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Austrian Goulash

Austrian goulash features boneless short ribs cooked Viennese-style in a paprika-spiced gravy until the meat is fork-tender. The recipe uses an Instant Pot and traditional ingredients to infuse the dish with rich flavor, making it the ultimate comfort meal. 

A single serving of Austrian beef stew over buttery egg noodles.

What is Goulash and Where Does it Come From?

The term ‘goulash’ dates back to the 9th century Hungary; it’s said to have been eaten by shepherds while they went to pasture with the sheep. The dish has transformed overtime, with most of the world creating their own version of the dish.

Like the original goulash from Hungary, Austrian goulash is known for its thick, bright-colored gravy, attributed to the heavy use of paprika to flavor the dish. Onions slow cook to build a perfect base for the beef to become tender.

What You Need to Make this Recipe

  • Paprika: Responsible for the bright color, paprika is the primary flavor, and you’ll love the combination of sweet and hot paprika. For best results, use fresh Hungarian-sourced paprika. If you only can only purchase one, make it sweet paprika and add a teaspoon of cayenne to balance the sweetness. Check out this article for more information about the different types of paprika and how to use them.
  • Boneless Short Rib: The tenderness of the short rib as it cooks down in the gravy is unrivaled, so if you can find it on sale-go for it! However, chuck roast is a more affordable. option.
  • Butter: Sauté the onions and impart flavor using butter.
  • Onion: Traditional Austrian Goulash doesn’t use flour or roux, so onions thicken the gravy beautifully, resulting in a rich and concentrated flavor.
  • Caraway Seed: Caraway seeds provide a peppery-citrus finish.
  • Garlic: I suggest using two cloves, but don’t let my recipe tell you how much garlic to use – measure with your heart!
  • Better Than Bouillon: I use Better Than Bouillon and water in place of stock. It’s flavorful, easy, and something I always keep in my pantry.
  • Tomato Paste: Use tomato paste to thicken and flavor the stew.
  • Bay Leaves: Subtly flavor the dish with clove-like aromatics.
  • Fresh Dill: Dill compliments the beef and caraway. You may want to leave it out, but don’t! Make it as is, and enjoy the tasty combination of rich gravy and bright, fresh dill.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar provides the right amount of acidity to highlight the richness of the gravy.
  • Sour Cream: Garnish with sour cream.

How to Make Austrian Goulash in the Instant Pot

The full recipe with measurements is in the recipe card below.

Step 1: Combine one tablespoon of sweet paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; then, coat the beef with the mixture and set it aside.

Boneless short rib coated in spices.

Step 2: Melt butter in an Instant Pot on saute mode. Add onion and cook until they have a nice caramelized brown color and soften; this step will take up to 30 minutes, but you’re building flavor!

Onions sautéing in the Instant Pot.

Step 3: Stir in the caraway seeds and minced garlic. Then, add hot paprika and the remaining five tablespoons of sweet paprika.

Spices added to the cooking onions in the Instant Pot.

Step 4: Slowly whisk in the water, Better than Bouillon, tomato paste, and simmer on saute mode.

Tomato paste, bouillon, and water are added to the cooked down spiced-onion mixture to create the gravy for Austrian goulash.

Step 5: Next, add the reserved beef and bay leaves. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and cook on manual high pressure for 60 minutes with a 20-minute natural release.

Austrian goulash combined in the Instant Pot and ready to pressure-cook.

Step 6: Let stand for 5-10 minutes. Deglaze with apple cider vinegar, finish with fresh dill, and stir to combine.

Garnish with more dill and sour cream. Serve with buttery egg noodles or mashed cauliflower for a lighter meal.

Expert Tips

  • No flour or roux thickens the gravy in traditional Austrian goulash recipes. Instead, onion creates a thick and flavorful base for the beef to cook. We follow the same method, and the onions can take 30-45 minutes to caramelize, but it’s worth the wait!
  • Traditionally, this recipe requires slow-cooking beef until tender. However, using the Instant Pot significantly cuts the time to 1 hour and 20 minutes, compared to the 3 hours needed for the Dutch oven rindsgulasch. Despite the wait, the beef is still tender and flavorful, making it a worthwhile meal.

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Can I Make This Recipe on the Stovetop?

You don’t have an Instant Pot, but want to make this recipe? No worries, I’ve got you covered. Check out our recipe for stovetop rindsgulasch. It has all the same ingredients but slow cooks in a Dutch oven.

Serving Suggestions

  • Egg Noodles, Traditional Spätzle, Nockerl, Austrian Gnocchi
  • Mashed Potatoes, Boiled Potatoes, Roasted Potatoes, Potato Pancake
  • Mashed Cauliflower
  • White Rice, Quinoa
  • Semmel Knoedel (Bread Dumplings) , Kaiser Roll
  • Sauerkraut

What to Do With the Leftovers

  • Refrigerate – Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze  I recommend freezing the meat and gravy separately and preparing fresh noodles when you’re ready to eat it again. Let the dish cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Austrian goulash freezes for 3 months.
  • Thaw – Defrost the goulash in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat  Warm leftovers on the stovetop and prepare your sides.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s in goulash?

Authentic Austrian goulash consists of beef shank cooked with caramelized onion and traditional goulash seasoning, like marjoram, paprika, and caraway.

What cut of beef is used for goulash?

The best meat for goulash is one with a lot of collagen and fat, making it perfect for pressure-cooked or slow-braised stews like this one. Beef shank is the most popular cut to make Austrian goulash. However, I love the outcome of using boneless short rib, especially if you can find it on sale; thank you, Whole Foods! Chuck roast works well in this recipe and is much more affordable, so you have some options.

What is the difference between Hungarian and Austrian goulash?

The base of the two is similar and uses the same seasoning. However, Hungarian goulash often includes vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, peppers, and tomatoes, whereas Austrian goulash contains only beef and onions.

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A single serving of Austrian beef stew over buttery egg noodles.

Austrian Goulash

Tressa Jamil
Austrian goulash features boneless short ribs cooked Viennese-style in a paprika-spiced gravy until the meat is fork-tender.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Austrian
Servings 8 people
Calories 98 kcal
Equipment
Ingredients
  
  • 6 tablespoons sweet paprika, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
  • 5 pounds short rib, boneless, cut into 1½- inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons butter, salted
  • 2 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon hot paprika
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Beef Better Than Bouillion
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 package egg noodles, cooked according to package
  • sour cream, for garnish
Instructions
 
  • Combine one tablespoon of sweet paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; then, coat the beef with the mixture and set it aside.
  • In an Instant Pot, melt butter on saute mode. Add onion and cook until they have a nice caramelized brown color and soften; this step will take up to 30 minutes, but you're building flavor!
  • Stir in the caraway seeds and minced garlic. Then, add hot paprika and the remaining five tablespoons of sweet paprika. Cook for about 30 seconds until it becomes fragrant.
  • Slowly whisk in the water, Better than Bouillon, tomato paste, and then simmer on saute mode.
  • Next, add the reserved beef and bay leaves. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and cook on manual high pressure for 60 minutes with a 20-minute natural release.
  • Let stand for 5-10 minutes. Deglaze with apple cider vinegar, finish with fresh dill, and stir to combine.
  • Garnish with more dill and sour cream. Serve with buttery egg noodles or cauliflower mash for a lighter meal.
Notes
Adapted:
  • This is based on a recipe from Milkstreet I simply had to try! I have a Dutch oven version that is similar to the original if you prefer cooking on the stove-top or oven.
Expert Tips: 
  • No flour or roux thickens the gravy in traditional Austrian Goulash recipes. Instead, onion creates a thick and flavorful base for the beef to cook. We follow the same method, and the onions can take 30-45 minutes to caramelize, but it’s worth the wait!
  •  Traditionally, this recipe requires slow-cooking beef until tender. However, using the Instant Pot significantly cuts the time to 1 hour and 20 minutes, compared to the 3 hours needed for the Dutch oven Rindsgulasch. Despite the wait, the beef is still tender and flavorful, making it a worthwhile meal.
Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
Nutrition
Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 98 kcal | Carbohydrates: 9 g | Protein: 2 g | Fat: 7 g | Sodium: 778 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 4 g
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating




Doris

Wednesday 8th of February 2023

So what a game changer to not brown the beef in batches. Which is such a hassle and a mess and this way saved time. I did exactly follow the recipe and holy shit, so good. Thank you, and thanks again. Soooo good. Bravo!

Tressa Jamil

Wednesday 8th of February 2023

I am so happy you enjoyed the dish and that our recipe saved you some time. There is definitely a place for browning beef for stew, but definitely not needed here. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Dave

Tuesday 11th of October 2022

Is 5 pounds of short rib right? Seems like a lot and it goes for $10 a pound near me!

Tressa Jamil

Tuesday 11th of October 2022

Five pounds is correct, and I know it's a lot! This is often a treat meal for our family, especially when using short ribs. However, we have made the same recipe with boneless beef shank and chuck roast with great results; check the ingredients sections for suggestions on other cuts of meat to use as a substitute.

Marilyn

Friday 5th of August 2022

I loved how easy this recipe is to make. I originally found your blog and made the stove-top version and it was good, but it took a long time. The instant pot is a game-changer.

Tressa Jamil

Friday 5th of August 2022

Yes, we love to make this recipe when we crave the same, great taste, but don't want to wait for it!