Instant Pot Beef Goulash

This easy beef goulash recipe has been in my family for at least 6 generations now. I finally sat down with my stepmom to measure out the ingredients and convert it into an Instant Pot recipe.

Beef goulash is perfect served over mashed potatoes for an easy weeknight comfort food dinner.

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Do you have any favorite family recipes? I’m talking ones that you love from your childhood, and every time you eat them again, you get transported right back there?

This is one of those recipes for me.

A heaping portion of mashed potatoes in a bowl with beef goulash poured over top, sprinkled with parsley.

My stepmom always joked that “Cajun” was her style of cooking. The joke being that she rarely cooked because she burned food more often than not.

And while she didn’t really cook a lot when I was a kid, there was ONE dish that she made that I always, always loved.

Beef goulash.

She served it over a big pile of mashed potatoes, and me and my stepsisters would gobble.it.up.

A heaping portion of mashed potatoes in a bowl with beef goulash poured over top, sprinkled with parsley.

The last time she came out from Wisconsin to visit me here in New York, I told her that we were going to make this recipe together so I could measure ingredients and write them down.

We actually did this together once before, but that was back in 2011 and I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable in the kitchen since then and wanted a re-do.

Up until that point, she had always said, “oh, you just throw a little of whatever you have on hand in there…” without many specifics.

And that just won’t do.

What can I say? I like being able to recreate recipes over and over again.

And I like sharing them here so you can make them in your own kitchen, too!

Overhead shot of an oval casserole dish full of creamy mashed potatoes sprinkled with chopped parsley.

A key part of any beef goulash dinner is to have mashed potatoes to use as a base that you ladle the goulash over.

I had made a batch of Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes a few days before she came to town (to serve with lamb shanks – recipe coming soon!!), so I had those in the fridge already.

You could use instant mashed potatoes from a box (my stepmom often did!), or ones that you make on the stovetop – you could even buy some pre-made mashed potatoes from the grocery store or a local restaurant.

Or if you have two Instant Pots, I’m soooo jealous you could make the potatoes in one pot and the goulash in another. They’re both so simple to make that it is TOTALLY feasible. Even on a weeknight!

A heaping portion of mashed potatoes in a bowl with beef goulash poured over top, sprinkled with parsley.

So I was all ready to try making this beef goulash on the stovetop, and she was telling me that you just keep adding water whenever the meat starts drying out. It has to cook for hours and hours so that the cheap cut of meat can get nice and tender.

So it dawned on me – why not convert this beef goulash recipe into one that I could make in my Instant Pot? Pressure cooking cuts the cook time down by a LOT, and since the pot is covered, I didn’t need to worry about the liquid evaporating too much.

I wanted to make sure that there was enough liquid in the pot without it being too much that you couldn’t safely do a quick release of the pressure.

I didn’t want to wait for the pressure to drop naturally. I wanted a quick, delicious, comfort food meal in a fraction of the time.

And I so nailed it!

A heaping portion of mashed potatoes in a bowl with beef goulash poured over top, sprinkled with parsley.

I have to say – this version of her great-great grandma’s recipe turned out FANTASTICALLY! It brought me right back to my middle school days, eating beef goulash in our kitchen in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Turns out this recipe may go back even farther than that – her mom only remembers it as far back as her great grandma. So now with my son, I’m bringing this to (at least) a 6th generation.

Though my 6-year-old is a serious mashed potato hater and won’t touch them these days, but hopefully that will change soon.

What are some of your favorite childhood dishes? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!

Looking for more comfort food recipes? Check out some of our favorites:

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A heaping portion of mashed potatoes in a bowl with beef goulash poured over top, sprinkled with parsley.

Instant Pot Beef Goulash

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: about 10 servings
  • Category: Beef, Comfort Food
  • Method: Instant Pot

Description

This easy beef goulash recipe has been in my family for at least 6 generations now. I finally sat down with my stepmom to measure out the ingredients and convert it into an Instant Pot recipe. Perfect served over mashed potatoes for an easy weeknight comfort food dinner.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds beef stew meat or rump roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 teaspoons Mrs. Dash Original Blend (or other salt-free seasoning)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 cups water
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
  • Serve with mashed potatoes (preferably these Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes!)

Instructions

  1. Set Instant Pot to “Sauté” and adjust to “more”. Once the pot is hot, add oil. Place meat in the pot and top with Mrs. Dash, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is brown all over.

     

  2. Add Worcestershire sauce, mustard, ketchup, and water. Close the lid, adjust the vent to “sealing” and set the Instant Pot to “Manual” high pressure for 20 minutes.

     

  3. Once the timer goes off, manually release the pressure (quick release) before opening the lid. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. If you have time, you can set the pot back to “Sauté” for a few minutes with the lid off to let it bubble away to thickening the sauce a bit. Make sure to stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pot so nothing burns.

     

  4. Serve goulash over mashed potatoes, sprinkling with chopped parsley, if desired.

Notes

If your meat isn’t tender after cooking, you can close the lid and cook it on high pressure for an additional 3-5 minutes.

I like to measure the ketchup first, then measure the water in the same measuring cup so that the water rinses any extra ketchup back into the goulash.

This dish tastes even better the next day after it sits in the refrigerator. I haven’t tried freezing it for later but I’d guess that it would work well!

2 photos of a heaping portion of mashed potatoes in a bowl with beef goulash poured over top, sprinkled with parsley.

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