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Slumgullion (Instant Pot Version) 

Slumgullion is the perfect pasta dish for the whole family made using basic ingredients like elbow macaroni, a can of tomato sauce, ground beef, and cheddar cheese. Try out this homemade version of your favorite hamburger helper!

Bowl of Slumgullion with a spoon

Slumgullion is a nostalgic meal for many, reminiscent of happy times when mom needed something quick on the table. Luckily, it’s just as good now as it is in your memory! 

Slumgullion (also known as American Goulash, Beefaroni, American Chop Suey, Chili Mac and so many other fun names) is made by cooking pasta in tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, then mixing it with ground beef, onions, and cheddar cheese. 

This recipe is made even easier by the addition of the Instant Pot. Now, your Slumgullion Recipe is ready in one pot in under 30 minutes with only a few minutes of those being active work. 

You’re going to love the easy flavor of this dish and how yummy it is when it comes together. Keep reading for tips and tricks on how to make this dish perfectly! 

Where Did the Name Slumgullion Come From? 

The etymology of the word “Slumgullion” certainly doesn’t make the dish sound very delicious (I promise it is!).

The word “slum” used to mean “slime” and “bullion” means mud. Slimy mud… Yum. The earliest use of the English word was in Mark Twain’s Roughing It in 1872 and it referred to a drink instead of a stew. 

The word has evolved and now the unsavory name refers to this delicious and easy family meal! 

Why Make this Recipe?

Spoon scooping Instant Pot Slumgullion
  1. Under 30 Minute Dinner: For those busy weeknights when you need a fast dinner, this is the way to go! Hosting guests and want to spend your time visiting instead of cooking? This dish is so simple and ready so quickly! 
  2. Perfect Every Time: When cooking pasta on the stove you need to watch and test your noodles, guessing when you think they’re ready. With this Instant Pot Slumgullion Meat Stew, your cook time will be the same every time, and the recipe will always turn out perfectly! 
  3. Full Meal: No need for sides when serving this yummy dish! If you really want to add a side, go for a simple side salad and you have the perfect meal. 

What Do I Need to Make this Recipe? 

Ingredients 

Labeled Slumgullion Ingredients Shot
  1. Canned Goods: Tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes
  2. Meat: I use 85% lean ground beef. You can substitute ground turkey for a leaner option.
  3. Chicken Broth: Sub beef broth for a more meaty flavor. 
  4. Pasta: This recipe usually uses macaroni noodles, but feel free to use any short pasta you have on hand (shells is another good choice!). Adjust the cook time by cutting the stovetop time on the pasta box in half and then adding 1 minute. This is how long you will cook the pasta in the Instant Pot! 
  5. Seasoning: Olive oil, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, Worcestershire sauce
  6. Cheddar Cheese: I prefer mild cheddar. Make sure to buy a block and then grate it by hand for the best results! Pre-shredded cheese has an anti-coagulation agent on it that doesn’t make it great for melting. 
  7. Onion: I used a yellow onion but a white onion, sweet onion, or red onion will also work depending on what you have on hand. 

Tools

  1. Instant Pot: This recipe was developed using a 6 quart Instant Pot. It also works in an 8 quart. I would not recommend making the full recipe in a 3 quart pot. 
  2. Wooden Spoon: Used to sauté the onion and cook the ground beef.

How to Make this Recipe

Step 1: Cook the Beef and Onion

Raw onions in an Instant Pot
Sauteed Onions in an instant pot

Turn your Instant Pot to SAUTE and add the olive oil until heated. Then add the chopped onion and saute until soft (about 3-5 minutes).

Add the ground beef and stir until the beef cooks. Add the tomato paste into the beef mixture and stir.

Step 2: Cook the Pasta 

Noodles and tomato sauce in an electric pressure cooker

Turn off SAUTE. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, and Worcestershire sauce.

Add the elbow noodles and make sure the noodles are covered in liquid.

Put the lid on the Instant Pot and turn to MANUAL or HIGH for 6 minutes. 

Step 3: Add the Cheese

Tomato sauce and cheese in a pressure cooker
Cooked Instant Pot Goulash

Once the cooking cycle is complete, perform a Quick Release and remove the lid from the Instant Pot. 

Stir in the shredded cheddar until fully melted.

Serve and enjoy!

Expert Tips

  • Make sure to add the pasta last and stir it lightly. You want your pasta to be fully covered by the liquid, but you don’t want the noodles to touch the bottom of the Instant Pot or it could cause a burn notice.
  • When you add the liquid, use a spoon to scrape any food off of the bottom of the pot to avoid a burn notice.
  • You can substitute pasta sauce for the tomato sauce if you want some extra flavor! 
  • You can also make this recipe in your slow cooker if desired. 

Variations 

Overhead view of Chilimac in a bowl surrounded by uncooked noodles and a dish towel

There are quite a few ways you can change up this recipe to make your own variation! 

  • Different Pasta: I recommend only using short variations of pasta like bowties or shells. Long noodles will not be great in this recipe. 
  • Different Cheese: Pepper jack, Colby jack, or Swiss would also be good in this recipe though they will change the final taste. 
  • Seasonings: I love the seasonings in this version, but go wild with what sounds good! Garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, or cumin would all be good. 
  • Toppings: ​Top with parmesan cheese for some extra flavor.

Adding Vegetables to your Recipe for Slumgullion

If you want vegetables in your Slumgullion recipe, feel free to add them! In that case, I would add frozen vegetables (like peas or corn) into the Slumgullion after it has been fully cooked. Allow the residual heat to thaw the vegetables! 

If you want to add larger vegetables (like broccoli or green beans), cook them separately and then add them in when the pasta is cooked. 

You can also add bell pepper at the same time as the onion and saute it before adding the beef. 

Recipe FAQs 

Cooked Slumgullion in a pressure cooker
How to Store Slumgullion Stew Leftovers

You can keep slumgullion in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Simply reheat leftover goulash the next day using the microwave or a pot on the stove.

This is a great recipe to freeze! Put the leftovers in an airtight container and freeze for up to 4 months. Meal prep = done! 

Can I Make this Slumgullion Recipe on the Stove?

Yes! Follow the same instructions but instead of cooking in an Instant Pot, do the steps in a large pot on the stove. When you get to the pressure cooking step, simply boil the pasta on the stove according to the time on the box. You may need to add a bit of extra liquid. 

What Nationality is Slumgullion? 

Slumgullion is American through and through, and an American comfort food at that. Others sometimes call this dish “Goulash” which is not to be confused with the traditional Hungarian dish, Hungarian Goulash, a cubed beef stew dish.

Did you enjoy this recipe for Slumgullion? If so, make sure to check out these other recipes I picked out just for you: 

Bowl of Slumgullion with a spoon

Slumgullion (Instant Pot Version)

Slumgullion is the perfect pasta dish for the whole family made using basic ingredients like elbow macaroni, a can of tomato sauce, ground beef, and cheddar cheese. Try out this homemade version of your favorite hamburger helper!
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Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Pressure Building Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 577kcal

Equipment

  • Electric Pressure Cooker
  • Wooden Spoon

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups elbow pasta
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded

Instructions

  • Turn your Instant Pot to SAUTE and add the olive oil until heated. Then add the chopped onion and saute until soft.
  • Add the ground beef and stir until the beef cooks. Add the tomato paste and stir.
  • Turn off SAUTE. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Add the elbow noodles and make sure the noodles are covered in liquid.
  • Put the lid on the Instant Pot and turn to MANUAL or HIGH for 6 minutes. Once the cooking cycle is complete, perform a Quick Release and remove the lid from the Instant Pot.
  • Stir in the shredded cheddar until fully melted
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Recipe copyright The Domestic Spoon. For educational or personal use only. 
  1. Canned Goods: Tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes
  2. Meat: I use 85% lean ground beef. You can substitute ground turkey for a leaner option.
  3. Chicken Broth: Sub beef broth for a more meaty flavor. 
  4. Pasta: This recipe usually uses macaroni noodles, but feel free to use any short pasta you have on hand (shells is another good choice!). Adjust the cook time by cutting the stovetop time on the pasta box in half and then adding 1 minute. This is how long you will cook the pasta in the Instant Pot! 
  5. Seasoning: Olive oil, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, Worcestershire sauce
  6. Cheddar Cheese: I prefer mild cheddar. Make sure to buy a block and then grate it by hand for the best results! Pre-shredded cheese has an anti-coagulation agent on it that doesn’t make it great for melting.
  7. Onion: I used a yellow onion but a white onion, sweet onion, or red onion will also work depending on what you have on hand.
  8. Make sure to add the pasta last and stir it lightly. You want your pasta to be fully covered by the liquid, but you don’t want the noodles to touch the bottom of the Instant Pot or it could cause a burn notice.
  9. When you add the liquid, use a spoon to scrape any food off of the bottom of the pot to avoid a burn notice.
  10. You can substitute pasta sauce for the tomato sauce if you want some extra flavor! 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 577kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 534mg | Potassium: 439mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 593IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 306mg | Iron: 3mg
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