Beef Barley Soup

5 from 7 votes

This Beef Barley Soup is comfort in a bowl. Rich beef flavor paired with tomatoes, spices, veggies, and nutty, chewy barley makes for the perfect stew!

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There’s nothing like a big pot of homemade beef and barley soup on a cold winter day. This recipe is so easy to make, and the end result is absolutely delicious! The chuck roast makes this soup nice and hearty, while the carrots, celery, and onions give it a wonderful flavor. I also add in some crushed tomatoes for sweetness and richness. This beef and barley stew will leave you wanting more!

Pot of beef barley soup garnished with parsley with a ladle dipped in.

When you’re craving something comforting, this beef and barley soup is the perfect choice. The beef is tender and flavorful, and the barley adds a delicious nutty flavor. Worcestershire, Italian seasoning, and vegetables add to the depth of flavor in this soup. Plus, it’s easy to make! All you need is 15 minutes of prep time, and the stovetop does the rest!

Table of Contents

  1. Why you’ll love this old-fashioned beef barley soup
  2. What is barley?
  3. Ingredients to make beef barley soup
  4. How to make vegetable beef barley soup
  5. Tips for making the best beef barley stew
  6. Popular substitutions & additions
  7. What to serve/pair with your beef barley stew
  8. How to store & reheat beef barley soup
  9. Frequently asked questions
  10. More soup recipes:
  11. Beef Barley Soup Recipe

Why you’ll love this old-fashioned beef barley soup

  • Comfort in a bowl. Warm, savory, and perfect for cold weather days, this beef barley soup is the ultimate comfort food.
  • Deliciously healthy. Packed with veggies, protein-rich beef, and plenty of fiber, this soup is a great way to get in your daily nutrients.
  • Tastes even better the next day. Letting the flavors marry overnight only serves to make this soup even more flavorful.
  • Can be made in the slow cooker. If you’re short on time, this soup can be made in the slow cooker – just add all of the ingredients and let it do its thing!

What is barley?

Barley is a cereal grain that is widely used for bread, soups, and stews. It has a nutty flavor and chewy texture. Barley also provides essential vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, copper, and thiamin. It’s important to note that barley is not gluten-free.

Ingredients to make beef barley soup

  • Beef: You can get a whole beef chuck roast and cut it into cubes, or you can purchase pre-cut beef cubes to save time.
  • Beef stock: This will give your soup a rich flavor and help to add depth.
  • Barley: I use pearled barley in my soup. It holds up better during cooking and adds a wonderful nutty flavor to the soup.
  • Vegetables: Carrots, celery, and onions are essential for flavor in this beef barley soup.
  • Tomato: Crushed tomatoes give the broth a delicious sweetness and richness.
  • Spices & Herbs: Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper all bring out the flavor of the soup.
Ingredients for recipe before being prepped: crushed tomatoes, pearl barley, oil, cubed beef, whole onion, Worcestershire sauce, 3 whole carrots, 3 celery stalks, beef stock, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

How to make vegetable beef barley soup

  1. Add olive oil to a large Dutch oven and heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add beef cubes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is seared all over. Remove from the Dutch oven with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add onion, carrot, and celery to the Dutch oven and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cook, scraping up any brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan until the vegetables start to soften. Add Italian seasoning and Worcestershire sauce and stir well to coat all of the vegetables.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes and stock, stirring to scrape up any more brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add beef to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook.
  5. After 1 hour, add pearled barley, cover again, and cook for an additional until both the beef and the barley are tender.
  6. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread or your favorite sandwich or salad.
6 image collage making recipe in one pot: 1-cooked beef in large dutch oven after cooked, 2- veggies cooked with seasoning added, 3- liquids added, 4- beef returned to pot, 5- pearl barley being poured into soup, 6- soup after barley has cooked.

Tips for making the best beef barley stew

  1. DIY the Stew Meat- Sometimes, it’s more economical to buy a large piece of chuck roast, then cut it into cubes. Just make sure the cubes are all roughly the same size, so they cook evenly. 
  2. Make ahead. Like most braised dishes, this is even better the next day. While it does take a while to cook, most of the time is hands-off so if you want to serve this for a special event or dinner party, make it ahead, then just reheat it gently in the slow cooker the next day for a super easy meal!
  3. Don’t skimp on the stock. Use a good quality beef stock for maximum flavor.
  4. Let it simmer. This is not a quick soup! The longer the soup simmers, the more flavorful and thick it will become. Once you’ve got all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go, let the soup simmer for at least 2 hours.
  • For a gluten-free option, try quinoa. If barley won’t work for everyone in your household, you can try quinoa. The texture will be different, but it will still be delicious.
  • Add extra veggies. Potatoes, peas, mushrooms, and kale are all delicious additions to this soup.
  • Spice it up. Throw in some crushed red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne for a spicy kick!
  • Make it vegan. Substitute the beef with lentils or chickpeas and use vegetable stock instead of beef stock.

What to serve/pair with your beef barley stew

How to store & reheat beef barley soup

You want to let your soup cool before transferring it to a container and storing it in the fridge.

To reheat your beef barley soup, transfer it to a pot on the stovetop and heat over medium-low heat until warmed through. You can also transfer it to a slow cooker, set it to low, and let it heat for 2-3 hours. Alternatively, you can reheat individual bowls of soup in the microwave.

How long will beef barley soup last in the fridge?

Beef barley soup will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Can i freeze beef barley soup?

Yes! The barley may lose some of its texture, but freezing the soup will preserve its flavor for up to 3 months.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this recipe in the slow cooker?

Yes, you can make this recipe in the slow cooker! For best results, brown the beef and sauté the vegetables on the stovetop before transferring them to your slow cooker. Then add all of your remaining ingredients, minus the barley, and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Add the barley for the last hour of cooking.

Should I cook the barley before adding it to the soup?

It is not necessary to cook the barley before adding it to the soup. The long cooking time of the soup will be enough to cook the barley, making it tender and delicious!

My beef came out tough. What happened?

This is one of those recipes that you may need to adjust the cooking time. Depending on the cut of beef you used, as well as the size of the chunks, it might need more or less time to cook. The best way to test is with a fork; you want the beef to be tender and easy to pull apart with a fork. If it’s still tough, continue simmering until it’s tender.

Bowl of barley and beef soup garnished with parsley and a spoon dipped in with bread nearyby.

Beef barley soup is a cozy, comforting meal that’s perfect for chilly nights. With its savory beef and tomato broth and its tender chunks of carrots, celery, onions, and barley, this is a hearty stew that will satisfy everyone in your family. Plus, you can make it ahead of time, so it’s ready to go when you need it! Try this recipe for a guaranteed hit.

More soup recipes:

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Beef Barley Soup

This Beef Barley Soup is comfort in a bowl. Rich beef flavor paired with tomatoes, spices, veggies, and nutty, chewy barley makes for the perfect stew!
5 from 7 votes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Course Soup
Calories 343
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 25 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 40 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound beef chuck cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper divided
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 carrots diced
  • 3 celery stalks diced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup pearled barley

Instructions

  • Add olive oil to a large Dutch oven and place over medium high heat for 1 minute. While the oil heats up, season the beef all over with ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Once the oil is shimmering, add beef cubes. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the beef is seared all over. Remove from the Dutch oven with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add onion, carrot and celery to the Dutch oven and season with remaining salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook, scraping up any brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan, for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften.
  • Add Italian seasoning and Worcestershire sauce and stir well to coat all of the vegetables. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then add crushed tomatoes and stock, stirring to scrape up any more brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
  • Add beef to the Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. After 1 hour, add pearled barley, cover again and cook for an additional 1 hour, or until both the beef and the barley are tender.

Notes

Tip: Try and make sure your beef cubes are all around the same size. This eliminates uneven cooking that can result in some chunks being tender while others are tough if the size is uneven. 

Nutrition

Calories: 343kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 47mg, Sodium: 1143mg, Potassium: 1350mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 5415IU, Vitamin C: 16mg, Calcium: 121mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Pot of beef barley soup garnished with parsley with a ladle dipped in.

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