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Venison Goulash

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Venison goulash is one of our favorite ways to prepare venison. Ultra tender venison is smothered in a thick, savory red sauce and makes a delicious, hearty stew.

Taking a bite of a tender chunk of venison goulash

Taking a bite of a tender chunk of venison


Goulash is a stew that originates from Hungary as an economical beef stew made initially by Hungarian herdsmen. The dish has grown in popularity and multiple variations and spinoffs have been created. We have adapted the recipe from Cooks Illustrated and incorporated venison instead of beef.

Authentic goulash is heavily seasoned with paprika and that is the star of this recipe, along with the venison.

venison goulash

venison goulash


Are you in a hurry for the recipe and want to skip all the helpful tips and tricks? No problem. All you need to do is scan down to the bottom of the page.

You will find the recipe for our venison goulash in a convenient, printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

However, if you want some essential cooking tips, helpful information, and other suggested recipes, then stick around and peruse through the entire post. Who knows? We might answer a question that could come up as you make this fabulous recipe.


This venison goulash is incredibly filling and would be plenty to eat all by itself.  But you can stretch your dollar, and your venison if you serve it along with these parsley baby red potatoes or some pasta. 

A green salad and some crusty sourdough bread will round the meal out and fill you to the brim.


venison goulash with pasta

Venison goulash with pasta


In America, paprika seems to have been relegated to a non-essential spice that is mostly used as a garnish for deviled eggs and potato salads. Most pantries have a small spice jar of paprika that has been sitting around since the ancient of days. The dateless jar has likely lost all of its flavor and odor, giving a false impression of how much it can add to the flavor of a dish.

But fresh paprika has a delicious flavor. It ranges from sweet and mild with earthy undertones, to downright spicy-hot and smokey.

Paprika is made from ground capsicum or peppers which come in a range of flavors and spices. Hence, the variable flavor profiles among different regional varieties of the spice.

This recipe is all about the paprika and it calls for a heavy scoop of the good stuff. We recommend using a Hungarian paprika or even a Spanish paprika for the best flavor.

Since the recipe calls for a large amount, we don’t recommend using the small grocery store jar which will cost you a pretty penny. It is actually more economical to buy the spice in bulk but keep in mind that many bulk spice sections of grocery stores do not have a high rate of turnover. This means you could be buying paprika that has been sitting around for a long time, losing all of its flavors.

For fresh, flavorful paprika, purchase it from a store that has a high volume of sales and replaces the spices frequently.

adding sour cream to venison goulash

Adding sour cream to venison goulash

Tips to make this Venison Goulash:

  • Use good quality sweet paprika. We used Hungarian sweet paprika which has a distinct and robust flavor. It doesn’t taste anything like the paprika you will find in the small spice bottles in the grocery store.
  • Use baking soda to tenderize your venison. Venison is a very lean meat which tends to makes it be a bit tough and dry. We like how baking soda makes the venison fork tender.
  • When you add the paprika mixture to the dutch oven, saute it over medium heat and make sure it does not get too hot and burn. Heat brings the flavor out of the paprika but burning it will make it bitter.


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Taking a bite of a tender chunk of venison goulash

Venison Goulash

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Ultra tender venison is smothered in a thick savory red paprika sauce. This hearty stew makes a delicious, economical meal.


  • 3 pounds venison stew meat, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda (to tenderize the meat)
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers
  • 1/3 cup sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground caraway
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 large onions, diced
  • 4 large carrots, washed and sliced into 1-inch rounds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 to 1 cup beef broth


  • sour cream


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325°F. Sprinkle the venison with a teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon baking soda. Let it sit for 15 minutes then rinse and dry (the baking soda will tenderize the venison)
  2. In a food processor or blender, process the roasted peppers, paprika, tomato paste, caraway, vinegar, and salt until smooth.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onions are soft.
  4. Stir in the paprika/pepper mixture and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Make sure the paprika mixture does not burn or it will become bitter. Stir in the venison, carrots, and bay leaf. Cover the pot and place it in the oven. Cook for 2 to 3 hours.
  5. Remove the bay leaf. Add enough broth to bring to the desired consistency and season with salt and pepper. Serve over noodles or roasted potatoes and top with sour cream. 


Use good quality sweet paprika. Buy the paprika in bulk. The small spice bottles in the grocery stores do not have enough paprika for this recipe and would be expensive if you buy several jars. A reputable spice vendor will have fresh flavorful paprika at an affordable price when sold in bulk. 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 419Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1211mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 7.6gSugar: 12gProtein: 55g

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taking a bite of venison goulash
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Tuesday 29th of September 2020

Just want to make sure --- you don't brown the venison before adding it?

Dahn Boquist

Tuesday 29th of September 2020

No, but you can certainly add that step if you want. Thanks for the question

Bosko Vujatovic

Wednesday 12th of December 2018

How would you do this recipe differently if you didn't have a dutch oven or pot that can go into the oven. Thinking of using a crock pot.

Dahn Boquist

Wednesday 12th of December 2018

This will definitely work in a crockpot. 2 to 3 hours on high setting in a crockpot and your set!

Pat Nyswonger

Wednesday 12th of December 2018

Hi, Bosko....The crockpot is a great idea! Let us know how it turns out. Thanks for your comments. :)

John / Kitchen Riffs

Wednesday 17th of October 2018

You're right that paprika doesn't get the love or respect it deserves. It's essential to use fresh, as you've noted. We usually buy it twice a year (and throw out the old). And store it in the refrigerator to prolong its shelf life. And it's such a star in goulash! Love this dish, and using venison is such a neat idea. Really good stuff -- thanks.

Dahn Boquist

Wednesday 17th of October 2018

Oh Thanks John. Great idea to store paprika in the fridge, it will definitely last longer that way.

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