Polish Goulash

This hearty Polish Goulash is something that my housemates from Poland would cook for me when I lived in a small town in Germany. Packed with tender, juicy pork, as well as mushrooms that we had gathered together in the surrounding forest, their incredible gulasz was always the perfect antidote to a cold and gloomy day.

While my recreation uses supermarket veggies and takes a few liberties due to the availability of certain ingredients, it’s still the soul-warming comfort food I have come to love!

Finished goulash mixed with sour cream in a serving bowl with potato pancakes.

Recipe ingredients

  • Pork shoulder: You can also swap out the pork for beef chuck if you prefer.
  • Bacon: This adds a smokiness and incredible depth of flavor to the Polish goulash.
  • Bell peppers: I recommend using one red bell pepper and one orange or yellow bell pepper.
  • Button mushrooms: Not all goulash recipes contain mushrooms, but they were an integral part of my Polish housemate’s recipe so I always add them.
  • Yellow onion: Diced yellow onion contributes to depth of flavor.
  • Tomato paste: The concentrated flavor of tomato paste gives goulash a huge flavor boost.
  • Paprika: I recommend using one tablespoon of smoked paprika and one tablespoon of sweet paprika. If you don’t have smoked paprika, using two tablespoons of sweet paprika will work just fine!
  • Cayenne: I like my Polish goulash with a bit of a kick, but feel free to use less or leave the cayenne out completely.
  • Allspice: Allspice adds a warm, earthy flavor to the dish.
  • Dry red wine: The acidity in the red wine complements the richness of the dish and helps balance the flavors.
  • Chicken broth: I prefer chicken broth to vegetable or beef broth for this goulash recipe, though either would work in a pinch.
  • Cornstarch: This thickens the goulash. Towards the end of cooking, you’ll combine it with a bit of water and then stir the mixture (cornstarch slurry) into the goulash.
  • Salt: Make sure to generously season the meat and add more salt to taste at the end of cooking.

Step by step instructions

Crispy bacon pieces sizzling in dutch oven.

Step 1: Cook the bacon until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate and set aside.

Browning pork shoulder chunks in rendered bacon fat and oil.

Step 2: Trim the pork shoulder of excess fat and cut into large chunks. Working in batches, sear the meat in the rendered bacon fat. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Chopped bell peppers, mushrooms and onion in dutch oven after cooking.

Step 3: Add the onion, bell peppers and mushrooms and cook for 10-12 minutes.

Adding tomato paste and paprika to the goulash.

 Step 4: Add the tomato sauce, paprika, cayenne and allspice and mix well. Pour in the red wine and cook several minutes more.

All ingredients for goulash in dutch oven before cooking.

 Step 5: Add the pork and bacon back to the pot and add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is very tender.

Finished goulash after cooking in dutch oven.

 Step 6: During the last 10 minutes of cooking, combine the cornstarch with a few spoonfuls of water. Whisk into the goulash and continue cooking uncovered for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

Storage and reheating

Once the goulash has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to an an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 3-4 days.

I prefer to reheat my gulasz in a dutch oven or pot on the stovetop over low to medium heat. If the goulash seems quite thick, add a small amount of water or broth to the pot. Heat until just warmed through.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Hungarian goulash and Polish goulash?

Hungarian goulash typically has more liquid and is more soup-like, while Polish goulash tends to be thicker.

Which type of meat should I use for goulash?

Pork is most traditional and I generally use pork shoulder. But I have also tested this recipe with beef chuck and it works well.

Is there a good substitute for red wine?

Instead of red wine, you can just use additional broth or even water.

Can I leave out the mushrooms?

Yes, you can leave out the mushrooms without making any other changes to the recipe. Although, if you like, you could add additional vegetables, such as carrots or more bell peppers.

What should I serve with Polish goulash?

My favorite way to eat this goulash is to spoon it over crispy potato pancakes just like my housemates from Poland always served it. But if you’re not in the mood to peel and grate potatoes, you can try it with mashed potatoes or even baked potatoes.

Tender pieces of pork with mushrooms and bell peppers in a hearty goulash sauce.

More Polish recipes

If you loved this Polish goulash, make sure to check out our other favorite Polish recipes:

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Finished goulash mixed with sour cream in a serving bowl with potato pancakes.

Polish Goulash Recipe

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Brit Kapustina
  • Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6
    • Prep Time: 20 minutes
    • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
    • Category: dinner
    • Method: stovetop
    • Cuisine: polish


  • 4 ounces (110 grams) thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 2.53 pounds (11.4 kg) pork shoulder
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced (I like to use one red and one orange)
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons paprika (I use 1 tbsp sweet and 1 tbsp smoked)
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ cup (120 ml) dry red wine
  • 1 cup (240 ml) chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • kosher salt to taste
  • sour cream for serving


  1. Cook the chopped bacon in a large dutch oven over medium heat until slightly crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
  2. Trim the pork of excess fat and cut into 2 inch (5 cm) cubes. Generously season with salt.
  3. Add the vegetable oil to the pot with the rendered bacon fat. Increase the heat to medium-high. Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides (about 5-7 minutes). Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  4. Add the onion, bell peppers and mushrooms to the pot. Season with salt. Cook for 10-12 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until almost no liquid remains in the pot.
  5. Stir in the tomato paste, paprika, allspice and cayenne and cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Pour in the red wine and cook several minutes more, using a spatula to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
  7. Return the bacon and pork to the pot.
  8. Add 1 cup of chicken broth. Bring the stew to a slight boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is very tender. If the stew looks like it’s getting too thick, you can add additional broth or water.
  9. Mix together the cornstarch with two tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Stir until smooth.
  10. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the stew. Simmer uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until the stew has thickened.
  11. Serve with sour cream and enjoy!


Storage: Leftover goulash can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

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