Hungarian Goulash Soup recipe

hungarian goulash soup

 🍴  Servings: 8

🥣 Category: Soup

💪 Difficulty Level: 4/5 

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How to cook traditional Hungarian goulash soup? We show you the most famous Hungarian dish!

The unique Hungarian dish goulash soup is well-known throughout the world and a staple in both domestic and international cuisine. Similar to how the Puli dog breed is associated with Hungary, it has evolved into a true national emblem.

The history of the Goulash Soup

It is unquestionably a traditional Hungarian dish. They might have started cooking it in the 800s or 900s. Its name (“Gulyás”: cowherd) indicates that it was once a staple diet for shepherds. The profession’s name dates back about a thousand years, but the typical dish bearing their name was developed much later. The shepherds, who lived a long way from any settlements, had almost only one cooking tool at their disposal: a metal kettle. They came with bread, bacon, and spices, and there was enough meat to make a fantastic soupy ragout. 

Goulash soup was becoming more popular

Through the cuisine of the villages, it spread throughout society in the second half of the 18th century. It was initially consumed and served in every Hungarian home, but soon it was also available through commercial catering. In a short period of time, it was also offered in cookbook offers.
Although the dish was first described in the first three decades of the 18th century, the term “goulash-meat” didn’t become common usage until 1787.

The Secret of Goulash Soup / Other Variations

“Goulash is a soupy dish made with plenty of juice, onions, peppers, diced potatoes, and a pinch of salt.” This is how famous restaurant and gastronomic author Károly Gundel modifies the definition of goulash. But, in this case, it is also true: everyone cooks goulash soup differently. and thinks his own is perfect.
Goulash soup can be made in a variety of ways, and each has its own fan base.
Using the basic recipe, it can be made not only from beef, but also from any other type of meat (poultry, mutton, game, and even mixed meat), as well as from stew. There are mushroom, green bean, and vegetable goulash soups available, as well as one made without meat “Fake Goulash soup”.


  • 4-5 onions
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 yellow wax pepper
  • 100 g of smoked bacon
  • 500 g of beef shank
  • 1 tbsp lard
  • 1/2 cup of dry red wine
  • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 4-5 medium potatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 tbsp of sweet paprika powder
  • salt, pepper, caraway, chili


  1. Heat the lard. Add the sliced smoked bacon and fry until crisp.
  2. Add finely chopped onion, salt and sauté until translucent and soft (about 15-20 minutes). Stir in minced garlic. Saute for another 3-4 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the paprika powder. Pour in a little water and stir well. Back on the stove!
  3. Add the cubed beef shank and sauté over medium heat until it turns white. Season with ground cumin and ground black pepper (chilli to taste).
  4. Pour in the red wine and tomato paste. Salt and cook until the meat is tender (about 2.5-3 hours). Stir occasionally and replace the water if necessary. Each time, add just only enough water to cover the meat.
  5. Add the diced potatoes, sliced carrots and 4 cups of water or broth. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Taste again, season with salt.
  6. Optional: prepare “csipetke” noodles. Pinch small pieces from the traditional pasta dough (knead 100 g flour with an egg and a pinch of salt) and cook them in the soup at the end.

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