Beef Barley Soup

5 from 2 votes
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Wholesome, filling, and tasty, Beef Barley Soup is a country-style favorite that’s simple to make. You’ll love this cozy, one-pot meal with tender veggies and comforting pearl barley.

overhead shot of a bowl filled with beef barley soup and a spoon dipped in the soup.


Beef Barley Soup Recipe

Comfort in a bowl, this easy beef and barley soup is one that I turn to again and again. Each spoonful is a treat, thanks to the hearty chunks of tender beef and thick, savory broth. Old-fashioned pearl barley makes this soup even more satisfying and adds a good serving of carbs. If you are looking for a simple, homespun soup recipe that will stick to your ribs, beef barley soup is the perfect one!

overhead shot of Beef Barley Soup in a Dutch oven and a wooden spoon placed inside the soup.

Ingredients For Beef Barley Soup

Regarding soup, I’m throwing in all the good stuff! Beef, tons of fresh veggies, garlic, herbs, and lots more!

  • Olive Oil and Butter: For sauteing.
  • Chuck Roast: Trim away any excess fat and cut the meat into about ½-inch cubes.
  • Onion: I usually choose yellow onions, but any color is fine.
  • Parsley: Chopped fresh parsley is brightest, but dried parsley is also good.
  • Bell Pepper: A small amount of diced green bell pepper adds color, texture, and flavor to the soup.
  • Carrots: Peel and slice two big carrots (or several smaller carrots) into coins.
  • Celery: The celery should be washed well to remove any grit, and sliced.
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.
  • Dried Herbs: I used thyme and rosemary, but you can substitute whichever dried herbs you prefer.
  • Garlic: Mince up some fresh garlic, or use garlic from a jar, or garlic powder.
  • Tomato Paste: Tomato paste adds depth of flavor and appetizing color to soups and stews.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Just a tablespoon helps bring out the flavor of the beef.
  • Broth: I prefer to use low-sodium beef broth, but vegetable broth is also a good choice here. 
  • Barley: You’ll need less than a cup of pearl barley for the whole pot of soup.

How To Make Beef Barley Soup

This is an easy soup to make in my Dutch oven – one of the most versatile pots ever. You can also use a plain large soup pot or a smaller stock pot.

  1. Brown the Beef. Heat up a small amount of oil, and brown the beef and set aside.
  2. Cook the Vegetables and Seasonings. Melt the butter and add the onions and parsley. Saute for a minute before adding the peppers, carrots, celery, salt, pepper, dried herbs, and the garlic.
  3. Add the Tomato Paste, Worcestershire, and Broth. Stir in the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce, followed by the broth. Return the meat to the pot. Bring the soup to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let simmer for about 45 minutes.
  4. Add the Barley. Uncover the pot and stir in the barley. Cover the pot again, and cook for another 45 minutes to an hour, until the barley is soft and the beef is very tender.
  5. Enjoy! Turn off the heat, and taste the soup carefully for salt and pepper. Adjust as needed, and then ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with parsley, and serve hot.
overhead shot of Beef Barley Soup in a Dutch oven and a wooden spoon placed inside the soup.

Tips for Success

  • Beef: Pat the beef dry before browning to achieve a better sear. Browning the beef helps in building a rich flavor base for the soup.
  • Add Veggies: You can easily throw a few more vegetables into this hearty recipe. From a diced tomato to some leftover sauteed mushrooms, leeks to green beans to English peas, you can’t go wrong! 
  • Use Ground Beef: For a quicker beef barley soup, you can replace the beef cubes with browned ground beef. You can omit the initial 45-minute cooking time if you do this.
  • Final Touches: Allow the soup to rest for a few minutes off the heat before serving. It helps the flavors to meld together.

Serving Ideas

  • Cabbage: You can’t beat beef and cabbage! Serve up your hearty soup with an equally hearty side of Grilled Cabbage steak or Cabbage Cucumber Salad for dinner or lunch that’s sure to please.
  • Soda Bread: The ultimate quick bread, a wedge of Irish Soda Bread is the perfect addition to any meal.
  • A Tart: Whether you go with some kind of a Spinach Quiche or a rustic veggie option like this Asparagus Mozzarella Cheese Tart, serving a warm pie-like side dish transforms a simple soup dinner into something special!
side shot of a bowl filled with beef barley soup and a spoon dipped in the soup.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

  • Store leftover soup in the refrigerator, covered well, or in an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
  • Reheat beef barley soup on the stovetop, over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. Serve piping hot!
  • To freeze, cool the soup, and then pack it into freezer bags or airtight freezer containers, leaving a small amount of room for the liquid to expand as it freezes. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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5 from 2 votes

Beef Barley Soup

Wholesome and tasty, Beef Barley Soup is an easy and filling one-pot meal made with tender beef, hearty veggies, and pearl barley.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 8


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil,, divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 pounds chuck roast,, trimmed and cut into about ½-inch cubes
  • 1 yellow onion,, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup diced green bell pepper
  • 2 large carrots,, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery,, sliced
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper,, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic,, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 8 cups low sodium beef broth
  • ½ to ¾ cup pearl barley
  • chopped fresh parsley,, for garnish
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  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven, or a large soup pot, set over medium-high heat.
  • Add half of the cubed beef to the hot oil and cook for about 3 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Remove beef from the pot and set aside. Repeat the same process with the rest of the beef. Again, remove the beef from the pot and set aside.
  • Add the butter to the pot and melt it over medium-high heat. Stir in the chopped onion and parsley; cook for 1 minute. Stir in the peppers, carrots, and celery. Season with salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme, and cook for about 3 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 15 seconds or until fragrant. Stir the browned beef back into the pot. Stir in the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Add broth and bring mixture to a steady simmer; reduce heat to low, cover, and continue to simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Add the barley; cover and continue to cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the beef is fall-apart tender.
  • Remove from heat. Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust accordingly.
  • Ladle into bowls, garnish with parsley, and serve.


  • Beef: Give the beef a good pat dry before you start the browning process to get a golden, crispy sear. This step is essential for developing those deep, savory flavors in the soup.
  • Add Veggies: This recipe is super versatile! Feel free to toss in extra veggies you have on hand, like diced tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, or even leeks, green beans, and English peas.
  • Use Ground Beef: In a rush? Swap out the beef cubes for ground beef, cook it for about 8 minutes or until browned, and skip the initial 45-minute simmer. You’ll have a tasty beef barley soup in no time.
  • Finishes: Give your soup a moment to sit off the heat before diving in. Those extra few minutes allow the flavors to come together.


Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 543mg | Potassium: 952mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2891IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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