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Beef Barley Soup

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

A Classic and Comforting Soup with Beef

We’re not out of the winter woods yet, are we? Even while my brain is thinking of all things spring, those darn cold fronts come through, and brrr! 🥶 That’s when I realize it’s time for soup…again. Comfort in a bowl, ya know? 🍲

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 healthy carbs.

If you are looking for a simple, homespun soup recipe that will satisfy and stick to your ribs, beef barley soup is the perfect one! Make this easy soup the next time it’s cold – it’ll warm you right up.

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

What You’ll Need

When it comes to beef barley soup, I’m throwing in allll the good stuff! Yummy cubes of beef, tons of fresh veggies, garlic, herbs, and lots more! Let’s take a look at each ingredient in detail!

  • Olive Oil and Butter: For sauteing.
  • Chuck Roast: Trim away any excess fat from the outside of the roast, 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. If you use fresh, chop a little extra for garnish.
  • 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 for this recipe, 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 is an easy ingredient for adding depth of flavor and appetizing color to soups and stews.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Just a tablespoon helps bring out the flavor of the beef, and gives the stew a note of vinegar and garlic. 
  • Broth: I prefer to use low-sodium beef broth, but vegetable broth is also a good choice here. 
  • Barley: A little goes a long way! You’ll need less than a cup of pearl barley for the whole pot of soup.
sauteeing diced carrots, onions, and celery in a Dutch Oven, with a wooden spoon stirring through it.

Do You Cook Barley Before Adding It to Soup?

If you’ve never cooked barley before, no worries. It’s very easy! And, you don’t have to cook it before adding it straight to your tasty soup. The barley goes right in with the other ingredients, and thickens the soup as it cooks for a hearty, comforting meal in a bowl.

What’s Kind of Meat to Use?

For this particular recipe, I recommend beef for braising or stewing. Chuck roast, cut into chunks, is my go-to! You could also cut up a piece of brisket, or some round roast. It’s up to you!

Let’s Make Beef Barley Soup!

Making beef barley soup is very easy to do! I like to make mine in my Dutch oven – one of the most versatile pots ever. You can also use a plain large soup pot or small stock pot.

  1. Brown the Beef. Heat up a small amount of oil in your pot, over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add about half of the beef cubes (you don’t want to crowd the pot), and let them brown for about three minutes total, stirring and flipping them every minute or so. The beef should be browned on all sides. Set the browned beef aside on a plate, and repeat with the remaining beef.
  2. Cook the Vegetables and Seasonings. Set the second batch of beef aside. Next, melt the butter in the pot, and add the onions and the parsley. Saute these for a minute before adding the peppers, carrots, celery, salt, pepper, and dried herbs. Saute for three more minutes. Finally, add the garlic, and cook for about 15 seconds to release the fragrance.
  3. Add the Tomato Paste, Worcestershire, and Broth. Stir in your tomato paste and worcestershire sauce, followed by the broth. Return the meat to the pot. Bring the soup to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let the soup simmer gently for about 45 minutes.
  4. Add the Barley. Uncover the pot, and stir in your barley. Cover the pot again, and let the soup cook for another 45 minutes, or up to one 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

Want to know more about making this recipe? Happy to help! Here are my favorite easy tips and tricks for making a beef barley soup that’ll knock your socks off!

  • Old-School Broth: If you happen to use short ribs or another bone-in cut of meat for this recipe, do yourself a favor and make beef broth using the bones! Use it in place of the packaged beef broth for an even heartier dish.
  • 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.
up close shot of beef barley soup in a bowl, and a spoon dipped in the soup.

Yummy Ideas for Serving

So what should you serve with this healthy soup? Bread is a nice choice, but there are lots of other options, too! Here are a few of my favorite sides to go with a hot bowl of beef barley soup.

  • Cabbage: You can’t beat beef and cabbage! Serve up your hearty soup with an equally hearty side of Grilled Cabbage Steaks for a low-carb dinner or lunch that’s sure to please.
  • Soda Bread: The ultimate quick bread, a wedge of Irish Soda Bread in a Skillet is the perfect addition to any meal. Everyone will rave over this creamy, tangy bread recipe, made easily with no rising time!
  • A Tart: Whether you go with some kind of a 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!

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

  • Store your leftover soup in the refrigerator, covered well or transferred to 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!

Can I Freeze This?

  • Yes! Beef barley soup freezes well! Just 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.
side shot of a bowl filled with beef barley soup and a spoon dipped in the soup.
side shot of two bowls filled with beef barley soup and a spoon dipped in the soup.

Beef Barley Soup

Katerina | Diethood
Wholesome and tasty, Beef Barley Soup is an easy and filling one-pot meal, with tender beef, healthy veggies, and pearl barley.
No ratings yet
Servings : 8
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours


  • 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 pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 7 to 8 cups low sodium beef broth
  • ½ to ¾ cup pearl barley
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


  • 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 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 beef is fall-apart tender.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust accordingly.
  • Ladle into bowls, garnish with parsley, and serve.


Serving: 1.5 cups | Calories: 326 kcal | Carbohydrates: 15 g | Protein: 27 g | Fat: 18 g | Saturated Fat: 7 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10 g | Trans Fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 82 mg | Sodium: 543 mg | Potassium: 952 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 2 g | Vitamin A: 2891 IU | Vitamin C: 9 mg | Calcium: 50 mg | Iron: 3 mg | Net Carbs: 12 g

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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