Beef and Barley Soup

Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings

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This easy Beef and Barley Soup is a hearty, healthy soup recipe that is made with tender chunks of beef, loads of vegetables and pearl barley. Make ahead freezer friendly.

beef barley soup in pot with close up of scoop of soup

Recipe posted first on The Recipe Critic

Soup season is here and I’m ridiculously (strangely) excited!

If you were hanging around here last year you know that soup is one of my biggest loves.

Soup is an easy, mostly healthy, one pot meal, and is also perfect for making ahead and meal prepping, which makes my life easier on a crazy weeknight.

Who doesn’t want that?

If you’re as much of a soup lover as myself, you will find a ton of amazing recipes in my Crockpot Soup Recipes collection and my Instant Pot Soup Recipes collection.

Why we love this Beef and Barley Soup:

  • It’s healthy — the beef and the barley give this soup a ton of protein and fiber, which gives it more staying power than a lot of easy soup recipes.
  • You’re not going to be hungry in an hour — anyone else have this problem with soup? I love it, but then in an hour I’m hangry because I didn’t get enough protein and complex carbs. This recipe is the answer to our problems!
  • You can make it ahead — it can be refrigerated up to 3-4 days and frozen for up to 3 months for easy meals down the road.
  • You can make it on the stove top or in the slow cooker, which gives me a lot of flexibiltiy on hectic days.
beef and barley soup in a white bowl overhead on white background
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How to make Beef Barley Soup:

  1. Choose and prepare your beef — I like to purchase a steak or beef roast and cut it into cubes for this recipe (and every recipe that usually requires beef “stewing” meat. There’s no difference between stewing beef and any other cut except that it’s cut up for you — don’t pay the extra money for this! Choose a cut of beef that’s on sale (it will become tender in the soup anyway), and trim and chop it yourself.
  2. Brown your beef — this gives the soup an incredible flavor base so don’t skip this part! You may have to do this in a couple batches to ensure they brown and don’t steam.
  3. Add your onions and spices and give them a quick toast in the pan — this wakes up dried spices and helps bring out their flavor.
  4. Add your vegetables, your broth, and your barley and simmer just until everything is tender. This can take a little time, so plan accordingly and enjoy the amazing scent that will fill your kitchen!

Can I make this Beef Barley Soup in the Crockpot?


If you want to make Beef Barley Soup in the slow cooker, check out my Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup Recipe here — it includes a step by step video.

beef barley soup in bowl close up on white background with crusty bread

How do you freeze this Beef and Barley Soup?

One of the great things about this soup is how well it freezes!

Barley freezes better than pasta or potatoes (though both can be done!) and you don’t lose any quality by making it ahead.

I like to pour my soup into a large freezer bag, then seal and freeze flat so that it can be quickly thawed when you need it.

If you don’t want to use freezer bags, you can find freezer-safe jars and use those instead to freeze in single portions.

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Beef and Barley Soup

5 from 6 votes
This easy Beef and Barley Soup is a hearty, healthy soup recipe that is made with tender chunks of beef, loads of vegetables and pearl barley. Make ahead freezer friendly.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Soup
Servings 6 servings
Calories 345cal


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 lb beef cut into cubes
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 3-4 large carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 3/4 cup pearl or pot barley rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • fresh parsley


  • In a large dutch oven or soup pot, brown meat in oil over medium-high heat, just until browned on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pot and set aside.
  • Add onion, carrots, and celery and cook and stir 3-4 minutes, just until onion is translucent.
  • Add garlic, salt, thyme and pepper and cook and stir 1 minute.
  • Stir in broth, barley, tomato paste and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, add the beef back in, cover and simmer for 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until barley and carrots are tender.
  • Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley if desired.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 345cal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 1097mg | Potassium: 921mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 5275IU | Vitamin C: 5.9mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 2.7mg
Keywords beef and barley soup, beef barley soup

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Cookin girl says

    Made this today in my instant pot ….added 1cup diced tomatoes in place of tomato paste and I used pot barley… cooked high pressure cooked 30 minutes… 15 minute natural release. Then mixed in 1/2 cup corn. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!

  2. Heather says

    I am wondering about the nutrition info;it says 345 calories, would that be for the entire recipe?or about 1 cup?

  3. Jacky says

    Made this tonight and it was delicious, and easy to make! I followed the instructions exactly besides adding a bit more thyme and garlic.

  4. Taneka says

    Hi! for a meal prep freezer friendly version would you cook the meat and barley and soup still prior? Or add certain items in after thawed from freezer? Thank you!

  5. Mags says

    this recipe looks perfect, however is the meat not tough after 45 minutes? whenever i try to prepare beef stew it takes like 3 hours for the meat to get tender!

  6. Sam says

    Recipe looks good and I’d like to try it, however the recipe doesn’t actually state when the beef should be returned to the pan? I’m assuming just when you lower to a simmer and cover.

  7. Viana @ says

    Although I’m not a big soup person, I do love a hearty soup like this! This looks like a perfect rainy day comfort food…can’t wait to try it!

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