Beef Barley Soup Recipe

Hearty Beef Barley Soup Recipe

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Nothing beats a warm bowl of beef barley soup on a chilly day. This comforting dish is packed with tender chunks of beef, hearty barley, and flavorful vegetables, making it the perfect meal to cozy up with. Let’s explore this classic recipe, along with variations, FAQs, and even keto and low-carb versions to suit different dietary preferences.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2-3 lbs chuck roast
  • 2 carrots, sliced in thin rounds
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced thin
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare the Beef: Cut the chuck roast into bite-sized pieces, trimming any excess fat. Season the beef with salt and pepper.
  2. Sear the Beef: Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned beef to the pot and sear until browned on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside.
  3. Saute Vegetables: In the same pot, add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add Herbs and Spices: Stir in dried parsley, dried oregano, and ground thyme, allowing the herbs to become fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add Barley and Beef: Return the seared beef to the pot. Add pearl barley and beef broth, stirring to combine.
  6. Simmer: Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer gently for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the beef is tender and the barley is cooked through.
  7. Adjust Seasoning: Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
  8. Serve: Ladle the beef barley soup into bowls and serve hot. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired. Enjoy with crusty bread or a side salad for a complete meal.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Slow Cooker Method: For added convenience, you can prepare this soup in a slow cooker. Follow steps 1-4 to sear the beef and saute the vegetables, then transfer everything to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, until the beef is tender and the barley is cooked through.
  • Additional Vegetables: Feel free to add other vegetables such as diced potatoes, peas, or corn to the soup for extra flavor and nutrients.
  • Beef Broth Substitute: If you don’t have beef broth on hand, you can use vegetable broth or chicken broth as a substitute.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

  • Keto Version: To make this recipe keto-friendly, omit the pearl barley and increase the amount of vegetables and beef. You can also add keto-friendly substitutes such as cauliflower rice or chopped cabbage for added texture.
  • Low-Carb Version: For a low-carb version, reduce the amount of pearl barley used or replace it with a low-carb alternative such as cauliflower rice or shirataki noodles.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use a different cut of beef for this soup? A: Yes, you can use other cuts of beef such as stewing beef or brisket. Just ensure that the beef is cut into bite-sized pieces and adjust the cooking time as needed.

Q: Can I make this soup ahead of time? A: Absolutely! This soup actually tastes even better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld together. Simply store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container and reheat it on the stove or in the microwave before serving.

Q: Can I freeze leftover soup? A: Yes, this soup freezes well. Allow it to cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or bags. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Q: Can I use quick-cooking barley instead of pearl barley? A: Quick-cooking barley can be used as a substitute, but keep in mind that it may cook faster than pearl barley. Adjust the cooking time accordingly and monitor the texture of the barley as it cooks.


This beef barley soup recipe is a comforting and nourishing option for any time of year. Whether you’re looking for a hearty meal to warm you up on a cold winter’s night or a satisfying lunch option, this soup fits the bill. With its tender chunks of beef, wholesome barley, and aromatic vegetables, it’s sure to become a family favorite. Enjoy the rich flavors and cozy vibes of this classic dish!

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