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 52 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


  • 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 52 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 title


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About the author

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. I didn’t like this soup. It lacked flavor. I added extra salt and bouillon granules after cooking for an hour, then added pepper, but it still needed something else.
    I won’t make it again.2 stars

    1. Hi JoAnn, did you add the optional fresh herbs? Those are great flavor boosters that take it to the next level!

    1. I do think this would work in the slow cooker. Of course you will need to adjust the cooking time. I would add any dried herbs in the beginning and fresh herbs at the end. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or HIGH for 3-4 hours for raw chicken. Let us know how it goes for you Judy!

  2. Do you use raw chicken or do I cook the chicken first and add it once cooked? I want to try this recipe with my instant pot. Do you know how to convert this to a instant pot recipe?

  3. I went rogue and it turned out amazing! We had leftover beef stew with carrots and potatoes. I chopped up the onion a bit more, cut the carrots into coins and cut the potatoes smaller. I omitted the gravy packet and used the beef stew gravy. Oh wow! This was such a hearty meal and no one knew it was leftovers.5 stars

  4. This is a great recipe, thanks! I added 3 pieces of chopped up cooked bacon and it added a nice smokiness to the soup.5 stars

  5. I just made this! It was fantastic! I used Rotell tomatoes but other than that I followed the recipe!
    We will be making this again and plan on trying it using turkey!5 stars

  6. Made this chicken barley soup today….just simply amazing. Absolutely perfection in a soup bowl. Made it exact per recipe, seasonings are spot on. Topped mine with a bit of grated Parmesan. Everyone loved it. Thank you. So happy I found your recipes. I made your banana bread the other day and it was the best ever, so moist. So happy I had those 3 leftover bananas so that I found you! 5 stars

    1. I am so glad you loved it Margaret, parmesan is a great addition! I am so glad you loved the banana bread too!

  7. Curious if this soup freezes well…. If so, For how long? I followed the recipe and it made way more than 6 servings especially with me being the only “soup eater”. It was amazingly delicious though, just not for everyday until it’s gone :)

    1. I’m sorry, I am not sure how many smartpoints this recipe is. This recipe makes 6 servings so you can enter the information into WW and they will give you the points.

  8. Looks great! I love Barley soups. Do you think it can be made in a slow cooker? I know to add any dried herbs in the end but would I lower the amount of broth?

    1. I do think this would work in the slow cooker. Of course you will need to adjust the cooking time. I would add any dried herbs in the beginning and fresh herbs at the end.