Beef Goulash with Dumplings

Soup and StewComfort FoodDumplingsGoulash

Beef goulash with light, fluffy dumplings. Central European goulash, a beef stew with Hungarian paprika, onions, tomato paste, cubed chuck roast, herbs and stock.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

What better on a chilly day than a plate of steaming hot beef stew with light, fluffy dumplings?

My super-hero father decided to make goulash for us recently and when the first recipe he tried didn’t work out (go figure—it asked for a quarter pound of paprika), down the drain it went (just the base, thank goodness), and back to the drawing board went dad.

The recipe we did end up with dad pulled from one of his thick recipe binders, with his own notes from a Wolfgang Puck Food Network show. The dumpling recipe comes from my friend Elizabeth who brought it back with her from a summer in Prague.

The combination is a knock-out! Rich, flavorful, spicy beef stew balanced with light dumplings.

Beef Goulash with Dumplings

Beef Goulash with Dumplings Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6



  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups sliced onions)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon spicy Hungarian paprika
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh marjoram or oregano (or 1 Tbsp of dried)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck roast, cut into 2-inch cubes (trimmed of excess fat)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter


1 Cook the onions, add garlic and caraway: Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the onions, sprinkle with sugar, and cook, stirring often, until the onions are browned and caramelized, about 20 minutes.

If the onions at any point look like they are drying out in the pan, lower the heat.

Add the minced garlic and ground toasted caraway seeds and cook a minute more.

2 Add spices: Sprinkle with the sweet and spicy paprikas and toss to coat. Stir in the marjoram, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook for another minute, until fragrant.

3 Stir in the tomato paste. Add the vinegar and stock and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

4 Add the cubed beef and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring the whole mixture to a boil on high heat, then lower the heat to low to maintain a simmer.

Cover and cook until the beef is falling apart tender, about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

5 Make the dumplings: To prepare the dumplings, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Combine with the milk and melted butter, mixing lightly.

6 Drop dumplings into stew: After the stew has cooked until tender in step 4, drop the dumpling batter by (heaping) teaspoonfuls into the simmering stew. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Once you have covered the pan, do not uncover while the dumplings are cooking! In order for them to be light and fluffy, they must steam. If you uncover the pan, the steam will escape and the dumplings will boil instead.

After 15 minutes, test the dumplings with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, the dumplings are done.

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Showing 4 of 45 Comments / Reviews

  • Val

    Hi Elise I was wondering if all purpose flour would work and if so how much would be needed? Thanks! :)

  • Jenny

    Simply delicious!

  • Monica Flint

    Hi Elise,
    I’m delighted to have found your blog.I’d like to adapt this recipe for a slow cooker. I then plan to refrigerate it for a couple of days. Then to reheat in a pot on the stove top.
    Do you think the dumplings would still work, added after the stew regains simmering temperature?
    Thank you :)

  • Maria Serge
  • Beth

    Elise, I’m having trouble distinguishing between spicy Hungarian paprika and sweet Hungarian. Obviously you are not recommending smoked Spanish paprika. There is no distinction in the supermarket, even the more esoteric ones. I even went to a spice seller in Napa and they were completely baffled. I have on hand the Szeged brand and bought some organic bulk paprika as it seemed slightly spicier.

    I’m making this for my boyfriend’s birthday in a day or two.

    Also, what would you recommend as a green vegetable with this dish?

    Hi Beth, most paprika sold these days in the spice jars is sweet paprika. The Hungarian paprika that I’m referring to you can find in metal tins like this product on Amazon. At our local Raley’s market you can find the Hungarian paprika on a shelf well underneath the commercial jarred spices. Your guess is good as mine on a side veggie. ~Elise

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