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Hungarian Goulash – Inspired by Rapunzel

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This quick and easy Hungarian Goulash recipe is ready in just under 45 minutes, yet is packed with tender steak, tons of vegetables, and loaded with flavor. It is a great soup to serve on a cold night!
A cast iron skillet full of goulash with a Rapunzel doll in the background and daisies and herbs in the foreground

This quick and easy Hungarian Goulash recipe is ready in just under 45 minutes, yet is packed with tender steak, tons of vegetables, and loaded with flavor. It is a great soup to serve on a cold night! This recipe is inspired by the Rapunzel fairy tale story.


Goulash in a cast iron skillet with a Rapunzel doll and a wooden spoon next to it


This Hungarian Goulash seems like the perfect spring meal to me! The winter can seem cold and harsh, a long imprisonment in a cold, dark tower. But the coming of spring, warmer days, more sunshine, and hearing the gorgeous bird song outside your bedroom window feels like a sudden freedom and breath of fresh air. Suddenly the days are brighter and longer and we can finally spend a bit of time outside. It feels so exhilarating after a long cold winter!


While it is getting warmer, it is still fairly cool out. This quick and easy goulash recipe is the perfect way to warm up after your frolicking in the great outdoors. This goulash is ready in under an hour and packed with tons of vegetables, bacon, tender steak, and lots of sweet paprika! Serve it with some cheesy biscuits for a perfect spring meal!


A bowl of goulash on a wooden table with biscuits, herbs, a glass of water, and a spoon next to it


Welcome to the Eat Like A Princess Series!

I designed this series as a fun way to teach my daughters about new cultures through the classic Princesses in hopes that they will become more open to trying new foods, to understand other cultures better, and to enjoy exploring the world around them. All while still:

  • containing real food
  • be super easy
  • take about 30 minutes (or as close to it as we can).

You can see other recipes in this series here.



A bowl of goulash in a cast iron skillet sitting on a white napkin, surrounded by daisies and a wooden spoon


The Rapunzel Story:

Rapunzel, the poor girl, has kind of had it rough. Published by the Grimm brothers in 1812, the story has been adapted from and influenced by similar tales from Germany and Italy as far back as 1790, and also shares similar themes to an 11th century Persian tale called Rudāba.


So, this story is kind of messed up. While Rapunzel’s mom was pregnant she had some super intense cravings for a leaf vegetable called Rapaunzel – which is also sometimes called corns salad or lamb’s lettuce. Yes, its a real thing. And her mama NEEDED it so badly she thought she would literally die without it. That’s a crazy craving. So Daddy jumped over into a witch’s garden to steal it. Of course, the witch caught him. But instead of turning him into a frog or putting a hex on him, she allowed him to take the greens in exchange for his baby. And he agrees?! I am guessing he thought that was better than returning to his pregnant wife empty handed? So mother Gothel, the witch, takes the new baby and names her after the plant her mother wanted so badly, and keeps her locked in a tower. One day a Prince spies her singing in the tower, finds out how to get inside, and falls in love. I think we can all agree that a girl literally locked in a tower for her whole life doesn’t really understand the way of the world very well, and one thing leads to another… One day, innocently, Rapunzel asks Mother Gothel why her stomach is getting bigger and her clothes don’t fit. Gothel realizes that Rapuzel has been having booty calls. She cuts off Rapunzel’s hair and dumps her in the desert alone to give birth to twins. She takes Rapunzel’s hair and sets a trap for the prince – he falls out of the tower and is blinded when he falls on some rose bushes below. Two years pass. Poor Rapunzel raising twin babies alone in the desert, the prince wandering blind. Finally they come across each other and Rapunzel cries magical tears that heal the Prince’s eyes. And then they live happily ever after.


I don’t know about you, but I like the Disney version better.


Based on clothes and a Mozart-name drop in the movie version, I am guessing that Tangled takes place along the Austrian/German and Hungarian border, probably in the late 1700’s or early 1800’s. The regency fashion, the architecture, etc all point towards this. In the movie, Mother Gothel mentions that she brought parsnips to make Hazelnut Soup. I decided not to make that particular soup because 1 – it takes a while (like over an hour) and 2- I honestly didn’t think my kids would eat a creamy soup like this. I wanted something chunkier, and with meat so it could be served as a meal. However, I did find this awesome version of Hazelnut soup if you want to give it a try yourself!


Goulash in a white bowl on a wooden table with biscuits and daisies in the background

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Hungarian Goulash Shortcuts:

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  • Dicing the vegetables and beef small helps them to cook faster
  • Use a wider bottomed pan like a skillet or a braiser to help give more surface cooking area – this will help your vegetables cook faster!


A cast iron skillet full of goulash with a Rapunzel doll in the background and daisies and herbs in the foreground


Tasks to Get your Kids in the Kitchen:

This Easy Goulash is a great recipe to have your children help you cook. These tasks are perfect for getting your kids involved:

  • Kids 1-3 can help you measure the spices, wash the produce, stir the pots (with supervision), and set the table.
  • Kids 4-7 can help you do all the above, plus slice the mushrooms and celery, open and spoon out the canned tomatoes, pour the broth, and rinse the kidney beans.
  • Kids 8-10+ can help you do all the above, plus help dice the onion, carrot, parsnip and turnip,  and the meat (with supervision).

*Please note that these recommendations are generalized, and to please use your personal discretion with your child’s skill level. And always, always supervise!


A bowl of goulash with a glass of water, biscuits,and a wooden spoon. A candle and a cast iron skillet with more goulosh is in the background


Read More About The Rapnuzel Story:

*This post contains affiliate links. See more about what that means on my disclosure page.

To get your kids excited to eat this delicious easy goulash recipe, read these fun stories about Rapunzel!

  • First Stories: Rapunzel  is the perfect introduction for young children to this classic fairytale. Push, pull, and turn mechanisms bring the story to life and introduce all the main characters
  • Rapunzel by Bethan Woollvin is a great retelling of the story if you are looking for a version where Rapunzel is a self-rescuing heroine.
  • For older girls (like 10+) who are ready for a fun and different twist, check out Rapunzel’s Revenge, where Rapunzel teams up with Jack (from the beanstalk) in a fun wild-west where she rights-wrongs, changes lives, and brings lots of joy!
  • Once Upon A World: Rapunzel is a fantastic version where the classic story of Rapunzel gets a fun twist and a new landscape – India!
  • How the Library (not the Prince) saved Rapunzel is a fun rhyming take on the classic tale – but one where a job at the library is exactly what Rapunzel needs to get out of her tower!



A cast iron skillet full of goulash with a Rapunzel doll in the background and daisies and herbs in the foreground

Hungarian Goulash

This quick and easy Hungarian Goulash recipe is ready in just under 45 minutes, yet is packed with tender steak, tons of vegetables, and loaded with flavor. It is a great soup to serve on a cold night!
5 from 18 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: 30 Minute Meal
Cuisine: Hungarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 900kcal
Author: Jenni - The Gingered Whisk


  • 1 turnip diced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 parsnip diced
  • 3 oz mushrooms diced
  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1 small container of tomato paste
  • 1 15- oz can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2.5 TBSP sweet Hungarian Paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups broth beef, chicken, or vegetable work equally well here
  • 3 lb beef roast fat trimmed away and cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 15- oz can of kidney beans drained and rinsed


  • Heat a large braiser or a deep and wide cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  • When the pan is hot, add the bacon and cook until done but not crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside. Keep the drippings in the pan.
  • Into the bacon drippings, add the diced onion, turnip, celery, carrot, parsnip and mushrooms.
  • Sautee for 5 minutes, or until the onion is starting to turn translucent, stirring frequently.
  • Add in the oregano, caraway seeds, thyme, garlic and paprika and stir constantly for about 30 seconds, to bloom the spices.
  • Add in the diced beef cubes and allow them to sear on all sides - just give it a stir every minute or so for a few minutes, until all the sides have been seared but the beef isn't cooked through.
  • Add in the tomato paste, the diced tomatoes, the broth, and the bay leaf.
  • Dice the bacon into small pieces and add that back to the pan as well.
  • Cover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Serve into bowls and top with freshly chopped parlsley
  • Enjoy!


Serving: 1g | Calories: 900kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 81g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 281mg | Sodium: 652mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 10g


Looking for other easy meals designed to get kids to eat?

Check out the rest of the Eat Like A Princess Series!

3 images of Disney Princess inspired meals. Left, Mulan doll next to plate of sushi. Middle, Moana doll by stir fry. Right, Jasmine doll by plate of kabobs.








  1. This is my kind of one pot meal. I love stuff like this, especially on a cold day. Who are we kidding, I love it on a hot day too. Sounds delicious!

  2. What a delicious, hearty family meal!! Great for quick weeknight dinner too!

  3. Wait – I had NO IDEA what the original Rapunzel story was. (I also don’t know the Disney version, since we haven’t fallen into the screentime pit yet with our 3 year old.) I know all the Grimm fairy tales are pretty terrible, but sheesh!

    The goulash sounds delicious – perfect for this cold, snowy weather we keep getting!

  4. Thank you for introducing such a delicious & hearty meal. Perfect for this cold weather now!

  5. Super cute post! Love the two ideas woven together and the presentation looks great!

  6. Leslie Haasch says:

    I LOVE goulash. There’s something about Hungarian paprika that’s just so comforting!

  7. This sounds absolutely delicious. It’s such a simple and great idea to chop up the beef and veggies very small so that they cook faster, but I honestly never thought of that before! Thanks for sharing a lovely recipe. 🙂

  8. Rapunzel used to be one of my favorite fairy tales as a kid! This looks hearty and wonderful and with it as chilly as it is outside today, I could sure use a bowl of this!

  9. omg I never knew all those details about Rapunzel! So crazy. I do love a good goulash, but I don’t think I’ve ever made one before… I need to get on that ASAP! This looks gorgeous!

  10. This sounds perfectly delicious! I am all about eating like a princess, especially if I can enjoy some of this with this lingering cold weather! I can’t wait to give it a go!

  11. Ha, yes the real backstory is pretty messed up! Although I still kind of love it. You were killing me when you described it as Rapunzel getting booty calls. This goulash looks AMAZING!! I’m always a fan of this series!

  12. I love a good goulash recipe! We always serve over German spatzle and a side of shredded carrot salad. Delicious!

  13. Amelie van der Aa says:

    I love to make this kind of one-pot dishes in double batches and then freeze for busy weeknights. I’m sure my kids will love this too and I’m planning to make it this week. Lovely idea your “eat like a princess series”.

  14. The first time I read a Grimm Fairy Tale to my daughter, I was kind of shocked. I don’t remember which one it was. Until now I totally forgot about those twisted tales.

    1. Haha, they are definitely NOTHING like the Disney versions!

  15. What a great way to expose your children to different foods. It’s so important that they try everything while they’re young so they have a broad palate to enjoy all as they get older. This goulash sounds delicious and perfect for busy weeknights. It’s warm here already but I like stews even in the middle of summer.

    1. Yes, the sooner you expose them, the better eaters they become later! That’s not to say they will immediately love everything you feed them, but and that is ok. But exposure is key!

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