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Macaroni and Beef Recipe

Follow our complete, step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions to learn how to make this classic comfort food of Macaroni and Beef. Printable recipe included.

It goes by lots of names, Macaroni and Beef, Goulash, American Goulash and more. No matter the name, it’s just good down home comfort food.

There are a good number of Southern dishes that are considered to be “comfort foods.”

Macaroni and Beef is one of the top dishes you’ll find on that list. It’s been passed down from generation to generation, and always brings back warm memories whenever you get to enjoy a bowl.

Grandma and Mama knew how to stretch a few ingredients to feed a lot of people, big families included. As you’ll see, it really does make a lot.

After an afternoon of playing in the snow on a closed school day, a big warm bowl of Macaroni and Beef could warm a kid up real quick. You couldn’t share it with the snowman you just made though, he would probably melt. Smile.

Mama often served this for Sunday dinner when she knew the Preachers family would be coming. Kids really love this dish, but most adults do as well.

It goes together really quick with little prep work and can be on the table within the hour.

I’m not showing the process of cooking the macaroni here. Just follow the directions on the package.

This is a pretty basic recipe. Once you try it, you’ll probably come up with ways you’d like to enhance it. And, that’s okay. I always encourage you to take a recipe and make it your own.

So, if you’re ready to try it, then let’s head on out to the kitchen, and… Let’s Get Cooking!

Macaroni and Beef, you'll need these ingredients.

Macaroni and Beef Recipe – You’ll need these ingredients.

Macaroni and Beef, dice the onion.

Let’s begin by dicing up the onion. Set it aside for now.

Macaroni and Beef, my new OXO can opener.

Then, go ahead and open the can of tomatoes. I’m just showing you this so I can brag on my brand new can opener from our friends at OXO Good Grips. As you may know, I’ve worked with OXO numerous times testing and reviewing their products. I have a lot of them in my kitchen and love them all.

I did buy this can opener. My old one was messing up on me after about a year or so. I don’t use it a lot but I paid enough for it that it shouldn’t have quit on me so soon.

I paid a bit more for this one, but I love the fact that it cuts with a smooth clean edge. No more sharp edges trying to remove the lid from a newly opened can. OXO isn’t sponsoring this post, but I just wanted to share the info with you. Smile.

Macaroni and Beef, add the ground beef.

Grab your stock pot and place the ground beef inside. I’m using about a 5 quart pot here.

Macaroni and Beef, cook until browned.

Break the ground beef up as it begins to cook, then let it cook until it’s fully browned.

Macaroni and Beef, add the onions.

If you have a lot of grease from cooking the beef, you might want to drain most of it off before you add the onions. I’m using a 80/20 combination and it didn’t have enough fat to worry with. I know it will cook out even more as the onions cook.

Stir everything together and let the onions cook until they are translucent. This may take about five minutes or so. Just stir it often so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.

Macaroni and Beef, add the salt.

When the onions have cooked down some, add the salt.

Macaroni and Beef, add the black pepper.

Add the black pepper.

Macaroni and Beef, add the ketchup.

Add the ketchup. Or, is it catsup? I’m always confused. Which do you prefer? Smile

Macaroni and Beef, add the crushed tomatoes.

Pour in the can of crushed tomatoes.

Macaroni and Beef, add the cooked macaroni.

Add the cooked and drained macaroni.

Macaroni and Beef, stir to combine.

Stir everything together really well.


Reduce the heat, cover the pot and just let it simmer for about five more minutes. You’re just heating up the tomatoes and the macaroni, so it doesn’t need to cook any longer. It’s ready.

Macaroni and Beef, enjoy.


Serve this up with some toasted garlic and butter bread and you’ve got a meal.

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