A plate of Czech goulash with dumplings

Whenever you're craving something filling, traditional Czech goulash is an excellent hearty stew that will do the trick. It's also a favourite meal in Czech households and restaurants.

Although you'll mostly come across Czech beef goulash (hovězí guláš), you can also find pork or turkey goulash, plus variants with green pepper, also known as Hungarian goulash (maďarský guláš).

Czech goulash is traditionally served with dumplings, and 90% of the time, that will be bread dumplings, also known as houskový knedlíky.

The main goulash ingredients are beef, tomato paste, select spices, onion and garlic. The secret to the delicious taste of homemade goulash is typical Czech spices - dried marjoram and caraway seeds and, of course, slow cooking.


  • ¾ kg stewing beef (chopped into cubes)
  • 2 large onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste / tomato puree
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds (ground)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper (ground)
  • 2 tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika (ground)
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp spicy Hungarian paprika (optional)
  • 4 cups water or beef broth
  • Salt to taste


  1. 1
    Coarsely chop the onions and beef meat into small cubes. Set a few onion slices to the side for garnish.
  2. 2
    Fry the onions in oil or lard in a large pot until golden brown in a large pot. Stir frequently to prevent the onions from burning. When the sauteed onions start to brown, add paprika and caraway seeds. Stir for another minute until foaming a bit.
  3. 3
    Add the beef cubes and fry them. If necessary, pour little water over the meat to prevent the meat cubes from burning.
  4. 4
    Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper and water or beef broth to almost fully cover the meat in liquid (more or less 4 cups) and bring to a boil.
  5. 5
    Reduce the temperature to a low heat and cover with a lid. Slowly stew the meat until tender (about 2 hours). If the liquid is a bit thin, you can stir in some flour to thicken the sauce (Bohemian grannies used to thicken the goulash with rye bread crumbs).
  6. 6
    Garnish the goulash with onion slices and serve with a side of dumplings.

Useful Tips

  • Traditional goulash is the most delicious the next day. So if you can resist, keep some leftovers to compare the flavour.

  • Using a pressure cooker can reduce the time of stewing beef to half.

  • If making Czech dumplings is too much hassle, you can substitute this side dish for mashed potatoes or potato pancakes.

  • Although the most famous version of goulash is made with beef, you can add bacon or smoked sausage to give it a nice smokey boost.

  • For vegetable stew, you can experiment and create your own version of goulash, using peppers and fresh tomatoes instead of meat.

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Kamila Jakubjakova

Author - Kamila Jakubjakova

Kamila is a freelance writer and blogger originally from Slovakia and now based in Canada. On her blog, she and her partner share useful tips for expat life in Canada. When she isn't writing, you can find her on a yoga mat or enjoying a cup of tea.

Last Updated 10 July 2023

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