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Mom’s Old Fashioned Goulash Soup

This Old Fashioned Goulash soup recipe is one that everyone loves! A perfect blend of hamburger, noodles, tomato base & spices that entice requests for more.

Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash Soup

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The Story Of Old Fashioned Goulash

One of my absolute favorite recipes from my childhood is my mom’s Old Fashioned Goulash recipe. In fact, I asked my extended family if they all remembered this old fashioned goulash that my Mom used to make. And everyone did!

In fact, after bringing it up, some of my family then made it for their family that very week because we all have such fond memories surrounding this Old Fashioned Goulash.

Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash SoupIt’s an enthusiastic favorite among Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Siblings and even my childhood friends remember this soup and the great times we had eating around my mom’s table!

But if you ask my Brother-in-law (who lived in Hungary for 2 years) this is NOT Goulash! True authentic Hungarian goulash is very different!

Now, my Mom never called this Goulash. In our house, Goulash was a creamy hamburger, noodle, corn casserole dish. Which still isn’t even close to authentic goulash. So we always just called this soup Mom’s Hamburger Tomato Macaroni soup!

Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash Soup

But while I was google searching to see if I could find what this soup was actually called I discovered it’s commonly considered an American Old Fashioned Goulash!

I figured I had better go with what our culture calls this type of soup so that it is easier for people to find. But no matter what you call it – Old Fashioned Goulash, or Hamburger Tomato macaroni soup, or anything else, it is delicious and the entire family loves it!

The sad note is that this soup does not freeze well. The noodles don’t cooperate. So it is not one that can be made days in advance and frozen for later.

But the good news is that it is very easy to toss together and takes very little effort and time! You can easily have dinner ready in about 20 minutes!

And it does store decently in the fridge for a few days. But even that may not be necessary because it’s not very often we have leftovers of this soup. It gets eaten rather quickly.

Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash Soup

The first time I made this for my kids, the husband was out of town and I thought for sure it would be enough to last us through 3 meals. It’s a big pot of soup. It’s logical, right? Especially considering their typical eating habits.

Well, not so!

My boys quickly went through their first bowl. Then went back for 2nds. And before I knew it they went back for 3rds! Even our little Rose ate double the portion I was expecting her to eat!

So in the end, I was only able to stretch this dish for 2 meals….barely! And that is with the husband out of town!

When he is in town enjoying it with us, there really isn’t enough leftovers to create a full family meal from the leftovers. So, I get to enjoy the meager leftovers for lunch the next day. But not much beyond that.

It’s all about the Old Fashioned Goulash ingredients

One thing that really makes this recipe shine is the quality of the ingredients you use.

My Mom always used her own home canned tomatoes. It really makes this recipe shine if you have home canned tomatoes. Simply use 1-quart tomatoes and 1-quart tomato juice. Blend it together and you are set.

But if you don’t have the luxury of having home canned tomatoes, you can also still have a great old-fashioned goulash by using canned stewed tomatoes.

Another ingredient to consider is the Hamburger. I always use 93% lean ground hamburger.

Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash Soup


Old Fashioned Goulash Soup Recipe

I brown the hamburger at the same time I cook the noodles. This helps to save time in making dinner. Make sure to only cook the noodles to al dente (about 6 minutes) because they will continue to cook while the soup simmers.

Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash Soup

I don’t like a lot of tomato chunks in my old fashioned goulash, so I puree my tomatoes very smoothly in my Blendtec Blender. But if you like chunks just pulse the tomatoes until you have the consistency you prefer.

Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash Soup

The 4 cans of tomatoes will come up slightly short of the 2 quarts you need. But 5 cans are too much. So I use 4 cans stewed tomatoes and then add just enough water until the tomato mixture reaches 2 quarts.

Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash Soup

Now the hardest part is behind us! Simply put everything into the stew pot, stir and then simmer for 10 minutes!

Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash Soup Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash SoupMake sure to remove the Bay Leaves before dishing up.

Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash Soup

And that is it! Simple as can be you now have dinner ready!

Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash Soup

Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash SoupI also like to top my old fashioned goulash with some freshly grated cheddar cheese. Just an added treat.

Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash Soup Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash SoupIf you want a variation you can also add in a can of corn or some frozen peas before simmering. It still turns out great and adds just a little more substance to the old fashioned goulash.

Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash Soup

Old Fashioned Goulash Recipe Card!


Old Fashioned Goulash Soup

Mom's Old Fashioned Goulash Soup
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1/4 diced onion
  • 4 cans (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes, blend add enough water to make 2 quarts
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow noodles


  1. Brown hamburger & onion
  2. Cook noodles til al dente (approx 6 min)
  3. Drain grease from meat if not using 93% lean hamburger
  4. Puree Tomatoes in blender til consistency you prefer.
  5. Put all ingredients into pot and simmer about 10 minutes
  6. Remove bay leaves
  7. Salt & pepper to taste
  8. Enjoy


The Original recipe called for 1 quart Tomatoes and 1 quart Tomato Juice, as my Mom would can her own tomatoes and tomato juice. Since many don't have this luxury, I have adapted the recipe to those who do not home can their tomatoes. But if you have home canned tomatoes, omit the cans of tomatoes and water and simply use 1 quart Tomatoes and 1 quart tomato juice. I use 93% lean hamburger so I don't have to drain it. You can also use minced onion flakes when you don't want to mess with a real onion It is fairly common to top with shredded cheese before eating. You can also optionally include a can of corn if you prefer with good results.

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