Let’s make a timeless classic recipe of American Goulash in the Instant Pot. This is a recipe that dates back generations but regardless where you live there are ingredient that are pretty standard. Elbow macaroni in a tomato based sauce with hamburger seasoned up to perfection. It’s a kid favorite goulash recipe, it’s a classic comfort food recipe, it’s a one pot meal and you can’t go wrong when serving it.

American Goulash

I’ve found depending on where you live in the country you may refer to Goulash by a number of names from American Goulash recipe, Chop Suey, or even Slumgullion! Of course there are varying differences between them they are also very similar too. I’ll give a bit more history below but for now I want to make sure you know exactly how to make this recipe in the Instant Pot.

Like I said, this is a One Pot Meal which makes clean up super easy. It’s also very kid friendly and even with a few simple modification my picky eater loves it.

Slumgullion Goulash Recipe

Shopping List

  • Ground Beef – 90/10 is ideal but any variation can be used.
  • Beef Broth – I use Swanson, a bullion cube in water will also work perfectly
  • Diced Canned Tomatoes – Keep the juices and use in this recipe
  • Tomato Sauce – 1 large or 2 small cans
  • Elbow Macaroni – Elbow Macaroni is preferred but that hasn’t stopped me from using Penne, or Rigatoni
  • Cheese – Choose your favorite. Extra Sharp, Mild Cheddar, Parmesan, even Swiss. You choose!
  • Bay Leaves


With this recipe you will need an Instant Pot or any Electric Pressure Cooker. Wooden Spoon with a flat edge or a Silicone Spatula and measuring cups and spoons. 

How to make Slumgullion an American Goulash

Preheat the Instant Pot to Saute.  This will take a few minutes before the front panel reads Hot.  Then add Olive Oil and Hamburger.  Break hamburger apart and cook.  Once hamburger is cooked add diced Onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes. 

Tip: Make sure to continually scrape the bottom of the pot and lift anything that might be stuck.

How to make Slumgullion an American Goulash

Preheat the Instant Pot to Saute. This will take a few minutes before the front panel reads Hot. Then add Olive Oil and ground beef. 

Break hamburger apart using a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula and cook. Stir occasionally until no longer pink. Once hamburger is cooked add diced Onions and garlic and saute for a few minutes. 

Depending on the fat content of the hamburger you may need to remove the excess grease before continuing. It’s pretty simple. Remove hamburger mixture and wipe out grease.

Add hamburger mixture with Italian seasoning and give a quick stir. It’s very important to follow the layering of this recipe. Place noodles on top of hamburger and spread out. 

Add Beef Broth and make sure all the noodles are sitting in liquid. Top with Worcestershire Sauce and Soy Sauce. Pour Diced Tomatoes on top making sure to spread out evenly. 

Carefully pour tomato sauce on top adding a Bay Leaf or two right on top. DO NOT STIR

The Instant Pot needs thin liquid to create pressure. The Beef Broth is the thin liquid needed to create that steam and pressure. 

Pressure Cook using high pressure and allow for a Natural Pressure Release before quick release the remaining pressure and open the lid. Top with Cheese is optional but also delicious.

Instant Pot Goulash

How did Goulash get its name?

Goulash is a Hungarian dish filled with meat.  Often made by herdsmen working in the field.  Made with simple ingredients.  Gulyas means “Herdsman” or “cowboy”.  In time the dish was called goulash meat a meat dish which is prepared by herdsmen.

How did Slumgullion get its name?

Sadly Slumgullion’s name comes from a negative connotation, from the slums. A poor man stew with ingredients easily available. 

What is the difference between Slumgullion and Goulash?

Both recipes are a meat stew with a tomato base sauce. Adding your favorite ingredients only personalizes to you and your family. They are classic affordable recipes loved by many.


These are very simple modifications that I make for my picky eater. I like to grate an onion instead of dice. The dish still gets the flavor without the texture which many don’t prefer. 

I also like to substitute potatoes for the noodles. Small baby potatoes sliced in quarters of equal size.

Adding cheese is optional so let me tell you my favorites. I love a sharp cheddar cheese. Tillamook makes a delicious extra sharp white cheddar cheese that pairs nicely. I’ve also used fresh grated parmesan cheese which is delicious too. 

When my boys were younger they only liked orange colored cheese.  So for what that’s worth, a medium or mild cheddar cheese works great too.

Serve Goulash with Cornbread or even a toasted French Bread

Slumgullian a meat dish with pasta and tomato sauce

More Classic Tried and True Recipes

Slumgullian Goulash Recipe
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Instant Pot Goulash

Goulash is an American Classic often called Chop Suey or even Slumgullion. It's a poor mans stew of seasoned meat and pasta in a tomato based sauce.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time4 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 258kcal


  • 1 lb Hamburger 90/10 Fat Content
  • 1/2 Cup Onion Diced
  • 2 Clove Garlic Grushed
  • 2 Cup Beef Broth
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 8 oz Elbow Macaroni Noodles
  • 15 oz Diced Tomatoes
  • 15 oz Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Italian Seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Bay Leaf


  • Heat Instant Pot to Saute and wait until it reads Hot
  • Add hamburger and brown
  • Add diced onions and crushed garlic and continue to saute
  • Stir Italian Seasonings, Paprika and Pepper
  • Optional – remove cooked hamburger mixture and remove grease. Deglaze pot if needed.
  • Add Beef Broth, Worcestershire sauce and Soy Sauce on top of beef mixture and place noodles on top. Noodles should be sitting in liquid
  • Pour diced tomatoes with juices evenly on top. DO NOT STIR
  • Add Tomato Sauce on top of diced tomatoes. DO NOT STIR
  • Top with Bay Leaf.
  • Pressure Cook for 4 minutes with a 4 minute natural pressure release.
  • Open pot and stir to combine.
  • Top with cheese (optional)


Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1345mg | Potassium: 574mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 566IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 183mg | Iron: 5mg
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