Recipe: Goulash Soup

Recipe: Goulash Soup
This tomato-based soup is filled with browned ground beef, whole-kernel corn, onions, garlic and tender elbow macaroni. (Stacey Little/Southern Bite)

Certain dishes are just nostalgic. One bite and they immediately take you back to a specific place and time. Goulash is one of those dishes for me. A spoonful transports me back to my mom’s kitchen with blue formica countertops. I can almost feel my legs swinging under me as I belly up to the oak dining table stained with faded traces of paints and inks from various school and craft projects. Dad refinished the table at some point, but one end still bears the lightened spot where I spilled some nail polish remover when trying to get a price tag off of something one time.

You know, kitchen tables can tell us a lot about our families. The well-worn, imperfect ones have the most to share.

As the cooler weather comes, we turn to hearty, stick-to-your ribs soups and stews to fill our bellies and perhaps provide a little comfort. So, turning my mom’s traditional American goulash recipe into a hearty soup seemed like the perfect idea.

This tomato-based soup is filled with browned ground beef, whole-kernel corn, onions, garlic and tender elbow macaroni.

There is tons of tomato flavor in this dish because I use diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. And since it’s the primary flavor, I recommend you use the good stuff. Red Gold Tomatoes are steam-packed fresh to preserve the true tomato taste. They don’t have the “can” taste you can find in other canned tomatoes. So they are perfect for this dish.

Another thing that I just love about this recipe: It’s an easy and affordable way to feed a big family. I got 4 1/2 quarts out of this recipe, so it’s great if you’ve got lots of hungry mouths to feed.

And like so many tomato-based dishes, this recipe is even better the next day. So it’s perfect for leftovers and freezes pretty well, too. Just be aware that the pasta can get mushy when it’s been frozen, but the flavor is still amazing.

Mom always topped her goulash with shredded cheddar cheese, so that’s an important part of the flavor to me.  That’s why I add it to this soup as well. But you can certainly leave it off if you’d like.

Corn has always been a part of Mom’s goulash, but I don’t often find it in other recipes. I love the little pop of sweetness it gives each bite. That said, you can use it, swap it for another favorite veggie or leave it out completely.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese for more flavor. (Stacey Little/Southern Bite)

Regardless, I know you and your family are going to love this hearty, rich take on a classic. Y’all enjoy.

Goulash Soup

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves: 12


  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (29-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (15.25-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • shredded cheddar cheese for topping (optional)


  1. In a large stock pot, cook the ground beef with the onions over medium heat until it is brown and cooked through. Drain the excess grease and return the ground beef and onions to the pot over the heat.
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  3. Add the beef broth and stir to combine.
  4. Add the undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and drained corn, and mix well.
  5. Add the Worcestershire sauce, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  6. Bring a boil. Add the macaroni and stir well. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 10 minutes or until the macaroni is tender to your liking. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
  7. Serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.

This recipe originally appeared on For more great recipes, visit the website or check out ”The Southern Bite Cookbook.”

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