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Slow Cooker Hungarian Beef Goulash

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Slow Cooker Hungarian Beef Goulash is packed with chunks of tender beef and plenty of peppers.

Simmered to perfection in a rich tomato based sauce infused with paprika, it’s the perfect beef stew for a cold winter’s day.

This my take on a Hungarian goulash. I’ve used passata (instead of a couple of tomatoes) and beef stock to give a lovely thick stew. Traditionally goulash is more of a soup consistency.

A plate of noodles with paprika beef stew and peppers. Topped with a dollop of sour cream and fresh parsley.

This beef goulash is an easy recipe which starts with minimal prep before handing over to slow cooking. The slow cooker transforms brisket or chuck steak into melt in the mouth beef. Definitely a delicious family meal which is easy on the pocket.


I like to add the peppers once the meat is soft and tender so the peppers better keep their shape. For me, I find if the peppers are stirred in when I get home, the timing is just right. It means I’ve time for a cuppa and getting the rest of the meal ready. That said, if you’ll be pushed for time at the end of cooking, include the peppers at the beginning.

A slow cooker filled with paprika stew with red peppers being stirred in.

Serve with noodles and a dollop of sour cream. Or maybe try a big bowl of creamy mashed potatoes or crusty bread rolls ?

We love a stew here at the Kitchen Shed, from humble stew and dumplings, Guernsey Bean Jar or a vegan bean cassoulet. All cooked in the slow cooker. Slow cooked Hungarian Beef Goulash with its thick tomato and paprika sauce served with buttery noodles and sour cream is definitely a winner.

A plate of noodles with paprika beef stew and peppers. Topped with a dollop of sour cream and fresh parsley.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Here’s why this is the Best Slow Cooker Hungarian Beef Goulash

  • Budget friendly – beef stock, passata and aromatic spice transform stewing steak into a rich and satisfying stew. It’s an easy crowd pleasing recipe for a midweek meal or impressive enough to serve for a special occasion. Using a slow cooker instead of the oven or hob makes it easy on the pocket too.
  • Easy to make – 10 minutes prep and you can leave the slow cooker to do its magic.
  • Freezer friendly – it’s easy to store in portion sized containers. All you have to do is thaw and reheat ensuring a tasty and convenient meal is always at hand.

What equipment do I need ?

  • 4 to 6 person slow cooker – I used my 4.7 litre Crock Pot. Use a Dutch Oven or oven friendly casserole dish. if you’re cooking in the oven.

What Ingredients Do I Need ?

A few staple ingredients and diced beef and peppers deliver the most deliciously irresistible Slow Cooker Hungarian Beef Goulash.

Beef stock pot, cider vinegar, paprika, tomato puree, passata, plain flour, peppers, onions, oil, seasonings and herbs around a bowl of beef chunks.
  • Diced beef – I’ve used brisket seasoned with salt and pepper and dredged with flour but you don’t have to use brisket. Alternatively, chuck steak or beef labelled as stewing or braising transforms into tender chunks of fall apart meat too.
  • Plain flour seasoned with salt and pepper – to coat the beef and thicken the stew.
  • Onions – I used sliced brown onions.
  • Paprika – I use a mix of paprika and smoked paprika. When I have it in the pantry, I use one tablespoon of Hungarian sweet smoked paprika. If you can’t get Hungarian sweet smoked paprika, use 1/2 tablespoon of smoked paprika instead. Whichever smoked paprika you use, it’s worth it because of the extra depth of flavour it delivers to your goulash.
  • Tomato puree or if you’re in the US tomato paste.
  • Garlic – I used fresh crushed garlic.
  • Beef stock – I used a Knorr stock pot.
  • Passata – I like to use sieved tomatoes for a smooth thick sauce.
  • Bay leaves – used fresh or dried.
  • Bell peppers – I used red but you can use a mix of red and green if you prefer.
  • Cider vinegar – added towards the end of cooking will balance the acid in the tomatoes.

How To Make Slow Cooker Hungarian Beef Goulash

Making Beef Goulash in your Crock Pot couldn’t be easier ! Just a couple of simple steps before adding to the slow cooker. For full details see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

Seasoning added to flour, beef tossed in it and then being browned in a pan before adding to the slow cooker.
  • Brisket chunks are tossed in a seasoned flour mix and browned. This is best done in batches as overcrowding the pan will steam the beef instead of browning. The lovely pieces of flour crusted beef cook with the sauce to deliver a wonderful flavour.
Onions frying in a pan with garlic, paprika and stock being poured on them.
  • Onions are fried until soft before adding crushed garlic, tomato puree and paprikas for a minute or so. Stock and passata are warmed through with the onion mix before everything is poured over the beef in the slow cooker.
  • Add the bay leaves and after a good stir, your meal is cooked on low for six to eight hours.
  • Peppers and cider vinegar are added once the meat is soft and tender. The peppers keep their shape and texture much better this way. However, you can include the peppers with all the other ingredients at the beginning.
A slow cooker filled with paprika stew with red peppers being stirred in.

Recipe FAQs

What can I serve with Slow Cooker Beef Goulash ?

Serve with sour cream and noodles or pasta. Beef Goulash is also tasty with rice or creamy mashed potatoes or chunks of crusty bread.

Can I cook Slow Cooker Goulash in the Oven ?

Yes, you can! But you will need more stock and passata. This is because liquid evaporates more in an oven than in a slow cooker. For oven cooking use 600ml passata and 250 ml beef stock.
Cook in a cast iron casserole or flameproof casserole and cook at 160C for 3 hours. Add peppers and cider vinegar before cooking for a further 30 minutes.

Can I store it ?

Yes. Once cooled the stew can be kept in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 4 days.
Reheat in a pan on the stovetop for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

A plate of noodles with paprika beef stew and peppers. Topped with a dollop of sour cream and fresh parsley.

Can I freeze it?

Yes. Cook the goulash, then cool, cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat on the stovetop for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

More Hearty Slow Cooker Meals……

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Slow Cooker Hungarian Beef Goulash on a plate with noodles, onions in a pan with garlic and tomato puree and beef chunks.

This recipe was first published in November 2016. Updated on 6 February 2024 with new instruction photos and recipe tips.

Slow Cooker Hungarian Beef Goulash on a plate with noodles and sour cream.

Slow Cooker Hungarian Beef Goulash

Slow Cooker Hungarian Beef Goulash is packed with chunks of tender beef and plenty of peppers. Simmered to perfection in a rich tomato based sauce infused with paprika, it’s the perfect beef stew for a cold winter’s day.
5 from 67 votes
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Course: Main
Cuisine: Hungarian Style
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 382kcal
Author: Sarah James

Equipment

  • Slow Cooker 4 to 6 person I used my 4.7 litre Crockpot

Ingredients

  • 1 kg beef brisket or chuck steak cut into large chunks
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika Hungarian if possible.
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons rapeseed / Canola oil
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree / paste
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 125 ml beef stock
  • 400 ml passata / sieved tomatoes
  • 3 red peppers sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Instructions

  • Lightly grease the inside of your slow cooker with oil or cooking spray and turn your slow cooker on high.
  • Add salt and pepper to your flour and coat the beef chunks before setting to one side.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat. Add the paprika floured beef chunks to your frying pan and brown well before transferring them to the slow cooker.
  • Add a little more oil to your frying pan and soften the onion before adding the tomato puree, crushed garlic and paprika.
  • Pour the passata and stock to onion mix and warm through before transferring to the slow cooker.
  • Stir well and add the bay leaves and leave to cook with the lid on for 6 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 6 hours on high.
  • Add the sliced red peppers and cider vinegar and stir and cook on high for 1 to 1½ hours with the lid on.
  • Serve with soured cream and chopped fresh parsley with buttered noodles or a big bowl of creamy mashed potato.

Notes

  • Once cooled the stew can be kept in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat in a pan on the stovetop on a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Goulash freezes well, keep in a sealed container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • For oven cooking use 600ml passata and 250 ml beef stock.
    Cook in a cast iron casserole or flameproof casserole and cook at 160C for 3 hours. Add peppers and cider vinegar before cooking for a further 30 minutes.
  • Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
Calories: 382kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 380mg | Potassium: 1148mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2422IU | Vitamin C: 88mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 6mg

I’m entering Slow Cooker Beef Brisket Goulash into a couple of food challenges this month:

Recipe Rating




Slow Cooked Challenge Roundup January 2017 - BakingQueen74

Monday 16th of November 2020

[…] from Tales from the Kitchen Shed contributed her Slow cooker beef brisket goulash recipe. This looks so rich and full of flavour, I will definitely be serving it to my family […]

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Thursday 12th of November 2020

[…] Slow Cooker Beef Brisket Goulash […]

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Thursday 29th of October 2020

[…] Slow Cooker Beef Brisket Goulash […]

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket - BakingQueen74

Monday 29th of June 2020

[…] Beef brisket goulash […]

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Friday 10th of March 2017

[…] The hosts for this week are Sarah James @ Tales From the Kitchen Shed who has recently posted a slow-cooker beef goulash that looks quite tasty, and Liz @ Spades, Spatulas, and Spoons who’s lamb tagine is right up […]