Autumn European Recipes

Ox Cheek Goulash

Ox Cheek Goulash

Goulash is the quintessential Hungarian one-pot dish. Flavoursome, filling and frugal this superb recipe has long been one of my favourites. Even so, the addition of ox cheek manages somehow to raise the level of goulash above any previous rendition. This is the paprika-based pinnacle.

Ox cheek is quickly becoming my favourite cut of meat. It’ dark, succulent and cheap (c. £6.50/kg) – a knockout combination you must agree. It is the ultimate stewing beef and though it takes a little effort to prepare any energy expended is doubly worth it.

Supermarkets tend not to stock ox cheek; it isn’t the most popular cut as some find the idea of eating cheek unappealing. Instead, head off in the direction of your local butcher – the meat is so much better and it’s always a good idea to support the community – who will be only too happy to help.

A big thank you to Tanya of Chica Andaluza for her assistance in making this goulash as delicious as possible. Tanya recently sent me a generous selection of Spanish paprika (pimenton) of which I’ve become an avid fan. I’m so pleased to have such fantastic followers!

Ox Cheek Goulash

Local connection: I urge all fellow Bristolians to head to Source in St. Nicholas Market when on the lookout for meat. They stock good quality, ethically sourced, delicious and well-priced meat, fish, vegetables, cheese and bread – I can’t get enough.

For more ideas about what to do with cheaper cuts of meat, why not check out my recipes for Oxtail Stew, Beef Shin Ragu and Ox Cheek Rendang?

Ox Cheek Goulash

Serves 4


  • 500g ox cheek, in large chunks

  • 2 red peppers, roughly chopped

  • 2 onions, roughly chopped

  • 2 sticks of celery, finely sliced

  • 2 cloves of garlic, mashed

  • 3-4 bay leaves

  • 1 tbsp tomato puree

  • 2 ½ tbsp sweet or smoked paprika

  • 500ml beef stock

  • olive oil

  • salt and pepper


1. Heat a little olive oil in a large pan and brown your meat all over. Set the meat to one side and cook the onion, pepper, garlic and celery gently for 10 minutes. Once the vegetables are translucent add the browned cheek and bay leaves. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

Ox Cheek Goulash

2. Stir in the paprika before incorporating the stock and tomato puree. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 2 hours.

3. Remove the lid and allow to reduce until thick, season generously to taste and serve with sour cream and bread or giant cous cous.

Ox Cheek Goulash


Cost: As mentioned above, ox cheek is an incredibly well-priced meat, perfect for a simple dish such as this. As such, this recipe for ox cheek goulash should set you back a mere £5.

55 replies on “Ox Cheek Goulash”

I fell in love with ox tail ragu a while ago, and have been looking for more other ox tail recipes ever since. This looks flipping delicious, will definitely give it a go. Thanks so much! X

Having had a Hungarian husband for a chapter in my life [and a fab cook at that!] I still oft make the dish ~ this sounds so much more flavoursome than the topside or blade etc I normally use! Probably will have to go to the local butcher [well, he keeps tripe, tongue and sweetbreads, so why not 🙂 !] And thank you for putting a ‘decent’ amount of paprika in: so many cooks tread far too warily around this delicious spice!!!

Hi Nick,
That looks excellent. I have been getting ready to spring out of bed to start preparing today’s ox tail dish. It will be a first for me. I have not used cheeks either. Looking forward to trying them as the weather cools.

What a lovely dish to make with the pimenton! Looks so good and the kind of thing I will be making in a few weeks when we get to England to start work for the winter. Don’t think I’ve ever had ox cheek, just pork, so am going to ask at the butchers.

Goulash ranks up there with a few other dishes as my all time favourite too! Have in the past always used shin, but cheeks are a great idea and much cheaper! Could also be made using pigs cheeks, I imagine?

Goulash is total comfort food for me – we usually eat it with flat egg noodles (that look a bit like Tagliatelle at home (no idea whether that is even remotely authentic or what Hungarians typically eat with their Goulash). As for the ox cheek? That is what my mum uses for the goulash as well and I think it is one of the best (if not THE best) cut of meat for these type of slow cooked dishes where the meat almost melts into the source.

Great post and thanks for highlighting what delicious dishes can be cooked with cheaper and often overlooked cuts of meat!

I make goulash the same way, but being vegetarian use mushrooms or quorn instead – which is also very cheap!

If you want to make it go a little further, use 3 tins of chopped tomatoes and before reducing it remove 3/4 of the liquid and set aside.

Then reduce as normal and eat, and heat up the reserved liquid for a goulash soup

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