Old Fashioned Goulash

My grandma’s old fashioned goulash (we also interchangeably called it Johnny Marzetti, but it’s also known as American goulash or American Chop Suey) was one of the signature dishes of my childhood.

There’s just something so warm and comforting about a big bowl of grandma’s old fashioned goulash with some melty cheddar cheese on top. Honestly, I could eat the stuff every day and never get tired of it!

Old Fashioned Goulash Recipe | Easy Goulash | Johnny Marzetti | Easy Dinner Recipe | Easy Family Meal Idea #Goulash #JohnnyMarzetti

Old Fashioned Goulash Recipe

Unfortunately, I don’t have my grandma’s old fashioned goulash recipe and she sadly passed away a couple years ago. Boy, do I miss my grandma!

I had to do a little experimenting in the kitchen to get the recipe tasting the way I remember it as a child.

It’s all about coming up with just the right combination of red sauce, spices, pasta and ground beef to make the perfect goulash. Luckily, this dish is pretty forgiving and leaves you plenty of room to tweak the recipe to your own personal preferences.

Old Fashioned Goulash Recipe | Easy Goulash | Johnny Marzetti | Easy Dinner Recipe | Easy Family Meal Idea #Goulash #JohnnyMarzetti

This easy goulash recipe is also a big hit with the kids. My son and daughter are just as excited about having this goulash for dinner as my brother and I were on days when my grandma made it.

In other words, you simply can’t go wrong when you make this easy, old fashioned goulash for dinner. Trust me, your whole crew will love it!

Old Fashioned Goulash Recipe | Easy Goulash | Johnny Marzetti | Easy Dinner Recipe | Easy Family Meal Idea #Goulash #JohnnyMarzetti

This is also the type of recipe that tastes great as leftovers throughout the week. As a busy mom, it’s super important to me that my dinner recipes get plenty of miles. Being able to warm this goulash up on days two and three is such a timesaver.

Actually, I think this recipe tastes even better the second day. Isn’t it funny how that works? Am I the only one who prefers leftovers in some cases? :)

Old Fashioned Goulash Recipe | Easy Goulash | Johnny Marzetti | Easy Dinner Recipe | Easy Family Meal Idea #Goulash #JohnnyMarzetti

Be sure to watch our tutorial video below, and let me know in the comments if you love this recipe! Also, you definitely want to be following me on Instagram because I have some amazing recipes to share there this week!


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Old Fashioned Goulash

This old fashioned goulash (or Johnny Marzetti) is the perfect crowd-pleasing family dinner recipe!


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • Two 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • Two 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. In a Dutch oven, saute the ground beef over medium-high heat, until no pink remains. Break up meat while sauteing; spoon off any grease.
  2. Add the onions to the pot and saute until they are tender about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water and one cup beef broth, along with the tomato sauce, tomatoes, garlic, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings. Stir well. Place a lid on the pot and allow this to cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Add the elbow macaroni, stir well, return the lid to the pot and simmer until pasta is al dente, about 4-5 minutes. Pasta will cook a bit more when you remove from heat. IMPORTANT: be careful not to cook your pasta too long, mushy goulash is not good!
  4. Remove from heat, remove the bay leaves. Serve warm and top with shredded cheddar cheese.
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Old Fashioned Goulash Recipe | Easy Goulash | Johnny Marzetti | Easy Dinner Recipe | Easy Family Meal Idea #Goulash #JohnnyMarzetti

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  1. I made this last night for a church diner for 80 people. I took the original recipe and multiplied it up. I wanted something that I could finish in the oven to serve in bulk. I decreased the water by about half so it would set up. I cooked the macaroni for only about 4-5 minutes. So the macaroni was pretty soft in the final version, but everybody seemed to like it with some even coming back for seconds. So I classify this as a win!! The flavor was spot on.

    Rating: 5
  2. Do not have a Dutch Oven…does that make a difference?

  3. My father made this for us growing up. I made it tonight and added mushrooms and green pepper! One of my favorites!

    Rating: 5
  4. I will be trying this as suggested on how to prepare but I was wondering would you have how to cook this in a slow cooker or instapot.

    • Hi Donald, I don’t have a slow cooker or Instant pot version, but, that’s a great idea. I’ll probably be working on an Instant Pot version soon! :)

  5. I’m making this tonight 2-11-18

  6. Add green lima beans and corn to this! Gives it much more flavor! I also like soup crackers with it! Yummy!

    Rating: 5
  7. Sooo ver good ❤️🍴🍴🍴🍴Real comfort food 

    Rating: 5
  8. Great recipe. I’d suggest 4-5 minutes for the pasta since it’s going to continue cooking after removing from heat.

    Rating: 3
  9. I don’t care what you call it, my family and I call it amazing! Cut the recipe in half and added a can of corn. I also used gluten free elbow noodles. So good!!

    Rating: 4
  10. I told you I was coming for this recipe!  ❤️ I can’t wait to try it! xoxo 

  11. We’ve always called red hotdish or (catholic) funeral hotdish, in our family. My grandma, and now so on down the lines in the families make the sauce & noodles seperate and then mix it together. We also add corn. I have tried your receipe as well and it is also very yummy, but you are correct, you do need to be careful not to overcook your noodles. I agree, this is better the next day, this is true comfort food!

    Rating: 5
  12. I LUV leftovers. I think its because when it has time to sit the flavor intensifies through it. Longer it site = more flavor. I find that with a lot of dishes I have leftovers with. It seems to taste even better the 2nd or 3rd day. With weekdays SO hectic, not getting home till late & having to make a big meal on top of that. I just can’t do it any more. So I spend my weekend(either Sat or Sun) cooking a big meal & make sure to make extra so I have leftovers for a few nights during the week. That way I know my family is getting nutritious meals throughout the week, instead of getting fast food or having something like hot dogs. I’m not as fond of cooking big meals in the summer when its hot & we can make something quick on the grill. But as soon as fall comes then I start cooking on the weekends. Some times I’ll still make bigger meals on the weekends in the summer but not all the time like in the fall, winter & spring.

  13. This looks so good! It would really warm my family on a cold, snowy day!

    Rating: 5
  14. ;) forgot to rate it sounds and looks good

    Rating: 5
  15. I will be trying it:) I loved my grandma’s goulash ..good ole days

  16. This looks perfect for a cold winter day!

  17. I haven’t had this for years and I will be using this recipe!

    Rating: 5

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