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.)
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!
(It’s Almost Too Easy)
And the AMAZING Result…
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.
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.
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Instant Pot American Goulash
- 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
- 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 add pasta, 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.)
- Once cook time is complete, quick-release pressure and open lid. Add parsley and mix well. Serve and enjoy!
- 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.
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