Instant Pot American Goulash recipe is a perfect example of comfort food on a budget that’s packed with huge flavors. Enjoy this easy instant pot American goulash recipe loaded with ground meat, zesty tomato sauce & macaroni all cooked together in the same pot.
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Instant Pot Ground Turkey Goulash
We swapped the beef in this recipe with lean ground turkey and the flavors were still amazing.
Call it American Chop Suey or American Goulash (not to be confused with Hungarian Goulash), we prefer calling it our comfort food that’s easy, quick & budget friendly!
You’ll always have al dente pasta doused in a simple and well seasoned tomato sauce, juicy ground turkey & cheddar cheese. This is the best instant pot American goulash recipe you’ll ever make. Now, feeding a crowd is only a matter of few minutes.
Best instant pot American goulash – Ingredients
Find the Ingredients with actual measurements at the bottom of the post. The list below is just a reference.
- Macaroni Pasta: Uncooked macaroni is used in the recipe. The recipe has not been tested using gluten free macaroni pasta.
- Ground meat: We used lean ground turkey to make this easy American goulash recipe. You can use ground beef. The recipe and the cook time would remain the same.
- Tomatoes: Dice fire roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste. The fire roasted tomato is highly recommend. It almost instantly elevates the flavor of the goulash. Easy sub for fire roasted tomatoes would be diced tomatoes with garlic, basil or chilies.
- Aromatics: Onion and garlic. Use yellow onion for best flavor.
- Red bell pepper: We used finely diced red bell pepper for a subtle sweetness. Highly recommended. Do not sub it with green bell pepper. It would alter the taste.
- Seasonings: Italian seasoning, oregano, paprika, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes & ground black pepper. Skip the cayenne if you are heat intolerant Cayenne would add a subtle kick to the recipe but certainly won’t make it spicy.
- Worcestershire Sauce: You may either skip using it if you do not prefer the taste or sub it with 1 tbsp regular soy sauce or tamari. The Worcestershire sauce adds a whole new depth of flavor.
- Better than Bouillon chicken base: Skip store bought chicken stock and use this crazy good stuff stirred in water. You’ll thank me later. This stuff makes a flavor packed instant chicken stock right infront of you.
- Cheddar cheese: Use sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese. To make a cheesy American Chop Suey you may even add more cheese than recommended in the recipe.
- Cooking fat: Use any neutral oil that you prefer. We chose light olive oil. Find the list of neutral oil in Notes at the bottom of the post.
Easy instant pot American Goulash – Tips
- Brown the meat: For best flavor brown the meat well and than saute it along with the seasonings. The seasonings will release the essential oils and almost instantly enhance the flavor of the goulash.
- Soupy Goulash tip: If you prefer a soupy goulash increase the amount of liquid mentioned in the recipe according to your preference. We prefer a nice and thick goulash with enough sauce to coat the macaroni.
- Extra veggies: You may also add extra veggies like finely diced mushrooms or zucchini for an added veggie boost. The recipe and the cook time wouldn’t chance.
- Best flavor secret: The right amount of seasoning is what opens up the flavor of the dish. Do saute them along with the meat. We prefer a well seasoned goulash and hence went heavy with the seasonings. You may strip down or up the quantity according to your personal liking.
- Al dente macaroni: 2 mins cook time & a quick pressure release are a must for perfect al dente macaroni.
- Extra Cheesy Goulash: Add more cheese than mentioned in the recipe, let the cheese melt complete and mix it in. Or if you prefer a cheesy top crust, transfer the american goulash in an oven safe dish/tray, top with cheddar or marbel cheese and broil on the top rack of the oven until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
How to make American goulash in instant pot?
Find the detailed step by step recipe along with measurements + Video at the bottom of the post.
Step #1 Brown ground meat
- Brown ground meat: Set the instant pot on SAUTE function on HIGH heat, add oil and brown the ground meat ( turkey or beef) by gently breaking down the meat with the help of your spatula. Add the seasonings and saute until the meat nicely browns. This will elevate the flavor the dish manifold.
Step #2 Deglaze pot
- Saute aromatics: Add the chopped onion, garlic & red bell pepper and saute for 1-2 mins stirring frequently.
- Deglaze pot: Pour the chicken stock and deglaze the pot very well by scrapping the sides and the bottom of the pot with the help of a spatula. This will help loosen any stuck food particles and prevent the BURN error. CANCEL the SAUTE function.
Step #3 Layer macaroni & tomatoes
- Layer macaroni: Add the tomato paste and stir until it completely dissolves into the liquid. Than add the macaroni and gently spread it out in a single layer with the help of your spatula. DO NOT stir or mix!
- Layer Tomatoes: Now, pour the tomato sauce on top of the macaroni and the fire roasted diced tomatoes from the can and gently spread it out in a single layer with your spatula and make sure to cover the macaroni. DO NOT stir or mix.
Step #4 Pressure cook & serve
- Pressure cook: Secure the lid and PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for just 3 mins followed by quick pressure release. Open the lid and give stir everything in the pot to mix them well. You’ll get a pot full of juicy meat sauce coated macaroni at this stage. The consistency will be super moist ans juicy but not soupy. If you prefer a soupy goulash you may add more stock now.
- Add Cheese: Throw in the cheddar cheese on top of the pasta and cover with a temporary lid/plate or put back the instant pot lid lightly (do not seal it) and allow the goulash to rest for 5 mins. You’ll have a melted cheese top crust. You may serve it right away or stir everything to incorporate the cheese well with the other ingredients. It’s your choice 🙂 Enjoy the instant pot American goulash, you may certainly top it with more cheese!
What goes good with American goulash?
American Goulash is a complete meal all by itself. You may like the following:
- Dinner Rolls.
- Garlic bread.
- Any crusty bread.
- Steamed broccoli (with a simple seasoning).
How to store American Goulash?
You can store leftover instant pot American goulash for upto 4 days in the fridge. Use air tight containers for best result. Follow the reheating instructions shared below.
Can American Goulash be frozen?
You can freeze American Goulash in portion size freezer safe containers or bags for upto 3 months. This way you can thaw individual servings, reheat and serve effortlessly and you don’t have to struggle to break a huge blog of frozen pasta. Follow the reheating instructions shared below.
Fridge: Sprinkle few drops of water to moisten the fridge cold goulash and than reheat in the microwave oven until hot or warm. The pasta will become soft and you won’t have lots of sauce, you can add more water to get back the right consistency of the sauce.
Freezer: Thaw the frozen American goulash overnight in the fridge and than follow the reheating directions mentioned above.
Instant Pot American Goulash – FAQs
American Chop Suey and American Goulash are both the same thing – macaroni pasta cooked in a well seasoned and savory meat sauce. The dish is known by different names in different regions in America. In New England it’s known as American Chop Suey and outside New England it’s known as American Goulash or Johnny Marzetti.
Hungarian Goulash is a beef stew or soup cooked with onion, vegetables and seasoned with paprika and other spices. It’s a common meal predominantly eaten all over Central Europe. Whereas, American Goulash is a macaroni pasta dish cooked in a savory and tomato based sauce with ground meat. It may or may not contain cheese and it’s also know as American Chop Suey or Johnny Marzetti.
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- 1 pound ground meat (**454 g/ 16 oz. Use ground beef or ground turkey. We used ground turkey.)
- 2 cups macaroni pasta (**recipe not tested with gluten free macaroni pasta.)
- 1 cup onion (**yellow onion roughly chopped.)
- 1 cup red bell pepper (**finely chopped.)
- 1 tbsp garlic (**minced.)
- 16 ounce tomato sauce (**452 g. I used 2 small cans tomato sauce each 8 oz.)
- 14.5 ounce fire roasted tomatoes (**411 g. Diced tomatoes used from the can along with the juices. Check notes BELOW FOR SUB.)
- 3 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (**sub it with 1 tbsp regular soy sauce or tamari,)
- 1 cup cheddar cheese (**we used sharp cheddar.)
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil (**use light or cooking olive oil.)
- salt (**use according to your personal preference.)
- 1 cup Water (**warm.)
- 1/2 tbsp Better Than Bouillon (**stirred well in the warm water to make an instant homemade chicken stock. We used better than bouillon chicken base.)
- Brown ground meat: Set the instant pot on SAUTE function & set it on HIGH heat. Add oil and when the oil becomes moderately hot gently release the ground meat ( either beef or turkey) and break it down gently with your spatula. As it begins to change color add all the dry seasonings mentioned above in the “SEASONINGS” section. Brown the ground meat very well stirring often with the spatula. This will enhance the flavor.
- Saute aromatics: Throw in the chopped onion, red bell pepper & the garlic and saute for a couple of mins or until the onion just begins to turn soft.
- Deglaze pot: Mix the better than bouillon chicken base with 1 cup warm water and add this instant flavor packed chicken stock in the pot, add the Worcestershire sauce and deglaze the pot very well scrapping the sides and the bottom of the pot very well with a spatula. This will loosen any stuck food particles & help prevent the burn error. Add the tomato paste & salt. Stir to mix well. CANCEL the SAUTE function.
- Layer Pasta & tomatoes: Add the macaroni pasta and spread it in a single even layer with the help of your spatula. DO NOT stir or mix. Pour the tomato sauce on top of the pasta and the fire roasted diced tomatoes along with the juices and spread them out gently with spatula. Make sure that pasta is covered with the tomatoes. DO NOT mix or stir.
- Pressure Cook: Secure the lid, seal the valve and PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for just 3 mins. Once the cooking cycle is over the instant pot will begin to beep. Immediately perform a quick pressure release by moving the valve from the sealing to the venting position and open the lid when the metal pin on top of the lid drops. TURN OFF the instant pot.
- Add cheese & serve: You’ll find a bubbling sauce. Stir everything in the pot gently with the help of your spatula to help mix the ingredients and build flavor. The goulash will look absolutely juicy and moist at this stage but not soupy. If you prefer a cheesy top crust than add the shredded cheddar cheese in a single layer on top of the goulash, cover and rest for 5 mins or until the cheese melts. Or you may just add the cheese and stir to mix well until the cheese completely melts and blends in the goulash. Serve hot enjoy.
- Worcestershire Sauce sub: Replace the Worcestershire sauce with 1 tbsp regular soy sauce or tamari.
- How much salt should I add? The amount of salt will totally depend on your personal preference. Add how much you prefer.
- Can I use gluten free elbow pasta? This recipe is not been tested using GF macaroni.
- Is the recipe spicy? It’s mildly spicy. If you are heat intolerant I would recommend either to reduce the quantity of cayenne pepper and the red pepper flakes or skip adding them.
- Love spicy American Goulash? Add 1-2 finely diced jalapenos along with the aromatics.