Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian goulash is a hearty stew with a bright flavorful paprika broth.  It’s a high-protein stew packed with fork-tender chunks of beef along with some carrot and potatoes.  Goulash (Hungarian: Gulyas) is a soup/stew recipe that is all about the meat and vegetables commonly eaten in Eastern & Central Europe.  The rich paprika broth is comforting and warming which makes it the perfect dinner to make when the temperature gets cold outside.  So grab your slow cooker and make this easy recipe for tasty Hungarian goulash and find out why people love it. 

This slow cooker recipe for traditional Hungarian goulash is a quick and easy homemade recipe that you will want to make all the time. Do not add macaroni or other pasta to it, enjoy this time-honored recipe that originated in Hungary for what it is, a true meat-lovers goulash. It is a medley of tender beef roast cut into chunks & simple vegetables.  Classic goulash does not have pasta, macaroni, or ground beef, that’s an American version. For a comforting taste of Eastern Europe, enjoy this beef goulash recipe that is so easy to make thanks to your Crock-Pot.  This comforting homemade beef stew recipe is gluten-free, grain-free, low-carb, and paleo-friendly.  

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Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash PN1 bowl filled ready to eat with crackers spoon napkin


Ingredients for Classic Hungarian Goulash

The key to a really good goulash is to make sure you are using quality ingredients. Since this is a simple meal, the flavors come from the basic ingredients and the freshness of the main ingredients.  For a really tasty goulash, be sure to use good-quality beef.  You can buy stew meat as I did or you can cut up a chuck roast, whichever you prefer or have access to.  I use Butcher Box so this month I ordered two packages of their grass-fed beef stew meat. 

You also want to use fresh produce and this recipe calls for onion, carrots, and potatoes to make Hungarian goulash. You can use fresh tomatoes as well but I find the juice is important for the broth so I like to use canned. Plus fresh tomatoes are not very good quality here in the winter and that is when I tend to make this stew.  But if you choose to use fresh tomatoes be sure to include any juices that run on the cutting board when you dice them up.  For that deep rich broth, a lot of paprika is needed for goulash. I happen to have fantastic sweet and spicy paprika from Hungary in these cute little tins.  


Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash ingredients



How to Make Goulash in the Slow Cooker

Once you have all the ingredients for the goulash, begin prepping the little bit you need to do for this easy slow cooker recipe. It is almost a dump-and-go recipe since there is very little to cut.  Plus there is no need to sear or brown the meat beforehand when making this CrockPot goulash.   Everything just goes into the slow cooker insert and the magic happens over the hours of cooking for tender meat and soft vegetables.

Cutting the Beef & Vegetables

In making slow cooker Hungarian goulash, begin by prepping & cutting the meat and vegetables.  The key to cutting each ingredient is to make them relatively the same size so they cook evenly. I purchased stew meat that was already cut so I just made sure they were all similar in size and only had a few larger chunks to cut in half.   Next, peel the potatoes and cut them into bite-sized chunks.  Do the same with the carrots.  You can peel or leave the skin on the carrots.  I leave the peels on the carrots in stews since it becomes soft and tender plus most of the Vitamin C and niacin in carrots is in the peels.   Dice up your onion also. 

Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash cutting board with diced vegetables


Add Ingredients to the Slow Cooker

Once everything is cut, you can begin adding the ingredients to the CrockPot.  For the goulash, add the cut chuck roast to the bottom of the insert. Next, add the garlic, bay leaf, & sprinkle on the seasonings.


Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash meat in the CrockPot and adding the paprika

Once all the meat and seasonings are in, top it with the cut-up onion, carrots, & potatoes.  Notice how they are all relatively the same size. This helps all ingredients to cook evenly and be ready to eat at the same time. There is nothing worse than having a spoonful of stew but some of the potatoes are still hard but the rest is cooked.  


Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash vegetables added to the CrockPot


For the final items, add in the canned tomatoes, including the juice, and the beef broth. Stir everything to combine in the slow cooker.  Now you are ready to put the lid on and set it to cook. I can cook on low or high, it depends on how many hours until you are ready to eat.


Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash tomatoes and broth being added


How Long to Cook Goulash in a CrockPot

Goulash in the slow cooker can be ready in as fast as 4 hours. It can also cook even longer if you need it to such as if you are gone for your workday and will not be eating for hours. Depending on your day, please set the slow cooker accordingly with the right setting and time.  It can stay on warm for a few hours even if your slow cooker has that setting.  It will remain lovely and not dry out or overcook. This goulash recipe is great for making when you will be gone up to 12 hours and need to get dinner into the CrockPot. 

Set the slow cooker to cook the goulash to either heat temperature setting & hour combo:

  • HIGH for 4 hours
  • LOW for 8-10 hours

 How to Tell if Goulash is Done Cooking

When it is done, the meat will be tender and almost fall apart if you were to use a spoon on it. The potatoes and carrots will be soft and the broth will be a rich red color.  At this time it is done cooking.  You can now remove the bay leaf. You may choose to skim some of the fat off the goulash but I do not. Give the Hungarian goulash a stir and ladle it into serving bowls.  To serve, top with any optional ingredients. Fresh parsley is great and so is a dollop of sour cream to stir into the stew. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash ready in the CrockPot


What to Serve with Hungarian Goulash 

Here are some great recipes to serve and eat along with goulash. All these recipe ideas for sides, salads, and fresh-baked types of bread go well with goulash for dinner. These tasty recipes to serve with goulash include keto, low-carb, gluten-free, healthy, and paleo sides.  

Broccoli Apple Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing (no mayo)
This healthy broccoli salad with carrots, raisins, apples, and cheese is amazing. The creamy greek yogurt dressing is low-fat and made without mayo. It is tangy, crisp, fresh, and sweet in every bite. It holds up great for potlucks and barbecues. It is even great as a leftover, unlike other salads.
Check out this recipe
Broccoli Apple Salad with Greek Yogurt Dressing (no mayo) overhead featured
Butternut Squash, Apple, and Kale Salad with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
Butternut squash and kale make the perfect Fall salad. The crunchy pecans, crisp apples, sweet raisins, and roasted butternut squash make the most amazing Autumn harvest salad recipe.
Check out this recipe
Butternut Squash, Apple, and Kale Salad with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
Easy Homemade Soft Dinner Rolls
The best soft homemade dinner rolls baked using yeast are easy to make. These rolls are delicious and enjoyed best when warm straight out of the oven.
Check out this recipe
Freshly baked easy homemade soft dinner rolls
Keto Cornbread Chaffles
Cornbread chaffles made with almond flour are the best Mini Dash keto waffle recipe. A savory low-carb & gluten-free side for chili, soup, or salad.
Check out this recipe
Keto Cornbread Chaffles featured 3 fanned chaffles on the left and right is a partial bowl of chili w parsley
Ciabatta Bread
Homemade rustic Italian bread has a crispy crust and a tender chewy inside.
Check out this recipe
Ciabatta featured
Instant Pot Steamed Broccoli
Instant pot steamed broccoli is a healthy and easy recipe that comes out perfect every time. In just a few minutes fresh broccoli is cooked and ready to enjoy.  This method works in any electric pressure cooker with or without a steamer basket and results in fresh steamed broccoli that is not mushy. 
Check out this recipe
Steamed Broccoli featured in instant pot overhead shot
Amazing Roasted Green Beans with Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning
These delicious but easy green beans will be a family favorite. The nutty sesame seasoning that includes garlic and onion adds so much flavor.
Check out this recipe
Amazing roasted green beans with everything but the bagel seasoning featured


How to Store, Freeze, & Reheat Goulash

Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash overhead view of a bowl filled and ready to eat plus crackers spoon and red napkin





Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash PIN



Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash PINREDO overhead of a bowl full and a spoon to the side



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Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash recipe card bowl crackers spoon and red napkin

Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash

This traditional Hungarian goulash is a hearty stew with a bright flavorful paprika broth. Classic goulash is packed with tender beef & vegetables, no pasta or macaroni in this one. Enjoy this comforting Eastern European recipe that is so easy to make thanks to your Crock-Pot
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine European, Hungarian
Servings 8


  • Slow Cooker


  • 2 pounds beef stew meat chuck roast cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 cups beef broth or 2 bouillon cubes & 2 cups of water
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 Tablespoons sweet paprika see notes above for a spicy version
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ cups carrots diced
  • 2 cups russet potatoes peeled & diced
  • fresh minced parsley OPTIONAL - for topping
  • sour cream OPTIONAL - to stir into goulash when serving


  • Begin by prepping & cutting the meat and vegetables.
  • To the slow cooker insert, add the meat, garlic, & seasonings.
  • Next, top the meat with the cut-up onion, carrots, & potatoes.
  • For the final items, add in the canned tomatoes, including the juice, and the beef broth.
  • Stir everything to combine in the slow cooker.
    Set the slow cooker to high for 4 hours or low for 8-10 hours.
  • When done cooking, remove the bay leaf. Ladle into serving bowls and top with any optional ingredients. Fresh parsley is great and so is a dollop of sour cream to stir into the stew.
  • Serve immediately. Enjoy.


Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving  
Calories 705
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24.7g 32%
Saturated Fat 8.2g 41%
Cholesterol 300mg 100%
Sodium 828mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 12.6g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 3.4g  
Protein 102.8g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 107mg 8%
Iron 12mg 67%
Potassium 356mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Keyword beef, comfort food, crock pot, Eastern European, easy, gluten-free, grain-free, Hungarian, international, low carb, paleo, slow cooker, soup, stew, vegetables

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