Instant Pot Goulash
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Goulash is an easy one pot meal made with ground beef, macaroni pasta and cheese in a flavorful tomato-based sauce. It’s the perfect comfort food dinner for a weeknight!
When I need an easy recipe for getting dinner on the table fast, I often turn to my Instant Pot. Some of my family’s favorite meals are Instant Pot pasta recipes, including Instant Pot Spaghetti, Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, Instant Pot Taco Pasta and Instant Pot Pasta with Sausage.
We’ve now added this Instant Pot goulash recipe to our list of favorite Instant Pot recipes! It’s quick to prep, full of hearty flavors, and you’ll only have one pot to wash after dinner. Plus there’s pasta, ground beef and cheese, a family-friendly trio that makes this meal budget-friendly as well.
This Instant Pot goulash is one of our favorite Instant Pot ground beef recipes, and one that you’ll want to have in your back pocket. I like to serve it with a Green Salad or Roasted Broccoli, plus Garlic Knots or garlic bread.
What is Goulash?
This recipe is for American goulash, which is a dish made with ground beef, macaroni pasta, tomato sauce, seasonings and sometimes cheese. American goulash is ideal for making in the Instant Pot because it’s typically cooked in one pot. American goulash is not the same as Hungarian goulash, which is a type of stew or soup typically made with chunks of meat, vegetables and seasoned with paprika.
- Ground Beef: I prefer to use lean ground beef. You can also use ground turkey to lighten up this goulash recipe.
- Onion & Garlic: These aromatic ingredients add a base layer of flavor.
- Bell Pepper: I used a green bell pepper, but you can use any color that you prefer.
- Beef Broth: I recommend using low sodium beef broth, so that you can better control the amount of sodium in the dish. Chicken broth may be used instead, and works especially well if you decide to make the goulash with ground turkey.
- Italian Seasoning, Garlic Powder, Salt & Pepper: These seasonings make this pasta dish so flavorful.
- Worcestershire Sauce: A common ingredient in American goulash, Worcestershire sauce adds umami flavor.
- Elbow Macaroni Pasta: Either white or whole wheat pasta may be used.
- Diced Tomatoes & Tomato Sauce: These create a rich tomato base to flavor the dish.
- Cheddar Cheese: Some goulash recipes include shredded cheddar cheese and some don’t. My family loves cheese so I always add some to our Instant Pot goulash.
Find the full recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.
How to Make Instant Pot Goulash
- Use the Instant Pot’s sauté function to brown the ground beef.
- Add the onion and cook until softened.
- Add the minced garlic and bell pepper. Cook for 1 minute, stirring. Turn off the Instant Pot.
- Pour in the broth. Stir and scrape off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Stir in the Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Add the pasta. Press it down into an even layer but do not stir.
- Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce on top of the pasta. Do not stir them in.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and move the steam release valve to the sealing position.
- Pressure cook for 4 minutes at high pressure.
- Carefully quick release the pressure when the cook time ends.
- Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese.
How Long to Cook Pasta in the Instant Pot
A rule of thumb for cooking pasta in the Instant Pot is to take the package cook time and divide it in half. If you prefer your pasta al dente (firmer), subtract one more minute from the cook time after dividing it in half.
The cook time will also depend somewhat on how full your Instant Pot is. Since a fuller pot will take more time to pressurize (and release pressure), the pasta will end up with a bit more time to cook as the pot heats up and then again while the pressure is released.
I usually err on the side of undercooking the pasta because otherwise you may end up with mushy pasta. If you find that the pasta is firmer than you would like after the pressure cooking cycle, you can simply put the lid back on the Instant Pot and let it sit for about 5 minutes. The pasta will continue to soften up as it rests in the hot pot.
Instant Pot Goulash Recipe Tips
- If there is excess grease in the pot after browning the beef, you can drain it off.
- To avoid getting a burn notice, be sure to follow the recipe directions and not stir after adding the pasta, diced tomatoes or tomato sauce. Also be sure to scrape up any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot when you stir in the broth.
- When you open the pot after pressure cooking the goulash may look a bit watery and some pasta may be slightly stuck together. Give it a stir and the pasta will separate and the extra liquid will be absorbed.
- If you’d like to add more vegetables to the dish, try adding chopped carrot or mushrooms when you add the bell pepper. Keep in mind that mushrooms release liquid as they cook, so if you add a lot of them the dish may turn out watery. You can stir in chopped fresh spinach, frozen peas or frozen corn after pressure cooking. Place the lid on the pot for a few minutes to allow frozen veggies to heat through.
More Easy Instant Pot Recipes
You might also enjoy these Instant Pot Beef Recipes.
Instant Pot Goulash
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 bell pepper (chopped)
- 1 ¾ cups low sodium beef broth (or chicken broth, equal to a 14.5 ounce can)
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
- 2 cups elbow macaroni pasta (uncooked, 9 ounces by weight)
- 30 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 15 ounces canned tomato sauce
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- chopped fresh parsley (optional, for serving)
- Press Saute on the Instant Pot. When the pot is hot, add the ground beef and cook, crumbling, until browned. Drain excess grease if desired.
- Add the onion and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic and bell pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Press Cancel to turn off the saute function.
- Pour in the broth and stir, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir.
- Add the pasta to the pot and press it down into an even layer in the liquid but do not stir. It is ok if the pasta is not all covered by the liquid. Put the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce on top of the pasta. Do not stir.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and move the steam release valve to the sealing position. Set the cook time to 4 minutes at high pressure. The Instant Pot will take about 15 minutes to reach pressure and then the cook time will start counting down.
- When the cook time ends, do a quick release of the pressure by carefully moving the valve to the venting position. When the pin drops down open the Instant Pot lid.
- The goulash may look a little watery and some of the pasta may be slightly stuck together. Stir gently and the extra liquid will be absorbed and the pasta will separate.
- Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese. Serve, topped with fresh parsley if desired.
- Serves 6 generously or makes 8 smaller servings.
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