German goulash is a very flavorful version of beef stew that has a prominent sweet paprika taste, which makes it quite a bit different than the Hungarian version you might be more used to. The broth is also made from a tomato base, so it has that warm, homey feeling you’re already familiar with, like so many of my favorite soups and stews

simple german goulash served on large noodles with a chunk of pretzel bread next to the platter.

My family is originally from Heidelberg, Germany area. This fall my husband and I took a cruise down the Rhine River and it was wonderful spending some time where my ancestors lived and worked for generations. That is part of the reason I created this recipe, as a way to feel connected to my family. Isn’t it amazing how food can do that?

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Germany, apartment flats in town on the river 2023

This simple goulash recipe is German comfort food at its best, and it needs no accompaniment except for a thick slice of beer bread to sop up every last drop.

If you’re like me and you adore slow-cooking meat in your Crock Pot, then be sure to check out my recipe for New Year’s ‘Good Luck’ Pork and Sauerkraut. You’ll also enjoy this most juicy chicken tocino slow cooker recipe, and my family favorite Yankee Pot Roast that makes melt-in-your-mouth, fall apart chunks of roast beef. 

Slow Cooker German Goulash Recipe

What I Love About This Recipe for Authentic German Goulash

  • Since it’s made in a Crock Pot, it’s easy to cook even on a busy day. Make this in the morning and it can bubble away until dinner time. This goulash soup is a full meal on its own.
  • This recipe makes a pretty big portion, but I promise you, you’ll be glad you have lots. Everyone will want to grab seconds. And, if it wasn’t delicious enough as it is, the leftovers get even better. After this stew rests in the fridge, the meat somehow gets even more tender, and the taste deepens and intensifies, allowing the flavors to harmonize even more.

German Goulash Ingredients

To make this authentic German goulash recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients.

slow cooker german goulash ingredients. Potatoes carrots peppers onions salt and pepper bay leaves garlic tomato paste and other seasonings all surrounded by large chunks of roast beef
  • Beef – Any good cut of beef will do, but the most tender results tend to come from steak tips or sirloin. Look for meat with a bit of marbling, but not too much. Cut it into 1-inch cubes.
  • Vegetables: Onion, carrots, celery, bell pepper – These veggies will contribute to the hearty and flavorful broth. You don’t have to include them all if you don’t want, but they will essentially all taste like the flavorful broth at the end.
  • Potatoes – You can peel these or leave the skin on as you prefer. Chop them up into bite-sized pieces.
  • Tomato paste – (NOT tomato sauce!) You’ll need a small can of tomato paste, or a squeeze tube if you prefer. You’ll only use about 1.5 ounces.
  • Seasonings: Bay leaves, garlic cloves, marjoram, caraway ​
  • Sweet paprika – This is the key ingredient for the stew’s hearty gravy-like broth. If you don’t have sweet paprika in your cupboard, I suggest you buy some for this recipe. 
  • Dry red wine – Using a dry red wine is important or you’ll end up with a sweet broth that won’t complement the rest of the ingredients well. Look for a cabernet sauvignon, a pinot noir, or a malbec. Avoid port and Moscato. If you don’t want to use wine in your stew, you can replace it with additional broth, red wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
  • Beef broth
  • Kosher garlic pickle juice – Yes, just measure this straight out of your jar of pickles!

📝 Note: You can find the full recipe with ingredients and measurements in the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

How to Make German Goulash in the Slow Cooker Step-By-Step

Let’s begin by preparing the meat and veggies.

  1. First, cut the beef cubes about 1-inch thick. Trim away any large chunks of fat, but small pieces are fine (they’ll provide lots of flavor for your stew and help make your meat even more fall-apart tender.
  2. Wash and dice the carrots, onions, celery, bell pepper, and potatoes. Set them aside for now.
  3. Peel and minced the garlic cloves.
  1. Place the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the meat is tender and the veggies are cooked through.
  2. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Gina’s Tips and Helpful Hints

  • Make sure to submerge the bay leaves into the broth before you start cooking so all their flavor seeps out into the broth. Also, be sure to remove them before serving. They are hard and could be a choking hazard.
  • When you’re making stews in the slow cooker, don’t worry about buying expensive cuts of beef. Slow cooking beef tends to make even cheaper cuts of beef really tender and juicy.
  • Keep in mind you’re only trying to brown the outside of the beef when you cook it in the skillet. You don’t want to cook it; you only want to sear the outside. This makes a seal on the outside of the meat that helps the juices stay inside for really juicy, tender beef.

Prep Ahead Tips

If you need to prepare this goulosh recipe the night before you want to cook it, you can cut your meat and clean and dice your veggies. Store your meat separately in an airtight container and keep your veggies submerged in cold water in a covered bowl. You can even mix all of your veggies together except for your onions. Place both in the fridge until ready to cook.

Recipe Variations

​Here are a few ways you can spice up this recipe.

  • Spicy: You can make this recipe just a bit spicy by adding in a little bit of hot paprika along with the sweet paprika. Or, shake in a bit of hot sauce or some cayenne pepper. 
  • Creamy: Often in German culture, you’ll find they will add some cream to their stews. If you want to, you can add about 1/4 cup of whipping cream to the stew the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
  • Vegetables: You can add root vegetables in place of the celery and peppers to makes this a bit heartier. Try turnips, parsnips, or rutabaga. I think beets might also taste lovely, but they might make your other veggies pink.
slow cooker german goulash served on large noodles with a chunk of pretzel bread next to the platter.

What to Serve With This Slow Cooker Goulash

This German goulash really doesn’t need much else. It’s very filling. I tend to serve goulash over thick egg noodles with a side of thick crusty bead which is filling enough for our family. But if you want to stretch this meal even further, you can serve with one of my side salads.

Also, a fun fact, American goulash is served with macaroni noodles. You can cook elbow macaroni ahead of time and stir it in just before serving.

Smart Shortcuts

Like so many traditional recipes, the largest portion of preparation time comes from chopping up the meat, veggies, and potatoes. To save a bit of time, you can start with pre-cut stewing beef from your local butcher or grocery store.

Of course, there’s my favorite way to save time: Enlist the children to help peel the potatoes and clean the vegetables!

How to Store Leftover Crockpot Goulash

  • In the fridge: Make sure you keep the leftovers! Let the stew cool to room temperature, then pour it into an airtight container. Place it in the fridge and use it up within 3 days. It will taste even better tomorrow!
  • In the freezer:​ For longer storage, keep your goulash in the freezer. Let it cool, the pour it in freezer-safe bags or containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before you reheat it.
  • How to reheat: ​You can reheat this goulash in a pot on the stove. Warm it slowly over low-medium heat. You might have to thin the broth out with a touch of beef broth or water. Heat it slowly. The broth will tend to get hot before the veggies, so keep the heat low and cover it with a lid if necessary, stirring every minute or so. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave. Just make sure you cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a paper towel so it doesn’t splatter.

How Do I Make This In The Oven Instead?

It’s pretty easy to adapt this recipe for the oven instead of a Crock Pot. Just follow these steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Follow the first steps of the recipe on the recipe card by browning the cubed beef in olive oil. Once browned, add onions and garlic, and saute until softened.
  3. Pour in the red wine and deglaze the Dutch oven, then add the tomato paste, spices, salt, and black pepper. Stir until combined. Next, add the beef broth, pickle juice, and all the diced vegetables, and stir again.
  4. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and set it in the preheated oven. Cook for about 2.5 to 3 hours. Check for the meat to be tender and for the vegetables to be easily pierced with a fork around the 2-hour mark. Your specific cooking time might vary based on your oven. If it isn’t ready, check every 20 minutes or so until done.
  5. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Give it a good stir and serve!

I Want To Answer Your Questions & Hear Your Comments

Do you have a question about this recipe❓ I will answer in the comment form below👇🏼 the recipe card. Did you make this recipe? If so, could you be a gem and leave a comment and rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below? This helps others find yummy 😋 recipes to make for their family and friends.

Simple German goulash served over large noodles and a big chunk of pretzel bread next to it
5 from 2 ratings

Old Fashioned German Goulash (Slow Cooker Recipe)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6
This hearty Slow Cooker German Goulash recipe makes it easy to serve a delicious, authentic goulash soup. This German Goulash is chock full of tender beef and vegetables cooked to perfection in a richly seasoned red wine and sweet paprika broth.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

Ingredients
 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lb beef, steak tips or sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves, 2 inch long
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, optional, for authentic German flavor
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup kosher garlic pickle juice
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup celery, cut into 1-inch size pieces
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers, you can use red or green. Cored and cut into bite size pieces
  • 4 cups potatoes, peeled, optional – cut into bite-size cubes

Instructions
 

  • First, cut the beef cubes about 1-inch thick. Trim away any large chunks of fat, but small pieces are fine (they’ll provide lots of flavor for your stew and help make your meat even more fall-apart tender.
    2 lb beef
  • Wash and dice the carrots, onions, celery, bell pepper, and potatoes. Set them aside for now.
  • Peel and minced the garlic cloves and dice the onion.
  • Heat up the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and gently stir so it browns on all sides.
    2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Add the diced onions and minced garlic. Stir everything together and let the pan simmer for 1-2 minutes as the onions begin to soften.
    1/2 cup onion, 3 cloves garlic
  • Remove the skillet from the heat. Then, with a spoon scoop the meant and onions out, placing them into the bottom of your Crockpot. Leave all the little bits for deglazing.
  • Return the pan to the heat. Deglaze the skillet by pouring in the red wine and using a wooden spoon to gently scrape the brown bits off the bottom. Turn off heat.
    1 cup dry red wine
  • Add the seasonings, and tomato past to the meat in the crock pot.
    3 tablespoons tomato paste, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon sweet paprika, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pour the red wine into the Crock Pot over the meat.
  • Add broth and pickle juice.
    2 cups beef broth, 1 cup kosher garlic pickle juice
  • Add the chopped vegetables to the crock pot.
    1 cup carrots, 1/2 cup celery, 1/2 cup bell peppers, 4 cups potatoes
  • Stir all the ingredients to combine.
  • Place the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the meat is tender and the veggies are cooked through.
  • Remove bayleaf before serving.

Notes

Tip
  • Keep in mind you’re only trying to brown the outside of the beef when you cook it in the skillet. You don’t want to cook it; you only want to sear the outside. This makes a seal on the outside of the meat that helps the juices stay inside for really juicy, tender beef.
Variations
  • Spicy: You can make this recipe just a bit spicy by adding in a little bit of hot paprika along with the sweet paprika. Or, shake in a bit of hot sauce or some cayenne pepper. 
  • Creamy: Often in German culture, you’ll find they will add some cream to their stews. If you want to, you can add about 1/4 cup of whipping cream to the stew the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
  • Vegetables: You can add root vegetables in place of the celery and peppers to makes this a bit heartier. Try turnips, parsnips, or rutabaga. I think beets might also taste lovely, but they might make your other veggies pink.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 605kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 36g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 107mg, Sodium: 882mg, Potassium: 1300mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 4697IU, Vitamin C: 48mg, Calcium: 76mg, Iron: 5mg
Cuisine: German
Course: Soup
Author: Gina Dickson

⭐️ One last thing, please leave a rating and comment letting me know how you liked making this recipe. This helps me provide more free, high-quality recipes for everyone.

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