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With just 10 minutes of prep and a few pantry staples, my grandmother’s one-pot American chop suey is a quick and easy comfort food dinner that kids and adults will love! Top it with cheddar or Parmesan cheese, and serve it alongside a saladcornbread, or biscuits. The made from scratch pasta and ground beef skillet is always a weeknight winner.

Overhead shot of hands ladling an easy american chop suey recipe from a cast iron Dutch oven.
Table of Contents
  1. How to Make American Chop Suey | 1-Minute Video
  2. Why You’ll Love this Recipe
  3. A New England Style American Chop Suey Recipe
  4. Ingredients
  5. Directions
  6. Serving Suggestions
  7. Storage Tips
  8. Tips for Success
  9. American Chop Suey Recipe
  10. Frequently Asked Questions

For even more ground beef recipes, try the best stuffed pasta shells, a pot of this creamy tomato soup with ground beef and noodles, a pan of old-fashioned Johnny Marzetti casserole, and this million dollar baked spaghetti, too!

How to Make American Chop Suey | 1-Minute Video

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • Easy. After about 10 minutes of prep, this meal practically cooks itself.
  • One Pot. There’s no need to boil the pasta before you add it to the ground beef and sauce. Everything cooks together in a single pot for a flavorful, family-friendly meal in about 30 minutes. Plus, there are fewer dishes to wash at the end!
  • Versatile. Swap out the ground beef for ground chicken, ground turkey, or sausage. Pair the dish with cornbread or corn sticks; offer a salad for cool, crisp, contrast; or serve some garlic bread, blueberry muffins, or one-bowl pumpkin bread on the side. This is one of those great suppers that works well with almost any of your family’s favorites.

Hi Blair, I have made your American Chop Suey several times since I saw your recipe. I tried different variations according to your suggestions and I really like it with ground turkey! I recently made it with ground beef which my husband and I also liked it that way too! I will be making this again really soon!

– Annette
An easy american chop suey recipe served with a side of cornbread.

A New England Style American Chop Suey Recipe

New England-style American chop suey is a pasta dish made with ground beef, macaroni, and a seasoned tomato sauce. This meal is commonly found in New England cuisine and in other regions of the United States. There are many versions of the simple dinner, and it goes by many different names, too.

Outside of New England, the dish is sometimes called American goulash or Johnny Marzetti casserole. In spite of the similar name, American chop suey has very little in common with the chop suey of Chinese and Chinese-American cuisine.

The Best Dutch Oven to Use

A cast iron Dutch oven works well for this recipe, thanks to its even heat distribution, heavy bottom (to prevent scorching), and superior heat retention. I recommend a Dutch oven with a capacity of at least 5.5 quarts, but anything between 5.5 – 7.5 quarts will work great. If you’re in the market for a new cast iron pot, check out our recommendations for the best Dutch ovens. Here I’ve shown the Smithey 5.5-quart Dutch oven. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, no problem — any heavy-bottomed large pot will work!

Adding vegetables to a Dutch oven.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a pot of American goulash. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Ground beef: or substitute with ground turkey, ground pork, ground chicken, or ground sausage.
  • Onion, green bell pepper, and garlic: fresh veggies that add savory flavor and texture to the dish. Swap out the green pepper for red bell pepper, or add sliced mushrooms if you prefer.
  • Water and beef broth: the liquid base for the sauce. You need the extra water for the pasta to absorb as it cooks. In a pinch, vegetable broth or chicken broth will be a fine substitute for the beef broth.
  • Elbow macaroni: there’s no need to boil the noodles before adding them to the pan. They cook right in the sauce, releasing starches that help to thicken the mixture.
  • Diced tomatoes: I like petite-diced tomatoes, which are cut smaller. You can substitute with regular diced tomatoes instead. Do not drain off the juices before adding them to the pot.
  • Tomato paste: gives the sauce a thick, rich tomato flavor.
  • Italian seasoning: adds savory, zesty flavor to the sauce. This is typically a blend of ground herbs such as basil, dried oregano, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, sage, and coriander. For a dish that tastes like chili mac, substitute 2 teaspoons of chili powder for the Italian seasoning.
  • Brown sugar: balances the acidity of the tomatoes, giving the dish a more complex tomato flavor.
  • Worcestershire sauce: adds salty, umami flavor. Soy sauce works as a substitute in a pinch.
  • Cheese: this garnish at the end is optional, but it sure adds great flavor! You can use shredded sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, Pepper Jack, Colby, Colby Jack, or any other good melting cheese. A sprinkling of Parmesan would also be nice.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
Pouring broth into a Dutch oven.

Directions

You can’t beat an easy ground beef dinner recipe that cooks entirely in one skillet. Childhood favorites make the best cozy, comforting family dinners! You’ll find detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  1. Brown the ground beef, onion, bell pepper, and garlic.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and simmer until the pasta is tender and the sauce thickens.
  4. Sprinkle grated cheese over top, if desired, and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
Overhead shot of hands holding a cast iron pot of the best American chop suey recipe.

Serving Suggestions

This one-pot meal pairs nicely with easy sides like garlic bread or Southern cornbread, Southern fried apples, sauteed asparagus, roasted broccoli, Southern-style green beans, or a simple green salad with red wine vinaigrette.

Overhead image of New England style American chop suey recipe served in a white bowl with a side corn sticks.

Storage Tips

  • How to Store: Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 
  • How to Reheat: Warm the meal in a covered skillet over low heat just until warmed through, or microwave individual servings for about 1 minute.
  • Freezer Instructions: I do not recommend freezing this dish. The pasta will swell in the freezer, resulting in a mushy texture when thawed and reheated.
Square side shot of the best american chop suey recipe in a bowl on a wooden table.

Tips for Success

  • Brown the hamburger first. This gives the beef color, and seals in the flavor.
  • Drain the fat. This is another important step, since it’s not only a healthier way of cooking, but it also prevents the finished dish from having a greasy texture.
  • Make it spicy by adding a dash of cayenne or finishing the dish with crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Add a dash of paprika to the sauce, or season with fresh herbs such as parsley, rosemary, thyme, or basil.
  • For added texture, sprinkle cheese and a few buttered breadcrumbs over the top and then place the pot under the broiler. This will give it a crunchy, cheesy topping similar to baked mac and cheese.
Overhead image of hands eating a bowl of American chop suey.

More Easy Ground Beef Recipes

Square overhead shot of a pot of American chop suey.

American Chop Suey

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 292 kcal
You only need a single pot and 10 minutes of prep for my grandmother's easy American chop suey recipe!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (or increase to 2 teaspoons for a slightly sweeter taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional toppings: grated cheese; chopped fresh parsley; crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the ground beef, onion, and bell pepper. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon, and cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Drain off the excess fat.
    Adding vegetables to a Dutch oven.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet, as well as about ¾ teaspoon of salt and a dash of pepper.
    Pouring broth into a Dutch oven.
  • Stir to combine; bring to a boil. Once the mixture boils, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 12-15 minutes, or until the noodles are tender and the sauce thickens.
    Overhead shot of hands holding a cast iron pot of the best American chop suey recipe.
  • Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Garnish with cheese and parsley, if desired.
    Square overhead shot of a bowl of american chop suey.

Video

Notes

  • Swap out the ground beef and use ground turkey, ground pork, ground sausage, or ground chicken instead.
  • In a pinch, vegetable broth or chicken broth will be a fine substitute for the beef broth.
  • For a dish that tastes like chili mac, substitute 2 teaspoons of chili powder for the Italian seasoning.
  • Make it spicy by adding a dash of cayenne or finishing the dish with crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Add a dash of paprika to the sauce, or season with fresh herbs such as parsley, rosemary, thyme, or basil.
  • For added texture, sprinkle cheese and a few buttered breadcrumbs over the top and then place the pot under the broiler. This will give it a crunchy, cheesy topping similar to baked mac and cheese.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 292kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 21gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 1063mgPotassium: 905mgFiber: 4gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 666IUVitamin C: 31mgCalcium: 72mgIron: 4mg
Keyword: American Chop Suey, american chop suey recipe, Chop Suey, easy american chop suey recipe, goulash
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does chop suey mean in America? In America, “chop suey” typically refers to a Chinese-American dish made with mixed vegetables, meat, and sometimes noodles, reflecting a fusion of Chinese culinary elements adapted to American tastes.
  • What is the difference between American chop suey and Chinese chop suey? New England-style American chop suey is a dish commonly found in the United States, typically consisting of ground meat (such as beef), onions, peppers, and tomatoes with pasta. It reflects a fusion of Italian and American culinary influences. On the other hand, Chinese chop suey is a stir-fry dish described above, referring to the Chinese-American dish made with mixed vegetables, meat, and noodles. The two dishes differ significantly in their ingredients, cooking methods, and flavor profiles, despite sharing a similar name.
  • What’s the difference between American chop suey and American goulash? American Chop Suey and American goulash are actually two names for the same dish! If you live outside of New England, you probably know this comfort food classic as “goulash.” No matter what you call it, the cozy ground beef and noodle recipe is sure to be a favorite at your dinner table!
  • Was chop suey invented in America? The exact origins of Chinese chop suey are debated, but it is widely believed to have been invented in America by Chinese immigrants in the late 19th or early 20th century. Its creation is often attributed to Chinese immigrants adapting traditional Chinese dishes to suit American tastes and ingredients.

This recipe was originally published in January, 2017. It was updated in May, 2024.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says:

    I love that it’s more of American flavors in here, Blair! So creative, and I’m sure your boys appreciated that! 🙂 This looks so good, and I’m loving all of the flavors. And, of course, how easy this is to make! What a perfect weeknight meal!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks so much, Gayle!

  2. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious says:

    My Mom used to make Chop Suey. I’ve been thinking about making a healthy version of it. Love that you added beans here!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Megan! And since you don’t like beef, you could totally just use another can of beans instead!

  3. Kristy from Southern In Law says:

    I’ve never had or really even heard of Chop Suey before but this looks like such a delicious combination! Yum!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Kristy! I’m no Chop Suey expert, so this is just my own version of it! 🙂

  4. Roxanne says:

    Yay! I’ve been waiting for this recipe. I’m going to try this out after I go to the grocery tomorrow.

    1. Blair says:

      That’s great, Roxanne! Enjoy!!!

  5. Kelly @ Kelly Lynn's Sweets and Treats says:

    Yum! I think my boys would love this! Pinned to my dinner board!!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks so much for the pin, Kelly! 🙂

  6. Chrissa - Physical Kitchness says:

    This sounds so weird but me and the hubs loves water chestnuts. They add such a cool texture to any dish. Can you please come take all my food photos for me? GORGEOUS!

    1. Blair says:

      You’re so kind, Chrissa. I really appreciate your comments on the photos, since it can be very difficult to make ground beef look appetizing. 🙂

  7. lindsay Cotter says:

    love me some southern suey! Best i had was from my friends mom who grew up in lousinana. OMG AMAZING! Must try yours.

    1. Blair says:

      I agree…suey rules! 🙂

  8. GiGi Eats says:

    5 stars
    This girl loves ONE SKILLET meals! And this recipe looks phenomenal! I always forget about water chestnuts, but they’re awesome and should be incorporated more!

    1. Blair says:

      Me too, GiGi! Nobody wants to wash a bunch of dishes! 🙂

  9. Sue J says:

    I am just curious, not being critical, but why do recipes call for adding oil to brown the ground beef? There is always some natural fat even if you use very lean beef and then it is drained off at the end.

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Sue! I honestly do it both ways. If you’re using a good nonstick pan, you don’t need any oil at all. Sometimes you’ll find that the meat sticks to the pan before it really gets cooking though, in which case oil helps it brown nicely (and adds flavor). Do whatever you like best, though! 🙂

  10. Sue J says:

    Thanks. Now I know why.

  11. Annette says:

    5 stars
    Hi Blair, I have made your American Chop Suey several times since I saw your recipe. I tried different variations according to your suggestions and I really like it with ground turkey! I recently made it with ground beef which my husband and I also liked it that way too! I will be making this again really soon!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you for letting me know, Annette! I’m glad that you’ve been able to play around with different ingredients and flavors to make it your own. 🙂

  12. E says:

    Hello, Unfortunately, the dishes are not the same. I’m born and raised from Massachusetts and Chopped Suey does not have broth or worcestershire sauce. Your goulash recipe looks absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to try it 🙂

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you for letting us know! We will have to look into the recipes a bit more. We hope you enjoy it!

  13. Blair Lonergan says:

    Thanks for your feedback, Phyllis!

  14. Raymond Harmer says:

    5 stars
    Made as listed. Simple meal with big taste. Definitely will make this once a month or more. Thank you. Over the top good

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for trying it out and taking the time to leave your feedback, Raymond.