Hungarian Goulash is one of those meals that will make you wonder why you’ve never made it before! This easy Instant Pot stew is super flavorful and hearty meal with yellow potatoes, onions, and sweet Hungarian paprika. Served over wide egg noodles, it’s an easy recipe for a cold night in that the entire family will love.
Comfort food is my favorite food, and it doesn’t get easier than Instant Pot goulash! I love a one-pot meal, especially when I’m cleaning up only just a few dishes.
This filling main dish is as hearty as my tamale pie, so you know it will fill up even the pickiest eaters. Just brown the meat in the oven and let your electric pressure cooker do the rest!
What is Goulash?
Hungarian Goulash sounds intimidating and a little strange, but it’s one of the best cozy winter dishes!
Traditionally, goulash is a Hungarian soup from the 9th century that’s popular in Central Europe. It’s even a national dish of Hungary!
While early versions of this recipe did not include Hungarian sweet paprika — it didn’t even exist until the 16th century in Europe — it’s a staple in most recipe versions since.
Beef is the most popular goulash protein but these days, some goulash recipes use pork and even lamb!
This is a basic shopping list for the best Hungarian goulash recipe, but the full list of ingredients is in the recipe card below so be sure to keep scrolling down to check it out!
- Stew meat
- All-purpose flour
- Canola oil or olive oil
- Dried oregano
- Smoked paprika
- Sweet Hungarian paprika
- Tomato paste
- Beef broth or beef stock
- Yukon gold potatoes
- Kosher salt and black pepper
How to Make Goulash
Here are are the basic steps to make this easy Instant Pot beef goulash recipe. You’ll find the full set of Instructions in the recipe card below so keep scrolling down until you get there!
STEP 1: First, season some flour with salt and pepper in a large casserole dish. Then, dust the beef cubes with the flour mixture and place the beef on a large baking sheet. You’ll need 2 baking sheets for this recipe.
STEP 2: Drizzle the meat with canola oil or olive oil and roast the meat in a hot oven.
STEP 3: Add a little more oil to the preheated Instant Pot and stir in the oregano, smoked paprika, and Hungarian sweet paprika with a wooden spoon.
Quickly add the tomato paste and keep stirring until the tomato paste coats the aromatics. After about a minute, whisk in some of the beef broth. Make sure to get all the browned bits off the bottom of the pot!
STEP 4: Now, add the beef and all of the juices and browned bits from the baking sheets to the pot along with the onions, potatoes, the remaining beef broth, and a good pinch of salt and black pepper.
STEP 5: Finally, close the Instant Pot, seal the pressure valve, and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes. When the timer goes off, let it naturally release until the pressure valve pin drops.
PRO TIP: The quick release valve is used for faster cooked meals, like honey garlic chicken, that you don’t want to overcook while the pressure releases from the Instant Pot.
Slow cooked meats, like in this Instant Pot goulash recipe, benefit from a natural release because the meat has time to continue to cook through and soak up the juices while the high pressure releases. This helps to keep the meat extra tender!
Why Cook the Meat in the Oven?
For Instant Pot recipes that call for large amounts of beef cubes, like this recipe does, it is much faster to roast the meat on large baking sheets in the oven.
Frying batch after batch of floured beef cubes in an electric pressure cooker on the sauté setting with such a small cooking surface area is tedious and time-consuming.
My method is also WAY less messy, as you avoid dealing with all the splattering excess grease that comes with frying meat in oil.
You’ll still have plenty of meat juices and browned bits (flavor!!) left on the baking sheets after the meat is browned in the oven. And you’ll transfer all of that flavorful goodness with the meat into the Instant Pot before you set it to cook the goulash.
What Is the Difference Between Stew and Goulash?
There are lots of different dishes that include meat, veggies, and a sauce in a bowl. But what’s the difference between goulash and stew?
A stew is any main dish with meat and vegetables in a thickened broth.
The difference between beef stew and beef goulash is that every goulash is a stew, but not every stew is a goulash! The traditional Hungarian goulash is a type of stew, specifically made with beef, peppers, and onions and seasoned with paprika and caraway. (This recipe skips the caraway.)
Is this American Goulash?
Hungarian beef goulash and American goulash are very different recipes.
The main ingredient differences between Hungarian and American goulash is that American goulash is made with lean ground beef (or sometimes ground turkey), tomatoes (tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste), a green pepper, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, elbow macaroni, and a combination of mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, and/or parmesan cheese.
To me, American goulash is kind of like an Italian version of homemade Hamburger Helper, where it’s made quickly on the stovetop. Hungarian goulash is traditionally slow-cooked (and now pressure-cooked) to ensure the meat cooks to perfectly fork-tender.
What to Serve with Goulash
While this isn’t a requirement, you’re going to love this Instant Pot goulash served over wide egg noodles. And rice works great in place of noodles, too!
I love a hearty beef stew served with plenty of bread. As a kid, we never had “fancy” bread like sourdough or crusty French bread in the house unless we were having spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.
On those nights, we ate Italian bread with sesame seeds on the crust. It was our standard “fancy” bread and I loved it so much!
So when we ate stew, there was always a plate of sandwich bread stacked up ready to be buttered and dipped into the stew gravy.
Your bread doesn’t need to be “fancy”; it just needs to be something you like to eat! And if you’re up for making your own non-fancy white bread, you’ll absolutely flip for this sandwich bread recipe.
If biscuits have always intimidated you, try these buttermilk drop biscuits! They’re super easy, perfect for little helpers, and are made for dipping with all of those craggy edges.
If you love a traditional cut biscuit, these cream biscuits have only 5 ingredients and need no rise time. You can really be eating beautiful homemade biscuits in less than half an hour!
In my opinion, crescent rolls will always be the perfect dinner bread. These homemade crescent rolls are fancy enough for dinner parties and holiday dinners, but easy enough for weeknight dinners, too!
More Comforting and Easy Instant Pot Recipes
The more I use my Instant Pot, the more comfortable I get in whipping up new recipes inspired by all kinds of cuisines. It really makes a basic weeknight dinner so much more fun!
My favorite Asian-inspired dish right now is this fast and delicious honey garlic chicken! It’s perfect over rice with its sticky soy, honey, and garlic sauce.
Mexican-inspired night is popular in my house. These Instant Pot chicken enchiladas are so easy and beyond fast!
I’m always making this Mexican shredded chicken in an Instant Pot because it goes in so many things from salads and soups to main dishes, too! It makes this cheesy 7-layer dip so easy to throw together.
Beef barbacoa is seriously one of my most favorite recipes to make in the Instant Pot. This semi-spicy shredded beef can be made into all kinds of meals like rice bowls, tacos, and burritos. It’s jam-packed with Mexican flavors and makes a lot of beef for extra meals or to stash in the freezer.
- 3 ½ lbs stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes (or chuck roast)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Canola oil
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 quart beef broth or stock
- 2 large onions, cut into wedges
- 2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in 2-inch cubes
- Preheat oven to 425° F. Mix 1 cup flour with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper in a large shallow bowl or casserole dish.
- Dust the beef cubes in the flour and place on 2 large baking sheets. Do not crowd the meat. Drizzle all of the meat with 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Roast for 15 minutes.
- Turn on the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and once the pot is heated, add 2 teaspoons of oil to the pot. Stir in the oregano and both paprikas with a wooden spoon until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Stir the tomato paste into the mixture and while mixing constantly with the wooden spoon, and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in 1 cup of broth and scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the browned meat, juices and browned bits from the baking sheets,, onions, potatoes, and good pinch of salt and pepper and stir until combined. Pour the remaining broth into the pot.
- Set the pot to Pressure HIGH for 35 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 20 to 25 minutes to pressurize, during which some steam will release - this is normal.
- Allow the Instant Pot to naturally release its pressure after the goulash is finished cooking. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the goulash over wide egg noodles or rice.
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