Instant Pot Goulash (Hungarian Style)

5 from 8 votes
20 Comments

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This Instant Pot Beef Goulash is a rich, hearty meal for any day of the week. The beef tastes like it has simmered all day but is actually made in less than an hour!

Hungarian Instant Pot goulash on a black plate with noodles

Instant Pot Beef Goulash

Making goulash in the Instant Pot is THE way to go. The chunks of beef are so tender and flavorful, everyone will think it has been stewing all day. The gravy is nice and thick, just how gravy should be. The veggies are tender, but not TOO tender. I know that in some Instant Pot recipes the vegetables can get too mushy. That is not the case with this recipe! We served this over German egg noodles and my kids couldn’t get enough! You could serve this over noodles, mashed potatoes, rice, thick slices of Texas toast, biscuits or in a bowl all its own like a stew. This is a terrific meal any night of the week!

A close up of a tender piece of cooked stew meat on a plate of Instant Pot goulash

What is Goulash?

Depending on where you are from, goulash could mean several different things. For instance, American goulash is quite different from Hungarian goulash. I will explain the differences below. This Instant Pot goulash recipe is a considered a Hungarian goulash. Hungarian goulash is a type of thick stew made from meat and vegetables and seasoned with paprika and other spices. My husband first had this dish when he was living in Denmark and always called it “Danish” goulash. It is very popular in Denmark and other European countries.

What is Traditional Goulash Made Of?

Traditional Hungarian goulash consists of easy-to-find ingredients such as beef and vegetables and is commonly served with noodles or mashed potatoes. It is also a great one-pot meal all on its own – no sides needed! Here’s a breakdown of the traditional ingredients in goulash:

  • Beef: Stew meat, beef roast, or bottom sirloin cut into chunks will work great for this recipe.
  • Vegetables: Onions and carrots are the most commonly used vegetables in goulash. Potatoes, celery, bell peppers, and/or stewed, diced tomatoes are also be used in some recipes.
  • Sauce/Gravy: The sauce is made from beef broth, dry onion soup mix, and some type of thickener, such as a cornstarch slurry. We also use browning for this gravy to give it a deep, rich color and flavor.
  • Paprika: Hungarian paprika is the authentic spice to use if you want to keep it traditional. It is sweeter in flavor and typically not smoked like American paprika. Either kind of paprika will work though.
  • Seasonings: Paprika, salt, and pepper are really the only seasonings needed for goulash. Garlic, Worcestershire sauce and/or bay leaf can be added to give the broth a brighter flavor dimension if desired.
Ingredients to make Instant Pot Goulash including stew meat, noodles, paprika, carrots, and onion

American Goulash vs Hungarian Goulash

In my opinion, American goulash and Hungarian goulash have very little in common, if anything. The taste is completely different and they are made in different ways. Hungarian goulash is a meaty dish that resembles stew. The base is more of a gravy or a thick beefy soup consistency. It can be served with noodles or potatoes but they are both more of an accessory to the goulash and not required. American goulash (also known as “American Chop Suey”) is more tomato based and made with short pasta, usually elbow macaroni. The American version does not always have beef but if it does, it is typically ground beef.

How to Make Goulash in an Instant Pot

Making goulash in the Instant Pot is easy! It’s all done in one pot, which makes cooking and clean up a snap! Here’s what you do:

  1. Season beef and sear on all sides in the Instant Pot on saute mode. Add onions and sauté for a minute or two.
  2. Add broth and seasonings and pressure cook for 15 minutes. Slow release for 10 minutes then quick release. Remove lid and stir in carrots. Cook on high pressure for another 2-3 minutes (depending on how soft you want your carrots) then turn the valve to quick release.
  3. Thicken the goulash with a water/cornstarch slurry and add browning if desired for color and a richer flavor.
  4. Serve as a stew or with noodles or mashed potatoes.
Instant pot beef goulash with noodles on a plate made Hungarian style

What to Serve with Instant Pot Goulash

You can serve this Instant Pot goulash over egg noodles or over mashed potatoes. If you want to keep it more like a hearty stew, you can add diced potatoes when you add the carrots in the Instant Pot. If you add potatoes and make it more like stew, there is no need to serve it with noodles. I would suggest serving it with warm bread or rolls and enjoying it on its own.

Tips for Making Goulash in the Instant Pot

  • If you have a pressure cooker, but no instant pot, you can still make this beef goulash recipe! There are hardly any adjustments that need to be made. Really, the only adjustment is that instead of using the “meat/stew” function, you just cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. No biggie. Most pressure cookers have a “saute” function but if yours doesn’t, you can sear the meat and cook the onions in a separate pan first. Or you can just throw it all in without sautéing. Either way you will be just fine.
  • If you wanted to make this goulash more of a “one pot” meal, you can always add some cubed potatoes in with the carrots. It will make it more like a stew but it will still be delicious!
  • To make this recipe gluten free you will just want to make sure that the onion soup mix and beef broth you are using is GF. Sometimes those can be tricky to find. Herb Ox brand has a great GF beef broth. Wylers has a gluten free onion soup mix that we love. It does contain soy though so be careful if you have a soy allergy as well.
A close-up of a spoonful of beef goulash

Storing and Reheating Goulash

Goulash can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top on low heat until heated through. If you are wanting to make this into a freezer meal, leave the carrots out of the recipe and freeze after cooking for 2-5 months. Thaw the goulash overnight in the refrigerator before re-heating in a saucepan on the stove. Cook carrots separately and add before eating.

5-Star Reviews for Instant Pot Goulash

“I cooked this tonight in instant pot. It was delicious. I had it over brown rice. Oh so good. Glad I tried it. Definitely will make again”. – Ann C.

“This was absolutely fantastic!!! Thank you so much for a recipe that my kids gobbled up”! – Jessica B.

Made your Goulash in my pressure cooker tonight and my husband and I loved it!! I used Kitchen Bouquet and it gave it that rich dark color without adding any flavor. This recipe is definitely a keeper!! Thank You.” – Carol R.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Hungarian and American goulash?

Hungarian goulash is more meaty and is like a thick, rich stew. American goulash is a macaroni pasta dish that is more tomato based.

Can you put raw beef in an Instant Pot?

Absolutely! The Instant Pot tenderizes beef beautifully and makes for the perfect goulash.

What gives goulash its flavor?

Beef broth, paprika, onions, and beef give goulash its rich, meaty flavor. Browning sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and bay leaves can also be added to add flavor.

Read Next: 27 BEST Instant Pot Recipes

Try some of our Other Instant Pot Recipes

Be sure to try some of our other easy Instant Pot recipes! If you like this Beef Goulash recipe, you will be sure to love our Instant Pot Sunday Pot Roast recipe. Here’s a few more of our very favorites:

A plate of Instant Pot Goulash with egg noodles, tender stew meat, carrots, and onion

Instant Pot Beef Goulash

5 from 8 votes
This Instant Pot Beef Goulash is a rich, hearty meal for any day of the week. The beef tastes like it has simmered all day but is actually made in less than an hour!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Danish, Hungarian
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef roast (or stew meat) cubed
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 onion peeled, cut into pieces
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika (regular paprika can be used also)
  • 6 carrots peeled, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1-2 teaspoons browning sauce (optional, or to taste)

Instructions

  • Sprinkle beef with salt and set aside. Set Instant Pot to "saute" function. Add oil. When oil is hot, add beef. Turn beef every 15-20 seconds or so until all sides are browned. 
    You may want to do this in batches to avoid overcrowding.
    Beef pieces being seared in an Instant Pot to make goulash
  • Add onions and sauté for another minute. 
    Beef and onions in an Instant Pot for Hungarian goulash
  • Deglaze the pot with beef broth, scraping up any browned bits that may be stuck on the bottom. Add soup mix and paprika. Stir to combine.  
    Beef, onions, and seasoning in an Instant Pot to make goulash
  • Place lid on Instant Pot, turn to close, and set tab to "sealing". Press "meat/stew" setting (or high pressure for 20 minutes). Allow to naturally release for 8-10 minutes before switching tab to "venting".
    Allow Instant Pot to release pressure and remove lid.
    Add carrots.
    An Instant pot with beef, carrots, onion, and broth
  • Place lid back on the Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes and quick release.
    Allow Instant Pot to release pressure and remove lid. Press "saute" function.
    Broth, carrots, beef, and onion in an Instant Pot
  • Combine cornstarch and water, creating a "slurry".
    cornstarch and water mixed in a liquid measuring cup to make a slurry for thickening
  • Slowly add to the Instant Pot, stirring constantly until thickened (you want a gravy consistency). Stir in 1 tablespoon "browning" sauce for color.
    A spoon holding tender, cooked beef chunks in a large pot
  • Serve with egg noodles or mashed potatoes.
    Instant pot beef goulash with noodles on a plate made Hungarian style

Notes

Instant Pot Note: We use a 6-quart Instant Pot brand pressure cooker that we bought in 2016. Different or newer versions may be more sensitive to the “BURN” notice. If you are concerned about the burn notice, please refer to the Instant Pot webpage about Overheat Protection, found HERE.
  • Goulash can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top on low heat until heated through.
  • If you are wanting to make this into a freezer meal, leave the carrots out of the recipe and freeze after cooking for 2-5 months.
  • Thaw the goulash overnight in the refrigerator before re-heating in a saucepan on the stove. Cook carrots separately and add before eating

Nutrition Information

Calories: 315kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 24gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 1346mgPotassium: 640mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 7905IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 3.1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her beautiful three girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    In your instructions You should include “Deglaze pot” when sautéing is complete.
    Not only will it add flavor, it will prevent a possible BURN notice with an accompanying failure to pressurize. I would Deglaze between steps 4 and 5, using some of the broth from step 5.
    Red wine or a little dark beer would also work, if you just happen to have some handy! Always remember: “Alcohol Consumed While Cooking Does Not Count!”

    Experienced IP will know to deglaze. Newcomers to IP cooking may not.

  2. 5 stars
    Made your Danish Goulash in my pressure cooker tonight and my husband and I loved it!! I used Kitchen Bouquet instead of soy sauce and it gave it that rich dark color without adding any flavor. This recipe is definitely a keeper!!
    Thank You.

  3. 5 stars
    I cooked this tonight in instant pot. It was delicious. I had it over brown rice. Oh so good. Glad I tried it. Definitely will make again.

  4. This is not Goulash. Goulash is Hungarian not Danish. Secondly it does not contain any Paprika which is an absolutely essential ingredient in Goulash.

    1. Hi John- you are absolutely right. It definitely needs paprika. I will add it to the recipe. I do know that Goulash does not originate in Denmark but that is the only style we are familiar with. Thanks for your comment!

      1. 5 stars
        I use “Pride of Szeged” sweet Hungarian paprika. It is widely available, but any genuine Hungarian paprika is a very important part of goulash to me!

    2. I do not understand why recipes are labeled “goulash” when they have nothing to do with this dish. They should be called a stew. Just because a recipe contains paprika, it is no a goulash. Calling a dish with ground beef is an insult to the wonderful versions of Hungarian Gulyash, Hungarian Porkolt, and German Gulaschsuppe.

    1. haha maybe it does has more Hungarian origin. My husband has only been to Denmark so that is all he knows. Would love some tips to making it more authentic if you have them!

  5. 5 stars
    hello, I am subscribed for a while now, I would love to make a beef goulash or stew with no onions no msg no sauces or marination, no nutmeg or soy no thyme no chicken anything I am severely deathly allergic to these ingredients. Is there a way I can make it without these other things. I would like be a stew like this I am so limited it is really sad. Your stew looks Delicious and Love mashed potatoes!. Thank you Ginger Carco

    1. I think you could just season with salt and pepper? What do you mean by “marination”? You shouldn’t have to marinate with this recipe anyway so you should be good. I think just leaving out the onions and getting organic seasons should do the trick. Hope this helps! Sorry your all these allergies are so limiting. Hopefully you will be able to enjoy this recipe!