Hungarian Gulyásleves (Goulash Soup) made with beef cheeks, vegetables, and homemade csipetke (hand-pulled noodle-dumplings) -

Beef Cheek Gulyásleves (Goulash Soup)

In Recipe by Sean26 Comments

Beef Cheek Goulash Soup

With Homemade Csipetke

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The sun is shining in a clear blue sky as I write this, and it’s tempting to thing that summer is going to just keep right on rolling. But a cool breeze is blowing in the back door and the magnolia trees are starting to turn yellow and brown – though I suppose that could just be thanks to the ridiculous dearth of rain we’ve had around here. Regardless, I’ve been feeling a real soup-and-stew kind of vibe lately. And wouldn’t you know it, I’ve got a recipe I’ve been dying to share with you all.

Goulash! Or gulyás. Well, gulyásleves really. A bit of linguistic explanation is in order here. What we’re talking about here is commonly called goulash in English speaking countries, and it’s a Hungarian soup or stew made with beef, veggies, and plenty of paprika. The term is an anglicized word taken from the Hungarian gulyás, meaning herdsman.  The term morphed over time from gulyásús (herdsman meat, i.e. a meat dish made by a cattle herder) until the term gulyás came to stand in for the dish itself.  But let’s take a step back to that ‘soup or stew’ bit I mentioned a few sentences earlier, because it’s an important one.  The term goulash is used to refer to both a stew and a soup, but it turns out that there’s a specific term for the soup – gulyásleves, meaning… goulash soup.  As best as I can tell (with my verrrry limited Hungarian language research skills), within Hungary the term gulyás is generally reserved for the stew while gulyásleves is used for the soup.  Why is this important? Because we’re not making stew, folks – we’re making soup.  Rich, hearty, beefy, loaded-with-vegetables, packed with flavour, soup.  Best of all, this goulash soup is as versatile as it is tasty: I’ve provided instructions and notes for making it on the stove top, in a slow cooker, and in an Instant Pot (or other electric pressure cooker).

Recipe Notes

I want to give a shout-out to a couple of recipes that helped me a great deal here. I found them on a now-defunct website (the Hungary Dish), but at least one of them can be found on author Carolyn Bánfalvi’s newer site. Here’s a link to a lovely article she wrote for Saveur about her gulyas recipe (and how it differs markedly from the more stew-like Americanized goulash). It was her article that first introduced me to csipetke too, and big ol’ thank you for that because they’re easy to make and ridiculously tasty. More on those a little later. As for the recipe notes, this is a very simple meal to make and one without any particularly difficult or confusing steps. I’ve broken down a bit of advice for the three different preparation methods (stove top, slow cooker, or pressure cooker) to make it a bit easier to master your preferred method.

On Paprika

Paprika gets a pretty rough deal in a lot of kitchens. All too often, it’s treated like a colouring agent rather than a spice. Sure it looks gorgeous, but it should deliver a big punch of tangy (and at times spicy or smoky) red pepper flavour. If your paprika is particularly old, it’s probably not doing you and flavour favours. Try tasting a little (dip your fingertip in it and give it a go). If it doesn’t taste like much at all, ditch it and get some new stuff.

On the subject of new stuff, let’s talk about buying good paprika. It’s a pretty ubiquitous ingredient in Western stores but it’s worth spending a bit of extra time (and money) to hunt down high quality paprika. I find that the best paprika generally comes from Hungary or Spain, but anything small-batch, fresh, and made from good peppers will likely work well. You’ll generally find that Hungarian and Spanish paprika come in quite a few varieties – I won’t go into tons of detail here, but for this recipe you want a sweet or semi-sweet (bittersweet) paprika. If you find Hungarian paprika that doesn’t indicate the type (other than Hungarian, that is) it’s most likely one of the relatively sweet, bright red varieties (édesnemes – ‘noble sweet’). Hot paprika and smoked paprika are both wonderful ingredients, but out of place in this recipe.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that one of the biggest tips for getting more out of your paprika is to let it simmer in a bit of oil at the beginning of your cooking. As with so many spices, this tempering stage helps to liberate flavourful compounds while simultaneously dispersing them in the oil (and subsequently the meal). You’ll note that in this recipe the paprika is added along with other spices fairly early in the cooking process and given a bit of time to cook. Don’t rush this step – but do take care not to let your paprika (or any othe spices) burn.

Beef Cheeks

I don’t want to get on a soapbox here, but we in North America are a bit strange about things like beef cheeks. As soon as meat comes from an animals face it evokes certain culinary realities that make a lot of people uncomfortable. As a result, we’ll happily eat brisket while eschewing cheek simply because one is composed of muscles from the face while the other comes from the face. Putting aside the psychological issues (and leaving you to grapple with them as you see fit), it’s worth talking about why beef cheeks work as well as they do here, and what alternatives you can use.

The cheek, like brisket and chuck steak, comes from a well-used part of the animal and is loaded with collagen and other connective tissues.  The meat itself is very flavourful, but the connective tissues make for very tough cuts.  On top of that, when cooked briefly, these connective tissues shrink and cause the meat to expel water, making for beef that is not only tough, but dry.  But collagen has a secret: when you cook it long enough and/or at a high enough temperature and pressure, it breaks down to form gelatin.  That gelatin is soft, unctuous (I love that word), and responsible for transforming a tough cut of meat into a wonderfully rich, moist, almost meltingly-tender meal.  Beef cheeks are a fantastic when given a chance to break down the collagen, and the end result in no way resembles a cheek.  If you didn’t tell anyone, they’d probably assume they were eating chuck or another similar cut.

When it comes to finding beef cheeks, your best bet is generally going to be a good butcher shop.  If they don’t have any in stock, there’s a good chance that they can order some in for you.  I would also recommend asking your butcher if they can (or already have) trimmed the cheeks to eliminate any tough silver skin membrane surrounding and separating the muscles of the cheek.  If you are fortunate enough to be able to contact a farmer who processes their own beef, ask them about the cheeks too.  There’s a good chance that they’ll give you a good price, as they’re not always the first cut people go looking for.  That being said, there are obviously only two cheeks per animal, so it’s always worth planning ahead to find the supply you need.  Regardless of where you get them, they should be quite inexpensive (at least as far as beef goes).  

If you’re not already on team beef-cheeks (got to get that on a shirt…), I hope I’ve at least piqued your curiosity.  After all, if you’re going to eat an animal, there’s an awful lot to be said about using as much of said animal as possible.  But if you’re not sold, or you simply can’t get beef cheeks, you’ve got alternatives.  Any collagen-rich, tough cut will work nicely.  I’d recommend chuck (stewing beef) for ease of use and accessibility.  Beef shank is a great way to go here, though you’ll want to really make sure that you’ve got the time to cook this one, as it’s one of the toughest and most collagen-rich pieces of beef you can get.  Personally, I’d use the electric pressure-cooker method if using shank, as the temperature and pressure really help to convert all that collagen to gelatin quickly and effectively.  Brisket is great too, though I personally really like to leave a brisket a bit more whole because of the size of the muscle and how nicely it cooks up in that format.  Brisket’s popularity in certain communities and cuisines also means that it’s not as cheap as some of the other tough cuts.

Hungarian Peppers

Hungarian wax peppers (shown below) are a lovely whitish-yellow pepper (capsicum for my non-North American readers) with a sweet and very slightly spicy flavour and relatively thin flesh. Like the familiar green pepper, these peppers are actually picked when unripe (the ripe peppers are red). These delightful peppers are not as green tasting as a green pepper, nor as sweet and pronounced as a mature red pepper. If you can’t find them, you can substitute banana peppers or green/yellow cubanelle peppers. You could use green, yellow, or red sweet bell peppers too, though they’ll contribute a different (and sweeter) character to the dish.

If you’re spice averse, I would encourage you to either try your Hungarian wax peppers out before adding them to soup, or to use banana peppers. I say this because the Hungarian pepper can be very mild (1000 Scoville units or so), but can at times be quite a bit hotter (up to 15,000 Scoville units, which is about twice as hot as a jalapeño).

Key Points

Regardless of the method you use to cook your goulash, there are a few key points that you’ll want to keep in mind in order to end up with the best results.

  1. Sear the beef cheeks.  Developing a nicely browned outer crust on the meat will build depth and richness of flavour that you don’t want to miss out on.  Ensure that you don’t crowd the pieces of meet in the pan and try to brown everything as evenly as you can.  This won’t change the cooking time, but it will build more flavour.  The browner the better.
  2. Use good paprika, and use it well.  I mentioned this earlier but it warrants repeating.  Flavourless, stale paprika will yield goulash that’s lacking in depth and flavour.  As for using it well – make sure that you actually let your paprika cook along with the oil, onions, and beef.  This brings out the flavour very differently than if you just dump it into the soup.
  3. The ‘dump dinner’ method doesn’t work here.  Putting in all of your vegetables at once won’t give you the best results.  Parsnips and potatoes take much longer to cook than carrots, peppers, and tomatoes.  
  4. Don’t fear the csipetke.  I realize that ‘hand-made dumplings’ might sound like a labour-intensive project, but these things are ridiculously easy and wonderfully fool-proof.  Best of all, they add a delicious and filling element to the final dish.

Stove Top Method

This cooking method is the classic format, and a fairly simple way to go assuming you have a bit of time on your hands and a willingness to keep an eye on things. The challenge to this method is getting the beef cooked to the desired tenderness. A more tender cut of beef might only need to simmer on the stove top for an hour, but beef cheeks are going to need a lot more time than that to break down the connective tissues and yield a tender end product.  The key here is low, slow heat.  You want the beef to be relatively tender (but not falling apart) before you add the potatoes and parsnips.  If it’s still quite tough at this point you risk overcooking all of your veggies or serving chewy beef.

The actual cooking time will vary here depending on temperature, how you cut the beef, etc., but figure on about 5 hours total.

Slow Cooker Method

This method is a little more fool-proof than the stove top method, but way more time consuming. Still, it’s a fairly hands-off project, so if you’ve got a lazy Sunday to let it bubble away, go for it.

I’ve given instructions for both low and high heat slow cooker settings, though I’d personally recommend sticking with low heat; I find it a bit tricky to really nail the texture of a meat like this with the higher heat setting. I will also mention that the times I’ve given are approximations, and you really want to check the tenderness of your meat and veggies at the various stages (preferably without leaving the lid off for too long).

Plan for about 9 hours of total cooking time on low heat, or 5-6 hours on high.

Instant Pot Method

This is my favourite method – not only because it’s the fastest, but also because it’s tough to compete with a pressure cooker when it comes to tenderizing a tough cut of beef.

The biggest key to a good pressure-cooker version of this recipe involves getting the meat nicely browned. The Instant Pot and its kin have revolutionized pressure cooking by allowing you to sear ingredients directly in the pot, but the high sides and small (relative to a large skillet) bottom of the pot make it easy to accidentally crowd and simmer your ingredients rather than properly searing them. Don’t rush yourself, and brown the meat in batches if necessary.

Another important note (and a good reminder that it’s worth reading recipes carefully) – with this method, you’re only adding HALF of the water when you cook the beef.  The rest gets added later with the veggies.  If you do add it all at the beginning it won’t ruin your meal, but it will take a lot longer to get up to temperature and start cooking.

I realize that pressure cooker meals are generally appealing in their set-it-and-forget-it simplicity, but don’t be put off by the fact that there area a few individual steps involved here. The longest cooking time is absolutely necessary for the beef, but it would reduce your vegetables to unpleasant mush. The three additional cooking steps (two pressure cooking steps and one lid-off simmering step) certainly add time to the overall process, but they’re as simple as you could ask for. Because the soup will be quite hot, you shouldn’t have to wait too long for the contents to repressurize, but do take into account the added heat up and cool down (depressurizing) periods when planning out your timing. My rough breakdown of the time necessary goes as follows:

  • Prep, Searing, etc. ~ 20 minutes
  • First pressure cooking ~ 1 hour (pressurization, 40 minutes cook time, depressurization) – NOTE: you’ll also make the csipetke during this step (if you want to use them)
  • Second pressure cooking ~ 25 minutes (pressurization, 5 minutes cook time, depressurization) – NOTE: if you heat your water before adding it to the pot then pressurization will take less time.
  • Simmering (carrots and peppers) ~ 15 minutes
  • Simmering (tomatoes and csipetke) ~ 10 minutes

Total time: 2 hours 10 min from start to finish.

Making Csipetke

I love csipetke. Pronounced chip-ETT-keh, these delightful little things are a bit hard to define, occupying a space somewhere in the nexus between noodle and dumpling.They’re often compared to German spaetzle, but they’re usually made with a thicker (and easier to manage) dough for a chewier and more substantial end product.

I’m going to be writing up a recipe just dedicated to these little guys, but you should still be able to manage them just fine with the information included here. The ingredients need only to be combined in a bowl and mixed by hand until you get a tight ball of dough. Too wet? Add some flour. Too dry? Add a little water. Easy peasy. I’ve seen recipes that tell you to use a mixer, or to roll the dough out into strips, but honestly there’s no need. Grab a bowl, use your hands.

In order to transform your dough into csipetke, simply pinch little pieces off with your finger tips and roll them into a rough, oblong balls against your palm. They shouldn’t be very big – about 1 cm (3/8 inch) or so. Some people like to flatten these balls into little square-ish noodles, while others (like me) prefer them round. The flat ones will cook a little faster, FYI.

Nutritional information is shown for a single serving including csipetke (1/8th total recipe).

Nutrition Facts
Beef Cheek Gulyás (Goulash)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 439 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 26%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 168mg 56%
Sodium 622mg 26%
Potassium 653mg 19%
Total Carbohydrates 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 3g
Protein 53g 106%
Vitamin A 104.2%
Vitamin C 7.4%
Calcium 5%
Iron 31.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional Summary

A delightful, nutritionally balanced meal, this is very high in protein and Vitamin A. Despite being based around beef, it’s not overly high in saturated fat.

Not much really – it’s worth balancing your meal out (or your daily diet) to get more calcium and/or Vitamin C from other sources.

You can use less beef here and still end up with a fantastic soup, so if you’re looking to trim the fat or the overall calorie count, consider using about 1 kg or 750 g of beef instead.

Ingredient Pages

No ingredient pages have been written yet for any of the ingredients in this recipe.  Like to see one?  Let me know in the comments below or by email.

Pantry Pages

No pantry pages have been written yet for any of the ingredients in this recipe.  Like to see one?  Let me know in the comments below or by email.

  • Dairy-free
  • Gluten free
  • Inexpensive

Note: The goulash recipe itself is gluten-free, but the csipetke are obviously not. Omit them to make the meal gluten-free.

5 from 13 votes
Hungarian Gulyásleves (Goulash Soup) made with beef cheeks, vegetables, and homemade csipetke (hand-pulled noodle-dumplings) -
Beef Cheek Gulyás (Goulash)
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
2 hrs

A hearty, warming, delicious stew flavoured with paprika and loaded with vegetables.  The homemade csipetke (noodle/dumplings) are optional but a very nice and simple addition.  No beef cheeks? No worries - you can use stewing beef too.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: European, Hungarian
Keyword: beef cheeks, dumplings, instant pot
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 439 kcal
  • 1.5 kg beef cheeks (approximately - a bit less is fine too)
  • 350 g onions diced (approx. 4 small onions)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds left whole or ground, depending on your preference
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 tbsp lard or bacon fat (substitute vegetable oil if necessary)
  • 2 liters water
  • 2 medium parsnips chopped
  • 3 medium carrots chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 2 Hungarian wax peppers
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped
  • salt to taste (you'll want at least 1.5 tsp)
Csipetke (Noodles)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • fresh marjoram to serve (optional)
Stove Top Version
  1. Cut the beef cheeks into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, melt the lard over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir frequently. Cook until the onions are translucent and golden-coloured -- not brown. If the onions do begin to brown or cook too quickly, add a little water.
  3. Add the beef and brown all over, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the paprika, caraway, and black pepper and saute for an additional minute, taking care not to overcook the paprika.
  4. Add the water and bring the gulyás to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. If using a slow cooker, follow the variation below from this point forward.
  5. Simmer the gulyás over low heat until the meat is starting becoming tender -- about 2-3 hours.
  6. Add the parsnips and potatoes to the pot and simmer for an additional hour, or until both are fairly soft.
  7. Add the carrots and peppers and simmer for an additional 30 minutes, or until the carrots are fairly soft.
  8. Immediately before serving, add the tomatoes and csipetke (if using) and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked but still a little firm. Serve and garnish with a little fresh marjoram, if you like.

Slow Cooker Variation
  1. Follow steps 1-4 as in the stove top version.
  2. Once the gulyás is simmering, transfer it to a slow cooker and place on low for 6 hours, or high for 3-4 hours.  The beef should be fairly tender but not falling apart.

  3. Add the potatoes and parsnips and cook on low for an additional 2 hours, or high for an additional hour.

  4. Add the carrots and peppers and simmer on low for an additional hour or so, or on high for 30 minutes.

  5. Stir in the tomatoes and csipetke (if using) and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the csipetke are cooked but still a little firm. Serve and garnish with a little fresh marjoram, if you like.

Instant Pot Version
  1. Follow steps 1-3 as in the stove top version, but saute the ingredients in the Instant Pot (or other multi-function electric pressure cooker) and only add half (1 L) of the water.

  2. Seal the pressure cooker and set to cook at high-pressure for 40 minutes.  Allow the pressure to release naturally, or wait 10 minutes then manually release.

  3. Once the pressure has released, add the parsnips, potatoes, and remaining water to the pressure cooker and cook at high pressure for an additional 5 minutes.  Allow the pressure to release naturally again, or wait 10 minutes then manually release.

  4. Remove the lid from the pot and add the carrots and peppers.  Set the pressure cooker to saute and cook for an additional 15 minutes, or until the carrots are fork-tender.

  5. Immediately before serving, add the tomatoes and csipetke (if using) and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked but still a little firm. Serve and garnish with a little fresh marjoram, if you like.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, egg, and salt. Knead together with your hands for about 5 minutes until the dough has formed a uniform, springy ball. Add a bit of flour if the mixture is too wet, or a bit of water if it's too dry.
  2. Flour a surface and roll the dough out into a large flat round. Pinch off small pieces of dough with your fingertips and form them into roughly oblong balls. Place on a floured surface and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Cook by dropping into salted boiling water until they float, or by placing directly into the gulyás.
Recipe Notes

If you can't find beef cheeks you can substitute stewing beef.

This makes a pretty big batch of gulyás. If you're not feeding a small army, you can consider reducing the recipe, but I would recommend instead that you freeze the leftovers to use at a later date, as it holds up quite well. If you know you'll be freezing some, consider only stirring csipetke into the portion you're using immediately and freezing the rest. When you reheat the leftovers, do so in a large pot on the stove, then stir thawed csipetke into the soup an serve.

The csipetke dough can be made in advance and refrigerated overnight, wrapped in plastic wrap. Formed csipetke can also be frozen and used in leftover gulyás.

More Instant Pot Recipes

Instant Pot Carnitas
con Queso

Instant Pot Carnitas con Queso

Instant Pot Brisket
with Pasilla-Morita Adobo

Instant Pot Brisket with Pasilla-Morita Adobo

Mexican Stewing Hen
Soup & Tacos

Tacos y Sopa de Pollo Gastado - Mexican Stewing Hen Soup & Tacos


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  1. This is comfort food in a bowl. I do not like the thought of cold weather….and SNOW makes me so sad!! However, when it does come to the cold weather season, I turn to food in bowls. Wrapping my hands around a hot mug (I mean MEAL mug) of soup is just what you need on a cold day. As far as paprika….I have several kinds…and my favourite by far is smoked paprika. I order spices online. I have NEVER cooked or eaten beef cheeks….and as far as homemade noodles….well I am Ukrainian, so baba worked her magic in the kitchen when it came to making noodles from scratch. Freezing is a great idea….having this to bring out on a day you don’t have time (or want to cook) is so much better than takeout.

    1. Author

      I’m with you Gloria. I may have grown up with lots of snow, but I’ve never really been a big fan. When it comes to weather, I’ll take the rainy coast over the frozen prairies. But nothing nurses us through the winter like hot comfort food! Given that you’re already ordering your spices online, I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding good Hungarian paprika, so I hope that this soup becomes a regular part of your fall/winter rotation soon! Cheers!

  2. I have not had goulash in ages. This version sounds amazing! I am definitely in the soup and stew kind of mood lately (although our weather hasn’t cooled off much yet). I always end up buying fresher online spices this time of year heading into soup season and will need to add paprika to the list!

    1. Author

      Sounds like a plan to me Melissa! Hope you enjoy it, and I hope you enjoy what remains of your summer weather. We Canadians probably act as unpleasantly early reminders of the weather to come for those of you south of the border. Lol.

  3. I’ve been looking for more recipes to put in the instapot. Thank you! This looks so hearty and I can’t wait to make it. Paprika is one of my favorite spices. I usually get the Israeli kind which comes in sweet and spicy so I’ll probably put in a bit of both which will be awesome with the rest of the fine ingredient list. This is perfect for football season, which is already here!!!

    1. Author

      My pleasure Debra! The Instant Pot has realllllly taken off lately (which I love), but you do tend to find a lot of variations on a theme when it comes to recipes. This isn’t too big of a departure (it is a soup/stew after all), but it’s definitely different enough in my mind. I hope you’ll let me know how it goes with the Israeli paprika! I can’t say I’ve actually had that before, but given the connections between Jewish cuisine and Central European cuisine, I’m sure the standards are quite high!

  4. I love that you’re using a less used cut of meat! And what a perfect place to use them– this soup looks delicious! And I’m a little obsessed with Spanish hot and smoked paprika, but I haven’t done much with sweet paprika. I need to start using it!

    1. Author

      Thank you Sarah! I love working with under-appreciated cuts for reasons both culinary and environmental, but I have to say beef cheeks are really easy to love – especially in a recipe like this. I share your affection for hot and smoked paprika, but I hope I’m doing my part to champion the sweet and bittersweet stuff too. Paprika diversity!

  5. Personally, I don’t have any issue with using every part of the animal — frankly, I think it would be wasteful not to. Also, thank you for the primer on the different types of paprika and the best uses for them. I have a smoked paprika in my pantry now, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sweet one. I’m going to make the effort to track it down — do you have a good online source? This goulash is exactly the type of homey, warm dish that evokes memories of family dinners and I’m looking forward to recreating it with your recipe.

    1. Author

      I agree Lisa! I think most of us agree on the idea of using more of an animal on principal, but I think a lot of people don’t feel confident getting started. Hopefully this will help get a few people dive in. I’m glad the paprika primer was of use to you. I haven’t been buying my paprika online, but in general you’ll do well to look for things from Szeged, Hungary. It’s by no means the only place that good Hungarian paprika comes from, but it has a great reputation and is easier to come by. Pride of Szeged is a popular brand that you come across in lots of online shops (and stores). Some people love it, others don’t. I think it’s a good place to start, but make sure that you’re not getting somebody’s old stock that’s been on the shelf too long. Your best bet is to hunt around a little online (whether that’s on Amazon or somewhere else) to find a vendor that’s selling right from Hungary. Other spice wholesalers are adding shelf-time to the equation in many cases by first ordering the paprika and then storing it wherever they operate. You might still get fresh stuff this way, but it’s going to be a bit more hit-and-miss. Avoid shopping based on price point alone.

      I feel like the popularity of Spanish paprika has made it a bit easier to order online, so if you’re not confident about finding a good sweet Hungarian variety, you would (in my opinion) do better to order a good, fresh, small-batch Spanish sweet or bittersweet variety than to roll the dice with possibly old, possibly bland paprika of uncertain origin. I don’t have any specific brand recommendations here, but there are lots of artisanal brands popping up.

      Lastly, it’s worth looking into whether or not there are any small businesses or artisans producing paprika in your region. Many major US cities (especially those with a history of central European settlement) will have a small local spice producer or two. Hope that helps!

  6. We have a small butcher shop here that I love to get the less popular meats at…they have beef cheeks often and its one of the few things I hadn’t really seen a recipe that uses them. Jim, (the owner) is going to be so excited when I head in to get some as he’s been trying to get me to make them for a while now…. I really appreciate the tip on the paprika usage.. Ive always bought good ones but I hadn’t thought to let them simmer a little in oil to release their flavors better… Im going to use that tip in a LOT of recipes!

    1. Author

      Haha, well I’m glad that you’ve got an excuse to give them a try now. I hope you’ll give Jim my recipe. I’m a big fan (and supporter) of local butchers, and always happy to do my part for these tasty under-used cuts. Glad to know that the paprika tips helped too – it’s such an important part of the dish, so you really want to get the most out of it!

  7. You are hitting all the right notes for me! I love paprika. I love beef cheeks. I LOVE goulash! Your recipe is calling my name. I love your breakdown on paprika – I need to get my hands on some sweet paprika though, I mostly use smoked.

    1. Author

      Thanks Carmy! I’m glad this speaks to you! You’ll definitely love working with sweet paprika – and for the record, I wouldn’t exactly complain if a little smoked paprika found its way into a batch of goulash either. Traditional or not, it’s just so good!

  8. I am so with you on beef cheeks – I used to find them on restaurant menus and in supermarkets everywhere in Australia, but since moving to the US they just don’t seem to exist. We have a great whole beast butcher up the road now though, and I bet I can source some beef cheeks from him. Also – yes to the good quality paprika – it makes ALL the difference. This looks just like the stew that I had growing up in Ireland (obviously different flavors, but evoking all the feels) and I cannot wait to try it out once it finally cools down here in CA!

    1. Author

      It’s funny how different the markets can be. I think the USA is, perhaps, struggling more with the idea of eating the ‘odds and ends’ than some other big beef-consuming nations. Still, that can change and I certainly hope it does. Supporting local and knowledgeable butchers (and farmers) certainly helps!

      Thanks for mentioning the Irish stew too. Certainly very different, but I know what you mean about the feels. Lol. Irish home and country cooking is something I’ve got a great fondness for, and something I hope to explore more in the future.

  9. This is the type of recipe that I can make knowing my entire family, even my kids will eat it all with no complaints. I love the different methods to cook it because the Instant Pot is always my go-to. I love paprika and use it in all of my soups and stews, but I didn’t realize the variations other than smoked paprika which I don’t particularly care for. This recipe looks amazing and is perfect for the cool weather that is approaching.

    1. Author

      Those are my favourite recipes! The Instant Pot is usually my go-to as well, and I definitely like being able to get something like this made in a fraction of the time I’d need otherwise. Hope you have fun with this one, and with the paprika variations. Cheers!

  10. I love reading your posts — you impart so much information. And as far as paprika goes, I can’t do without our paprika and smoked paprika. Your goulash is pure comfort food. We do have a slow cooker but there is something about layering the ingredients in a Dutch Oven and watching over it that is so satisfying. But the biggest satisfaction is in the eating something that warms the tummy and even the soul. Will try your goulash version soon.

    1. Author

      Thank you Marisa! Glad you like the recipe. And while I love my Instant Pot, I have to say there is something about watching a Dutch oven bubble away all day that’s incredibly satisfying. Plus there are some dishes that really seem to shine best when the ingredients have a nice long time to mingle together. And after all, that’s what traditional goulash is all about! I hope you enjoy this variation, and I hope it finds its way into your rotation.

  11. This is a bowl that I need to cozy up to as soon as our temperatures start dropping out of the 80’s. (I admit it, I’m ready for fall now.) I love that you’ve provided such complete and detailed instructions for multiple cooking methods. It’s great to be able to have that versatility with a recipe, so that you can enjoy it in whatever way your schedule, and kitchen equipment, allows. I’ve never made csipetke, but they sound like something I’d love! Can’t wait to try my hand at making them!

    1. Author

      Normally I can’t get enough of summer, but between the lack of rain and the (related) forest fires here all summer, fall is starting to feel like welcome respite. I’m glad you like my recipe, and I’m always happy to hear the variations and notes are useful. I hope you get a chance to make everything soon – and you’ll love the csipetke! They’re wonderful, and wonderfully easy!

  12. It just doesn’t get much better than an amazing bowl of goulash. The dish has such incredible history and has been diluted in American home kitchens. This version appears to me to be so authentic. I am a paprika lover, and also agree that it is so worth going a little further down the spice aisle and invest in a quality brand. And beef cheeks!! YES!! Talk about layering flavor after flavor. Thanks for the great recipe and inspiration. It’s still warm here in Texas, but this dish will be one of the first we make as the degrees finally start to drop. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Author

      Kris, I couldn’t agree with you more. American goulash can be fine, but you’re right – it’s been diluted from the original, often by far too much. Glad you like the post. And hey, three cheers for good paprika! Egészségedre!

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