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Ragout vs. Goulash: What's the Difference?

By Aimie Carlson & Harlon Moss || Updated on May 20, 2024
Ragout is a French slow-cooked stew often featuring meat and vegetables, while Goulash is a Hungarian stew or soup, typically seasoned with paprika and other spices.

Key Differences

Ragout, originating from France, is a slow-cooked dish that combines various meats and vegetables. It emphasizes a rich, savory flavor achieved through slow simmering. Goulash, on the other hand, hails from Hungary and is either a stew or soup. It’s distinctively seasoned with paprika, giving it a robust and spicy profile.
Ragout often includes ingredients like beef, pork, or lamb, mixed with vegetables such as carrots, onions, and celery. The focus is on creating a harmonious blend of flavors through careful, prolonged cooking. Goulash typically features beef or pork as well but relies heavily on the inclusion of paprika and other spices to define its taste, along with potatoes and sometimes noodles.
The cooking method for ragout usually involves browning the meat first, then simmering it slowly with the vegetables and broth. This process develops a deep, complex flavor. Goulash, conversely, may involve cooking the ingredients together from the start, allowing the flavors of the paprika and other spices to infuse the meat and broth thoroughly.
In terms of texture, ragout tends to be thicker and more stew-like, often served over pasta or rice. Goulash can be either a thick stew or a thinner soup, frequently served with bread or dumplings. This variability in texture sets the two dishes apart in their culinary presentations.
Ragout is typically enjoyed as a comforting, hearty meal that showcases the natural flavors of its ingredients. Goulash, with its distinctive paprika seasoning, offers a spicier, more robust flavor experience, reflecting its Eastern European roots.

Comparison Chart



Main Ingredients

Meat (beef, pork, lamb), vegetables
Meat (beef, pork), paprika, potatoes


Mild, savory
Spicy, paprika-based


Thick stew
Can be thick stew or thin soup

Serving Suggestion

Over pasta or rice
With bread or dumplings

Ragout and Goulash Definitions


A French slow-cooked stew with meat and vegetables.
The chef prepared a beef ragout for the evening special.


A Hungarian stew or soup seasoned with paprika.
She made a traditional Hungarian goulash for dinner.


A dish known for its rich and savory flavors.
Her favorite dish is a lamb ragout with root vegetables.


Features beef or pork as the primary meat.
The beef goulash was rich and flavorful.


Includes a variety of vegetables like carrots and celery.
The vegetable ragout was a hit at the vegetarian dinner.


Known for its spicy and robust flavor.
He added extra paprika to the goulash for more heat.


Typically simmered slowly to enhance flavor.
The ragout simmered on the stove all afternoon.


Can be served as a thick stew or a thinner soup.
The goulash was served with a thick slice of bread.


A well-seasoned meat or fish stew, usually with vegetables.


A stew of beef or veal and vegetables, seasoned mainly with paprika.


A mixture of diverse elements.


Any of various similar stews of mixed ingredients.


A stew of meat and vegetables mixed together


A dish of ground beef, macaroni, and onions covered in a seasoned tomato sauce and often mixed with melted cheese.


(by extension) any stew, soup, or sauce


A mixture of many different elements; a hodgepodge.


(transitive) To prepare (food) as a ragout.


A stew of beef or veal and vegetables, flavoured with paprika.


A dish made of pieces of meat, stewed, and highly seasoned; as, a ragout of mutton.


(bridge) A style of play in which the cards are not thoroughly shuffled between consecutive deals, so as to make the suits less evenly distributed between the players.


Well-seasoned stew of meat and vegetables


A rich meat stew highly seasoned with paprika


Often served over pasta or rice.
They served the ragout with a side of garlic mashed potatoes.


Often includes ingredients like potatoes and sometimes noodles.
The goulash had tender chunks of beef and soft potatoes.


What are the main ingredients in goulash?

The main ingredients in goulash are meat (beef, pork), paprika, and potatoes.

What is the texture of goulash?

Goulash can be either a thick stew or a thinner soup.

How is ragout typically served?

Ragout is often served over pasta or rice.

What is the origin of ragout?

Ragout originates from France.

What is the origin of goulash?

Goulash originates from Hungary.

How is ragout seasoned?

Ragout is seasoned mildly and has a savory flavor.

What are the main ingredients in ragout?

The main ingredients in ragout are meat (beef, pork, lamb) and vegetables.

What cooking method is used for ragout?

Ragout is cooked by browning the meat first and then simmering it slowly.

Does goulash use paprika?

Yes, paprika is a key seasoning in goulash.

What is the texture of ragout?

Ragout is typically a thick stew.

What type of dish is ragout considered?

Ragout is considered a hearty, comforting meal.

Does ragout use paprika?

No, ragout does not typically use paprika.

Can ragout be spicy?

Ragout is generally not spicy; it is savory.

What vegetables are commonly used in ragout?

Common vegetables in ragout include carrots, onions, and celery.

What type of dish is goulash considered?

Goulash is considered a robust and flavorful meal.

How is goulash seasoned?

Goulash is seasoned with paprika and has a spicy, robust flavor.

How is goulash typically served?

Goulash is usually served with bread or dumplings.

What cooking method is used for goulash?

Goulash is often cooked with all ingredients together from the start.

Can goulash be spicy?

Yes, goulash is known for its spicy, paprika-infused flavor.

What other ingredients are common in goulash?

Goulash often includes potatoes and sometimes noodles.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.
Co-written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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