Beef Barley Soup Recipe


When the weather turns chilly, there’s nothing quite as comforting as a steaming bowl of Beef Barley Soup. This classic dish combines tender beef, wholesome barley, and flavorful vegetables in a rich and savory broth that’s sure to warm you from the inside out. Join us as we explore this timeless recipe, perfect for cozy family dinners or a nourishing meal on a cold winter’s day.


  • 1 lb beef stew meat, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish


  1. Sear the Beef: Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the cubed beef stew meat and brown it on all sides, approximately 5-7 minutes. Once browned, remove the beef from the pot and set it aside.
  2. Sauté Vegetables: In the same pot, add the diced onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes, or until they are softened. Add minced garlic and continue to cook for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Combine Ingredients: Return the seared beef to the pot. Add the pearl barley, beef broth, bay leaves, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine all the ingredients and ensure they are evenly distributed throughout the soup.
  4. Simmer: Bring the soup to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let the soup simmer for approximately 1 hour, or until the beef and barley are tender and cooked to perfection.
  5. Serve: Once the soup is cooked, remove the bay leaves from the pot. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Ladle the piping hot Beef Barley Soup into bowls, garnish with freshly chopped parsley, and serve immediately.

Serving Tips:

  1. Pair with Crusty Bread: Serve your Beef Barley Soup with slices of crusty bread or dinner rolls for a delightful combination. The bread can be used for dipping into the savory broth or enjoyed alongside each spoonful of soup for a satisfying meal.
  2. Add a Side Salad: Accompany your soup with a side salad to balance out the meal with fresh greens and vegetables. A simple green salad with a tangy vinaigrette or a classic Caesar salad can complement the hearty flavors of the soup beautifully.
  3. Top with Fresh Herbs: Just before serving, sprinkle freshly chopped parsley or other herbs like chives or thyme over the soup for a burst of freshness and color. The herbs not only enhance the presentation but also add a layer of flavor to each spoonful.
  4. Serve in Bread Bowls: For a fun and creative presentation, consider serving the Beef Barley Soup in hollowed-out bread bowls. Not only does this add a rustic touch to your meal, but it also allows guests to enjoy every last drop of the delicious soup.
  5. Garnish with Sour Cream: For an extra indulgent touch, swirl a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt on top of each bowl of soup just before serving. The creamy addition adds a luxurious texture and a hint of tanginess to the dish.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: Allow any leftover Beef Barley Soup to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container or individual portion-sized containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  2. Freezing: Beef Barley Soup freezes well, making it a convenient option for meal prep. Portion cooled soup into freezer-safe containers, leaving some space for expansion, and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  3. Reheating: Reheat refrigerated or thawed soup on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. Alternatively, microwave individual portions in microwave-safe bowls, stirring in between intervals, until warmed to your liking.
  4. Revitalize with Broth: If the soup thickens upon reheating, simply stir in a splash of beef broth or water to reach the desired consistency. Adjust seasoning as needed with salt and pepper to refresh the flavors.
  5. Enjoy in Different Forms: Leftover Beef Barley Soup can be repurposed into a variety of dishes, such as using it as a filling for pot pies or incorporating it into casseroles. Get creative and explore different ways to enjoy the delicious flavors of this hearty soup.


1. Can I use a different type of meat for this soup? Absolutely! While the recipe calls for beef stew meat, you can use other cuts of beef such as chuck roast, sirloin, or even ground beef. Additionally, you can experiment with different proteins like chicken or turkey to create variations of this soup to suit your taste preferences.

2. Can I make this soup vegetarian or vegan? Yes, you can easily make this soup vegetarian or vegan by omitting the beef and using vegetable broth instead of beef broth. You can also add extra vegetables like mushrooms or beans to enhance the flavor and texture of the soup. Additionally, ensure that any garnishes or toppings are plant-based.

3. How do I prevent the barley from becoming mushy? To prevent the barley from becoming mushy, it’s important not to overcook it. Follow the recommended cooking time in the recipe and check the barley for tenderness periodically. If the barley is cooked but the soup needs more time, you can remove it from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

4. Can I freeze this soup for later? Yes, Beef Barley Soup freezes well. Once cooled, portion the soup into airtight containers or freezer bags, leaving some space for expansion. Label the containers with the date and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

5. How can I add more flavor to the soup? To enhance the flavor of the soup, consider adding additional herbs and spices such as rosemary, thyme, or bay leaves. You can also sauté the vegetables in butter or olive oil before adding them to the soup for added depth of flavor. Taste the soup as it cooks and adjust the seasoning as needed to suit your taste preferences.


With its tender beef, hearty barley, and aromatic vegetables, this Beef Barley Soup recipe is a true testament to comfort food at its finest. Whether enjoyed as a nourishing meal on a cold winter’s day or as a satisfying weeknight dinner, this soup is sure to warm your soul and leave you feeling satisfied. So, gather your ingredients, simmer up a pot of goodness, and savor the delicious flavors of this timeless classic.