Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash
This Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash is what comfort food dreams are made of. A humble stew loaded with chunks of tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef and vegetables. It has a rich, beefy broth flavored with sweet paprika.
Authentic Hungarian Beef Goulash
Mom shared a recipe with me for Hungarian goulash awhile back, saying that it tasted very similar to what they ate during their visit to Hungary. My sister’s family lived in Romania for a couple years, so it was a great opportunity for my parents to visit that area. I tucked the copy away with my pile of saved recipes, knowing some day I’d give it a try.
When I was craving a comfort meal, I studied that goulash recipe Mom gave me years ago. Her handwritten notes told exactly how she had changed the recipe to more closely mimic the bowls of stew they had enjoyed on their trip.
I also asked my sister Cheryl about her own Hungarian goulash recipe memories, as I knew her family ate this stew regularly when they lived over there. She embellished upon Mom’s recipe notes and then gave me a little background on how they used to eat goulash.
I have since created this recipe for Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash. It’s rich in beef flavor and oh-so comforting, absolutely perfect for a chilly day.
Our First Taste of Hungarian Goulash
My sister and her husband Dave and two young kids lived in Oradea, Romania for two years. Cheryl shared that whenever their family traveled from the airport in Budapest, Hungary to Oradea, they would stop at a small roadside panzió (Hungarian for boarding house, small hotel, or bed and breakfast) along the way for a bowl of hot goulash.
Romanian friends had recommended this particular panzió to Cheryl and Dave. The owners cooked the goulash in a big cast iron pot over the fire, and then served the humble stew with big loaves of fresh, crusty bread for dunking and swiping up every last drop of goodness.
I asked Mom and Cheryl to send me a few pictures from the time they spent together visiting Budapest and Vienna, Austria that summer, when my parents ate their first Hungarian goulash. I am sharing a few of those photos after the recipe, if you’d like to take a look.
An Easy Hungarian Goulash Recipe
After talking with Mom and Cheryl about their memories of Hungarian goulash, it became clear that it’s really just a simple stew of beef and vegetables. With a heavy dose of sweet paprika.
This stew could be simmered for hours on the stovetop. But I chose to let the slow cooker do the work.
It’s incredibly easy to make this Hungarian goulash recipe. Simply place cubes of beef roast, along with potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms, in the slow cooker. The beef will magically transform into the most tender bites, as will the vegetables.
The broth is wonderfully rich and beefy, with a hint of tomato flavor. Which plays so well with the signature sweet Hungarian paprika that goulash is known for.
This is one beautiful stew, total comfort. I hope you like it as much as we do.
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- 3 lbs. beef chuck roast, cut into 1" cubes
- 5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2" diagonals
- 4 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4" cubes
- 16 oz. whole fresh mushrooms, quartered
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 4 c. low sodium beef broth
- 3 T. tomato paste
- 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 c. Hungarian sweet paprika
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 2 tsp. dry mustard
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- fresh chopped parsley for garnish, optional
Place beef in slow cooker. Cover with carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients except parsley, and then add to the slow cooker. Stir a bit to combine. Cover and turn heat to high. Cook for 4 to 6 hours, or until beef is ultra tender (I usually plan on 6 hours). Serve in bowls with a warm loaf of fresh crusty bread.
From my mom’s recipe box…heavily adapted from this recipe, with input from Mom and my sister Cheryl from their travels to Hungary and Austria.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 597
Here are a few more stew recipes you might like:
- Guinness Beef Stew from She Wears Many Hats
- Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Quinoa from Cookin’ Canuck
- Spicy Cabbage and Pork Stew from Big Bear’s Wife
- Green Chile Stew from Barefeet in the Kitchen
A few photos from when my parents visited my sister’s family:
A highlight of their trip was visiting Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. A former imperial 1,441-room summer residence, it is now a major tourist attraction. The grounds are meticulously kept, and are home to numerous gardens, pools, fountains, and sculptures…and a maze!
(Schönbrunn Palace is shown in the top photo. The Palm House, on the palace grounds, is in the bottom photo, with Mom, Dad, and Cheryl and Dave’s kids in the foreground.)
Pictured on the left are Cheryl and Dave with their son and daughter in front of the Neptune Fountain at Schönbrunn Palace. The grounds also feature the world’s oldest zoo, constructed in 1752 (bottom right).
While in Vienna, they also visited St. Stephens Cathedral, a medieval limestone landmark. It was constructed in 1147 and named after the first known Christian martyr. Massive in size, sitting atop underground tombs, catacombs, and crypts, it houses 18 altars in the main part of the church, plus more in various chapels.
I found information on the Schönbrunn Palace and St. Stephens Cathedral completely fascinating. As my dad always says, “google it”. The history on these places is amazing.
(Left photo is of St. Stephens Cathedral. Top right photo is of Dad, Mom, and Cheryl and Dave’s kids sitting along the Danube River. Middle right photo is of Cheryl and Dave’s family taking a carriage ride in Vienna. And the bottom right photo is of a pianist playing in the street near the cathedral.)
Thank you to Mom and Cheryl for sharing your memories and your photos. This post was previously published in 2014. Photographs and some of the text were updated in 2018.