Close-up view of a heaping portion of mashed potatoes in a bowl with beef goulash poured over top, sprinkled with parsley.
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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 view of a bowl of mashed potatoes with parsley on top.

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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Close-up view of 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 1x
  • Category: Beef, Comfort Food
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

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

Units Scale

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 thicken 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!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 226
  • Sugar: 6.5 g
  • Sodium: 441.8 mg
  • Fat: 8.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8.5 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 29.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 89.8 mg

Keywords: goulash, Instant Pot, Instant Pot goulash, America goulash

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

Ashley Covelli is a food photographer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor based in Ossining, New York. She loves helping people become enthusiastic and adventurous in the kitchen so that they can build skills and confidence to cook for themselves and their loved ones. She can almost always be found with at least 3 different beverages within arm's reach.

23 Comments

  • Ellyn salkin

    Oh no! My mouth was watering until…ketchup! Can’t eat it 🙁 Tomato sauce maybe, with a bit of erythritol for the sweetness? I’m going to try that!

    • Ashley

      Ha! I feel ya – let me know how it turns out! Maybe even tomato sauce and brown sugar? But definitely report back – I’d love to hear how it turns out.

  • Gloria @ Homemade & Yummy

    This is such a great “comfort food” meal. It has been a long time since I have made (or even eaten) this. I will have to make it in my slow cooker, or use my pressure cooker.






    • Ashley

      I’d love to hear how it turns out for you if you go the slow cooker route. My stepmom always cooked it on the stovetop for hours and hours – I’m sure a slow cooker would work just fine.

  • Nicoletta @sugarlovespices

    This would make a wonderful weeknight dinner my family would love! All moms and stepmoms are the same with recipes “a little bit of this, a little bit of that…” hahaha.

  • Carrie | Clean Eating Kitchen

    This looks like perfect comfort food! Your recipe is so quick and easy too, will definitely give this a go!






  • Anne Murphy

    I love tweaking old family recipes to make them easier (so then we actually make them more often!) All those long simmering dishes made perfect sense when women were working at home all day – but these days, even SAHMs never seem to be home, but driving kids around.

  • Tamara Andersen

    Electric pressure cookers are so great for bringing mouth-watering tenderness to beef in a fraction of the time! I love the idea of serving the goulash over mashed potatoes… My mom did a goulash when I was growing up that went over wide egg noodles.

  • Lori H

    My mom used to make BBQ chicken in the oven. The sauce was ketchup with brown sugar and chili powder. It doesn’t sound like it would be that great, but it was really good. And the juices on mashed potatoes were really good! My #1 favorite was her pot roast. So yummy!

  • Analida @ ethnicspoon.com

    There is nothing quite like slow cooked beef in a nice sauce during the winter months! I love the story about how it was one of those recipe that was toss in a bit of this and that. So typical of that generation before the digital age. Thanks for sharing!






  • Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    What a delicious looking dinner. It simply screams comfort food. This is just the type of dish I would love for a Sunday dinner. The recipe is certainly a keeper.






  • jodie @ twoluckyspoons.com

    I just got an Instant Pot this past Christmas and I have been looking for recipes to try all over the place! This one looks soooo comforting and yummy. I can’t wait to try it!






  • Seanna Borrows

    Beautiful! Followed the link that you posted on FBP and fell in love with the very first image. Pinned the recipe and will definitely give it a try. Looks absolutely delicious!!






  • Aaron

    My goulash had too much liquid in it so maybe I messed up along the way but the taste of the meat was good and the beef was super tender.






    • Ashley

      Thanks for the feedback, Aaron! I find that thickening sauces in the Instant Pot can be super touchy – sometimes it needs a few minutes on sauté to thicken, and sometimes a bit of cornstarch mixed with some of the cooking liquid, then poured into the pot to let cook for a few minutes does the trick. Glad you enjoyed the flavor and the tenderness of the meat!

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