Pressure Cooker Goulash – American Style

From start to finish, we were eating this pressure cooker goulash in less than 30 minutes. That alone almost makes it worth trying. This is a perfect weeknight meal when you’re in a hurry. But the real reason for giving this recipe a try is the flavor! 

(Scroll through for picture tutorial.)

Two small bowls of Pressure Cooker Goulash next to Instant Pot.

Updated process pictures and recipe notes August 21, 2019.

 

This Is Goulash

I hear people all the time saying that American goulash is not goulash. Well, it’s obviously not Hungarian Goulash. But it definitely is American Goulash! Just because something originates in one place doesn’t mean it can’t be adapted by another culture; especially in the American melting pot. As far as I know, there are only 3 “required” ingredients for American Goulash: ground beef, tomatoes, and macaroni noodles. After that, you can make it your own by adding whatever veggies you like and/or have on-hand.

 

The Secret to Cooking Pasta in a Pressure Cooker

There’s a simple rule-of-thumb for cooking pasta in a pressure cooker that I’ve found works every time… so far. That rule is this: divide the box cook time in half, then subtract 2 minutes. So let’s say the box says cook pasta for 10 minutes, that would be 3 minutes in your pressure cooker goulash (or any other dish); half of 10 is 5, then minus 2 equals 3. I have yet to have this method fail. Sure hope the trends continues!

 

The Process

(It’s Almost Too Easy)

Uncooked ground beef topped with diced peppers and onions.

Using sauté setting – add beef, onions, peppers, 1 teaspoon of salt, and black pepper to cooker.

 

Browned ground beef with diced onions and peppers.

Cook until meat is thoroughly browned, stirring frequently to break up meat.

 

Browned ground beef topped with minced garlic.

Then add Worcestershire and garlic and cook for another minute or two.

 

Browned ground beef topped with crushed tomatoes and sugar.

Add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of salt, and sugar.

 

Ground beef and crushed tomatoes in Instant Pot.

Mix well.

 

Uncooked pasta on top of tomato sauce in Instant Pot.

Finally, add pasta…

 

Chicken broth over pasta and tomato sauce.

…then chicken broth. DO NOT STIR. Close lid and set manual timer for 3 minutes at high pressure. (Time could be different based on the pasta you choose. Divide time on box in half, then subtract 2 minutes.)

 

Pressure cooker goulash in Instant Pot topped with parsley.

Once cook time is complete, quick-release pressure and remove lid. Add parsley and mix well. Serve and enjoy!

 

And the AMAZING Result…

Ladle of Pressure Cooker Goulash over Instant Pot.

 

Tips for Making this Pressure Cooker Goulash

If you’ve ever cooked pasta in your Instant Pot, then you’ve probably heard this. But if not, please let me share this… Once you add your liquid to the pot (in this case chicken broth), add the pasta on top, and then DO NOT STIR! Here’s why… As the pasta begins to cook, it will absorb the liquid and expand in size. If too much of the pasta is touching the bottom of the pot, you will definitely get a burn notice. Even if it’s not actually burning. It seems that the newer model Instant Pots all have sensors that are quick to give burn notices; which is causing bloggers to write better recipes! I’ve personally had to modify several of ours to avoid a burn notice in newer Instant Pots, including this one.

I recommend using lean ground beef for this recipe, meaning no more than 10% fat. And the reason for that is so that you don’t need to drain the beef after it’s browned. However, if you use ground beef that’s 15% or higher in fat, you will want to drain off some of the fat. Do not drain off all of the fat because there’s lots of flavor in it. But for higher fat content ground beef, drain off about half of it.

 

FAQs

Can I use ground turkey instead of beef? Absolutely, yes. And there’s not really any modification that you will need to make.

Can I use gluten-free pasta? My wife is gluten intolerant, so we actually always use gluten-free pasta in our house. It cooks exactly the same way. The only difference (other than taste) that I’ve noticed is after the pasta is cooked. I find that gluten-free pasta absorbs much more liquid than traditional wheat pasta, especially those made with rice. So the longer it sits, the drier the dish becomes. When using gluten-free pasta, I recommend adding some chicken broth before reheating the leftovers.

Why is there sugar added to this recipe? Tomatoes are very acidic. We add sugar in order to help balance the flavor. Almost all of the store-bought tomato-based pasta sauces in grocery stores add sugar for this very reason. So there is a purpose, but you can leave it out for dietary needs.

 

★ Did you make this Pressure Cooker Goulash?

Please give it a star rating below! ★

Ladle of Pressure Cooker Goulash over Instant Pot.

Instant Pot American Goulash

Super simple, hearty, and flavorful meal - perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 249kcal
Author: Gary White

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion diced
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper diced
  • 3 tsp. sea salt divided
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic minced
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 16 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley finely chopped

Instructions

  • Using sauté setting - add beef, onions, peppers, 1 teaspoon of salt, and black pepper to cooker. Cook until meat is thoroughly browned, stirring frequently to break up meat.
  • Then add Worcestershire and garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  • Add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of salt, and sugar. Mix well. Finally, add chicken broth. DO NOT STIR. Close lid and set manual timer for 3 minutes at high pressure. (Time could be different based on the pasta you choose. Divide time on box in half, then subtract 2 minutes.)
  • Once cook time is complete, quick-release pressure and open lid. Add parsley and mix well. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Once you add your liquid to the pot (in this case chicken broth), add the pasta on top, and then DO NOT STIR! Here's why... As the pasta begins to cook, it will absorb the liquid and expand in size. If too much of the pasta is touching the bottom of the pot, you will definitely get a burn notice. Even if it's not actually burning.
  • I recommend using lean ground beef for this recipe, meaning no more than 10% fat. And the reason for that is so that you don't need to drain the beef after it's browned. However, if you use ground beef that's 15% or higher in fat, you may want to drain off about half of it.
Can I use ground turkey instead of beef? Absolutely, yes. And there's not really any modification that you will need to make.
Can I use gluten-free pasta? Yes! It cooks exactly the same way. The only difference (other than taste) that I've noticed is after the pasta is cooked. I find that gluten-free pasta absorbs much more liquid than traditional wheat pasta, especially those made with rice. So the longer it sits, the drier the dish becomes. When using gluten-free pasta, I recommend adding some chicken broth before reheating the leftovers.
Why is there sugar added to this recipe? Tomatoes are very acidic. We add sugar in order to help balance the flavor. Almost all of the store-bought tomato-based pasta sauces in grocery stores add sugar for this very reason. So there is a purpose, but you can leave it out for dietary needs.

Nutrition

Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 680mg | Potassium: 666mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 535IU | Vitamin C: 18.2mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 3.2mg

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    October 3, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    5 stars
    I’m still not used to the convenience of cooking pasta in the instant pot, but I’m getting used to it. My mother used to make something similar when I was growing up and it’s always been a favorite. I love this recipe! I used 1 cup of onions as I don’t like green peppers and it turned out great. Easy and fast and so good!

  • Reply
    Linda
    November 14, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    I would love to make this recipe. What would be the cooking time if I used gluten free pasta?
    Thanks

    • Reply
      Gary
      November 15, 2018 at 8:19 am

      The rule-of-thumb for any pasta in an Instant Pot is this… divide the cook time in half, then subtract 2. For example… if it says 8 minutes, then it’s (4-2) or 2. We do it all the time since my wife is gluten intolerant.

  • Reply
    Connie
    January 8, 2019 at 9:29 am

    Do you pre cook the pasta first or just put it In from the box?

    • Reply
      Gary
      January 8, 2019 at 10:30 am

      Don’t pre-cook the pasta. Add it in from the box.

  • Reply
    Craig
    February 11, 2019 at 11:22 pm

    5 stars
    Looks marvelous!

  • Reply
    Pressure Cooker Meatloaf with Brown Sugar Glaze | The Foodie Eats
    February 12, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    […] Pressure Cooker American Goulash […]

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    March 11, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    I love the flavors in this recipe. But I’ve made it 3 times now and every time I get a burn notice… then it doesn’t come up to pressure fully. It ends up being fully cooked, but very soupy. Any idea why it’s doing that???

    • Reply
      Gary
      March 11, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      Sorry to hear that. We’ve never had that happen. You could try adding the chicken broth at the same time as the tomato sauce and mixing. Then, add the pasta last, and mix gently just so that it’s submerged, but not so much that it touches the bottom of the pot. Good luck!

    • Reply
      Michele
      June 9, 2019 at 9:47 am

      Hi Jen,

      Never mix any tomato sauce with the liquid. Put in last on top of pasta, and it won’t burn!

  • Reply
    Nancy K Ghilarducci
    March 25, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Is there a particular brand of pasta that works better than others in the instapot? Is there a rule of thumb for the ratio liquid to pasta? I am very new to this and trying to find some sort of conversion for ratios.

    • Reply
      Gary
      March 27, 2019 at 8:13 am

      I’ve found that all brands of pasta seem to work about the same, with the exception of gluten-free pasta since they’re usually made with some rice. And as far as pasta to liquid ratios, every recipe is different. I can only speak for ones I’ve tested.

  • Reply
    Michele
    June 9, 2019 at 9:50 am

    5 stars
    This one is a keeper! I recommend using a favorite spaghetti sauce in place of the crushed tomatoes. I also use regular beef broth anytime I use beef in my recipes. One of the gals commented that hers burned every time she made it. It’s a rule of thumb to never mix anything tomato with the liquid but rather pour on top of all the ingredients before cooking. So, in this case, put all the ingredients in the PC and then the tomato ingredients on top.

  • Reply
    Mary
    August 18, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    5 stars
    Just tried this minus the sugar and it’s fabulous! I put less salt in but added some better than beef bouillon. Also added some Italian seasoning. Macaroni turned out perfect

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