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
4.99 from 152 votes
Review Recipe


Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Soup
Cuisine American
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
  • 1/2 green pepper diced
  • 2/3 cup barley
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ⁄4 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
Keyword Barley

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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. This is the best beef barley soup & so easy to make – I left out carrots, celery, tomatoes & green peppers (I used tomato sauce instead)& I used ground beef I just browned up & it was so amazing! Thank you for sharing this recipe it’s so worth it & I even just had an extraction done at the oral surgeon so as long as I cooled it off completely first real good it was perfect.5 stars

  2. So yummy! I would have given it 5 stars if my daughter had liked it as much as me….but unfortunately she was not a fan! I recommend all the same though!4 stars

  3. If you make this using home made bone broth the flavor will send you over the moon! Parsnips are a lovely addition too. Reserve the stewed meat to add in at the end. No need for packaged gravy mix.4 stars

  4. I made this recipe, adding slightly more beef and barley along with 2 Tbsp beef base. I didn’t have beef broth on hand, so I used chicken stock. It was super delicious! I will make this again. Yum.5 stars

  5. Great soup – have made it a number of times. In fact I’m making it for dinner tomorrow night along with the buttermilk biscuits. The last time I made it, I made the biscuits and gave my neighbour some. She asked when I was going to make them again!! I didn’t have the gravy mix so I just left it out and still tasted great.5 stars

  6. White onion or yellow onion please? Also, if I didn’t have an o ion, could I replace with a shallot? Thank you!!

    1. We use a yellow onion for this recipe Kathi. And we haven’t tried replacing it with a shallot but I am sure that would work.

  7. Delicious, nutritious, and oh so easy! I made this for my family a few nights ago. It was delicious the first day, even tastier the second. The broth became richer. I couldn’t find gravy mix, so I just added a can of beef gravy. Likewise, I couldn’t find low sodium broth, so I substituted fat-free broth. I used stew beef, browning them on the sides in the olive oil, before removing them and sauteeing the onion. I added the garlic after the onion softened to make sure I didn’t overcook them, and used the broth to deglaze the pan before adding in the rest of the ingredients. Many thanks for this wonderful recipe! I already want to make another pot!5 stars

  8. My family loved this soup! I I Added a 1/4 or more of red wine (Cabernet) while cooking – it added robust flavor! Delicious!! Will definitely make it again!5 stars

  9. Holly I made the Beef Barley soup,and it turned out great!. I did leave out Red wine for didn’t have any. Also left out green peppers,and Parsley. I cooked the soup in a crock pot. Put the Barley in the last hour of cooking the soup.

  10. This beef barley soup is so good. I’ve made it a number of times and it’s always a hit. I don’t know what it is about that gravy mix, but that is key for this soup!

  11. Thanks again.. I’m anxious to see what other recipes you have.. so glad to finally find a like minded cook!!
    Kelly5 stars

  12. I finally found someone who cooks like me!!
    Love this recipe.. I’ve never cooked with barley before.. bought it but never used it!
    The only change I made was adding a tablespoon of sugar to cut the acidity and used frozen leaf spinach the last 10 minutes instead of green peppers5 stars

    1. Hi Louis, we add cooked beef to this recipe. If you only have raw beef, you’ll want to cook it with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper until browned before adding it to the soup.

    1. We have never tried this recipe in the crockpot Pattie, but other readers have with 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 make it with ground beef all the time, it’s very good . You cook the ground beef and drain off the fat , before making the soup.

  13. Wow! This soup was delicious!! We had a very snowy, windy day here in Northern Michigan, and my husband was out plowing snow all day long. He came home to the amazing aroma of this soup and promptly gobbled up 2 big soup mugs full !!! I followed the recipe, except I substituted sautéed mushrooms for the green pepper, which really complimented the beef and onion flavor. My husband said , “ You will be making this again !!!!!” Thank you for a wonderful recipe !!!!5 stars

  14. Love love love this recipe. Very easy. Absolutely yummy. I added more red wine than it said. Probably about 1/2-3/4 cup. Also if you are not planning on eating entire pot on the same day as prepared keep some extra beef broth handy to add more liquid the follow day as the barely really soaks up the liquid.
    The meat becomes so tender (we used stewing beef cubes and cut even smaller than the way we purchased.

    But a baguette and enjoy!!!5 stars

  15. Amazing!!! Made it with left over roast beef and instead of grave mix and red wine I also used the left over gravy which was made with red wine and beef stock.5 stars

  16. With temps here in Florida dropping below 80 degrees, my mind went to yummy soup. This Beef Barley soup was easy to make using leftover chuck roast and ingredients I had on hand. I will certainly be making this again. Hubby went back for seconds. Winner!5 stars

  17. This is delicious just as it is however, I also added some frozen peas to mine right at the end. Everyone should try this.

  18. This recipe sounds delicious, but one item isn’t clear. The ingredients list includes “one package of beef gravy mix”, but gravy mixes come in a variety of servings. I generally use Pioneer mixes, and they result in 2 cups of gravy, but many other national brands produce a single cup of gravy: which, if either, do you recommend for this recipe?

  19. All your soups looks so good, just full of nutritional type foods that are good for you can’t wait to try them all.

  20. I made this today and it was delicious! My husband asked that I put it on our favourite recipe list to make again. Thank you!5 stars

    1. I have only made this as written but the beef gravy adds seasoning and a tiny bit of thickness to this recipe. You could try a bouillon cube or a bit extra of your favorite seasonings.

    2. With seasonings a little Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce or kitchen bouquet, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, pinch of sugar & salt;
      Also, corn starch or flour 1 Tbs with liquid blend to dissolve, then add and stir to thicken.
      I a so put 1/2 teaspoon dry tarragon for that savory secret ingredient! Enjoy

  21. This is the second Spend with Pennies recipes that my family has adopted as regulars. Even my hard to please son who hates veggies loves this one. (The other recipe is the cabbage-kielbasa-noodle one).

  22. Holly, I’m anxious to try your beef barley soup but my husband is allergic to soy. Is there something I can use instead of worchestorshire sauce?
    Thank you,

    1. The US version of L&P Worcestershire Sauce does not contain soy and is also Gluten free. That came from the company directly. Hope that helps.

    2. Bragg liquid Aminos taste like soy sauce only milder with a little bit of sweetness, closer to the taste of Tamari than soy which is stronger and saltier.

      Coconut aminos liquid are also great substitute if you have a soy allergy. Soy also has wheat in it.

  23. So good! I’ve made a double batch last Sunday and again this Sunday! So good!!! We used chop meat and I didn’t use red wine. Everyone loves it. It makes an amazing lunch and gets nice and thick. Yummy soup and football = perfect fall Sunday!5 stars

  24. I make your vegetarian meals. I’ve always struggled to cook, but your recipes are so easy to follow. I love that I can watch a video as well. Really helps!5 stars

  25. Second time cooking this – you think I would learn from last time….I should have done a double batch because it is a huge hit and absolutely delicious!5 stars

  26. you can now find “quick” barley in the store…only 10 to 12 minutes cooking works great! I add this to the last 15 mins of simmer time when making soups with barley in them.

      1. Smells absolutely outrageous! Cant wait to try it tonight! Used 4 garlic cloves vs 1, added more pearl barley (rinsed), added 1 TB sugar to cut acidity and left out the gravy mix since didnt have it. Can’t wait to delve in! Thanks for a beautiful recipe.5 stars

    1. The gravy mix MAKES all the difference. I brsised my meaty bone ‘n marrow with 1 large chopped onion…plus 4 garlic buds… plenty of carrots plus added oregano and dried basil. My husband was in ecstacy over this soup.

  27. Try to substitute Venison if your into that kind of thing as like I am. Great Soup, definitely a keeper recipe. And adding water to make consistently soupier, does not hinder the taste and Overall flavor!!

  28. I made this over the weekend and it was incredible! I grabbed 2 packages of the beef gravy mix and I’m so glad I did because I made another batch to freeze. Thank you for another delicious recipe!5 stars

  29. I just made this last night. I was skeptical when it was done. I smelled the wine. Thought it would be over powering. But when I served it, it was delicious. Will definitely make again. WOW!!!

    1. Hi Gale, we haven’t tried making this recipe with pot barley, but it should turn out just fine :) Let us know how it goes!

  30. WOW! This is an absolutely delicious recipe. Perfect for those chilly fall nights that are soon upon us. Definitely a keeper. Thank you for sharing Holly!5 stars

    1. They are just around the corner, aren’t they Greg? I am not sure if I am ready to let go of summer yet! So happy you liked this one.

  31. I made this for a staff professional development day at work and it was a huge hit. A number of people asked me for the recipe. I highly recommend it.5 stars

  32. I substituted mushrooms for the peppers…and used 2cups of barley, a 2lbs London broil, and 8 cups of broth…placed everything but the barley in the crockpot for a few hours, shredded the beef when ready, and added the cooked barley…VERY GOOD!5 stars

  33. I’m going to make ypur beef barley soup. I’ve made barley soup before. Hope it’s good,spunfs good. I’m gping to use hamberger in it.
    Thanks for all the good recipes.

  34. I plan on making this for family gathering next week, how many cups of soup total would this recipe make?

  35. Made this after work tonight and it is delicious. I didn’t add green peppers because I’m not a fan. I added mushrooms and it was fantastic. Thank you for sharing this easy and delicious recipe!5 stars

  36. What a rich and filling soup. I made this today with some of my homemade bone broth. I didn’t have a greeen pepper but I did have fresh mushrooms so I sliced and cooked them with the onion. I had second thoughts about the diced tomatoes since my family often gets stomach upsets from tomatoes. So after I added them, I scooped most of them out with a slotted spoon–crazy, right! I used hamburger for the beef component. I just tasted the finished product and it is wonderful! The perfect soup for a day like today–snowing and blowing. Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I’ll be making it again!5 stars

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe Ann! I love this soup on snowy days too. Mushrooms sounds like such a yummy addition I am going to try this myself the next time I prepare this Beef barley soup!

  37. Hi Holly, I made the Homemade Beef and Barely soup today and I must tell you that the soup came out better than I thought. In fact it was very very good. Both my dad and I loved it. Thank you for the recipe. We really enjoyed it.5 stars

  38. This is the perfect soup for a cold winter evening! It was simple to put together and smelled divine while it was simmering. I didn’t have celery, so I used some zucchini and then added a few mushrooms. YUMMMMMMMY! You end up with a large pot of soup. So, be prepared to serve a crowd or have some tasty leftovers for lunch the next day. This will be on my list of go-to soups for chilly winter days.5 stars

  39. OMG! It was so good! I started with beef soup bones and cooked in instant pot for an hour. I got some yummy broth and plenty of meat. I added one or two more carrots and the entire green pepper for extra veggies! Delicious!5 stars

  40. I made the beef and barley with hamburger and have to say I like it better than my vegetable soup I make.
    Love it giving this recipe to my daughter and my daughter-in-law’s and granddaughters
    Great for a family

  41. I have made this twice now and it is delicious and a family favorite . I’ve pretty much made it “as is” but this time I only added 1/2 a packet of the gravy mix. It was great with the full packet as well; I think I like it the subtlety of 1/2 better. Yummy and hearty!5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure. Perhaps just start with 1 tablespoon and see how it works out for you! Let us know how it goes!

  42. This soup is yummy. I followed the advice on a comment and added golden beet and kale. Adding this to the rotation. Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  43. Wonderfully hearty soup! Will definitely make this again. I added fresh kale and fresh golden beets for
    extra nutrition. I give the recipe a 5.5 stars

  44. I used about 1.3 lbs. of chuck, browned it in the soup pot, then deglazed the pot with about 1/3 cup of red wine, garlic, and onion. This added a nice depth to the beef flavor. Also left out the pepper. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as written. It was very tasty.5 stars

  45. Very delicious soup and very easy to make. I made the recipe as instructed but did omit the wine. Next time I make it, I will use a different kind of beef that is more fatty like a chuck. I used top round this time which I thought was too lean.5 stars

  46. This soup was delicious! I added a few green beans, extra thyme, and omitted the gravy mix. We will be making thus again, my daughter and husband loved it!5 stars

  47. This was one of 7  soup/chowders I made for my annual “Sip and Soup Holiday Party” This soup was very popular.  I roast a small chuck roast with root vegetables and then made gravy from the broth and vegetables.  Everyone asked for the recipe .  I will be making this thru out the winter season.

  48. I just made this and ate two bowls!  It’s very delicious.  I didn’t use wine in it, and omitted the bell pepper. Other than that, I followed the recipe.  It’s easy, nutritious, and delish!  Thanks for this yummy recipe. I’ll definitely be making it again. 5 stars

  49. I have a London broil steak in my freezer will that work for the beef in this recipe? Any thoughts on if it would come out tender? Beef and Barley soup is one of my favorite’s!! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. This recipe asks for cooked beef. Cook up your London broil in your usual way, and it should work just fine! Enjoy Tammy!

  50. Oh my! This is good!!! I made this on 14 Aug, and wow! And from my wife, wow! The cooking time is 100% spot on, simmering a bit more for a thicker soup. I did make some deviations but did not detract from the recipe. Used ground beef (1 lb), and cutting the carrot in a Japanese style, and no celery, so some celery seed did the trick, and to add a bit to the soup, added some pressure cooked long beans (like a green bean but 12-20 inches long). Other steps listed, used, and perfect! Thank you for a wonderful recipe, and will be a favorite here! Worthy of 10 stars!!!5 stars

    1. Thank you Lee, so glad you enjoyed the soup! You’re right, it’s easy to change it up with what you have on hand. Thanks for stopping by!

  51. I recently found barley here where I live, and I will make this with ground beef (it is local beef, so best ground), I will return back with a rating and comment, thank you, Holly, for the great sounding recipe.

  52. I have been looking for a good beef soup recipe and this one is AMAGING!!! Thank you so much for posting this. I didn’t change a thing. I too am wondering like another poster if I put chicken gravy mix in the chicken barley soup if it will make it as good as this one. Thanks again!!  A+++++5 stars

  53. I’d love to make this soup in a slow cooker. Has anyone tried it? Can you share your directions and the final flavor? Thanks.

  54. This soup was excellent! I used Sherry instead of red wine but everything else exactly. Making it again today. 

    1. You can use leftover cooked roast beef or even leftover steak. If you only have raw beef, you’ll want to cook it with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper until browned.

  55. On this cold rainy day I made this delicious beef barley soup,  To save time I used low sodium organic beef stock, I omitted the pkg of beef gravy, added a marrow bone, and mushrooms to this easy recipe!  It is delicious!  5 stars

  56. What to do with left over pot roast?  After using in this recipe I can’t wait to make another pot roast!
    It is delicious.  I didn’t have the pkg of gravy in the recipe so I just added the broth from the roast.5 stars

  57. Enjoyed this soup for lunch today. Especially liked the beefy taste of the broth. Likely the package of beef gravy mix made the difference. I wonder out loud if I add a package of chicken soup gravy mix to a chicken soup recipe if the results would be the same.5 stars

  58. The barley in the soup in the picture is way under cooked. It takes a long time to cook barley. This would be the kind of chewy stick to your teeth meal Cook it longer.

    1. It was definitely not undercooked. It was perfectly tender, this is pearl barley which cooks in about 25 minutes. Hulled barley takes at least 40 minutes.

      1. The only type of barley available in our area (NW Minnesota) is a quick and a medium (brand name left off). I found, in fine print, this is pearl barley. The quick cooks in 10-12 minutes (with a 5 minute stand time). Medium cooks in 45-50 minutes (with a 5 minute stand time).
        I will choose the barley type based on the total cooking time of a recipe.5 stars

  59. This soup was amazing!  I made it tonight with homemade bone broth I had simmering all day.  I used beef cubes and cooked them with 2 cups of bone broth in my instant pot, first sautéing them then cooking them for 75 minutes on manual.  The seasonings were perfect.   Will freeze the leftovers. Restaurant quality soup recipe.  Thanks so much!5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried this in the slow cooker but I’m sure it would work.

      I would likely cook on low about 8 hours to make sure the barley is cooked through. Please let us know how it goes!