Beef and Barley Soup

Beef and Barley Soup is an easy one-pot dinner perfect for the fall and winter. Full of flavorful and tender beef, healthy veggies, and fiber-rich barley.

Soup Recipes, like this Barley Soup, are the ultimate comfort food. Similar to Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Soup, this dish is hearty, filling, and savory.

cropped photo of Beef and Barley Soup


Rich Beef Barley Soup is sure to be a favorite winter recipe. It’s easy to make, packed with flavor, and will warm you right up. Serve it with some Classic Dinner Rolls for dipping and enjoy the most comforting dinner ever.

If you’ve never tried Beef Barley Soup, you’re in for a treat. This dish is as simple as it is delicious. The barley and vegetables absorb the flavors of the beef broth, making each bite amazingly rich and savory.

Beef Barley Soup is an old fashioned recipe made with pearl barley. Barley is a cereal grain with a soft, chewy texture and light nutty taste. It also has many health benefits. Barley is rich in fiber, vitamins, and helps keep you full without many calories. Along with that, barley makes a great add-in to any soup recipes because it’s flavor isn’t overwhelming, and it easily blends in and absorbs the taste of what’s surrounding it. Even picky eaters will gobble up this healthy soup!



Although Beef Barley Soup is a little time consuming, it’s still quite easy to make. Most of the cooking time is just a matter of letting the barley, beef, and other ingredients simmer together. Here are some quick step-by-step tips to make the process as smooth as possible.

  • Sear: Add oil to your dutch oven over high heat. Cut the beef into bite-sized pieces, and slice the onion. Season the meat with salt and pepper, then sear it on all sides. This should only take about 8-10 minutes. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until they’re translucent.
  • Broth: Add in the broth, barley, and thyme. Once the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low.
  • Cook: Continue to cook uncovered over low heat for an hour. Although you’ll want to check on it sometimes, you don’t have to man the stove during this time. Add in the celery and carrots, and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Serve: Ladle Beef Barley Soup into bowls and serve while still hot.

ladle full of Beef and Barley Soup


  • Meat: You can make a similar soup recipe using different kinds of meat besides beef. Try making Chicken Barley Soup or Turkey Barley Soup. You’ll also want to change the broth you’re using to pair well with whichever meat you’re using in the soup.
  • Vegetarian Barley Soup: There are a couple of ways you can make a barley soup into a Vegetable Barley Soup, so it works for a vegetarian or vegan diet. Use vegetable broth instead of beef broth. Try making Mushroom Barley Soup, or putting in some chickpeas to make the soup more filling.
  • Veggies: Try adding some extra veggies like diced tomatoes, green beans, corn, or peas to your soup recipe.
  • More add-ins: One of the great things about soup is that you can experiment with so many different flavors and ingredients. Try mixing in some oregano, parsley, garlic, or bay leaves. You could also mix in Worcestershire sauce into the broth.



  1. Set your instant pot to sauté mode and add vegetable oil to the bottom.
  2. Season your beef with salt and pepper, then brown it in the pressure cooker in batches.
  3. Add the onions to the instant pot and sear until translucent.
  4. Pour in the beef broth, barley, and thyme. Seal and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes, then let it naturally release for 15 minutes before quick releasing.
  5. Add in the celery and carrots, then put the lid back on for 5 minutes to let the vegetables heat through.


  1. Add oil to a large skillet, and put in the beef to sear on all sides.
  2. Put in the onions and sauté until translucent.
  3. Add the beef, onions, beef stock, and all remaining ingredients to the slow cooker.
  4. Set the slow cooker to low for 7-8 hours and high for 4-5 hours.
  5. Stir the Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup and enjoy while still hot.


  • Serve: After cooking Beef and Barley Soup, you shouldn’t leave it at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
  • Store: Let the Beef Barley Soup cool to room temperature, then put it in an airtight container. It will keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: You can keep Barley Soup in the freezer for up to 4 months. Put it in a freezer bag or other airtight container. When you’re ready to reheat the soup, let it first defrost in the fridge.

Beef and Barley Soup in colorful pot

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Beef and Barley Soup

Beef and Barley Soup is an easy one-pot dinner perfect for the fall and winter. Full of flavorful and tender beef, healthy veggies, and fiber-rich barley.
Yield 8 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 27 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 32 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat , or cut up chuck roast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion , chopped
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 2/3 cup pearl barley
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 3 stalks celery , sliced
  • 2 carrots , sliced


  • Add oil to a large pot or dutch oven on high heat.
  • Season beef with salt and pepper.
  • Add to the pot and sear on all sides, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add in the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes, until translucent.
  • Add in beef broth, barley, and thyme and bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat.
  • Cook, uncovered, for 1 hour.
  • Add in the celery and carrots and cook for 15 minutes, then serve.


Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 1562mg | Potassium: 671mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2625IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 4mg
Keyword: Beef and Barley Soup

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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  1. This soup looks thickened. Did you use a thickener? Just broth would make it more translucent. This looks a little heartier.

    1. No we didn’t. When using the Dutch Oven method, the soup is cooked slow and on low temperatures for over an hour so the broth and veggies simmer and naturally thicken over time a bit to appear as if we added a thickener.

  2. This beef barley soup was so hearty and delicious! The whole family loved it, we served it with fresh homemade bread and it was gone, I mean we cleaned the pot! Awesome recipe!

  3. This looks delicious! I’m planning on making it soon but when I searched my grocery store, all I could find was quick barley. Would that work for this or do I need regular pearl barley? Thanks!

    1. It will still work but I would add the quick barley in with the celery and carrots since it only takes about 10-15 minutes to cook. Hope this helps!