Venison Goulash Recipe

Goulash in America and goulash in Europe are nothing alike. I’m well aware of their differences—I’ve had enough people tell me that my Hungarian recipe is not “real goulash.”

But I can see why people love American goulash so much. It’s a one-pot combination of meaty and cheesy; sort of a hybrid between pasta, stew, and chili. While venison might make this recipe leaner than the beef goulash you know and love, it’s no less comforting.

Serving size


Time to make

45 minutes


1 lb. ground venison
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 bay leaf
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz.)
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz.)
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. dried basil
1 ½ cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 ½ cups unsalted beef stock
2 tbsp. soy sauce
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, to taste
¾ cup cheddar cheese, shredded, plus extra

Also works with

Any ground meat

Special equipment

Large pan


  1. In a 5-quart pan, heat enough oil to coat the bottom over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add ground venison to brown, breaking up large pieces with a wooden spoon. Season with a pinch of salt.
  2. Add onion, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and tomato paste and stir for 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients (except the seasoned salt and cheddar cheese). Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for 25 minutes on low or until the macaroni becomes tender and the liquid is absorbed. Stir occasionally and make sure you have enough liquid for the pasta to cook, adding more stock/water as needed. If the goulash is too loose in the end, allow to cook partially uncovered for a few minutes.
  4. Remove goulash from heat and season with seasoned salt and pepper. Stir in shredded cheese. Serve with extra cheese sprinkled on top.