Recipes, Soup Recipes

Beef Barley Soup

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5.0 from 2 votes


Beef Barley Soup, a rustic dish rooted in tradition, has been warming hearts and satisfying appetites for centuries. With its humble beginnings in 18th century Colonial America, the recipe has evolved, but its essence remains true to the comforting flavors of slow-cooked beef, vegetables, and the unique chewiness of barley.

Why Beef Barley Soup?

This wholesome soup isn’t just a feast for the taste buds; it’s a healthy option too! Packed with about 165 calories per cup, less than 5 grams of fat, and almost 20 grams of protein, it’s a nutrient-rich choice. The combination of nourishing vegetables, whole grains, and fiber ensures a satisfying and wholesome meal. However, it’s important to note that this soup contains 13.5 grams of carbohydrates per cup, making it unsuitable for a Keto or low-carb diet. Also, it’s not gluten-free due to the presence of barley, which contains gluten.

Ingredients Needed

Olive oil

Beef stew meat

Carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, and garlic

Diced tomatoes

Thyme and bay leaves

Beef broth

Barley (either quick barley or regular pearled barley)

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

How To Make Beef Barley Soup?

Begin by browning chunks of beef in olive oil, creating a flavorful base for the soup.

Toast onions and spices for an aromatic touch, awakening the flavors.

Add a medley of vegetables, broth, and barley, allowing them to simmer until tender.

Choose the barley wisely – quick barley for a swift experience or regular pearled barley for a more extended, flavor-infused simmer.

Storage Instructions

Prepare the soup up to a day in advance, allowing it to cool at room temperature, covering it, and refrigerating it overnight. Before serving, reheat the pot on the stovetop.

This soup freezes well. Once cooled to room temperature, transfer it to the fridge, then to an airtight container, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

When chilled, remove the solidified fat from the soup or leave it and stir when reheating. Reheat on the stovetop in a covered saucepan or Dutch oven until warmed through.

Recipe Variations

Use regular pearl barley instead of “quick barley,” adjusting cooking time to about 30-40 minutes.

Diced chuck or short rib can substitute beef stew meat for tender results.

Enhance flavor with red wine, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, or additional herbs like parsley, rosemary, oregano, or chives.

For richer tomato flavor, add 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste with mushrooms and garlic.

Chicken broth can replace beef broth but alters the taste slightly.

Tips for Best Beef Barley Soup

This recipe makes a large batch; leftovers can be frozen, or halve ingredients for a smaller portion.

Brown the meat for added flavor; avoid overcrowding the pot.

Ensure the beef is cooked long enough to tenderize tough connective tissues.

Simmer with the Dutch oven covered to retain moisture.

Garnish individual servings with fresh parsley or herbs for a vibrant touch.

Beef Barley Soup

Recipe by
5.0 from 2 votes
Course: Dinner, LunchCuisine: American


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Beef Barley Soup Recipe: Prepare to indulge in the comforting embrace of Beef Barley Soup with this simple and delightful recipe.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks

  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 4 celery ribs, chopped

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, NOT drained

  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 8 cups beef broth

  • 1 cup quick barley

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste


  • In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper, to taste. Brown the beef on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the meat from the pot using a slotted spoon and set it aside.
  • Add carrots, celery, and onion to the pot. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and garlic, cook for an additional minute. Stir in tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, and broth. Scrape up flavorful bits from the pot. Return the beef to the pot. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  • Increase the heat, bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour (or until beef is tender). Add quick barley, cover, and simmer for 10-15 more minutes (or until barley is tender).
  • Taste the soup and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.


  • Browning the meat is a crucial step for enhanced flavor.
  • Avoid overcrowding the pot when browning meat for better searing.
  • Ensure the beef simmers enough to achieve tender chunks.
  • Keep the Dutch oven covered while simmering to trap moisture.
  • Garnish each bowl with fresh parsley or other herbs for a vibrant touch.
  • Quick barley offers a faster cooking time, but regular pearled barley can be substituted with additional cooking time.

Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size: 1g
  • Calories: 165kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 13g
  • Protein: 18g
  • Fat: 4.7g
  • Cholesterol: 43mg
  • Sodium: 392mg
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 3g

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