Beef Barley Soup

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Beef Barley Soup is incredibly easy and so delicious!

Loaded with nutritious veggies, tender beef and plump barley, it’s a complete meal in a bowl!

This homemade beef barley soup can be made ahead of time and freezes well making it the perfect family dinner!

Beef Barley Soup in a pot with a ladle

All of my favorite soups are fully loaded with goodies including veggies and grains, this Beef Barley Soup definitely fits the bill!

It is a rich and hearty barley soup that leaves you completely satisfied and warms every inch of your body!

It screams comfort food, like mom used to make and is perfect served up with a side of buttermilk biscuits and a side salad!

How to Make Beef Barley Soup

While the list of ingredients may seem long, this Beef and Barley soup is really easy to make.

I start out by cooking garlic and onions just until softened.

All of the remaining ingredients are simply added to the pot and simmered until tender.

I use homemade stock whenever possible for the best flavor.

What is the Best Beef for soup?

This recipe calls for cooked beef.  You can use any kind of leftover beef for this beef barley soup including pot roast, leftover steak or roast beef.

If you don’t have cooked beef, you can cook your own.  I use either flank steak (sliced against the grain) or cubed chuck.

If you’d prefer, you can most certainly substitute cooked hamburger in this barley soup recipe. If making a ground beef barley soup, you’ll want to brown the beef with the onions and drain any fat.

Beef Barley Soup in a white pot

One of the main components this recipe is barley. Barley is a grain that is very similar in size and texture of brown rice.  There are several different types of barley but the most common is pearl barley which is used in this recipe.

I use it frequently in place of rice and pasta in many soup recipes, perfect in my Chicken Barley Soup!

With it’s slightly nutty flavour and interesting texture, it will sure to be a hit in your next homemade soup!

Try adding it to my Easy Hamburger Soup or in place of the noodles in my Turkey Noodle Soup! Your family will love the change!

Beef Barley Soup in a bowl

Cooking the same things all of the time can leave any home chef in a bit of a meal-making rut. The addition of vegetables makes this a great and healthy choice and keeps is relatively low in calories.

Incorporating new ideas, flavors and textures helps to keep things interesting in the kitchen!

This Old Fashioned Beef Barley Soup is traditional soup that has not lost it’s lustre! We serve this alongside our favorite biscuits or 30 Minute Dinner Rolls with a fresh garden salad for a perfect meal!

Make a large pot and freeze smaller portions to enjoy later – it freezes amazing and you will love how convenient it is to microwave or reheat on the stove!

Beef Barley Soup in a pot with a ladle
4.98 from 467 votes
Review Recipe

Beef Barley Soup

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
This homemade beef barley soup is loaded with nutritious veggies, tender beef and plump barley. It’s a complete meal in a bowl!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1 stalk celery sliced
  • 2 cups cooked beef
  • 6 cups reduced sodium beef broth
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes 14-15 oz, undrained
  • ½ green pepper diced
  • cup barley
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 package beef gravy mix
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons red wine optional
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried
  • salt & pepper to taste

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  • Cook onions and garlic in oil over medium heat until softened.
  • Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered about 40-50 minutes or until barley is cooked.
  • Remove bay leaf and serve.

Recipe Notes

Soup may thicken upon cooling, add extra broth (or water) to reach desired consistency.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 149, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 17mg, Sodium: 385mg, Potassium: 623mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 2680IU, Vitamin C: 9.7mg, Calcium: 25mg, Iron: 1.5mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Course Soup
Cuisine American

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Beef Barley Soup in a pot with a ladle with writing
About the author


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Recipe Rating


    1. Hi Hanna, I have never personally tried this recipe in the crockpot, but other readers have had great success. One reader cooked everything (except barley) for a few hours in the crockpot then added cooked barley at the end. Hope that helps!

  1. I have never ever made beef barley soup and made this recipe the other day. It certainly is worth the 5 star rating!! It was so delicious and simple to make and contained ingredients I often have on hand. I left out the green pepper as I couldn’t get one at the grocery store & I used canned fire roasted diced tomatoes. The only issue I had was that the gravy packet clumped once I added it to the soup. So next time I would pre mix it & then add it to the soup. Otherwise, this recipe was perfect as is! Thanks so very much for posting it!5 stars

    1. Quinoa is a great substitute for barley but it doesn’t take quite as long to cook. It should only take about 30-35 minutes to fully cook. We add cooked beef into this recipe, so if subbing it for ground bison just be sure to precook it before adding it in. We would love to hear how it turns out for you, Sara!

  2. This is my third time making this. So delicious and satisfying. I don’t have barley but I do have pasta. Should that be cooked right in the soup as well or should I add cooked pasta when serving?5 stars

    1. Hi Michelle, if adding the pasta to the soup to cook I would wait until the last 10 minutes or so, as the pasta will cook much faster than the barley. You could also cook it separately and add it before serving. Both would work well, enjoy!

  3. I made this exact to recipe. Hearty soup, great flavor! I’ve always loved barley. Freezes perfectly too.5 stars

  4. My all time favourite soup recipe! I use raw stewing beef and cut it up in little pieces and add it right after the onions and garlic. By the time I have chopped the veggies and added everything else it cooks for 45 minutes and the beef is fully cooked and tender.5 stars

  5. Made this yesterday and I loved it. I used a quart of my canned tomatoes that had onion and peppers in already. I also put in a cup of Barley because I love Barley. Came out great. I had two helpings. Thanks for a great recipe.5 stars

  6. This always a hit every time I make it. Sometimes add green beans. Made same a recipe. Today I added a cup of beef gravy I have left over from last nights dinner. Best hearty soup.5 stars

  7. This is my go-to recipe. It’s perfect the way it is written. Sometimes I add additional vegetables, like peas.5 stars

  8. Liquid Aminos and/or Maggi Seasoning. Use Maggi Seasoning sparingly. It magically make beef taste BEEFY.5 stars

  9. Looking for a budget friendly version…what type of meat can I use? I was hoping to use hamburger but what can I use to add more beefy flavor?

    1. It should still have a decent beefy flavor with the beef gravy and broth. But you can add some extra beef bullion powder to taste to increase the flavor if you would like.

    2. Liquid Aminos and/or Maggi Seasoning. Use Maggi Seasoning sparingly. It magically make beef taste BEEFY.

  10. What is a “serving size”? The soup was delicious. I left out the green pepper and added 8oz of sliced baby portabella mushrooms. I used leftover cooked London broil for my meat.5 stars

  11. Followed recipe to the “T” didn’t have green pepper wasn’t missed at all. Wanted to use slow cooker. Put on high for a couple of hours then on low for about four hours. This soup was extra special. Barley had enough for the next day. All four kids chowed down and everyone commented on how good it was. This is a keeper for sure. Thanks for sharing.5 stars

  12. I’ve not made Beef Barley Soup before but given the number of great ratings I gave this recipe a go! So happy that I did. It was perfect for a very cold day on a Saturday with lots of football games. Very delicious!!5 stars

  13. I’ve just made this for the 3rd time. It’s a good recipe that allows room for you to tweak it to your taste. I have HBP, so I use no salt added broth. I’ve found ½T of Mrs Dash works well. A whole packet of gravy mix was a bit much. I find 1T is fine. This is a great recipe for using what’s left of a London broil. My tip: wait till after the soup is simmering to add already cooked beef. It remains tender if you wait.5 stars

  14. Killer, killer and killer…….would not change one single thing. Thank you so much for this great recipe.

  15. I got lucky with the beef. Tri tip was “buy one, get one free”. I made very few changes to recipe. I did add two TBS flour to the beef after browning. I only used half of the gravy packet. I assume it’s purpose was thickening and spice. The flour took care of the first, and I’d rather balance the spices myself. The other difference was that I cooked all the veg together 5 minutes in olive oil adding the white parts of one leek. Then added the garlic for one more minute. Then added rest of ingredients.I did some skimming. Also, added another 1/4 cu of barley – it didn’t seem like enough. Near the end I added some cayenne pepper. I think it’s a great basic recipe. Next time I will forego the gravy packet. Don’t like using processed foods.4 stars