Gulaschsuppe (German Goulash Soup) is a rich beef soup that's spiced with paprika and seasoned with thyme, caraway, marjoram, onion, and garlic.
Ithaca, NY, which is located on the southern end of Cayuga Lake in New York’s Finger Lake region, is one of the quaintest little towns I know of.
While the name Ithaca may not be familiar right away, it might ring a bell when you hear that it is home to Cornell University.
There is an adorable pedestrian shopping mall in downtown Ithaca called the Commons. It has various stores and restaurants (for more pics of the Commons, see this post from mine and Mike's last anniversary).
There’s plenty of variety when it comes to places to eat! Mine and Mike’s favorite restaurant is a German place called Brötchen, and when we’re walking the Commons around lunchtime we end up there for lunch more often than not.
At Brötchen I always order this soup and Mike always orders some kind of sandwich. And then he inevitably regrets not ordering this soup, and eats half of mine. Which is ok because then I have room for dessert.
The Best Gulaschsuppe (German Goulash Soup Recipe)
German Goulash Soup actually originated in Hungary. However, it's quite common and considered traditional fare in Germany. (Read more about Gulaschsuppe on German Culture.)
This flavorful soup features pieces of beef slowly simmering until tender. Just take a look...
The broth is richly spiced with sweet paprika and flavored with onion and garlic. A touch of hot paprika (or cayenne pepper) adds a hint of heat and rounds out the flavor profile.
Gulaschsuppe Ingredients and Substitutions
In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas where applicable. For the full recipe (including the ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.
- Oil - I typically use avocado oil or clarified butter (aka ghee) to sear the beef for this soup, but you can use any mild or neutral-flavored oil with a high smoke point, such as canola oil.
- Beef sirloin - You have options when it comes to what cut of beef to use. Sirloin is a lean cut; if you prefer, you can use chuck roast, which has more marbling.
- Onion and garlic - For savory flavor and aroma.
- Bay leaves - Bay leaves add to the complexity of this soup with another layer of flavor.
- Sweet paprika - Paprika is a classic spice in Hungarian cuisine. It adds a gorgeous reddish color to soup, and a subtle sweet, fruity pepper flavor.
- Fresh thyme - Fresh thyme adds an herby, peppery, citrusy flavor. If you don't have fresh thyme on hand, you can use ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves instead.
- Caraway seeds - Caraway is a classic spice in Goulash Soup; it adds a subtle anise-like flavor, similar to fennel.
- Ground marjoram - Marjoram has a woodsy, earthy, citrusy flavor.
- Hot paprika - This soup isn't spicy-hot; we only add a pinch of hot paprika to help create a balanced flavor profile. You can substitute with cayenne pepper if you don't have hot paprika on hand.
- Beef stock - Use a good quality beef stock for the most flavorful soup.
- Worcestershire sauce - Worcestershire sauce is a fermented condiment that packs a punch of savory umami flavor that pairs exceptionally well with beef. A little bit goes a long way!
- Tamari sauce - Tamari sauce is a fermented condiment that's similar to soy sauce, but is gluten free. It adds great depth of flavor here.
- Tomato paste - Tomato paste adds volume to the broth and helps thicken it slightly. It also adds another layer of flavor.
- Salt and black pepper - These pantry-staple spices make sure our soup isn't bland.
How to Make Gulaschsuppe
Sear the beef in a large pot.
Add the onion and cook until starting to soften. Add the seasonings and cook for a minute or two until fragrant. Stir in the stock and tomato paste.
Bring to a boil, and then turn the heat down to simmer, cover the pot, and cook until the beef is tender, stirring occasionally.
Store German Goulash Soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. As the flavors blend, it gets even more delicious!
What to Serve with Gulaschsuppe (German Goulash Soup)
This is a hearty winter dish, and I like to serve it with something to soak up the delicious stew. Here are a few ideas:
- Rye bread, pretzel bread, crusty bread, or keto buns to keep it low carb
- Mashed potatoes or keep it lighter with mashed cauliflower
Tips for Making Gulaschsuppe
- For the the ground caraway seeds, I use whole caraway seeds and lightly crush them using a mortar and pestle. You can also put them in a small plastic bag and lightly crush them with a rolling pin.
- You can add 2 potatoes and 4 carrots (all chopped) after the meat has cooked for about 30 minutes. Add a splash more liquid (beef stock or water) if necessary.
- If you can't find hot paprika, you can use cayenne pepper instead.
More Beef Soup and Stew Recipes to Try
- Sweet and Spicy Beef, Butternut, and White Bean Stew
- Low Carb Instant Pot Red Wine Beef Stew
- Ethiopian Ground Beef Stew
- Basic Beef Stew Using Pantry Staples
- Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup
Gulaschsuppe Recipe (German Goulash Soup)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or any neutral-flavored oil with a high smoke point
- 1 ½ pounds beef sirloin trimmed of fat and cubed
- 2 large onions diced
- 5 large cloves garlic minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons fresh minced thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds ground
- ½ teaspoon ground marjoram
- 1/16 teaspoon hot paprika or cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 6 cups beef stock plus more if needed
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons tamari sauce or soy sauce
- 2 ounces tomato paste
- Minced fresh parsley or thyme for garnish (optional)
- In a 5-quart pot with a lid, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the beef and sear on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Add the onions and sauté until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, bay leaves, paprika, thyme, caraway, marjoram, hot paprika, salt, and black pepper. Sauté 1 to 2 minutes, until everything is fragrant.
- Stir in the beef stock, Worcestershire, tamari, and tomato paste, and bring up to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook until beef is tender (about 1 hour), stirring occasionally. Add more liquid (beef stock or water) if necessary.
- Taste and season with additional salt and black pepper as desired.
- If desired, serve garnished with minced fresh parsley or thyme.
- Net Carbs: 9g per serving
- Caraway Seeds: For the the ground caraway seeds, I use whole caraway seeds and lightly crush them using a mortar and pestle. You can also put them in a small plastic bag and lightly crush them with a rolling pin.
- Let the Flavors Blend: This soup is even more delicious the next day after the flavors have had the chance to blend.
- Serving Suggestion: You can serve this with a dollop of sour cream for added richness.
How to Make This Soup in the Instant Pot
- Heat the oil in an Instant Pot on the "Saute" function. Once hot, add the beef and sear on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add the onion and cook until it's starting to soften, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Add the bay leaves, paprika, thyme, caraway, marjoram, hot paprika, salt, and black pepper and cook for 30 seconds more, stirring constantly. Press "Cancel" to turn off the "Saute" function.
- Stir in the beef stock, Worcestershire, tamari, and tomato paste. Cover the Instant Pot and set it to "Manual, High Pressure" for 35 minutes. Once it's done, vent it to release the steam.
- Serve garnished with fresh parsley or thyme.
This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on April 10, 2011 and updated on January 29, 2024.