Real Hungarian Goulash - Cook's Illustrated

"From Cook's Illustrated, Dec 2008. Use a chuck eye roast (RZ doesn't recognize this cut). Do not use hot, half-sharp or Spanish paprika; if you can, mail-order your sweet paprika and use a fresh container. Cook's Illustrated prefers The Spice House. The stew can be prepared up to 2 days ahead; do not add the optional sour cream until after reheating. Remove the hardened fat and add water to thin it. (I like to add about 1/2 lb of button mushrooms, quartered, with the carrots and beef, but that wasn't in the original CI recipe.)"
photo by DrGaellon photo by DrGaellon
photo by DrGaellon
photo by DrGaellon photo by DrGaellon
Ready In:
3hrs 55mins




  • Place rack in lower-middle position of oven and heat to 325°F.
  • Sprinkle meat with 1 tsp salt and let stand 15 minute.
  • In a food processor, combine paprika, peppers, tomato paste and 2 tsp vinegar until smooth, 1-2 minutes.
  • Heat oil in Dutch oven until shimmering. Add onions and 1 tsp salt. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions soften but are not brown, 8-10 minutes.
  • Stir in paprika paste and cook until onions begin to stick to bottom of pan, 2 minutes.
  • Add beef, carrots and bay leaf. Stir until everything is well coated. Scrape down sides of pot, cover and place in oven. Cook, stirring every 30 minutes, until meat is tender, and liquid is 1/2" below top of meat, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  • Remove pot from oven and add enough warmed beef broth to bring liquid level up to 1/4" below top of meat. Do not cover meat in liquid! Replace pot cover and return to oven about 30 minutes more, until a fork slides in and out of beef easily.
  • Meanwhile, put potatoes, 1/2 cup beef broth and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a rapid simmer, cover, and cook until potatoes are tender, 20-30 minutes.
  • Skim fat off surface of stew. Stir in 1 tsp vinegar and sour cream, if using. Remove bay leaf and adjust seasonings. Serve over boiled potatoes.

Questions & Replies

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  1. This was very good. I made with egg noddles. I would have likes more sour cream, but that is a personal taste.
  2. This was fantastic! I made this for my trick or treaters last October before heading out in the cold. They all gobbled it up, which means a lot since they were all waiting to stuff themselves with candy. I followed the recipe exactly as written. Thank you for the great recipe!
  3. I just got back from a week in Northern Italy, where goulash is a specialty on the slopes and this recipe isvery close to what I ate on the slopes! My kids loved it and my husband, who has a discerning palate, thought it was delish! I used stew beef and cider vinegar.
  4. Always great to see Cook's Illustrated recipies! This was delicious and tasted better the second day. Thanks for posting!
  5. Sorry, but this was nothing special. And I would have rather had spaetzel than potatoes, which I'll try if I ever make this again.


I'm a 48 y/o gay Jewish man in the suburbs immediately north of New York City. I'm a general internist, practicing and teaching at a medical college north of NYC. I also earned a Masters in Public Health degree in 2013. After a Walt Disney World trip in Dec 2006 where I had to rent an electric scooter because I couldn't manage the walking, I decided to have gastric bypass surgery, which was done Feb 28, 2007. I lost 160 lbs (though I've gained back about 60 of that since). I can't eat as much as I used to, so I want every bite to be extra good!
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