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Hungarian Beef Goulash – Instant Pot

Hungarian Beef Goulash – Instant Pot

Hungarian Goulash Recipe in the Instant Pot

This is a simple recipe for a Hungarian beef goulash that you can make in the Instant Pot. Goulash is a meat and vegetable stew that originated in Hungary. Goulash is now eaten in many parts of the world. You may find it called gulyás, gulaš, guláš, or gulasz, depending on where you are.

Some people may even call it a soup, as the sauce is in fact quite watery. In this recipe, I do not thicken the sauce. 

It is one of Hungary’s national dishes and is traditionally seasoned with Hungarian paprika.

hungarian goulash

Real Hungarian Goulash

In 2017 we were lucky enough to visit Budapest in Hungary for a few days to experience the city and Hungarian food, both of which are just wonderful. The inspiration for this dish came from what we discovered in Budapest during our visit.

Click on the link at the end of this sentence if you wish to read more about our visit and what to do in Budapest

One of the sights in Budapest is Buda castle at the top of Buda hill with a wonderful view over the city. When we were there, we found this place:

hungarian food shack
Hungarian Food Shack at Buda Castle

This little hut resembles many of the food huts you see in the lovely Christmas markets around Europe, but this little one specialized in serving traditional Hungarian Goulash, amongst other things (like mulled wine, hot dogs etc).

It was lunchtime when we got there and the local goulash was something, of course, that we had to try.

This was one of the plates we ordered. It was absolutely fabulous. 

hungarian goulash
Real Hungarian Goulash

I think my recipe is pretty close to what we ate that day, both in content and in taste.

In some countries, you may find goulash served with dumplings. And sometimes it is made with pork, venison, boar or even mutton. There are many varieties than you can imagine.

In some places, like the USA for example, they even put noodles in their goulash, which I suppose is yet another way to eat pasta.

Using the Instant Pot to make Hungarian Goulash

This recipe, however, is a traditional Hungarian beef Goulash, just like the one we ate at Buda castle. The only difference is that we used the Instant Pot to make it.

receta goulash
Hungarian Beef Goulash – Instant Pot

The advantage of the Instant Pot is that it saves cooking time, as normally this would take several hours to slow cook to get the meat as tender as it needs to be.  The pressure cooker part of the Instant Pot just speeds this up hugely.

The Instant Pot makes it easier all round. I did however use a separate wok to fry the beef. This meant I could prepare and throw all the other ingredients into the Instant Pot while I was browning the beef. Easy peasy.

What makes a good Goulash?

A good goulash is defined by the paprika you use, the cut of beef and the vegetables you include. I have used a simple piece of lean chuck steak with bell peppers, carrots, onion, celery and potatoes. 

hungarian goulash instant pot

This dish traditionally uses Hungarian Paprika to spice it up. But in Hungary, there are many types of paprika that vary in strength and taste, so what you choose defines your dish.

You can make this dish as spicy as you wish, depending on how much paprika, and what type of paprika you use. You may be limited in what you can purchase locally.

It may be difficult for you to find real Hungarian paprika, although outside Hungary often a ‘sweet’ Hungarian paprika is normally available.

traditional goulash

I would say use whatever type of paprika you can get your hands on that will suit your taste profile.

But if you are not used to cooking with paprika, it is probably best to limit the amount of paprika you use during the cooking process. Then, if you taste the sauce after cooking and find it is not spicy enough, you can always add some more before serving up.

However, if it is already too spicy, it is difficult to change! You might then have to cool it down with some sour cream or crème fraîche. 

instant pot hungarian beef goulash

You can see from the photos that the sauce is quite thin. Do not worry, this is how it is meant to be. The potatoes will soak it up, and the bread is for what is left.

You may wish to serve the goulash with mashed potatoes instead. As always it is up to you! 

Finally, I hope you enjoy trying this recipe. If you do, please let me know how you get on in the comments section below!


How do you make the perfect Hungarian Goulash?

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traditional hungarian goulash

Hungarian Beef Goulash Instant Pot

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

This recipe for Hungarian beef goulash, made in the Instant Pot, is a healthy beef and vegetable stew that the whole family will enjoy.


  • 1 kg chuck steak
  • 3 tbsp seasoned flour
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil (for frying beef)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 shallot
  • 350g potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 200g carrots
  • 100g celery
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 150ml red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika powder
  • 2 tsp hot Hungarian paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 500ml beef stock (made with 2 Oxo cubes)
  • Freshly chopped parsley


  1. Chop the meat into 2 inch sized chunks. Season some flour with salt and pepper on a plate. Roll the beef in the seasoned flour until it is covered.
  2. Brown the beef pieces in batches in olive oil. You can do this in the Instant pot on saute setting (but I use my wok to do this so I can use the Instant Pot pan to saute the other ingredients as I prepare them).
  3. Prepare the vegetables: chop the peppers, onions and garlic and peel the potatoes and carrots. Depending on the size of the potatoes you can leave them whole or cut them a bit smaller. I like to keep them about 2 inches in diameter.
  4. Cut the carrots into coins. Clean and slice the celery.
  5. Saute the onion, garlic in the Instant Pot for about 3 minutes. Then remove from the heat and add the beef stock, canned tomato, bay leaves, red wine, tomato puree and the paprika. Mix well.
  6. When all the beef has been browned, add to the Instant pot and make sure it is covered by the liquid. Then cook on the meat stew setting (high pressure) for one hour.
  7. After the cooking time, turn the Instant Pot off and relieve the pressure using the quick-release valve, being careful not to burn yourself.
  8. Then add the potatoes, carrots, peppers and celery to the pot and cook for a further 10 minutes at high pressure. Relieve the pressure using the quick-release valve again and remove the bay leaves before serving. (The total times in the recipe reflect the time it takes for the Instant Pot to get up to pressure.)


Garnish with some freshly chopped parsley and serve with some crusty buttered bread to soak up the gravy.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 492Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 242mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 39g

This nutrition information was automatically calculated by Nutritionix, but may not be 100% accurate.

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