American Chop Suey (American Goulash)

American chop suey is a hybrid dish made with pasta, beef, vegetables, and a Worcestershire sauce spiked tomato sauce. This New England classic recipe is also known as American goulash, chili mac, beefaroni, hamburger casserole, Johnny Marzetti, or hamburger and macaroni in other parts of the US. This old-fashioned American chop suey recipe is a great weeknight dinner that is ready in 40 minutes. It’s a comfort food that the whole family will love!

A pot full of American chop suey with a wooden spoon.

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This New England classic dish is a mouthwatering blend of beef, vegetables, garlic, macaroni noodles, and it is the ultimate comfort food recipe.

If comfort food is one of your favorites, you might also like this hearty beef chili, one pot taco macaroni and cheese or meatball marinara subs.

A plate of American chop suey or american goulash.

Why You’ll Love This

Customizable:  This recipe for American chop suey is wide open to your own interpretation. You can make it as written or feel free to use another type of ground meat, other vegetables you have in the crisper drawer coming to the end of their prime, or even different seasonings for the sauce. Fresh basil and parmesan cheese or cheddar cheese would be great in here.
Easy to make: If you’re looking for an easy recipe, this one is very simple to follow. You just need to cook and drain pasta in one pot and cook the sauce ingredients in another, and then combine both.
Delicious and filling: This is a robust and hearty dish. Thanks to the combination of beef and vegetables, along with the delicious and tangy sauce, this is likely to win a place in your heart.

A pot of American chop suey with meat and vegetables.

American Chop Suey Recipe Ingredients

A complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below

Macaroni noodles: Feel free to experiment with other pasta shapes if you like, or even try some Chinese egg noodles in their place.
Ground beef: Adds a bold meaty flavor. You can use any type of ground meat or even use leftover cooked meat, added in at the end.
Tomatoes: A trifecta of fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste infuses this American chop suey with plenty of wonderful flavor. Sub regular tomatoes for the fire-roasted ones if you prefer.
Vegetables: Onion and bell pepper work well in American chop suey, although you can use other vegetables in their place if you like.
Worcestershire sauce: Adds a splash of vibrant flavor. This ingredient is made from fermented anchovies, vinegar, sugar, and seasonings, and it really brings out the depth of flavor in the meat.
White sugar: Optional. If you want to sweeten it up a bit, white sugar works. But different brands of tomatoes offer different sweetness levels so taste the chop suey before adding any.

Ingredients for American chop suey on a white table.

How to Make American Chop Suey

For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card

Cook the elbow macaroni:  Cook the macaroni following the directions on the packaging, then drain and set to one side.
Fry the onion: Melt the butter and olive oil together and fry the onions for a few minutes over a medium high heat, then add the garlic and fry some more, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Add the ground beef and bell pepper: Add the ground beef and cook it through, then add the green pepper and sauté briefly over a medium heat.
Add the rest of the ingredients: Add the diced tomatoes along with the tomato sauce, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and (if needed) the sugar.
Combine the macaroni with the rest: Stir the drained elbow macaroni into the tomato sauce mixture and cook for several minutes.
The finishing touches: Serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley.

Making New England American goulash in a dutch oven with a wooden spoon.
A pot of macaroni with vegetables and bread on a table. Old-fashioned American chop suey is a classic comfort food.

Substitutions and Variations

Gluten-free option: If you want a gluten-free version, you can substitute your favorite type of gluten-free pasta.
More veggies: Feel free to throw in any vegetables you want. Baby sweetcorn, mushrooms, zucchini, and eggplant would all work.
Spice it up: You can also tweak the seasonings, adding garlic powder or chili powder, for example. Hungarian goulash has paprika, so you could even try that.
Tweak the consistency: If the American chop suey seems too dry, add some beef broth or tomato juice from the canned tomatoes.
Different ground meat: Ground chicken or ground turkey are options to swap out for the ground beef.
Add cheese: Use your favorite cheese or a cheese blend to your American chop suey recipe. Parmesan cheese, Monterey Jack, or mozzarella cheese are options to consider.

A plate of old-fashioned American goulash.
A Dutch oven with American chop suey in it.

Serving Suggestions

Appetizers: These crab cakes make a tasty appetizer, or perhaps you prefer peach bourbon wings.
Side dishes: American chop suey is a meal in one, as it has meat, noodles and vegetables, but if you wanted to offer something on the side, these garlic parmesan cheese roasted carrots are good, or perhaps you prefer garlic bread.
Dessert: If you still have room for dessert, any one of these easy dessert recipes will be perfect!

A plate with old-fashioned American goulash and a slice of bread.

How to Store American Chop Suey

Store:  Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use within 3 days.
Freeze:  Another option is to freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.
Thaw:  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Reheat:  Warm it back up in the microwave or in a pan on the stove, stirring often.

A pot of old fashioned American chop suey.

Top Tips

Drain the grease: If there is a lot of grease in the pan after browning the meat, drain it off.
Get creative: Any kind of ground meat works, as well as any vegetables and pasta type, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
Spice things up: Some home cooks like to add hot sauce to their American chop suey. If you aren’t sure everyone will like this kick of spice, it might be best to offer hot sauce at the table so people can decide if they add some.

Classic comfort food, chili macaroni and cheese served on a plate with a slice of bread.

American Chop Suey FAQs

What is American chop suey?

This classic dish is popular in New England and known as American chop suey. However, it’s known as American goulash, chili mac, beefaroni, hamburger casserole, Johnny Marzetti, or hamburger and macaroni in other parts of the country. Chances are you have had it served to you in a school cafeteria or at a potluck meal.

Do you have to add macaroni to American chop suey?

No, it’s completely your choice. You could add rice if you prefer or another pasta shape or even leave it out altogether. Experiment with chop suey and see what delicious combinations you can come up with.

What is the origin of American chop suey?

The origin isn’t known for sure, although one story by Richard Auffrey is a fascinating read. Another story explains a Chinese chef at a Californian mining camp made a dish using whatever he had to hand and called it tsa sui, which is Mandarin for miscellaneous broken pieces. It’s basically a combination of any meat, vegetables and sauce ingredients rather than a specific set recipe.

Close up of the American chop suey recipe.
A pot with American chop suey or American goulash in it on a table.

American Chop Suey Recipe

A pot full of American chop suey with a wooden spoon.

American Chop Suey

5 from 45 votes
Course: Main Course, Meals
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pasta
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 496kcal
Author: Bella Bucchiotti
This mouthwatering blend of beef, vegetables, garlic, and macaroni noodles is a classic comfort food that the whole family will love.
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Ingredients

  • 12 Ounces elbow macaroni
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 3 Cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Pound ground beef
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 14 Ounces diced tomatoes canned, fire-roasted
  • 15 Ounces tomato sauce canned
  • 6 Ounces tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 Teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 Teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon granulated sugar optional
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley chopped, for garnish

Instructions

  • In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a separate large pot or Dutch oven, add olive oil, butter, and onions. Sauté, stirring frequently for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  • Add ground beef and cook for 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Add green pepper and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, sauce, paste, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, Worcestershire Sauce, and sugar. Stir until well combined.
  • Add in the cooked pasta and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, to bring the flavors together.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 496kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 1414mg | Potassium: 1054mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1024IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 5mg
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The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

This American chop suey recipe is a tasty combination of ground beef, diced tomatoes, a robust tomato sauce, and more. Making it with leftover meat and leftover cooked pasta makes this dish quick and easy to cook, while making it from scratch doesn’t add much on to the time needed. This is a beginner-friendly recipe which you might want to add to your regular meal rotation.

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Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.

 

Welcome to xoxoBella! I am Bella Bucchiotti and I am a recipe developer, content creator and writer. Here you will find delicious recipes, travel inspiration, crafts, pet tips and more.

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Recipe Rating




  1. Sam Knowles wrote:

    5 stars
    Found myself a new family fave. Kids are asking for me to make it again!!

    Posted 3.14.24 Reply
  2. David K Lindquist wrote:

    Made this just as advertised, it was great, will definitely make it again, thank you

    Posted 4.8.24 Reply