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Easy Hungarian Goulash Soup

This soup is similar to one made by my mother years ago. Brimming with potatoes, rutabagas, carrots and onions, it's a rich, flavorful meal in a bowl!—Julie Polakowski, West Allis, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 40 min. Cook: 2 hours
  • Makes
    15 servings (3-3/4 quarts)


  • 1-1/4 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 2 cups cubed peeled rutabagas
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 large sweet red pepper, chopped
  • Sour cream, optional


  • In a Dutch oven over medium heat, brown beef in 1 tablespoon oil. Remove beef; drain drippings. Heat remaining oil in the same pan; saute onions for 8-10 minutes over medium heat or until lightly browned. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  • Add the paprika, caraway, pepper, cayenne and salt if desired; cook and stir 1 minute. Return beef to pan. Add broth, potatoes, carrots and rutabagas; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours or until vegetables are tender and meat is almost tender.
  • Add tomatoes and red pepper; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 30-40 minutes or until meat is tender. Serve with sour cream if desired.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup (calculated without salt and sour cream): 132 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated fat), 25mg cholesterol, 274mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 4g fiber), 10g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 1/2 starch.

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  • tomtes
    Sep 26, 2015

    I'm kind of big on goulash soup. I lived in Germany for a year and a half as an Army Helicopter Pilot and my wife and I lived with real German people. Goulash Soup was a staple around our compound. Here's the thing. They are adaptable to anyone's particular taste. For me, I cannot live without celery in the recipe. I cook it along with the peppers and onions. In Germany, as in many other nations, you don't find salt and pepper on the table. What you do find is Maggi seasoning, which is similar to soy sauce but has no soy. In my opinion, it is essential in Goulash soup. Most respectable grocery stores have it and it is available on line. I also like a fair amount of carrots. I buy baby carrots, slice them and cook them in the microwave to insure that they become soft and have plenty of juice to offer. I like fresh tomatoes but that isn't important. What is important is that you dice the meat very small so it can absorb all of the great flavor and not be dry tasting in the middle. I just use very good stew meat. Oh, and chastise me if you will, but I like to add some MSG! Heck, I'm 68 years old and I doubt it will kill me.

  • richhew
    Jun 9, 2015

    After reading and you-tubing about 50 goulash soup recipes I selected this one as my basic recipe. Here are the changes I made to it based on my research. First, instead of browning the meat in chunks, I browned chuck steaks, let them rest and then cut them into cubes. This made plenty of fond in the pan, and assured some browning on each bite of beef. When the onions were beginning to brown, I added two tablespoons of tomato paste, This adds umami for a richer tasting broth. Paprika is the defining ingredient in goulash. Two teaspoons is only a suggestion--two TABLESPOONS of sweet Hungarian paprika is more in keeping with the recipes I researched, some using as much as half a cup. Two tablespoons give the soup its characteristic red color and authentic flavor. Instead of cooking the potatoes the whole time, I put them on for the last half hour of cooking so they wouldn't mush out. Instead of the red bell pepper, I used a yellow one, and added a Hungarian wax pepper.I serve this with rye caraway biscuits--Just your favorite biscuit recipe, but substitute 1/4 cup of the flour with rye flour and add 2 Tbsp. caraway seeds.This recipe was a major hit, and an inexpensive Washington Pinot Noir was a great pairing.A rustic blueberry galette finished us off.

  • kitzer
    Feb 29, 2012

    Sorry about the typos, but typing in a 4" x 5/8" space is too claustrophobic for me!!!

  • kitzer
    Feb 29, 2012

    I'm back!! This was a fantastic soup!! I should have added a lot more rutabagas!I made it with russet potatoes because that is what I had on hand. They did get a bit too done and started to fall apart, which compromised the broth, Next time however, I will adjust. I will use a red or a Yukon potato and NOT peel them! That will keep it more pulled together and not so much of a grainy consistancy to the broth.I also add more caraway and also some ground fennel seed.Next evenings repeats were served over wide egg noodles with some sour cream. Second day was almost better than the first because everything really came together nicely!!10 STARS!!Kitzer

  • kitzer
    Jan 5, 2012

    Thank you, Julie! And hello neighbor to my East. Rutabagas are in season!! It's hard to find recipes that include them. I am going to cut the amount of the soup down to my needs. I can smell this soup cooking right now! (On second thought, maybe 15 servings AREN'T too much for one person!!) I am sooo going to enjoy this soup!!