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Serbian Beef Goulash / Goveđi Gulaš

15 minutes (+2 hours cooking)


6 servings

One of the most comforting meals to eat, Serbian Beef Goulash / Goveđi Gulaš. This meat stew, popular across the Balkans, is one of the staples of Serbian cuisine. As is the case with a lot of traditional foods, most households or different regions of Serbia have their own way of preparing this dish. Even with all the little tweaks, it is the tender meat cooked in a dark aromatic sauce which makes this dish so popular. The recipe for this Beef Goulash is made with sautéed onion, garlic, leek, beef, lots of water and seasonings. Not too many ingredients, but a delicious meal. Pair with mashed potatoes and this dinner can become a staple in your household too. 

Serbian Beef Goulash

About this recipe

I have grown up eating Gulaš / Goulash for as long as I can remember. It was most certainly one of those dinner meals that was a part of my mother’s cooking repertoire. We always had it served with mashed potatoes on the bottom, then topped with the meat and sauce of the goulash. At other times we ate Goulash with pasta, and very rarely on its own. Eating goulash with freshly baked bread that you could dip into the meat and sauce was also divine! 

This recipe is quite a simple and minimal way of making Serbian Beef Goulash / Goveđi Gulaš. Some households cook Goulash with chopped potatoes and carrots, but for me that resembles paprikas. The absence of vegetables also reflects the countryman’s love of meat. This recipe is made with a few simple, inexpensive ingredients. It is a low intensity, slow cooking process that will take about 2 hours of cooking time. All you need is 15 minutes to prep, sauté, and let it simmer away. Two hours may sound like a long time, but it is all worth it for the deliciously tender beef. What’s more, the flavour only gets better after it stays a day or two in the fridge. 

Goveđi Gulaš

Chop & Sauté

With not so many ingredients, there is little work to do here. To a large pot, or preferably a Dutch Oven, add the lard and let it melt. Thinly slice the yellow onions and sauté them over medium heat for a few minutes. In the meantime, thinly slice one whole leek, add to the pot and let this cook until softened. The onions should only soften, not become golden-brown. While the onions cook, chop the beef into cubes, add to the pot, stir, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the beef has slightly browned, cover the pot with water, add the vegeta, paprika and salt & pepper to taste. Slowly cook the Goulash, checking on the water every 25 minutes. Add more water to the pot if it evaporates quickly.

Towards the end of the cooking process, combine flour and water in a small bowl, add to the goulash and stir. The beef should be cooked through, soft, and the water turned into a sauce-like consistency.

Serbian Goulash

A few tips

The lard – Cooking with lard is an old tradition. Nowadays, we all cook with olive oil or vegetable oils. However, even though it may not sound appetizing, lard is a great flavour enhancer and also helps thicken the sauce nicely. I highly recommend not skipping this ingredient. You can usually find it in the fridge aisle of a supermarket.

The onions – The onions should be thinly sliced, as small as you can. Goulash should not be overwhelmed with chunky slices of onion. The thinly cut onions will suit the consistency of the sauce.

The beef – Use a good quality cut of beef. The better the quality, the better the taste. I cooked this dish with wagyu beef from a local butcher. However, if this is not possible for you, ask the butcher for their nicest piece. 

Vegeta – If you don’t already know, vegeta is a popular condiment in Serbia. It is a mxi of salt, spices, and vegetables. You can find this condiment in the spice isle of a supermarket. However, if this is not available for you, add salt, pepper, paprika with an all-purpose seasoning mix.

Water – The amount of water that you need may vary. I use at least 1 L of water for this recipe. Depending on the size of your pot, it will depend on how much water you need to cover the onions and beef. Add extra water along the way to prevent the dish from completely drying out.

Serbian Beef Goulash

Looking for more?

If you are looking for more ideas, try one of the recipes below:

Potato Salad with Capsicums & Spring Onions

Roasted & Cajun Spiced Pumpkin Soup

Zucchini & Feta Cheese Fritters

Serbian Beef Goulash / Goveđi Gulaš is such a comforting dish. I hope you enjoy it. If you have time, cook the Goulash a day in advance, the flavours will be even better the next day. Leave a comment and let me know how this recipe turns out for you. If you get a moment, please leave this recipe a rating. If you get a little stuck or have any questions, you can also reach me over on Instagram



Adjust Servings
100g lard
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped
2cloves garlic, minced
500g beef, cut into chunks
1L water
1tbsp vegeta
1tsp paprika
salt & pepper to taste
1tsp flour
3 tbsp water
For The Mash Potato
600g potatoes
100g unsalted butter
2tsp salt


In a large pot, or a Dutch oven, melt the lard and sauté the chopped yellow onion with one chopped leek. Cover the onions with 1 cup of water and let it simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. The onions should soften but not burn or change in colour.
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The beef
Add the cubed meat to the onions, cover with water and stir. Add the vegeta, paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Depending on your tastes, you may want more salt and pepper.
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Let it Simmer
Simmer the Goulash for as long as possible; the longer it simmers, the better it tastes, stirring from time to time. This can take up to 2 hours.
Towards the end, combine flour and water in a small bowl. Pour this into the Goulash and stir. This will add thickness to the dish.
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For the Mash Potato
Peel and cut your potatoes into cubes. Rinse the potatoes and add them to a pot, add hot water and cook until soft.
Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them, and let them cool for 5 minutes. Next, to the potatoes add the butter and salt. Mix until everything is combined. Serve the potatoes with the Goulash. Enjoy!
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