Chicken Barley Soup is deliciously simple. Tender chunks of chicken, barley and vegetables in a flavorful broth! Serve this belly-warming soup recipe with 30 Minute Dinner Rolls and a side salad for a perfect meal any time of year!

Chicken Barley Soup in white bowl

Easy Barley Soup

Chicken Barley Soup is the dish my grandma used to make. While we most frequently have Beef Barley Soup, I do love the flavor of a rich chicken barley soup recipe as well! Carrots, celery, chicken, tomatoes, and of course barley are all simmered in chicken broth to create this comfort food classic.

I love making soup almost as much as I love eating (or slurping) it. Chicken noodle soup, split pea soup… you name it, I am there. This chicken barley soup recipe is no exception. It is so mouthwatering and actually good for you! What’s better than guilt-free comfort food? Nothing.

Freezing & Reheating

This easy soup recipe freezes perfectly and reheats super quickly, making it perfect for lunches or an impromptu dinner! When we make this soup, you should make sure your chicken is cooked before adding it in. It’s a great opportunity to use up leftover chicken or to quickly make some poached chicken or rotisserie chicken in this recipe… Easy and flavorful!

When you make chicken barley soup, make sure you don’t add the fresh herbs right away. If you add them in the beginning, they will overcook. so stirring them in right at the end of cooking is the best option.

Chicken Barley Soup with carrot

How To Cook Barley In Soup

Unless it is simmered for a while, barley is crunchy. No one likes crunchy in their soup! This recipe uses pearl barley, which is the most common type of barley. It is a small grain, with a chewy texture and slightly nutty flavor.

At the very minimum, pearl barley takes about 25 minutes of simmering on the stovetop. Barley is very hard to overcook, so don’t worry about simmering your soup for longer! We simmer this chicken barley soup for about an hour which I find is the perfect time to combine and intensify all the flavors! I think soup is the perfect fall food!  It’s easy to make, naturally pretty healthy and it just warms you from the inside out!

Chicken barley is one of our favorites, this one is jam-packed with all kinds of goodies.  The fresh herbs in this soup are optional but the fresh dill really adds something special to this dish so if it’s available I’d strongly recommend it!

As with most soup recipes, leftovers are completely delicious so this is the perfect soup to make on the weekend and pack for lunches all week!

Other Delicious Cold Weather Soups:

Chicken Barley Soup in white bowl
4.91 from 55 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Chicken Barley Soup

Chicken Barley Soup is easy to make, naturally pretty healthy and it just warms you from the inside out!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 servings
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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth or homemade
  • 1 ½ cups carrots chopped
  • 3 stalks celery chopped
  • 14.5 ounces low sodium diced tomatoes canned, lightly drained
  • ¾ cup pearl barley
  • 2 ½ cups cooked chicken
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme

Fresh Herbs (OPTIONAL)

  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley


  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion & garlic and cook until slightly softened. Add remaining ingredients except fresh herbs.
  • Bring to a boil and let simmer uncovered for 1 hour or until barley is tender.
  • Discard bay leaves and stir in fresh herbs.
4.91 from 55 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 327 | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 277mg | Potassium: 784mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 5750IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 3.2mg

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

Course Soup
Cuisine American

More Recipes You’ll Love

*  20 Minute Broccoli Cheese Soup * Chicken Cordon Bleu Soup * Crock Pot Ham & Potato Soup *

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Chicken Barley Soup with writing
Chicken Barley Soup with title


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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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  1. Hi Holly, your Chicken Barley Soup is terrific, by far it’s the best soup I’ve ever made! Question: The nutrition facts state that it contains 44 mg of cholesterol? What ingredient(s) in it have the cholesterol? Thank you, Mark B.5 stars

    1. Hi Mark! The olive oil and cooked chicken are the 2 ingredients that have cholesterol. I hope that helps answer your question!

  2. As I made this, I decided to do a couple things. First I added the celery carrots (did an extra carrot) onion and garlic together so they would all soften. I added an bay leaf after putting in the rest of my he stuff in the pot too. Since there was no poultry seasoning to be found in my kitchen, google found me one. I did not have the white pepper so used regular. Then I doubled the poultry seasoning and added salt pepper and a tablespoon of Heinz ketchup cooking to taste. My cupboard also did not include tomato sauce so i used 2/3 a cup of organic tomato paste on hand. Personally, I had concerns because of the tomatoes being in this. And my husband did as well. In fact, he took the lid off my soup he was about to bail on dinner. But I convinced him to try some. He was sold. He said it tasted like tomato bisque. Which it kinda does. I’m going to stick with the additions because I feel it would’ve been too bland if I did not. Other than that this recipe is a winner winner chicken dinner.4 stars

  3. This is my new go to chicken barley soup. I added half chicken bone broth and half regular chicken broth. So much flavor. Delicious. Thank you.5 stars

  4. This soup is easy to make and so delicious! I used leftover rotisserie chicken that I shredded using a fork. The fresh herbs add so much flavor to the soup. I’m so grateful for this recipe!5 stars

  5. It was chilly tonight in FL…this was a perfect dinner choice. Spouse said he would enjoy anytime I fixed it going forward. I only made one adjustment…added celery seed…celery not a favorite of mine, and the soup was awesome! Thank you!5 stars

  6. Finally made this today for a cold Central NY day. My husband and I loved it…tho I did some minor tweaks right off the top. I didn’t use anything low sodium. I used a carton of chicken broth and carton of organic chicken stock as I had them to use up. Used 2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning. We love veggies in our soups so I added extra carrots and celery. Used more chicken than recipe called for so with more veggies and chicken, there wasn’t a lot of broth for everything to swim in! With the leftovers I’ll add more chicken broth. Awesome soup!5 stars

  7. Made this soup for dinner tonight and my husband and I both thought it was delicious. I used rotisserie chicken and added some baby spinach at the end. Definitely a keeper for us. Thanks5 stars

  8. Made this last night, I baked the chicken breasts in the oven with a little salt & pepper and some fresh rosemary. Then when cooked added it to the soup as the recipe said. We really enjoyed this!

  9. I’m known for changing recipes around but I didn’t change much in this other than adding a little extra chicken, 1 cup barley and about 3 cups fresh spinach leaves that cook down. Absolutely delishous on a cold January night! My question is what is the serving size for the calorie count and nutrition information listed?5 stars

  10. I made this for my family tonight and it was delicious! I added a little fresh squeeze of lemon but that was all it really needed. I love your recipes Holly 5 stars

  11. I am so glad I found you! I am going to try your chicken pot pie. My husband loves to go to Cheddar’s Retaurant and always has their Chicken Pot Pie. I have never found a recipe I like for home, so sill be making your with the spice mix you recoomend. Thanks so much!