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. can i add extra tomato sauce and diced tomates

    • You can, but I haven’t done that so I can’t tell you exactly how it will turn out. I’d say this is not overly saucy, so if you’re wanting a goulash with more sauce that might work out just fine.

  2. This is one of my favorite dishes. I love all your recipes. They are good and easy to make. I will definitely try it. It is very simile and easy to make.

  3. Do you think I could do this in an Instantpot Kalyn? I’ve made your recipe many times and I just bought an Instantpot and saw another goulash recipe online and it only took 4 minuets!

    • You probably can, but I haven’t ever made it that way so I wouldn’t be able to tell you exactly how to do it. You could look at some Instant Pot Goulash Recipes (or other pasta recipes) for guidance and timing. My only concern is that I know tomato-based sauces can burn in the Instant pot if there is not enough liquid. Maybe compare my amounts with other recipes. Love to hear how it works if you try it.

  4. Pingback: 21 Quick and Tasty Ground Beef Recipes - Yumophile

  5. This was honestly amazing! I’ll be adding this into my winter rotation for sure! Thank you 🙂 

  6. I use V-8 juice instead of pasta sauce.  I love the additional spices and soy sauce!  Great recipe.  Can’t wait to try it.  

  7. I just made this and man oh man, is it good. I followed the recipe exactly and wouldn't change a thing. Thanks for another great comfort food recipe!

    • SO glad you enjoyed it!

    • I bought Montreal Steak Seasoning just for this recipe and am wondering what else I can use it for other than this recipe and on steaks. Any thoughts?

    • Enter Monteal into the search bar on the site and you'll find any other recipes where I've used it. Could also check with google. Not thinking of anything off the top of my head, sorry.

  8. I hate macaroni! Yes Hate it!! OMG!!! My hubby is going to be so happy I found your recipe!!! It's so tasty!!! I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this recipe!!! Thanks for sharing this!!!!

  9. I think crushed tomatoes are a good choice. Hope you enjoy!

  10. Decided to sub with crushed asost recipes can use either. Hoping it comes out OK. I just don't like my tomatoes to obviously look like tomatoes lol

  11. Shianne, without experimenting I'm not really sure how that would work. But if you want to try it, you can always add more water while it cooks, so start with less than you might need.

  12. Can I substitute tomato paste for the diced tomatoes and if so do I need to adjust the water ratio?

  13. Rubysmom, so glad you liked it. It's been a hit here when I have made it for family parties several times.

  14. Very good! Perfect amount of seasoning and simple to make for a weeknight. Thanks!