Home | Pasta | New England Style American Chop Suey Recipe

New England Style American Chop Suey Recipe

If you are looking for the best American chop suey recipe then you have come to the right place. It’s a New England classic and this recipe is the best because it was my Mom’s!

A simple tomato-based pasta dish with ground beef, onions, and green bell peppers.

I am pretty sure almost everyone has had this dish before if they grew up in New England. Budget-friendly and a great go-to for comfort food!

This recipe is step by step and is really easy to make. I also have a video that covers the entire dish.

So what are you waiting for, go ahead and make this recipe and let me know what you think!

American chop suey in a bowl


  • 1 Onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 lb Ground beef
  • 16 oz Elbow Macaroni
  • 28 oz Crushed tomato sauce
  • 15 oz Tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Black pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt


How to make American Chop Suey

Follow these simple steps to make what I remember as my Mom’s American chop suey recipe. It is simple and easy and is a great recipe that your children will love!

Some people actually call it chili mac but you will not hear that name in New England that is for sure. You will also see it called American goulash. In the end, I think they are all about the same.

1. Prepare the ingredients

the ingredients all spread out

To get started you will need a bell pepper and a whole onion. Make sure you wash your green pepper before you start. I like to use yellow onion but sweet onion will also work well.

Now you want to dice up your green peppers and onion into 1/8″ pieces.

I like to prepare all the ingredients in their own bowls so they are ready to go when I start cooking. Being prepared really helps you be able to concentrate on what you are cooking.

2. Brown the ground beef

ground beef cooked in a pan

In a medium saucepan, bring 1/2 tsp of olive oil to medium heat.

While that is heating up, cut your ground beef up into 1-inch pieces for browning. I cube the beef because the grass-fed beef comes in those square packages now.

Test the oil temperature by flicking a little bit of water into the pan. If it sizzles then it’s ready to go. Once the oil is hot enough, add in your ground beef.

Space out your ground beef into pieces a little bit so that it can brown and release the water that is in it. Let it cook and brown before you break it up.

Browning the ground beef is key to bringing out the great flavor. I have a complete recipe that shows how to cook ground beef this way.

To spice up the beef a bit you could add some Worcestershire sauce to it. It is not in my recipe but it is very common to use.

Make sure that you check if the ground beef has gone bad.

3. Cook the macaroni elbows

cooked elbows in a pot

In a medium pot bring water to a boil, add salt, and the elbow macaroni.

Bring it back to a boil and cook the macaroni al dente. Once it’s cooked go ahead and strain the water out and add a little olive oil to the pasta to keep it from sticking.

4. Sauté veggies

sauteing the onions and peppers

Now that your ground beef is browned you can set aside the meat in another dish and return the pan to the burner.

Add a little olive oil to the bottom of the pan and throw in your diced bell peppers and onions. Saute them until the onions start to become translucent.

You could substitute the green bell pepper for a red bell pepper it will taste about the same.

If the fond on the bottom of the pan starts to burn, add in a little of the tomato sauce and stir it around. You will see the fond unstick from the pan.

The fond adds great flavor to the sauce.

5. Make the sauce

the sauce in a pan

Once your green peppers and onions are cooked, add your crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and ground beef to the pan. Stir it all together and let it all simmer for 20-30 minutes.

You also want to add salt to the sauce at this point. Taste it. If it needs more salt then go ahead and add it.

Now if you don’t have any tomato sauce you can make it with tomato paste. Follow the directions on the can but you typically will be adding water to the tomato paste.

If your sauce ends up a little runny, learn how to thicken pasta sauce to help thicken it up.

6. Bring it all together

mixing all the ingredients together cooked

Once your sauce has simmered and melded all of the flavors from the fond, sauce, meat, and seasonings together add it to your elbow macaroni. Mix it all together well and SERVE!

Don’t forget to add freshly grated parmesan cheese when you serve it. It makes the dish! I have a post talking about if parmesan cheese goes bad or not.

American chop suey is so good reheated the next day. I am not sure what it is but the taste is amazing after it has sat in the fridge.

I have another Pasta Recipe you would really enjoy… Best Spaghetti Meat Sauce

Alternative Ingredients

One of the most common ingredients that you would see in this recipe of American chop suey would be garlic. I am a huge garlic fan and adding some will only make this recipe better.

The reason I do not have garlic is that my Mom did not cook with it very often. It is also very common to see Worcestershire sauce as well. Just add it when you’re cooking the ground beef.

There is also another version of this recipe that has beef broth, soy sauce, and a bunch of vegetables and it does not have the macaroni you will see with noodles.

You can also see it with crispy noodles on top. It is more like soup.

Frequently Asked Questions For American Chop Suey Recipe

American Chop Suey is a New England cuisine. Outside of New England, it might be called “Goulash” or “Jonny Marzetti”.

This dish is good in the fridge for 3-4 days. I actually think that it tastes the best on the 2nd day.

You can reheat American chop suey in the microwave or on the stovetop. I recommend adding a touch of water or beef stock to help keep it from drying out.

american chop suey in a bowl

American Chop Suey Recipe

A classic All American chop suey recipe dish that is easy to prepare, budget friendly and everyone will love it!
4.57 from 32 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 549 kcal


  • 1 Onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 Bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 lb Ground beef
  • 16 oz Elbow Macaroni
  • 28 oz Crushed tomato
  • 15 oz Tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Black pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt


  • Prep your veggies by washing your bell pepper, and then chopping your onions and bell pepper into small pieces
  • Preheat your frypan and when hot add the oil
  • Once the oil is good and hot go ahead and add your ground beef. Make sure to brown the beef to get that great flavor. Remove the ground beef when cooked through.
  • Now, get the water boiling for the elbow macaroni. Once the water is boiling add your macaroni and cook until al dente. Strain the water out of the macaroni.
    Add a little bit of oil to the macaroni elbows to make sure they dont stick.
  • In the same frying pan go ahead and saute the onions and peppers. Add more oil if needed.
    After the onions are translucent go ahead and add the sauce, salt, Italian seasoning and ground beef to the pan. Bring to a boil.
    After it gets to a boil turn it down to a simmer.
  • Now add it all together. Pour the sauce over the cooked elbows and mix it all together.


Watch the video to see a step by step guide to this recipe.
Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.


Serving: 6gCalories: 549kcalCarbohydrates: 73gProtein: 26gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 990mgPotassium: 1049mgFiber: 7gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 637IUVitamin C: 26mgCalcium: 97mgIron: 5mg
Keyword American Chop Suey, american chop suey recipe, Goulash, how to make american chop suey
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  1. What you are making has been around since I was a kid I am 71 years old we called it goulash, same recipe.

  2. well i am from new England and im 53 we and all the rest of new England have always called it american chop suey story behind this is from the great depression all left over ingrediants plus the pasta which is cheap was combined to make affordable dinner for whole family

    1. I am also from New England (Boston) and you are absolutely correct. It is American Chop Suey. I have seen many versions of this with all kinds of stuffed added, but this recipe is right on!!!!!!

  3. 5 stars
    This is the recipe that I made for my family. I am now 68 and have just rediscovered this meal. I am from Rhode Island and American chop suey is what we always called it. My daughter now makes it for her kids. The only thing I’ve changed is that I use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Tastes the same. Easy to put together and then I have a few meals. Thanks!

  4. 5 stars
    I was looking for a Filipino chop suey recipe (the one with mixed vegetables) when I came across this recipe. So I got intrigued and tried it out. Definitely trying this recipe again. My family loves it. And I love learning something new every day.

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