Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup

Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 6 hrs 15 mins
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.

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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

4.77 from 13 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 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs 15 mins
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. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. Brittany says

    I loved this! My grandma use to make beef barely soup a lot and when she died I never got her cookbook. I think someone threw it out πŸ₯Ί But this tasted like hers! Only think I added was a can of diced tomatoes and I β€œcooked” the tomato paste with the onions and celery before adding it to the crockpot. Not sure if it adds to the flavor but I read somewhere once that it does, but who knows πŸ˜‚ I used quick barely. It was all the store had. I added it about an hour or so before I was ready to serve it. Worked pretty good.

  4. scott says

    i made this tonight and it was great! I added a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes and doubled up on the tomato paste.

  5. Donna says

    I have tried this recipe with a couple of variations – add a cup of white wine to the recipe. Helps with flavor. I also use a product called Bell’s Seasoning (has some thyme and other things in it) I put about 2 teaspoons in (a small handful). Also – to give it some zing – but go easy with this – try some wasabi powder (1/8 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon MAX).

  6. Carrie says

    I was really excited to try this recipe. I made the recipe as written, but found the soup got extremely thick with the amount of barley. I even tried adding water to thin it, but it still didn’t help. My husband I I were not happy with the flavour, it was disappointing. Maybe it was the tomato paste that throws the beef flavour off.

  7. Beth Bretton says

    Any recommendations for something in place of the carrots? I truly dislike carrots and they flavor they bring with them.

  8. Heather Astaneh says

    I was wondering if this freezes well. I typically make a bunch of food to freeze just before New England winters (because the cold makes me lazy) and this looks delicious!

  9. Janna says

    All my store had was quick barley. Should I still put it in or wait till closer to the end or just cook on stovetop and then put in??

  10. Maria saring says

    Wow what a hearty soup it’s not my version but this was awesome I used green beans instead of spinach, my husband hates spinach and the balsamic vinegar was the icing on the cake. I use rice wine vinegar in my homemade chicken noodle soup. Thanks for this recipe!

  11. Patrick O'Shea says

    Only using the recipe that was shown from the post (and not the website), I gave thought to what the secret ingredient might be… brandy! Obviously, I was wrong after reading the complete list above… but I have to tell you it was pretty good! πŸ˜‰

  12. Jada says

    Won’t let u save a pic but let me save writing in square explaining what recipe is??? It gave me a message that something went wrong on your end

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