Delicious Beef and Barley Soup Recipe

Bowl of beef and barley soup laying beside paring knifeParing Knife 4.5" | Crusader Series

Delicious Beef and Barley Soup Recipe

Quick Steps Overview: Beef and Barley Soup Recipe

  1. Gather all the tools and ingredients
  2. Heat a large pot 
  3. Sear the beef 
  4. Transfer the tender beef to a plate 
  5. Add oil, carrots, celery, and onions 
  6. Add tomato paste and garlic
  7. Add beef stock or 3 beef cubes
  8. Stir and bring mixture to simmer
  9. Add hulled barley
  10. Garnish with parsley and serve 

    Want to give your daily soup a hearty twist? Then this nutritious veggie, beef, and barley soup is exactly what you need! This complete meal in a bowl should leave you satisfied and is bound to warm you up inside, out. A classic beef-barley soup should taste deeply beefy and should be loaded with chunks of tender, flavorful meat, plump grains of barley, and fresh, aromatic veggies.

    For those new to cooking, let me give you a brief introduction to this delicious soup. Beef and Barley soup is a rustic dish that includes affordable cuts of beef that are simmered with vegetables in beef broth until tender. Barley is added to provide the soup with a slightly chewy texture and nutty taste. 

    If you are a big-time soup lover like me, continue reading to know how you can stir up this beauty at home with great ease. 

    ingredients for beef and barley soup on cutting board
    Teak Cutting Board | Medium Size

    1. Best Beef to Use for Beef and Barley Soup

    I’m going to let you in on one of my cooking secrets that guarantee the most wholesome soups... The importance of the choice of beef. Choosing the right cut, handling it the right way, and adding more complex layers of flavor is what builds up the taste of this soup.

    For this soup, beef stew meat (also known as stewing beef), is an affordable cut found in about every grocery store. The long and slow cooking time of this soup helps the beef become incredibly tender and the pre-cut, bite-sized pieces of the meat are very simple to prep and use. However, if you can't get a hold of beef stew meat, you can also go for diced chuck roast or short rib.

    2. Tools You Will Need

    Stock Pot

    A larger, stainless steel stock pot is required for this as the soup will increase in quantity as more ingredients are added to it.

    Cutting Board

    A well-sized cutting board is suggested to ensure ease of prepping them for the soup. 


    Shield yourself and your outfit from kitchen splatters with a functional apron.

    Chef’s Knife

    A razor-sharp chef’s knife is great too to help you breeze through chopping tasks that accompany this recipe.  

    3. Best Beef and Barley Soup Recipe

    Beef and Barley Soup

    Prep Time

    30 mins

    Cook Time

    2 hours

    Total Time

    2 hours 30 mins





    • 2 pounds Chuck Roast (trimmed of excess chunks of fat, cut into 3/4th inch cubes)


    • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
    • 1½ cups Carrots (about 3, chopped) 
    • 1 cup Celery (2 ribs, chopped) 
    • 2 cups Yellow Onion (1 large, chopped)
    • 3 tablespoons Tomato Paste 
    • 1½ tablespoons Garlic (4 cloves, minced)
    • 2 cartons Low-Sodium Chicken/Beef Broth
    • 1 tablespoon Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
    • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 teaspoons Fresh Rosemary (minced)
    • 2 teaspoons Fresh Thyme (minced)
    • Salt (to taste)
    • Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
    • 1 cup Pearl Barley
    • 3 tablespoons Fresh Parsley (minced) 

    Cooking Instructions

    Step 1: Gather all the tools and ingredients

    • Set up the cooking station by gathering all the tools and ingredients mentioned above. 

    Step 2: Heat a large pot 

    • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. 

    Step 3: Sear the beef 

    • Pat dry the beef with a paper towel and add ½ or ⅓ of it to the pan. Make sure not to overcrowd the vessel. 
    • Season the meat with salt and pepper. 
    • Let the meat sear until golden brown on the bottom for about 3 minutes, then flip and cook for 1 minute longer. 

    Step 4: Transfer beef to a plate 

    • Transfer the beef from the pot to a plate along with the juices and repeat the process with the remaining beef by adding another tablespoon of olive oil. 
    • Once cooked, transfer the browned beef to the plate as well.

    Step 5: Add oil, carrots, celery, and onions 

    • To the empty pot, add a tablespoon of oil once again.
    • Now toss in the carrots, celery, and onions and sauté for 3 minutes. 

    Step 6: Add tomato paste and garlic

    • Add the tomato and garlic. 
    • Sauté this for another minute. 

    Step 7: Add broth and throw in flavor

    • Pour in the broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
    • Return the beef to the pot. 

    Step 8: Bring mixture to simmer

    • Bring this mixture to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low. 
    • Cover and simmer until the beef is fairly tender.

      Note: This would take about 45 minutes to an hour. 

    Step 9: Add barley

    • Add barley, cover, and simmer until cooked through and the beef is tender.
    • This will take another 45-60 minutes. 

    Step 10: Garnish with parsley and serve 

    • Stir in the parsley and serve hot with sides of your choice. 

    4. Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup Recipe

    Another way to cook up this soup is in an instant pot. Not only is this method hassle-free but will also save you some time as compared to slow-cooking the soup. The beauty of using an instant pot for this recipe is that it cooks the meat and grains beautifully to tender perfection. 

    Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup

    Prep Time

    10 mins

    Cook Time

    35 mins

    Additional Time

    6 minutes

    Total Time 

    51 mins



    • 2 pounds Chuck Meat (cut into chunks, bite-sized cubes)


    • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 Yellow Onion (diced)
    • 1 large/2 medium Carrots (peeled and diced)
    • 2 ribs Celery (sliced into 1/4 “ pieces
    • 6 cloves of Garlic (minced)
    • 6 cups of Beef Broth
    • 1 cup Pearl Barley (rinsed)
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
    • 1½ tablespoon Seasoned Salt
    •  2 teaspoons Dried Thyme 
    • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
    • 1 pound of Baby Potatoes (skin-on, roughly chopped)
    • 2 Bay Leaves  

    Cooking Instructions

    Step 1: 

    • Add olive oil to the Instant Pot, press “Sauté” and adjust so it’s on the More/High setting. 

    Step 2:

    • After about 3 minutes of the oil heating, add the onion, carrot, and celery. 
    • Sauté this for about 5 minutes or until it softens a bit. 

    Step 3:

    • Add the broth, barley, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, thyme, and black pepper. 
    • Use a wooden spoon to give it a good stir, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. 
    • Top with potatoes and bay leaves. 

    Step 4: 

    • Next, secure the lid, make sure it’s in the sealing posting, hit cancel, and then hit Manual or Pressure Cook for 20 minutes. 
    • When done, allow a 15-minute natural release, followed by a quick release. 

    Step 5: 

    • Ladle into bowls and serve with some bread or my personal favorite, garlic knots. 


    • The more you let this soup sit after cooking, the more the barley will absorb the broth, making the barley very soft. 
    • You will also have a thicker, very hearty soup. 
    • If you reheat any leftovers and desire more broth, feel free to simply add some more. 

    5. Nutritional Value

    Beef And Barley Soup



    Total Fat


    Saturated Fat












    Vitamin A


    Vitamin C






    *IU stands for International Unit and is a measure that is used in pharmacy and for the use of measurement of vitamins.

    6. Tips For Making the Best Beef and Barley Soup

    • Cut up the veggies into thick chunks. This is because this soup needs to simmer for a long time. If you chop veggies like carrots into small pieces, they might get too soft. 
    • I highly recommend you brown the beef first. This will add a rich layer of flavor to the soup. 
    • You must let the soup simmer low and slow for a good amount of time to ensure that the beef comes out tender, soaked up in the flavors of the soup. 
    • Sauté the tomato paste to help boost flavor and lightly caramelize it. 
    • Remember to add barley halfway through simmering for a lightly chewy texture. 

    7. Possible Variations of the Soup

    • You can replace ½ cup of the broth with ½ cup of dry red wine. This will add a nice boost of acidity and flavor to the soup. 
    • You can get creative with the vegetables you choose to add. Throw in some mushrooms, green beans, canned tomatoes, potatoes, or peas to make this soup richer. 
    • Remember, if you are adding more veggies to the soup, you will also have to add more broth to balance out the thickness of the soup. 
    • Toss in a few herbs of your choice to enhance the flavor palette. Bay leaves, marjoram, and Italian seasoning pair well with this. 
    • If you don't have barley or what to give the soup a new twist, you can also try other grains like brown rice or farro rice instead. 

    8. Preparing the Soup Ahead of Time

    While this soup is fairly simple to make, it can be a time-consuming process, requiring a good amount of prep work. However, you can always do all that beforehand and save time when you have to actually cook the soup.

    Beef: You can trim and chop the beef pieces the night before. You can even sear the beef and let it be the night before. However, you must let the beef cool down completely and get to room temperature before sealing it in an air-tight container and refrigerating it. 

    Vegetables: Chopping all the veggies the night before and playing them in an airtight container is a major time-saver. The only vegetable you will have to keep separate is potatoes. You must submerge potatoes in water, cover them with plastic wrap and keep them in the refrigerator. 

      Do it all: If you are crunched on time, you can also completely assemble the beef and barley soup in the crockpot and refrigerate the ceramic insert. This will make for a hassle-free, no-fuss morning. But you must remember that going for this would require you to add extra broth at the end of cooking. 

      9. Reheating and Storing Beef and Barley Soup

      There are a bunch of ways to reheat beef and barley soup: 

      In the Crockpot

      Place the ceramic crockpot insert back into the crockpot and heat on low for 1-3 hours. Do note that this time depends on how much soup you have left.

      On the Stove

      You can also use the stove for this purpose. Reheat large batches of soup on the stove over medium-low heat, remembering to stir occasionally, until the beef is beaten to 165 degrees F. This should take about 20 minutes.

      In the Microwave

      In case you need to heat smaller batches or individual servings, a microwave should do the job. Transfer the soup to a microwave-safe dish and cover with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel. Microwave for 2 minutes, stir, then continue to microwave at 30-second intervals if needed. 

      Did you know that you can also prepare batches of this soup and freeze it? However, if that is the plan then you would want to avoid adding potatoes to the soup. They will not freeze or reheat well and might turn into some bizarre, mushy texture that could ruin the soup. 

      But that does not mean you can’t enjoy potatoes in the frozen soup. Cook the potatoes separately and simply add them to the leftover soup. To steam potatoes, place them in a microwave-safe bowl with about ¼” of water up the sides. Cover and microwave until tender, for about 8 minutes.  Add potatoes to the portion of the soup you are not freezing. 

      To freeze Beef and Barley Soup: 

      • Cool It: Let the Beef and Barley Soup cool down completely before freezing to preserve the integrity of the ingredients.
      • Pack It: Transfer the soup to an airtight, freezer-safe container or freezer bag. You can also use a sandwich-size plastic bag and save individual stew portions. Make sure to squeeze out excess air to prevent freezer burn.
      • Freeze It: Freeze for up to 3 months.
      • Defrost/Reheat It: When it is time for you to enjoy the soup, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in the microwave, crockpot, or stove.

      10. Serving Suggestions 

      This soup is pretty wholesome by itself, so the side dishes can be minimal such as:  


      Fresh salad pairs the best with this soup. You can go for a classic Caesar's salad, wedge salad, or get experimental with apple salad, pear salad, or oven-roasted butternut squash salad.


      Thai sweet contract goes very well with the rich flavors of the soup. You can serve this with whatever fruit is in during the season.


      Warm, soft bread is a must with soup. Serve this delicious dish with a big loaf of crusty bread, soft and fluffy dinner rolls, parmesan breadsticks, or garlic bread. 

        11. Frequently Asked Questions

        Do you have to cook barley before putting it in soup?

        If you don’t want super thick soup but want to add pearl barley to it, cook it separately first. Boil in water for 20-30 minutes and rinse before using. 

        Is beef barley soup fattening?

        Using barley as a soup base makes for a low-fat, fiber-rich source of protein. Whether you add in beef or veggies, barley soup is an excellent addition to your diet thanks to its nutrient content.

        What is the best cut of meat for beef barley soup?

        Chuck roast is the perfect cut for soups and stews.

        Check Out Dalstrong Cookware Today

        Written by Himani Vaid

        Toronto-based food nerd turned food storyteller, Himani is a connoisseur of all things delish. Currently, busy thinking about what to eat next.

        Delicious Beef and Barley Soup Recipe

        Table of Content