Easy goulash serving ideas. From Hungarian potato pancakes to homemade bread, and spätzle dumplings to creamy mashed potatoes, discover what to serve with goulash today.
Rich, meaty goulash is a great dish to serve when you’re craving a hearty comfort meal. It’s been keeping Central European stomachs warm for centuries of cold winters. To turn your goulash into a complete meal, check out one of these side dish suggestions.
Green Garden Salad
Goulash is a great dish, but it’s often very heavy. Break up the richness of the stew and add some more vitamins to your meal with fresh veggies in the form of a green garden salad.
A green garden salad uses crisp lettuce as a base, then adds some chopped, fresh vegetables. The great thing about a salad like this is that you can customize it and add any vegetables you like, including tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers.
Cheese & Bacon Scones
Scones are baked treats that are usually part of a British high tea, but you can serve them as sides for goulash. Cheese and bacon scones add a savory twist to the traditionally sweet treat by adding shredded cheese and crispy bacon to the batter, then baking.
The sharp, salty flavor of the scones cuts through the richness of the goulash. Plus, you can use the scones to mop up some of the stew instead of plain old bread.
Hungarian Potato Pancakes
Goulash is a very popular dish in Hungary, so keep it traditional by serving a Hungarian side dish as well! Plus, the mild, salty flavors of Hungarian potato pancakes go very well with goulash, and the crispy texture absorbs the stew.
Hungarian potato pancakes are similar to most other potato pancakes. Just combine shredded potatoes or leftover mashed potatoes with flour, egg, and salt to form a batter, shape into patties, and fry until golden.
Freshly Baked Crusty Bread
In Central Europe, no goulash is complete without bread! You can use bread to mop up the stew so that you don’t let a single tasty morsel stay on the plate. Instead of using store-bought bread stuffed with preservatives, treat yourself to homemade crusty bread.
Most bread doughs start the same with flour, yeast, sugar to activate the yeast, water, and salt. Knead the dough together, let it rise, then bake.
Hungarian Cucumber Salad
Goulash is the official Hungarian national dish, so it makes sense to stick with Hungarian side dishes to complete the theme of the meal. Plus, this Hungarian cucumber salad is so delicious and fresh, that it’s a perfect accompaniment to the rich stew.
Besides cucumbers, you will need white vinegar, dill, sour cream, and some seasonings. Finely chop the cucumbers and herbs, toss with vinegar, then finish with sour cream and seasonings.
Roasted Garlic Broccoli
Some green vegetables on the side of a dish of goulash balance out the meal and add vitamins sometimes missing from the meat-based stew. You don’t have to stay traditional with your choice of vegetables—this roasted garlic broccoli is a great serving idea.
Roasting broccoli with garlic adds extra flavor to the sometimes-bitter vegetables. All you need besides the broccoli and garlic are olive oil and salt. Chop the broccoli into florets, toss with the seasonings, and roast until slightly charred.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are another great vegetable to serve with goulash because they are healthy, and their slightly bitter flavor cuts through the stew’s richness. Roasting the brussels sprouts caramelizes them and brings out their flavors.
All you need besides the sprouts are olive oil, salt, and pepper. Clean the vegetables, season them, then roast until crispy.
Spätzle Dumplings & Gravy
Spätzle dumplings (also known as spaetzle, nokedli, or knöpfle) are a common side dish across Central Europe, including Hungary. These soft, pillowy dumplings are perfect for absorbing the flavors from gravy or goulash.
To make the dumplings, combine flour, salt, eggs, and milk. Press the dough through a colander to get the small, spiral shapes and cook in boiling water. Make a gravy out of meat drippings and serve it over the spaetzle.
Creamy, Buttery Mashed Potatoes
Potatoes are a great side dish for pretty much anything thanks to their comforting deliciousness. The soft, creamy texture of mashed potatoes goes well with goulash. You can pour the goulash over the mashed potatoes, and the side dish will absorb the flavor.
To get extra creamy mashed potatoes, mash your boiled potatoes with melted butter and sour cream or heavy cream, not just milk.
Goulash works well with a starchy dish that can absorb the flavors and texture of the stew. Rice pilaf is not very traditional in Central Europe, but it is a delicious, lighter alternative to dumplings or mashed potatoes.
To make rice pilaf, cook the rice in broth with plenty of butter or oil until the rice grains are light and fluffy. You can add seasonings such as fresh herbs or chopped celery, resulting in a rice dish that is deceptively simple but packed with flavor.