Instant Pot Midwest Goulash

One of my most cherished childhood memories is of the times when my grandmother would whip up her famous Midwest Goulash. As I’d play outside with the neighboring kids, the aroma from her kitchen would waft into the yard, making all our tummies rumble in unison. We knew what was coming for dinner, and the anticipation was just as delightful as the meal itself.

Years later, during a family gathering, I was reintroduced to this delicious dish by my aunt. She’d taken the recipe from grandma but added her own twist by using an Instant Pot. Not only was it quicker, but it also managed to capture the very essence of the dish I remembered. And now, I’m excited to share this modern take on a family classic with all of you.

How to Prepare Instant Pot Midwest Goulash

Ingredients for Instant Pot Midwest Goulash

  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound of lean ground turkey
  • 2 tender grated carrots
  • 1/2 finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 diced green bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of aromatic Italian herbs mix
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic essence
  • 1 teaspoon of flavorful seasoned salt (recommend Lawry’s®)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh water
  • 1 tablespoon classic Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons beef bouillon essence
  • 2 cups of elbow-shaped macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon of rich paprika
  • 1 can (15 ounces) of finely diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 ounces) of smooth tomato sauce

Directions for Instant Pot Midwest Goulash

  1. Activate the Sauté function on your multi-functional pressure cooker (like the Instant Pot). Pour in the olive oil followed by the turkey, letting it cook until it’s beautifully browned and crumbled, approximately 3 minutes.
  2. Fold in the carrots, onion, green pepper, aromatic Italian herbs, garlic essence, seasoned salt, and freshly ground pepper.
  3. In a separate container, blend the water, Worcestershire sauce, and beef bouillon essence. Introduce this mixture to the meat and stir thoroughly. Allow it to come to a gentle simmer.
  4. Add in the macaroni and sprinkle paprika over it. Layer on the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce without mixing them in. Seal the lid securely.
  5. Adjust the timer for 4 minutes and patiently wait around 10 minutes for pressure to establish.
  6. Once done, cautiously release the pressure using the quick-release technique as per the Instant Pot’s guidelines. This should take about 5 minutes. Unlock and lift the lid.
  7. Stir properly before delighting your taste buds.

FAQ: What meat can I substitute for ground turkey?

You can use ground beef, chicken, or even a plant-based meat alternative. Just ensure it crumbles well while sautéing for best results.

FAQ: Can I use other pasta types instead of elbow macaroni?

Yes, you can! Penne, rotini, or bow-tie pasta can be great alternatives. Just keep an eye on cooking times as they may vary slightly.

FAQ: How can I make this dish vegetarian?

Replace the ground turkey with a plant-based meat substitute or even lentils. Omit the beef bouillon and use a vegetable broth instead for a delightful vegetarian version.

FAQ: Can I freeze leftovers?

Absolutely! Just ensure the dish has cooled down completely before transferring to an airtight container. It can be frozen for up to 3 months.

FAQ: How do I reheat the Goulash?

For best results, thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat on the stovetop or microwave until warmed throughout. Add a little water if it’s too thick.

FAQ: I don’t have an Instant Pot. Can I still make this?

Of course! You can prepare this in a large pot or Dutch oven on the stovetop. Adjust the cooking time and ensure the macaroni is cooked through before serving.

Instant Pot Midwest Goulash

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 21 minutes
Total Time 41 minutes
Course Casserole
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 small carrots grated
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper diced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt such as Lawry's®, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 15 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce


  • Turn on a multi-functional pressure cooker (such as Instant Pot) and select the Sauté function. Add olive oil and turkey; cook until halfway browned and crumbly, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in carrots, onion, bell pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, seasoned salt, and black pepper.
  • Mix water, Worcestershire sauce, and bouillon granules together in a small bowl. Pour into meat mixture and stir until well combined. Bring to a simmer, then stir in macaroni and paprika. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce, making sure not to stir after this addition. Close and lock the lid. Set the timer for 4 minutes. Allow about 10 minutes for pressure to build.
  • Release pressure carefully using the quick-release method according to the manufacturer's instructions, about 5 minutes. Unlock and remove the lid.
  • Mix well before serving.
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