Cheesy and Saucy American Goulash in the Crock Pot

This Flavorful and saucy American goulash is an easy, budget friendly and family friendly main dish that my family really enjoys.  Old fashioned American goulash or “American chop suey,” is different from Hungarian Goulash because it uses ground beef and pasta instead of stew meat and potatoes. This Recipe for Goulash is saucy and cheesy. If you prefer less sauce keep scrolling below the recipe for a less saucy variation.

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Cheesy and saucy American goulash

Cheesy and saucy American goulash (slow cooker)

This American goulash is made in the crockpot and then topped with cheese and broiled to make the dish extra delicious!
4.34 from 3 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 cups tomato juice *see notes below.
  • 1 cup chicken or beef broth
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 2/3 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2/3 teaspoon Season all (Lawry's salt)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning or diced fresh herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (plus more for ground beef)
  • 2 cups dry pasta macaroni, penne etc.
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  • Brown the beef and season lightly with ground black pepper and salt.
  • In a medium sized bowl, Stir tomato juice and broth together, then stir in Season all, Italian seasoning or fresh herbs, garlic powder and the remaining salt. Add diced onion, diced pepper and minced garlic, then pour the mixture into a 4-7 quart crock pot.
  • Drain the excess grease from the ground beef, then add the beef to the crock pot with the sauce mixture. Cook on low for 3-5 hours until the vegetables have softened and the sauce is fragrant and flavorful.
  • Add uncooked pasta and continue to cook on low for 30-60 minutes, just until the pasta is al dente. *see note below.
  • Transfer the goulash to a 10 inch cast iron skillet or baking dish and top with shredded cheese, then broil at 400 for 30-60 seconds until the cheese has started to brown. Allow to cool slightly and enjoy! 


Note* Pasta cooks surprisingly fast in the crock pot and can turn to mush if overcooked. If you do not wish to risk it and prefer to cook the pasta before adding it to the sauce you can. However, I do recommend adding only 1/2 to 3/4 of the tomato juice and broth if cooking the pasta separately, because the pasta soaks up some of the sauce while slow cooking.
More notes and photos below! 
Keyword American goulash, cheesy, crockpot, slow cooker
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


This American goulash Recipe, or Johnny Marzetti as some like to call it, Is fairly saucy. If you prefer less sauce you can add 3 cups tomato juice and 3/4 cup broth instead of the amount listed in the recipe.

The sauce mixture before cooking.

With Penne pasta. I find Penne works well in the crock pot because it is a bit thicker than macaroni. This pasta was cooked in my 7 quart crock pot on low for 30 minutes.

With Taco style shredded cheese (you can use cheddar, mozzarella or your favorite if you prefer). So cheesy and delicious!!

Note* If you do not have a crock pot you can simmer the sauce in a 5 quart sauce pan on low heat for up to an hour, then add the cooked pasta. The Goulash can also be transferred to a baking dish, then topped with cheese and broiled until the cheese has melted.


Having run out of tomato juice the second time trying this recipe, I did some research and found that you can add 1 part tomato paste to 4 parts water and then whisk it together to create tomato juice. I must say, we definitely didn’t notice the difference!

Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments below!

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  1. S Snow says:

    This is delicious. Thanks!

    1. marilynpeight says:

      You are welcome!

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