We love that EVERYTHING in this recipe cooks in one pan—even the macaroni! Once you cook pasta this way, you’ll never go back to boiling water again. (For another recipe that uses this hack, check out our Italian Mac ‘n’ Cheese—it’s one of our all-time favorites!)

What is goulash, exactly?

Goulash originated in medieval Hungary, where it was prepared by herdsmen—so you know it’s bound to be hearty and filling. Our version is simple but full of flavor: onions, paprika, and three forms of tomato come together to season the beef, and because the pasta cooks in the skillet, it’s infused with the tomato sauce and beef broth from the very beginning. Just a cup of cheddar cheese melted in at the end seals the deal on the flavor package. If you’re eating with friends, the pot will be empty before you can go back for more.

I don’t want to use ground beef. Can I substitute something else?
If you’re steering clear of ground beef (pardon the pun), you can use ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork instead. The cooking time might change slightly when you’re browning the meat, but as long as you keep an eye on it, you should be fine.

Why are there three types of tomato products in this recipe?
While it might seem excessive, we promise there’s a reason for every different type you'll see in this recipe. The rich, concentrated tomato paste adds umami flavor, while the sauce gives the dish body. And those diced tomatoes? They’re there to give you little bursts of tomatoey goodness in every bite. 

I don’t have elbow macaroni. Can I use another pasta instead?

Absolutely! Any short pasta shape will work just fine, including penne, rotini, cavatappi, or farfalle. Just keep in mind that these different pasta shapes might have different cooking times, so check the box they come in for the manufacturer’s recommendations and taste as you go to ensure your pasta is perfectly al dente.

Can I use a different type of cheese besides cheddar?

Of course. Monterey jack, Swiss, and mozzarella would all be great options—or if you have another type you’d like to try, give it a shot. Just be sure it’s a good melting cheese—otherwise you won’t get that ooey gooey deliciousness that we’re going for.

What should I serve with this?

A big bowl of this is typically all we need, but if you want to round out your meal a bit more, try serving it alongside garlic bread or a fresh Caesar salad. If you want more ideas, check out these 95 easy side dishes.

How do I store my leftovers?

If you happen to have leftovers (which, if you’re like us, you sadly won’t!), you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

If you've made this recipe, we'd love to know your thoughts! Comment below and leave us a rating. For more one-pan meals, check out these 75 easy skillet dinners.

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Cal/Serv: 392
Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time: 0 hours 15 mins
Total Time: 0 hours 45 mins
2 tbsp.

extra-virgin olive oil


medium yellow onion, chopped


cloves garlic, minced

1 lb.

ground beef

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp.

tomato paste

1 1/4 c.

low-sodium beef broth


(15-oz.) can tomato sauce


(15-oz.) can diced tomatoes

1 tsp.

Italian seasoning

1 tsp.


1 1/2 c.

elbow macaroni, uncooked

1 c.

shredded cheddar

Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
  2. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Drain fat and return to pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add tomato paste and stir to coat, then pour in broth, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes. Season with Italian seasoning and paprika, and stir in macaroni. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in cheese and remove from heat. 
  5. Garnish with parsley before serving. 

Nutrition (per serving): 392 calories, 24 g protein, 30 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 19 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 802 mg sodium

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Ethan Calabrese
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