Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings

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This Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup is an easy crockpot meal perfect for fall or winter! Loaded with vegetables and tender chunks of beef.

See the step by step recipe video down in the recipe card.

Table of Contents
  1. Why we love this Beef and Barley Soup:
  2. Tips and Tricks for Making the best Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup:
  3. What can I do with the leftovers?
  4. More Slow Cooker Soups you’ll love!
  5. Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup Recipe + VIDEO Recipe

There is just nothing better for cold weather comfort food than this Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup.

It is cozy, hearty and loaded with flavor — plus the slow cooker means that it basically cooks itself!

close up image of beef and barley soup in white bowl

This classic Beef and Barley Soup is another favorite, but sometimes you just don’t want to stand over the stove (or you can’t!). The crockpot is a great option for those busy days.

Why we love this Beef and Barley Soup:

  • it’s thick and chunky — I don’t want to be hungry in an hour!
  • It’s loaded with vegetables, which is one of my favorite ways to get them in
  • it slow cooks most of the day, which means your house will smell amazing and you don’t have to worry about dinner at 5:00!
  • it’s big on flavor — browning the meat adds a ton of flavor, so don’t skip that step if you’ve got a few minutes!
  • it’s healthy! Full of protein, whole grains, fibre, vegetables all in a neat little delicious package.

Tips and Tricks for Making the best Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup:

  • Normally, I’m not about adding extra steps to recipes. But in this case, I decided to brown my meat before adding it because it seals in the juices and I think you end up with a better texture to the meat after cooking for so long. It also adds extra flavour to the soup! You can skip this step if you need to.
  • You can mix up the veggies here to suit your family’s tastes: You can leave some out or add in other favorites: peppers, spinach, mushrooms, kale, or throw in frozen peas or corn before serving.
  • Sometimes slow cooker recipes can lack a little “oomph” by the end of cooking time — they are a little bland. You can add in a small amount of balsamic vinegar or even a little ketchup (don’t judge! It is sweet and tangy and savory) you really punch up the flavor! Feel free to taste and adjust as you go — everyone’s tastes are different!
overhead image of beef barley soup with spoon in bowl

What can I do with the leftovers?

We love soup leftovers! They usually reheat well and are perfect for quick lunches.

You can store leftover soup in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, and in the freezer even longer!

Because this soup is made with barley, it freezes perfectly! You can freeze it all together or in individual servings in an airtight freezer-safe container or in zip-top freezer bags. Freeze for up to 3 months, and just place it in the fridge overnight to thaw before reheating.

More Slow Cooker Soups you’ll love!

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Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup Recipe + VIDEO

4.96 from 75 votes
This Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup is an easy crockpot meal perfect for fall or winter! Loaded with vegetables and tender chunks of beef. Includes step by step recipe video.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Soup
Servings 4 servings
Calories 338cal


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 lb beef stewing meat
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 large carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup pearl or pot barley rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups low sodium beef broth
  • fresh parsley for serving


  • Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and let heat 1 minute.
  • Brown meat in batches (allowing space around each piece) medium-high heat. Remove from pan and place in a 4-6 quart slow cooker.
  • Add onions to the saute pan and cook over medium heat until translucent — they will pick up all the brown bits left by the meat! Stir in garlic, salt, Italian seasoning and pepper and cook 1 minute.
  • Add the onions to the slow cooker on top of the beef, along with the carrots, celery, barley, tomato paste and bay leaves. Stir well, and then stir in the beef broth.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours, until vegetables and barley are tender.
  • Stir in fresh parsley as desired and season to taste. Serve.


This recipe makes 2 quarts of soup. One serving is 2 cups.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 338cal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 1200mg | Potassium: 1266mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 7855IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 4mg

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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. Cindy says

    So do I put the barley in the very beginning and it cooks for six hours or I read one comment cooking the barley, separate not in the crockpot? Which way should I do?

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Cindy! I would follow the instructions as written vs what others have commented. Step 4 is when you add the barley. Enjoy!

  2. Jeff says

    I noticed no mention of discarding the bay leaves before serving. Seems I remember they are actually poisonous.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Jeff! I have never heard that. You would remove it so you don’t eat it because it’s not edible. Hope you enjoy the soup!

  3. Ann Brothers says

    This recipe is absolutely delicious! I made it twice and followed the recipe both times. My family loves it! Thank you very much for the recipe! I will make it often! It’s definitely a 5 Star!

  4. Tina says

    Soooo good! Loved it! Gonna def make this again. Instead of potatoes, I used a couple spoons of quinoa. Delicious!!!! Also, def my go to blog and Instagram for recipes each week! Everything is always so good!!

  5. Kristen says

    I have made this recipe several times now…we love it! Things I do a little differently…I season some flour (1/4 c or so) with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning and toss the meat in it before sauteeing. I like to season each layer as I cook! When I add the onions, I also add a little of the stock…this definitely helps pick up the brown bits! I add the tomato paste at this time as well. Sometimes I toss the rest of the veggies into the pan, too.

  6. Larry Sprosty says

    Very good recipe. Big beef eater so I used 2 1/2 pounds of stew meat, cutting each chunk in half and browned. Fresh celery, onion, carrots. Canned mushroom stems & pieces. Sauted all the veggies in the beef droppings. Used store bought chicken broth and beef bullion cubes cause it’s what I had. Added bag of frozen mixed veggies the last half hour of cooking. Awesomely delicious!!! First time ever making it and ran off your recipe. Thank you!!!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Michael! I’ve not had any problems storing it in the refrigerator or freezer! Works great for me!

  7. Claire Flynn says

    Love beef barley soup, but everytime I make it the barley just isn’t right. Is there a trick to preparing the barley before adding it. Thanks

    • Jess Zellmer says

      I always cook my barley, rice, pasta separate from my soup or this reason. I also find that starches soak up too much of the broth for my liking.

  8. Debbe says

    A wonderful hearty soup, perfect for a March dinner. Added some mushrooms and served it with hot sourdough bread.

      • SeafoamJade says

        Could I substitute lean crumbled hamburg meat for the stew meat? Or if I wanted to turn it into a vegetarian soup, what could I substitute for the meat? Mushrooms? Canned cannellini beans? Green beans? All 3?

  9. Shelley K Gilbert says

    Made this soup this afternoon. Delicious!! I’ll be making it again. It has a very rich base. I added a cup of my homemade tomato sauce and 2 extra cups of broth. 1 TBS of balsamic vinegar. Super good.

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