Don’t let the fancy name fool you, Pörkölt is an easy and flavorful Hungarian beef stew (often refered to as goulash in the united states) made with simple ingredients.
Serve pörkölt with homemade egg noddles and a side of roasted vegetables and you’ll feel like your in a 5 star restaurant.
Hungarian Pörkölt vs Goulash
Pörkölt (Peur-keult) is Hungarian for beef stew and is a popular Hungarian recipe made by braising meat and simmering it with onions in a tomato based sauce. It’s served warm, over noodles and it’s absolutely delicious.
My brother lived in Hungary for some time and came home with a new found love of Hungarian food. He even brought my mom a Hungarian cookbook (translated to English of course) so she could test out some native recipes.
This recipe is often confused with Hungarian goulash and in fact is often called Hungarian goulash by mistake. Authentic goulash is a meat and vegetable soup where Pörkölt is thicker, similar in consistency to beef stroganoff, and is served over noodles.
What I LOVE about this recipe:
- Easy– It requires very little prep, simple ingredients, and is super easy to throw together and let it simmer while making your house smell amazing.
- Sweet paprika– this is the ingredient that really shines in this dish. Sweet paprika is Hungarian paprika you can find at the grocery store (or on amazon). If you must substitute regular (hot) paprika, the flavor will change slightly, and you will only need a few teaspoons, rather than Tablespoons. Adjust to taste.
Purchasing Beef for Stew (what to know):
- Save your money! Don’t buy expensive cuts of meat for stew! Cheap, tough cuts of meat are perfect. That’s right, I said tough cuts of meat! The best thing about stew is that it simmers for long periods of time, causing the connective tissue in tougher meat to break down, turning the meat into soft, tender pieces. In contrast, nice tender and marbled meat with become tougher the longer it simmers because the fat will melt into the soup.
- Avoid pre-cut stew meat. This type of packaged meat is put together by the butcher from the odds and ends of different cuts of beef. This means they won’t cook as evenly.
- Choose the right cut of meat. Hit the sale section and look for cuts of meat that come from the shoulder or rear of the cow. My first choice is always chuck: chuck shoulder, chuck roast, top chuck. Or choose a round roast, tump roast, or top top round roast.
How to Make Pörkölt:
1. Sear meat. Season with salt and pepper and place meat pieces in a skillet of hot oil, browning on all sides. *Don’t crowd the meat in the pan or it will steam instead of sear. Set aside.
2. Make Sauce. Cook onions in oil until golden. Return the meat back to the pot, along with tomato sauce, bouillon cubes, water, paprika and vinegar.
3. Simmer. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, until meat is fall apart tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
4. Serve. Stir in the sour cream and serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.
- Substitute meat– any kind of meat can be used. Substitute chicken, pork, or other game meat.
- Add vegetables– feel free to add your favorite vegetables during step 2.
- Paprikás – Add additional sour cream and this dish becomes a new hungarian favorite, paprikás!
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- 2 pounds chuck roast , cut into bite size pieces
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- Fresh cracked Salt and pepper
- 2 onions , diced
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons beef bouillon paste , or 2 beef bouillon cubes
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 Tablespoons Hungarian Sweet Paprika
- 1 tsp vinegar
- ¼ cup of sour cream
- 1 pkg egg noodles
- Season steak pieces on all sides with salt and pepper. Add oil to a large cast iron pot over medium heat-high heat. Once hot, add steak, in small batches, and brown on all sides. Don’t crowd the meat in the pan or it will steam instead of sear. Set aside the seared steak onto a plate.
- Add a little more oil to the pan, if needed and reduce heat to medium. Add onions and cook until golden. Return the meat back to the pot, along with tomato sauce, bouillon cubes, water, paprika and vinegar.
- Cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, until meat is fall apart tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then stir in the sour cream. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, as needed.
- Boil noodles according to package instructions and serve pörkölt over them.
- Substitute meat- any kind of meat can be used. Substitute chicken, pork, or other game meat.
- Add vegetables- feel free to add your favorite vegetables during step 2.
- Paprikás - Add additional sour cream and this dish becomes a new hungarian favorite, paprikás!
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HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?!
RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.
Can this be made In crockpot
I would sear the meat first and then add it to the crock pot on low until tender!
Yes, cook on low for 5-6 hours or so, until the meat is tender.
So yummy and simple. Just takes a little planning ahead to allow for the slow simmer. Mine ended up needing about 2.5-3 hours for the fall-apart meat.
My mom was Hungarian (immigrated to USA in 1951) and I grew up eating these types of dishes. You nailed it!! Delicious and authentic.
If you make this, don’t change a thing!! ❤️
Made this today and it was magnificent! Thank you for the recipe. It was full of flavor, very easy to make and enjoyed by all.
Hi, I want to congratulate you. We also add a tiny sliced paprika after the onion.
All the Best, Nikolett
Real Hungarian Gulasch doesn’t have vegetables in it, unless you consider onions vegetables.
The seasonings for a real Gulasch are different as well.
You must be thinking of Letscho, it is another beef dish that contains Bell Peppers along side of onions, garlic and tomatoes.
The Letscho doesn’t contain any meat, only bacon cubes, hungarian wax peppers, tomato, onion and paprika powder. The original Goulasch is a soup with meat, carrot, onion, potato, tomato, wax pepper and spices. This recipe looks pretty promising, only in authentic Pörkölt don’t put sour creme and vinegar.
This isn’t a goulash recipe, it is Pörkölt.
My husband liked this better than I did. I thought it was just ok. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Can you throw it all in a crock pot without browning everything?
Absolutely delicious! The whole family loves this, just made it for the second time tonight.
I am Hungarian and I’ve been making pörkölt using my mom’s recipe. I tried yours in the spring while traveling and I had no access to my recipes. What a stroke of luck! This recipe is wonderful and it has become my family’s favorite, hands down. I’m making it the fourth time tonight (exactly as written) because my husband and kids asked for it again. Thank you!
this recipe is excellent
This has become of our families favorite recipes!! My daughter makes it often. We did get the real Hungarian paprika from Amazon and it makes all the difference.
As someone Hungarian , we never use tomato sauce in this dish , it will completely changes the taste of it. I’m not saying it is bad with tomato , but i recommend not using it. The way i do it is , cut up the onion to small pieces , add some oil , and sear them until they get a glassy like color. Then add the paprika powder , and some water real quick so the paprika doesnt burn. Let it boil until the onion is almos completely dissolved or cooked away in the water , this will help with the sweetness of the onion , and it will be much more tasty. Then put the meat in it , put some water on it ( depends on the meat you will use ) and add the spices. Cover the pan , set it on slowcook and about 2 hours later , you have it. If you like Champignon mushrooms , that can be also included.
I am not normally a goulash fan, my Mom used to make it when we were kids and she must not have cooked it long enough because the beef was always grisly and tough. But this. This is absolutely delicious! And it has the added benefit of being gluten free, so I could feed it to my family members who can’t have wheat. And it was a huge hit with them too!
Really, really enjoyed this! The only thing I did different was add tsp caraway seeds, fresh, yellow bell pepper, carrots, and ripe tomatoes! I love veggies!! Oh, and I deglazed my pan with white wine after cooking beef then did veggies! Very, good dish I highly recommend! I’m Hungarian but never cooked porkoit! Thank you for sharing this recipe!!
Wow! This recipe was delicious!! Reminds me of my time in Central Europe last year.
Next time, I’ll season my meat a little less (added more sour cream to mine).
THANKS SO MUCH FOR THIS RECIPE ❤️
This was amazing! So glad I gave your recipe a try. Another winner from TBFS.