Macaroni and Beef Recipe

| October 28, 2018 | 15 Comments

Macaroni and Beef

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.


Macaroni and Beef, enjoy.
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.


Macaroni and Beef, slider.

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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macaroni and beef recipe.

Macaroni and Beef Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 - 10 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish, Beef
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


One of the Souths favorite comfort foods is quick and easy to make. Just a pound of ground beef goes a long way in this meal. Follow our step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions to learn how to make it.



1 lb Lean Ground Beef
1 large White Onion
1 teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Black Pepper
1 can Crushed Tomatoes (28oz)
2 Tablespoons Ketchup
1 lb. Elbow Macaroni, cooked and drained.


Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain, but reserve the water.
While pasta cooks, place large sauce pot over Medium heat on stove top.
Add ground beef. Stir and cook until fully browned. Drain any excess grease.
Add the diced onion.
Add salt.
Add black pepper.
Stir and cook until onions are translucent.
Add the crushed tomatoes.
Add the ketchup.
Add the cooked and drained pasta. Stir to combine.
Lower heat and let simmer 5 minutes.
If more liquid is preferred, add a bit of the reserved pasta water.
Adjust seasonings as desired. Serve while warm.

Keywords: macaroni and beef, american goulash, elbow macaroni, ground beef, easy meals, southern recipes

Your Comments:

Have you tried this Macaroni and Beef recipe? What memories do you have of it?

Share your thoughts on this great Southern dish with us. It will only take a minute or two for you to leave your comments in the section below.

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Be Blessed!!!


You might also like: Homemade Beef Stew

Or, maybe this one:  Beef Tips with Rice and Gravy

Or perhaps this:  Salisbury Steak Recipe


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: Beef, Main Dishes, Pasta

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (15)

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  1. Dorothy Berry says:

    Hello Steve, I’m so glad you are beginning to feel better, it’s been a long time. I’ve just had this Beef and Macaroni for supper and it’s lovely. Maybe a bit salty which probably depends on the brand of canned tomatoes, mine came from Italy. So perhaps only add the salt after the tomatoes and then taste? It’s sort of like a spaghetti bolognaise but much easier without all the herbs. I did add three crushed garlic cloves (very good for your health – though maybe not your breath!!) but I think personally I would add a side dish of green vegetables, being addicted to these (which tells me that my own body needs them!) I really enjoyed tonight’s supper – thank you!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Dorothy, I’m glad that you enjoyed a dish of the Macaroni and Beef for your supper. I’m just sorry yours turned out a bit salty. I’m sure the addition of the garlic added a lot of good flavor to the dish. Mama just didn’t use much garlic in her cooking, but I like it, so maybe I will add some to my own the next time. Thank you for taking the time to write, I really appreciate your comments and your visit. Thank you also for being a subscriber to the Newsletter, it’s good to be feeling better. I do hope you’ll try some of the other recipes and I look forward to you stopping by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  2. Jennifer A says:

    I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling better! I’ve missed your road trip stories and I’m sure the road has missed you!
    Beef and Macaroni – have lived on it with every variation you can think of. So long as we could make rice &/or macaroni with tomatoes, my mom told us we would never starve – and she was right.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Jennifer, Thank you for your very nice comments. It’s good to be out again and hopefully we can get back on the road before too long. I miss them myself. Sounds like you’ve had your fair share of macaroni with tomatoes. Smile. I’m sure a lot of folks survived on this comfort food. I do appreciate your visit today, and thank you for being a subscriber to the Newsletter. Hopefully you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  3. Paula Schubert says:

    As a young adult just out of college and trying to make my way in the world, I had three roommates. I was the only one who knew how to do any cooking. Since none of us had much money we relied on hamburger for most of our meals. I would make what the roommates would call either “red stuff” or “brown stuff”. Both would contain hamburger, macaroni or egg noodles, onions, green peppers and any veggie we had leftover from a previous meal like green peas or green beans. The difference was that I would either use a red sauce with tomatoes and catsup or I would make a brown gravy to put on it. Hence the red stuff or the brown stuff. I still enjoy it every now and then today but since i’m just cooking for one I don’t make much.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Paula, Thank you for sharing your memories about Macaroni and Beef with us. It’s amazing what folks come up with when they have to. Smile. I appreciate you taking the time to write, and I do hope you’ll visit with us again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  4. Marilyn Allison says:

    Good Morning,
    This looks delicious! My paternal grandmother made this for us when I was a child. Don’t know what she put in it, but it was great. My mom never made it, I’m sorry to say. I am very happy for you to be able to get around again. I have been praying for you, and your friends Billy and Jan. God is good! I hope you continue to improve and Go Fish!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Marilyn, Hopefully you might give the recipe a try to see if it tastes anything like you remember your grandmother making. I’d love to know what you think about it. Thank you for your kind words, and most importantly for your prayers for me and my friends. God is good indeed. I’m thankful to have you as a subscriber to the Newsletter and hope you know the door is always open for you to stop by for a visit anytime. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  5. Dara says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for your posts! They bring back so many good memories of my childhood. I am going to make this SOON! God Bless YOU!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Dara, I’m glad we can bring back some good memories for you. I do hope you’ll try the recipe and let me know what you like or dislike about it. I’ll be waiting to hear from you. I do appreciate your visits and I hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  6. Karen Miller says:

    A childhood favorite that has become a favorite of my children and Church members. My mom usually stirred in a can of kidney beans. We always have had it with diced dill pickles and saltines. And I still serve it that way.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Karen, Lots of folks grew up with this it seems. Never had it with kidney beans that I recall. Are you saying the dill pickles were IN the dish, or was that something on the side? Smile. You’ve got me curious about that. Thank you for sharing your comments. I do appreciate your visits and your support of our recipes. I hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  7. Clara Smith says:

    We grew up on a slightly different version of this. There was no Ketchup used, or crushed tomatoes. We used tomato sauce and added some bell pepper. It was easy to make and there were no leftovers. We loved it. Why do you use Ketchup?

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Clara, There are lots of different ways to prepare this as you know. I think the addition of bell peppers would be great. Mama probably used Ketchup because it was on hand as opposed to using tomato paste which a lot of recipes call for. It just gives it a bit more flavor I think. A combination of tomato sauce and tomato paste probably would be a richer flavor. Mama also canned a lot of tomatoes, so I’m sure she used those at times as well. Pretty much whatever was on hand at the time I think. Thank you for the question. I always appreciate your visits and hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

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