My beef barley soup recipe packs big beefy flavor into your new favorite chilly night dinner!
Chunks of meat, tons of veggies, and hearty barley combine in one of the easiest to make beef soup recipes! If you love the belly-filling yum of my Instant Pot beef stew and the family-pleasing flavors of my hamburger soup, you’ll go crazy for this stew. It’s perfect with a thick chunk of bread for dipping or a handful of crumbled crackers!
With the one-pot magic of my taco soup, this soup is ready to revamp your cold night meals.
My delicious soup is full of flavor and packs down-home comfort in every bite!
- Thick, hearty, and delicious
- Every bite is bursting with beefy goodness
- Perfectly balanced meat, veggies, and grains
- Nutty barley adds that extra punch of flavor
How To Make Beef Barley Soup Recipe
To create this soup, brown the chunks of meat in vegetable oil and set aside. The onion and carrot go in next, followed by the mushrooms and garlic.
Once they are softened, add the meat and the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Simmer for about an hour until the barley and beef are tender.
This recipe contains all the traditional ingredients of this classic soup, with my favorite touches!
Dutch Oven – If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can use a large stockpot. However, if you’re going to brown the meat and saute the veggies in it, make sure it has a thick bottom to avoid burning your meat or veggies! If it doesn’t, use a heavy-bottomed skillet for the browning and transfer everything in the stockpot to simmer.
Beef: Most soup or stew beef cuts come from the front of the cow, including the chuck, plate, and shank areas — or the upper shoulder, leg, and chest for us non-butchers. These areas are not tender enough for steaks, so they’re perfect for soups and stews. As a bonus, they’re less expensive!
- As a side note– if you’ve got leftover roast or steak, this is a great way to use it up!
Ground Beef: Don’t want to cook a big cut of beef? Ground beef works well too! Substitute 1 ½ lbs ground meat for the chuck roast. Cook the ground meat completely and drain any fat before moving on to the vegetables.
Herbs: I love the flavor fresh herbs bring to this soup, but I know that you might not always have them on hand, especially as the season gets colder.
- If you need to substitute dried for fresh, use ⅓ of the called for amount. This recipe calls for 4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme, which will give you about 1½ tsp of leaves. So, about a ½-¾ tsp of dried thyme would be appropriate.
- It also calls for 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, which equates to about 1 tsp of leaves. To substitute dried rosemary, use a scant ½ tsp.
Tools to Make
The tools you’ll need to make this soup recipe are so simple!
- A skillet
- A solid Dutch oven
That’s it! Once you invest in a good Dutch oven, your soups will be out of this world good!
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Once fully cooked, you can keep your beef soup in the fridge for up to four days. Any longer, and the barley will lose all its structure — plus you risk bacteria growth from the beef. So gobble it down before then!
Can You Freeze This?
Since it lacks dairy, this soup freezes beautifully! Allow it to cool completely and put it in freezer containers. It will keep up to six months.
To thaw, let it sit in the fridge overnight, then reheat on the stovetop!
Make Ahead Tips
The flavor in this soup only gets better over time! Making it a day or two ahead and letting it sit in the fridge is a great way to have an easy meal ready and boost all those hard-earned flavors.
For a slow cooker version, just follow the same steps as outlined. You’ll need to brown the meat and saute the veggies in a skillet before adding them to the slow cooker. Cook on low for about 7-8 hours or 4-5 hours on high.
Hearty and bursting with flavor, this soup can easily stand alone as a meal, especially if you serve it with a nice loaf of bread. Soda crackers or pita chips are also good options.
What fun shake-ups can we have with this delicious base recipe? Plenty!
- Use that ground beef we’d talked about for hamburger stew.
- Toss it all in a Crock-Pot and forget it with slow cooker beef stew.
- Up your tomato content for rich, velvety beef tomato soup.
- Swap the barley for the pasta to get my favorite beef noodle soup.
- Pile on the cabbage with an Eastern European classic: bigos.
Looking for more beef recipes to shake up your weeknight dinners? Look no further!
Beef Barley Soup
- 2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubed
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more as needed
- salt as needed
- black pepper as needed
- 1 medium onion diced
- 4-5 large carrots peeled and diced
- 6 large cloves garlic rough chopped
- 16 ounces cremini mushrooms trimmed and quartered
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes including juice
- 1 heaping tablespoon Better than Bouillon~beef flavor or 2 large bouillon cubes
- 2 (32-ounce each) cartons beef stock
- 4-6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 3/4 cup pearl barley
- 1 cup frozen green beans thawed and well-drained
- 1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, until it begins to shimmer. Add the beef in batches and cook until well browned on all sides. Remove the browned meat to a plate and set aside. Continue with remaining beef, adding more oil as needed. Lower the heat through the browning process, as needed, if the meat or fond (little brown bits on the bottom of the pan) begin to burn.
- Add onion and carrots to the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits and cook over medium heat until they just begin to soften about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms soften, another 4 minutes or so.
- Return the browned beef, as well as any juices that have accumulated to the Dutch oven. Add 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to the pan. Crush the whole tomatoes with your hand and add to the pan. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the barley is cooked and the beef is tender about 1 hour.
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