Skip to main content

Authentic Hungarian Goulash (Gulyas) Recipe

Goulash cooking in Csikszereda


The mystery around the Hungarian goulash (gulyas)

I had never problem with the Hungarian goulash.

. With only two authentic Hungarian goulash recipes i managed to cook the common goulash soup, (no guests), and the special goulash , (when guests came in). Everybody liked both of them.

Till one day my daughter from Australia is mentioning that she got an even more authentic Hungarian goulash recipe, very good everybody liked it. This drove me in deep depression. So my authentic goulash, even 2 of them, are not authentic enough anymore?

First i searched in my recipe books. Later i had to go online too. Things became more and more confusing. Hundreds of authentic goulash recipes are out there!

last update: Tuesday, 27.09. 2016

Surprizing revelations about the Hungarian goulash..

Most of my sources are offering a goulash recipe with different list of ingredients, method and serving tips. Not to mention the different consistency, the soup goulash and the stew goulash.

However, i got few facts about the goulash, which are accepted by most of them.

1:the name of the goulash (gulyas) is coming from the guys named "gulyas" who were leading the cattle on the Hortobagyi puszta, kind of Hungarian prairie, but smaller.This means that goulash originally is cooked outdoors, on the territory of actual Hungary, when this staff had to eat, but did not reach any indoor kitchen.

2: the meal is cooked in a special pot, "bogracs", kind of cauldron with tripod.

3: on the ingredients list it was a piece of meat, resulting from the cattle, victim of accidents, attacs, or even the gulyas hunger.

4: paprika is the next admitted by most of the recipes, so the goulash was created after 1500, when Turks did bring paprika in Hungary.

5: the vegetables, what the nature did offer at those times, are several kind of wild onions, very tasty all of them, which even today are delicatesses for the conaisseurs, so this plant have to be on the shopping list. Onion have to be a lot, in order to get the sauce, the delight of the goulash.

6: caraway seeds are all over the Hungarian puszta, even today,so it is a good guess that caraway is on.

I have an other guess - let's name it hypotesis - that other vegetables as celery stick, tomatoes, fresh pepper would not be carried in the famous bag (tarisznya) of the cowboy, because would not stay fresh. But flour and maize is just what he needed, subsequently we can admit them on the list.

goulash, hungarian goulash recipe

goulash, hungarian goulash recipe

Here is the authentic Hungarian goulash (gulyas) recipe:

Gotcha? Because what can the man do with those ingredients?


  • lard (pork-grouse-chicken) 100 gram
  • beef 1 kg - cut cubs
  • onion 700 gram chopped
  • paprika 2 tablespoon
  • caraway seeds
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • flour 100 gramm
  • egg 1 piece.
  • bay leaf 2pc


  1. Method.
  2. -The special pot, the bogracs, (cauldron) gets the heat directly from the wood, so we just put the fat, and when is hot, we add the beef, cutted in cubes. The meat should get brown, quite quickly, and this is what we want. When the meat is brown, we add the onion, fairly small cutten, the caraway seeds and stirring with a wooden spoon, we wait until the onion gets some colour.
  3. -Now we should withdraw some of the wood coal, reducing the heat, and adding the salt, stirring in quite often, we should get the onion dried, at half of the liquid what it contents.
  4. -Next we pour 200 ml water with a splash of wine, and add the paprika ( not directly in the hot fat, the paprika would get bad taste.) and 2 bay leafs.
  5. With a lid on, we simmer the goulash about until the meat gets ready, adding water if is necessary to keep the original level. Heat should be very low.
  6. -The last but not least is to add the csipetke (kind of small noodles), prepared in the meantime, mixing the egg with the flour, kneading vigorously, adjusting the flour quantity until we have a firm dough, and we pinch small pieces with our nails from it. Those are the csipetke.
  7. Other 10 minutes and the goulash is ready. Now the goulash should have the consistency of a stew, the gravy quite thick, given by the onion and paprika.
  8. It is served with maize, prepared like the Italian "polenta", or bread.
  9. Photo credit :visualphotos

How is your mood now?



Scroll to Continue

Modern times requier a small adjustment.

the only vegetable which will not harm our goulash is the potato

Nowadays we can add potatoes, when the meat is about getting ready. Even if the potatoes did show up in Hungary in the 18-th century, would not compromise the quality of the goulash.1 kg would be the perfect quantity.

There are some difficulties to cook outdoors, but the result certanaily will worth it. Nobody knows why, but the meal cooked in cauldron, outdoors, on real fire is much tastier than in any modern kitchen.

Other "cauldrons" on Amazon

Cast iron seems to be always the best for gourmet cooking, and we also can consider that so far cast iron cookware is the only one without a danger of being toxic. And they last forever...


Indoor Hungarian goulash, in our kitchen

trying to do our best.

As we did agree, the list of ingredients is the same as the outdoor goulash. The method will be different, trying to get the same taste, but at about 200C, what a normal cooker with a fancy non stick pot can produce.


-using a medium high pot we heat up the fat.

-will put a layer of the cubes of the meat coated with flour (handy way to put them in a plastic bag, together with 1 tablespoon of flour and shaking it until the flour gets everywhere), stirring them until everyone gets brown. Removing the first layer on a plate, we put the next and so on...

-the onion is coming in the pot, with the salt, first on high heat, until gets some colour, then low heat, until will lose liquid.

-now we add the meat, caraway seeds and paprika, keeping the heat low. With 100 ml water and splash of wine we simmer the goulash, under the lid, until the meat is ready, ocasionaly adding water, to keep the original level.

-adding the csipetke, stirring in the pot, check the taste.

-in 10 min should be ready.

The potatoes version will be made with the same rule as the outdoor goulash.


Descendants of the goulash family tree

recipe goulash hungarian

With the globalization of the recipes, and modern socio-economical influences, the old, simple goulash now is having all those off springs, what we need to mention in order to keep readers informed.

GOULASH SOUP ( gulyas leves)

It happened when somebody did add some water to the goulash and unlike other stew, this combination did result a hearty, tasty soup, welcomed by the hungry food loving consumer, especially in a snowy, cold day. Nowadays seems that this ugly duck of the goulash family is the swan, and the popular one.

-add 1 litre beef stock and 1 kg potatoes to the original goulash, and boil it until potatoes are ready. Sprinkle it with some freshly chopped parsley leafs.

How simple ! It is rather blasphemous, but it works.


The amazing fact is that now even in Hungary, in the restaurants, especially tourist targeted ones are offering this very same stew under the goulash denomination on the menu, in the worst case only the soup kind. The reason should be that English tourist prefers his familiar tastes, and would not try the wild, deeply Hungarian goulash ancestor.

- together with the onion add in the hot fat 1 carrot, chopped, 1 celery stick, chopped, 250 tomatoes, chopped, 1 fresh pepper, chopped. 1 bay leaf, reduce the paprika to 1 teaspoon, reduce caraway seeds to 1/2 teaspoon. Simmer in, avoid burning it, about 7 min. Add the previously fried meat, and 200 ml stock. Now reduce heat and simmer it until the meat is ready, adding water to maintain level of liquid.

This version can be enhanced with potatoes, 4 large potatoes in this case, added when the meat is almost ready. Csipetke apparently is not a choice.

The result is a stew, very alike with any beef stew , with a light Hungarian aroma and colour.

There are animated contradictions about

-should be added to the list above garlic or not

-red wine is invited on the list or not

-quantity (even existence) of caraway seeds

-can be the goulash with pork or, God forgive,chicken...

I am inviting you to tell us your opinion, with courage, we have to talk openly about the goulash problem.

Other version of a quite good goulash

Hungarian goulash recipes from all over the world.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

2 hours

2 hours 10 min

serves 6 people 380 gr gulash

Do you have your own authentic goulash recipe? tell us about it... - With or with out garlic, caraway seeds, wine...

Takkhis on March 31, 2013:

I did not know about this recipe before, well written and that's why...... Blessed by takkhis :)

Webinaut on March 31, 2013:

I had the most wonderful goulash in Southern Bohemia during a 10 day flyfishing trip. It was cheap, wholesome and delicious. Thanks for sharing such an authentic recipe.

Magda2012 on March 23, 2013:

The only Hungarian food I have tried is goulash, and I find it very delicious. thanks for the recipe.

Mit1357 on January 30, 2013:

I can confirm previous comment it is delicious.

Iudit Gherghiteanu (author) from Ozun on January 28, 2013:

@gyulaolah: Dear Gyula, thank you for your apreciation of this goulash recipe, i like it too...about the fish soup (halaszle) unfortunately i do not feel very confident, i love it, but i did not even try to cook it...seems to me too much for my modest capabilities...i hope you will help us with this recipe, so we can cook it.

gyulaolah on January 28, 2013:

Being Hungarian it is not so difficult to decide whether your recipe is good or not. To be honest, EXCELLENT! If I add that my father was a chef of a Hotel in Hungary formerly - so I've got the chance to "dig" deeper into this topic and obtain more than a general knowledge about cooking -, I would say that nobody would be able to prepare it better than as you have described. One ingredient is very important: Hungarian Paprika (I prefer hot one). Why? Because - I am convinced - this the only one which can give so special and delicious taste for goulash. Beef is beef everywhere, potato, onion are almost the same. Personally, I keen on eating gulyás (in Hungarian). Thanks for your great lens! Only one question has been remained: what about halászlé (fish soup a' la Hungarian art) :)?

carolweez on November 08, 2012:

this is one of my all time favorite recipe.Well done.

piedromolinero on July 13, 2012:

I love goulash and we do it once in a while. Now you made me craving for it again.

Katie Harp on March 08, 2012:

blessed by a squid angel :) <3

E L Seaton from Virginia on February 26, 2012:

I got hungry with the first picture and It got worse after that, I got even hungrier with each photo or description of the goulash. I may have to build a pot of this. Thanks for sharing a great lens for the hungry squids amongst us!

Michey LM on February 17, 2012:

Oh! I remember those from grandma cooking as well.


anonymous on February 02, 2012:

Its my pleasure to return and add some angel dust to your Hungarian Goulash Judit!

WriterJanis2 on January 29, 2012:

Love Hungarian goulash.

Treasures By Brenda from Canada on December 12, 2011:

My cousin's grandmother was an amazing Hungarian cook. I remember her food fondly.

Iudit Gherghiteanu (author) from Ozun on November 23, 2011:

@hughgrissettsr lm: just try the goulash soup in a winter day... nothing more tasty.

hughgrissettsr lm on November 18, 2011:

super lens! i love goulash!

Iudit Gherghiteanu (author) from Ozun on November 13, 2011:

@WaynesWorld LM: wow...i am making my own tomato juice, but would not put it in goulash. As i see, this is an amerikan goulash, but no item the same with the hungarian goulash. Looks an easy to cook and tasty stew, i have to try it before i can make any comparison. thanks for the real recipe, A-Redneck's recipe is giving more freedom.

WaynesWorld LM on November 13, 2011:

Like "A-Redneck" mentioned below, a thoroughly Americanized Goulash. Hamburger 2 pounds, elbow macaroni American Beauty brand 16 ounces, mom would have used tomato juice but last time I tried a bottle of V8 32 ounce, Del Monte Diced Tomatoes with Zesty Mild Green Chilies (2 cans) 14.5 ounces each. While the hamburger was cooking I started the elbow macaroni (takes 7 minutes) when hamburger was done I added the diced tomatoes, then topped it all of with the V8 100 vegetable juice. You need a big pot to put this all in. Let it all come to a boil than let it simmer for awhile. My wife claims as soon as it's all hot you can serve it. (She uses mom's recipe.) I don't know if you have a Fry's grocery store near you but their Fry's brand tomato juice in the can is the best. (Although I sure did like this version with the V8 vegetable juice.) Yum, yum, yum.

P.S. "A-Redneck" corn is reserved for brother-in-law Mark's chili. =*)

Nicuta on September 01, 2011:

va trebui sa-mi zici reteta de gulas in romaneste ca vreau s-o incerc si eu

LouisaDembul on August 21, 2011:

We don't call it goulash, but it is similar. I love it with a lot of wine and garlic....Fun to read about the history of goulash, adds flavor to the food!

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on August 06, 2011:

Our goulash is simply a combination of most everything but the kitchen sink. Hamburger, tomato soup, peas, corn, onion, celery, garlic, and cooked macaroni. I love the old cast iron caldroons.

anonymous on July 20, 2011:

What a wonderful journey you took us on in search of the authentic Hungarian goulash. I sure would love to try that outdoor variety and loved the common sense you displayed in assessing what the cowboys would have actually carried with them for ingredients as well of the opportunistic nature of the meat that may have been used.

elyria on July 17, 2011:

I love goulash! I really would like to get a big cauldron now to make sure that my goulash cooking is truly authentic :)

Heidi from Benson, IL on July 13, 2011:

Looks good. I'd favorite this one if that was still available...But since I can't I just clicked the "like" button.

CruiseReady from East Central Florida on June 22, 2011:

I have never hada the pleasure of tasting boulash, but perhaps someday I will. Your lens is quite interesting, though.

Iudit Gherghiteanu (author) from Ozun on February 22, 2011:

@Ilonagarden: thank you replying to eckypat; i did not know what to tell...

Ilona E from Ohio on February 22, 2011:

@eckypat: because its taste is so supperior :)

Ilona E from Ohio on February 22, 2011:

we always had the paprikash and not the goulash so much. No caraway.

eckypat on February 20, 2011:

what is this "goulash"? We have in Scotland much better food, why would i make such a bad looking stew...

viscri8 on February 13, 2011:

I have the recipe but I have no Hungarian paprika or gulyas cream. Here in Africa we have most of the spices from India and people tend to use those as a replacement, including myself. I should be ashamed, I know.

Related Articles