Irish Stew Macaroni Goulash

4.77 from 13 votes
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Our family favorite Grandpa’s Irish Stew Macaroni Goulash is full of meaty tomato and pasta flavor with peas and onions for a quick and easy hearty dish!

noodle with peas, beef, and tomatoes in it
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One Pot Irish Stew Macaroni Goulash

One Pot Irish Stew Macaroni Goulash is a delightful fusion dish that combines the hearty flavors of a traditional Irish stew with the comforting simplicity of macaroni goulash. This unique concoction creates a rich and savory experience for the palate, perfect for those chilly evenings when you’re in need of something warm and filling. The dish incorporates tender chunks of lamb or beef, as is customary in Irish stews, along with a variety of vegetables such as carrots, onions, and potatoes. The macaroni is added directly to the pot, allowing it to absorb the flavorful broth and become infused with the robust flavors of the stew.

The beauty of this dish lies in its simplicity and the ease with which it can be prepared. All of the ingredients are cooked together in a single pot, resulting in a meal that is not only delicious but also minimal in cleanup. The use of aromatic herbs such as thyme and rosemary, along with a splash of red wine, helps to elevate the flavors and create a stew that is rich and complex. The macaroni adds a playful texture to the dish, making it a hit among both adults and children alike. Whether you’re looking to put a twist on your traditional stew recipe or simply in need of a comforting and hearty meal, the One Pot Irish Stew Macaroni Goulash is sure to satisfy.

noodles with peas, beef, and tomatoes in it

How Our Irish Stew / Macaroni Goulash Name Came to Be:

My husband’s grandpa Ken was one of the sweetest people I had ever met.

He had the warmest smile and a booming but gentle voice that you’d hear nonstop.

He’d regale anybody he met with colorfully sweet stories, memories, and would become instant best friends with anybody he met. He travelled the world both in his service in WWII and working for the Boy Scouts as well as building fisheries for the Department of the Interior, and loved learning about people and their stories.

He also really, really loved his favorite recipes- especially anything his beloved Barbara would make.

(Sidenote: how adorable is it that my husband’s grandparents are Barb and Ken?? He would ALWAYS joke that they were the original Barbie and Ken… I cherish a recording he made for our kids one Christmas where he cheekily proclaims them as the originals.)

My husband recently was flipping through his family cookbook, and one recipe stood out to him as one of Grandpa Ken’s favorites – his family’s Irish Stew recipe.

He remembers him helping make this dish (he usually left cooking to his “sweetie” as he’d always call her- as even well into his 80’s he would be working around the farm, climbing on the roof to fix something, or some other odd job) and that he loved it a lot.

When my mother in law saw we were making it she dove right in for a bowl from memory lane!

noodles with peas, beef, and tomatoes in it

Now, let me tell you, as someone who comes from a VERY proud Irish family, I immediately gave my husband a funny face when he told me the ingredients. I mean, we had JUST been to Ireland (where, trust me, they definitely know how to make a rockingly delicious stew that is ACTUALLY a stew) – and this isn’t some well known dish or anything.

It’s also indicative of what many Americans think Irish food is, versus the type of food you will actually find in Ireland (which is full of bright, fresh flavor and SERIOUSLY delicious) but it is simple, quick, and totally crave-able.

I’m pretty sure calling this dish Irish Stew is the moniker his family, from a small town in rural Kansas, came up with- maybe passed down from an Irish friend or relative and just became their interpretation of a traditional Irish Stew?

noodles with peas, beef, and tomatoes in it

We miss him a ton since he died 3 years ago (we moved into the house he built last year, and are reminded of him everyday) but I love being able to remember one of my husband’s favorite people on earth through his fun stories and recipes he loved to eat.

We hope you love this recipe, too!

Irish Stew Recipe- this dish has tons of flavor!

How to Make Macaroni Goulash

This easy hamburger pasta salad is so great because it can be cooked separately, and mixed together for a delicious dinner that is portable and perfect for picnics, cookouts, and more!

There are a couple tips to make a perfect Macaroni Irish Stew that will help you get a perfect hearty hamburger pasta salad every time!

  • Wait to Mix In the Macaroni
    • If you’re making this macaroni goulash for a picnic or potluck, cook the hamburger and combine with the tomatoes and then the peas to create the “sauce”; and cook the macaroni separately.
    • When you get to your picnic or dinner, mix them together to prevent your pasta from turning to mush.
  • For more robust flavor, simmer your meat in the tomatoes and spices. 
    • While not necessary (this recipe is created to be a mix all the ingredients together and stir to mix style recipe), for a deeper, richer flavor, stew the tomatoes, herbs, and spices with the hamburger meat when it has just cooked to infuse more flavor into the dish.
    • Add 1 cup beef stock to the hamburger, herbs, and tomatoes and cook until liquid is reduced before adding to the macaroni.
  • Cook your macaroni to al dente. 
    • Since this pasta salad is a hearty dish that does have additional liquid in the dish thanks to tomatoes, it is important to cook your pasta a little under done, so it doesn’t turn to mush when mixed with the rest of the dish.
    • Cooking the macaroni to al dente, so it still has a bit of bite to it, will help your macaroni goulash have a perfect texture.
noodles with peas, beef, and tomatoes in it

How to Freeze Macaroni Goulash

If you are making a big batch of this dish and want to freeze it, I personally suggest not adding in all the macaroni and only freezing the meat and sauce – but if you have leftovers, never fear!

With these tips you can easily freeze and reheat this easy macaroni pasta salad.

  • Put Irish stew in a ziploc bag or a vacuum seal bag – don’t overstuff.
  • You want the bag to be able to sit flat in your freezer so it freezes evenly – less equals more in this case!
  • Remove as much air as possible from the bag – this will help you prevent the formation of ice crystals, which will turn your meal to mush!
  • Defrost naturally in the refrigerator OR throw the pasta in a hot pan with a little olive oil to reheat.

Other Soups You’ll Love:

If you love this easy and delicious  beefy hamburger macaroni goulash, be sure to check out some of my other favorite hamburger recipes – simply click to visit each easy printable recipe!

Also try my favorites like: One Pot Hamburger Cabbage Soup, Creamy Hash Brown Hamburger Soup, and Double Beef Chili.

noodles with peas, beef, and tomatoes in it

Irish Stew Macaroni Goulash Recipe

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noodles with peas, beef, and tomatoes in it

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Grandpa's Irish Stew (Macaroni Goulash)

Irish Stew Macaroni Goulash

Grandpa’s Irish Stew is full of meaty tomato and pasta flavor with peas and onions for a quick and easy hearty dish!
Course One Pot
Cuisine American
Keyword beef, beef casserole, goulash, macaroni, one pot, pasta
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 280kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell


  • 1 lb beef Ground
  • ½ onion diced
  • 4 oz tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 8 oz frozen or fresh peas
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 12 oz diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups macaroni


  • On a large pot, over medium high heat, begin to brown ground beef.
  • When beef is only lightly pink, add diced onion to pot and cook until beef is browned and onion is soft.
  • Turn heat to low, and mix in all other ingredients.
  • If using frozen peas, let cook on low until they are warm.
  • Serve immediately or let cool and enjoy!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 468mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g

If you’d like to see me make this recipe, click here to watch the video:
[mv_video aspectRatio=”16:9″ key=”ohntjepc6xews2j0pfm5″]

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style. Courtney writes the popular creative lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs- a site devoted to delicious everyday recipes, home decor, crafts, DIY inspiration, and photography tips to help make your every day extraordinary.

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4.77 from 13 votes (12 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Susan says:

    5 stars
    So funny, in our family this was called”goulash”! We never added peas but it sounds like a great addition and i’ll Try it next time.

  2. SR says:

    Hi! My family has made this going back years to my great great grandmother. It’s “American Chop Suey”. It’s a completely American invention (out of necessity), not Irish at all, and It’s very common here in New England (especially so in MA, RI, NY). It came about in the early 1900’s during the heavy influx of Italian immigration to New England. Boxed pastas and canned tomatoes were being imported here from Italy during that time for the new Italian-Americans. Those items then began being produced here in the states and sold inexpensively, becoming a major staple of pre-war, ww1, depression, and ww2 era household pantries here. The meal was brought about by poor Italian and European immigrants mixing the new inexpensive, shelf stable pasta and canned tomatoes in with whatever scraps of cheap ground meat they had or could barter for to make that meat go further (beef, chicken, turkey, pork, or homemade sausage). In my area, we have a heavy population of Italian, Irish, Portuguese, and European families descended from that migration, and those populations took on the meal as well, making it their own by adding their preferred flavors or garden veggies they grew. Later, during WW2, some added cheap canned veggies, government supplies, or whatever meat rations they had to the mix — some of my friends’ families still add the peas, or cabbage, or ground portuguese chourico, or ground german sausage, and almost everyone adds onions. One friend’s family adds cream, worcestershire sauce, peas, onions, and mushrooms, and no one knows who started doing that lol. It’s most commonly called “American Chop Suey” here… but some restaurants/families/school cafeterias would add on “Irish style” or “Irish-American Chop Suey” to note that peas and bacon were added (the peas being green, making it “Irish” lol) or “Polish” when cabbage is added, etc. It spread throughout the country as immigrants started moving away from New England, and also after becoming a regular meal served to the military during the wars. My friend’s Boston-born gramma now lives in Chicago in a heavily Eastern European neighborhood, and they call it “American Goulash” because they add red peppers and paprika.

  3. Angie says:

    Hi there,
    I love this! I grew up in a traditional Catholic Irish household and this was a staple! My grandparents would cook this exact meal all the time. This story is so cool and I cannot believe that another family besides my own makes this and calls is Irish Stew! Thank you for your story and the recipe 🙂