This easy Beefaroni recipe is the homemade version of the canned classic. Made with tomato sauce, ground beef, and elbow macaroni, it’s quick, hearty, and comforting – perfect for busy weeknights!

overhead photo of beefaroni in a white casserole dish

Easy American Goulash Recipe

Beefaroni (aka American Goulash) is a simple recipe most of us grow up enjoying, whether it was straight from a can or made from scratch. It’s total comfort food.

This is a simple recipe, made with ground beef in a homemade tomato sauce with just a few seasonings, plus elbow macaroni noodles. From start to finish, it’s on the table in under 45 minutes.

Each bowl is hearty and packed with flavor and comfort. Absolutely perfect for those chilly days when you need something to warm you up.

I’d also like to say that this dish is even more flavorful the next day, which means beefaroni leftovers are always welcome in our house. They’re quick and easy lunches throughout the week, hooray!

Overhead view of homemade beefaroni in a baking dish

What Is Beefaroni?

Beefaroni is the homemade version of the canned Chef Boyardee childhood classic. It’s made with ground beef and tomato sauce tossed with elbow macaroni. It’s easy, filling, and flavorful – much like the canned version. But better!

What’s the difference between beefaroni and goulash? Nothing, really. Beefaroni is the same thing as American Goulash – the difference in what you call it is mostly regional.

Overhead view of beefaroni ingredients

Ingredients

Homemade beefaroni is made with just a handful of ingredients – ground beef, macaroni, tomato sauce, and a few seasonings. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements.

  • Ground beef – 80/20 lean ground beef is ideal. You can also use a combo of beef and pork if desired.
  • Elbow macaroni – Other small noodles will work as well. Preferably something with texture that the sauce can stick to.
  • Butter – Adds rich flavor when sautéing the onion and garlic.
  • Onion & garlic – These boost the flavor to the base of this dish.
  • Tomato sauce – You can use homemade tomato sauce or grab a jar at the store.
  • Tomato paste – This is a favorite ingredient whenever I make something tomato-based. It really gives the tomato flavor a jump!
  • Water – To thin out the sauce.
  • Worcestershire sauce – Helps balance the acidity of the tomato and adds savory undertones.
  • Seasonings – I only add salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
  • Parsley – Fresh parsley makes a great garnish.

How to Make Homemade Beefaroni

American goulash comes together in a few easy steps, in just over 30 minutes. It’s perfect for busy weeknights when you need something filling, fast.

  • Cook the beef. Sauté the onions in the butter until lightly browned. Add the ground beef and cook until evenly browned. Add the garlic and seasonings. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the tomato sauce. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Simmer for 20 minutes, adding a cup of water while it simmers.
  • Prepare the noodles. While the sauce is simmering, cook the macaroni according to package instructions. Drain.
  • Combine ingredients. Add the drained noodles to the tomato sauce. Combine. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh parsley.
a large white dish of beefaroni

Tips & Variations

Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you make the best homemade beefaroni.

  • Cook the pasta just to al dente. Avoid overcooking the pasta to prevent it from becoming mushy. It will continue to cook a bit once it’s added to the sauce.
  • Taste and season. Depending on the tomato sauce used and your personal tastes, you may need more or less salt and pepper. I always recommend tasting a spoonful to adjust as desired.
  • Add some cheese. For a cheesy twist, stir in some freshly grated parmesan and/or shredded mozzarella cheese when you add the macaroni. Shredded cheddar is also good. Or sprinkle cheese over the top of individual servings!
  • Make it spicy. Feel free to play around with the seasonings added. Paprika and cumin will add some earthy warmth while red pepper flakes, cayenne, or finely diced jalapenos will kick in some heat.
a bowl of beefaroni next to a large pot full of it

Serving Suggestions

A big bowl of beefaroni makes a perfect meal on its own but if you want to add a side or two, I have some suggestions.

I like to serve a fresh veggie or simple side salad with a hearty meal like this. Roasted asparagus would be great, as well as a super fresh cucumber salad. My family also likes a simple salad of fresh greens with homemade buttermilk ranch dressing.

And my family will never turn away cheesy garlic bread! Any crusty bread works great, really. It ensures that you can swipe up every last bit of the tasty tomato sauce!

Overhead view of a bowl of beefaroni

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

Store any leftover beefaroni in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

You can reheat leftovers gently on the stovetop but I find the microwave works just as well for individual servings.

If the noodles have absorbed much of the sauce, you can add another splash of tomato sauce or even some water for extra moisture.

overhead view of dish made of pasta, beef, and tomato sauce

Does This Freeze Well?

Sort of. You can definitely freeze leftover beefaroni but keep in mind that cooked pasta can become a bit mushy when thawed.

You can also freeze the ground beef and tomato sauce separately, freeze for up to 3 months, and reheat with cooked macaroni noodles later!

More Easy Dinner Recipes:

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a white Dutch oven full of beefaroni

Beefaroni

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This easy Beefaroni recipe is the homemade version of the canned classic. Made with tomato sauce, ground beef, and elbow macaroni, it's quick, hearty, and comforting - perfect for busy weeknights!

Ingredients

  • 1½ pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 cups dry elbow macaroni (cook macaroni according to package directions to al dente, about 5-6 minutes)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 30 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley, optional garnish

Instructions

    1. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until
      starting to soften, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
    2. Add ground beef to onions, and increase heat to medium-high. Break up the beef into bite sized pieces, stirring frequently, until beef is lightly and evenly browned. Add minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
    3. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water to beef mixture and stir until combined. Simmer for 20 minutes.
    4. Meanwhile, cook macaroni according to package directions to al dente,
      about 5-6 minutes, depending on the type of macaroni used. Drain the cooked pasta very well and add to beef mixture. Fold to combine.
    5. Taste test, and add salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve hot.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 428Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 910mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 37g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.

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a white Dutch oven full of beefaroni