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Hungarian Goulash Inspired Burgers

Hungarian Goulash Inspired Burgers are all the flavor of the classic international favorite but served up in burger form on a potato bun.

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This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

What is Hungarian Goulash?

Hungarian goulash should not and cannot be compared to American goulash. They have very little in common save the beef and some paprika. 

Authentic Hungarian goulash does not have SOME paprika, it has A LOT of paprika. 

Hungarian goulash dates back to the Middle Ages. It is a beef and potato stew with heavy spices and a few other vegetables. To this day, it is still one of Hungry’s national dishes. 

I consulted countless online recipes but in the end (as these things usually go), I used my own cookbook collection to develop my own version of the classic recipe.  My guide was my favorite 57 year old copy of the Encyclopedia of European Cooking edited by Musia Soper.

Ingredients for making Hungarian Goulash Sauce

What spices are in Hungarian goulash?

As I mentioned, paprika is the main spice used. If you’ve ever purchased paprika, you might have noticed there is more than one kind available.

Most grocery stores have two: paprika and smoked paprika. If you’re lucky and look beyond major spice brands’ sections to all the miscellaneous bottles, jars, and such, you might notice vibrantly red tins labeled Hungarian or Sweet Hungarian Paprika. This is the one you want for this dish. 

Caraway seeds and marjoram were the other two herb/spices listed in the recipes I looked over. However they were never used together. It was all caraway seeds or all marjoram. Being the culinary rebel I am (insert laughter here), I decided to use both. I am so happy I did! 

What is the best blend for burgers? 

Before I answer this question, let me put it out there that this is my opinion and only my opinion. I have made hundreds of burgers in my life and this is based on my own experience. 

And this is also based on walking into the grocery store and buying prepackaged ground beef by the percentage and not having a special blend ground together of say sirloin and chuck. 

When it comes to my every day ground beef needs, I always go with lean, 90-93%. However, for certain recipes, I like a bit more fat in my ground beef (meatloaf, meatballs, and burgers). 

80-85% Lean Group Beef should always be used for making the juiciest burgers.

To get the juiciest burger out there, stick with 15-20% fat, so 80-85% lean. So much fat is “leaked” out during grilling that burgers made with a lower fat content will dry out faster. Of course there are lots of ways to prevent that, but that’s another post for another time. 

If I am going to be perfectly honest, brand makes a difference too. Since the beginning of the year I have been working with Certified Angus Beef ® brand. Before this, I was not loyal to any particular brand for my beef purchases. I have bought a range of locally raised beef to the most budget friendly brands over the years and can tell you there is a difference in product and taste with Certified Angus Beef ® brand.

The sauce combined with the heavily seasoned patty and creamy cheese are the perfect combination.

How to Make Hungarian Goulash Inspired Burgers?

This burger is slightly more labor intensive than your common backyard barbecue burger. But I give you my word, it is WORTH IT. I may have had a tear run down my eye in utter culinary delight when I bit into this creation. 

THIS BURGER IS MESSY…SERIOUSLY MESSY. And I’d not have it any other way. Take caution with your clothing choice and have plenty of napkins when eating…that’s my PSA when eating these Hungarian Goulash Inspired Burgers.

When prepping your spices, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika and some of the salt and pepper are to be reserved for when forming the hamburgers. It was really hard to figure out how to write that without giving it its own line. I have learned everyone likes all the ingredients in one place, not repeated. 

This recipe is for 6, one-third pound patties. You could make 8 quarter-pounders or 4 half-pounders…your burger, your choice. Simply adjust the amount of buns and cheese you need. You’ll have plenty of sauce for at least 10 burgers (I used the left over with pita chips because I have no shame.) 

The thickness of then Hungarian Goulash before the sour cream is incorporated.

One-fourth cup of the onion and pepper mixture will need to be reserved for the patties BEFORE adding the liquid ingredients to complete the sauce. 

Cooking and reducing times are based on my stove, therefore in the recipe I gave instructions on thickening (more potato flakes) or thinning the sauce (more beef broth). 

If you reheat the sauce, you may need to thin it with more beef broth or sour cream. 

Could you skip the instant potato flakes…yes. I have them on-hand for when I need to thicken or bind something and keep it gluten free. Potatoes are a major component in authentic Hungarian goulash, so using them to thicken the sauce was a spark of brilliance on my part (yes, I am rather vain at times). 

Do you have to use a potato bun…YES. Can you use regular hamburger buns…yes but please don’t tell me about it. The potato bun is another, in my opinion, crucial part to this recipe since traditional goulash has potatoes. 

Delicious Burger Recipes

Looking for more awesome and delicious burger recipes? Here you go:

Messy but delicious, this Hungarian Goulash Inspired burger is going to be your new favorite.

Messy but delicious, this Hungarian Goulash Inspired burger is going to be your new favorite.

Hungarian Goulash Inspired Burgers

Course: Dinner/Grilling
Cuisine: Hungarian
Keyword: cheeseburger, Fusion Recipe, Gourmet burger
Servings: 6 burgers
Author: Michelle De La Cerda

Hungarian Goulash Inspired Burgers are all the flavor of the classic international favorite but served up in burger form on a potato bun.



  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp caraway seeds
  • 3/4 tsp marjarom
  • 1 cup onion; finely diced about one small onion
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper; finely diced about one large pepper
  • 3 tsp garlic; minced/grated 3 large, 6 small
  • 2 tbsp Hungarian Sweet Paprika; plus 1/2 tsp more
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley; finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp salt; +/- to taste; divided
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper; +/- to taste; divided
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp instant potato flakes
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 lbs ground beef; 85% lean
  • 6 potato buns
  • fresh leafy lettuce (red/green leaf, romaine, etc)
  • 6 slices gruyere cheese


For the Sauce

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.

  2. Once the skillet is hot, add the olive oil.

  3. Add the caraway seeds and marjoram; stir constantly allowing them to bloom or become fragrant.

  4. Add the onions, bell peppers, and garlic; mix well incorporating the seasonings into the aromatics; cook for 3-5 minutes or until they begin to soften.

  5. Add the paprika (reserving the 1/2 tsp for later use), 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, and the parsley; mix well and cook for 2 more minutes.

  6. REMOVE 1/4 cup of this mixture; set aside

  7. Add the beef broth to the remaining mixture in the skillet, pulling up any stuck on bits at the bottom of the pan.

  8. Add the tomato sauce; reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.

  9. Add the potato flakes ONE tablespoon at a time, mix in fully before adding more. If mixture is super thick after TWO tablespoons, do not add the third, reserve it for possible later use.

  10. Fold in the sour cream, allow the sauce to cook on medium for at least 5 minutes.

  11. If the sauce is too thin, add the remaining tablespoon of potato flakes; if the sauce is too thick, add more beef broth, tablespoons at a time.

For the Burgers

  1. Place the ground beef to a large bowl.

  2. Add the reserved spiced onions and pepper mixture.

  3. Add the reserved 1/2 tsp paprika, and the 1/4 tsp salt and pepper.

  4. Mix well but take care to not over mix the meat.

  5. Form 6 - 1/3 lb patties and allow the patties to sit for at least 30 minutes, infusing the spices fully into the ground beef.

  6. Heat grill on high and cook approximately 3 minutes per side or to desired doneness.

  7. Top with gruyere cheese cheese, lettuce, and goulash sauce on a potato bun; serve and enjoy.

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  • Reply
    MJ Scott-Obray
    May 20, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    5 stars
    This is seriously one of the best hamburgers I have had the pleasured enjoying. My entire family loved it and have asked that we add it to our dinner rotation.

  • Reply
    May 21, 2019 at 11:38 am

    5 stars
    YUM… I can’t wait to make these this weekend!

  • Reply
    Sara Welchq
    May 21, 2019 at 11:44 am

    5 stars
    I can practically smell all the rich flavors in this recipe! Looking forward to giving it a try!

  • Reply
    Chrissie Baker
    May 21, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve never tried this but now I can’t wait! looks SO delicious!

  • Reply
    S. Yoder
    May 21, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    5 stars

  • Reply
    May 22, 2019 at 9:25 am

    5 stars
    These looks so delicious! I love goulash, so putting it on a burger would send me over the moon!

  • Reply
    Beth Pierce
    May 22, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    5 stars
    Made this for my family last night and got rave reviews! Very juicy and packed with flavor!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2019 at 8:48 am

    5 stars
    What a great idea for a burger! I am always ready for a burger!

  • Reply
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