb dish, so it would be a definite splurge for low-carb diets, but you could make a more carb-conscious version by using more beef and less macaroni.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Pasta Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

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    42 Comments on “Better-than-Mom’s Stovetop Goulash”

  1. Jen, fun to hear your memories of the recipe!

  2. My grandmother used to make goulash for us growing up. My grandmother's ingredients are: hamburger, tomato sauce, macaroni noodles, onions, celery (at least 5 stalks thinly chopped), celery salt, Lawry's Seasoned Salt and black pepper(to taste). Growing up my family loved this dish and my sister and I still make it. My grandmother's was much better, but then we learned in our 20's that she never drained the grease from the hamburger!! No wonder they had heart conditions. So I drain my grease and live with the fact mine is just a little less flavorful than my Nana's.

  3. You may need to add a more oil when yous saute the meat, but I think it would work just fine.

  4. Would it be possible to use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef, or would it dry out during cooking? Can't wait to try this!

  5. If you're worried about the cooking time, I bet it would taste just as good if you cooked the dreamfields seperately and combined it with the sauce before serving. Just simmer the meat longer, maybe about 40 minutes instead of 20.

  6. I just made a similar recipe, but with kidney beans and peas added. It must be that time of year. I like the idea of cooking the pasta in the same pan–one less dish to wash.

  7. Jeanette, I love the sound of that Asian goulash! I was intrigued that there was a bit of soy sauce in this one.

  8. So funny, I've seen macaroni, tomatoes and ground beef dishes in a few places this week – we must all be craving some comfort food. My mom used to make a macaroni and ground meat dish with peas, soy sauce and oyster sauce – an Asian version of this comfort dish.

  9. Donna, me too, although my mother's goulash was never this well-seasoned.

  10. When shall I be there for dinner??? Just reminds me so much of my childhood!

  11. Elizabeth, in a recipe like this where the pasta is cooked for a long time I'm not sure how that will impact the fiber.

  12. Try it with Fiber Gourmet pasta – cuts the calories in half from most brands, including whole wheat, and bumps up the fiber A LOT!

  13. So glad people are liking this. I agree with Zerrin that cooking the macaroni in the sauce makes it extra flavorful (though less diet friendly, darn.)

    Cindy, here is where I first mentioned the move I think. The new house is much bigger so I can have parties with my whole family. Very excited about that.

  14. Kalyn, Back up! How did I miss that you were moving?! Your house is so adorable especially after the remodel. Can you point me to the post where you mention the move? BTW to keep this post-related, my husband will love this recipe!

  15. Kalyn, this sounds so tasty! Love the combination of ground beef, tomato sauce and pasta! It's so much like the one I make often, but I have never thought of adding soy sauce and bay leaves. Also, adding raw pasta right into the the sauce is so new to me. It's a brilliant idea! Why do I have to first boil pasta and them combine with sauce? No need for that! I'm sure it tastes better in this way as the flavors combine better! I would love to enjoy it with yogurt! YUM!

  16. Thank you , it is soooooooo good!

  17. My Mom made this and it is one of my favorite comfort foods too. I add a can of black beans to it to boost the fiber.

  18. That looks soooooo good!!!

  19. Lydia, this was definitely comforting!

  20. There's a reason they call this comfort food, and when you're in the midst of packing, you deserve some comfort! (I wonder if Paula Deen is eating this dish on her new diet?)