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Beef and Barley Soup: the best-ever recipe for a rich, hearty soup

Total time: 2H30
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist

If you're in the mood for an outrageously delicious, comforting soup you can serve for any occasion, you can't go wrong with homemade beef and barley soup. This amazing soup is made from tender pieces of beef, plump, chewy pearl barley, and a medley of vegetables cooked in a gorgeous savory broth.

It's a wholesome, healthy soup that can serve as a light meal or be paired with tasty sides like roasted veggies, salads, and more to make it a full dinner. Whatever you decide to serve your beef and barley soup with, don't forget plenty of crusty buttered bread so you can mop up every last drop!

Beef and Barley Soup Ingredients

Chuck roast is the best cut of beef for making beef and barley soup. Fatty cuts end up melt-in-your-mouth tender when cooked in this phenomenal soup. Avoid lean cuts as they'll dry out when cooking.

Alongside the beef, the pearl barley is the star of this fabulous soup.

Aromatic vegetables like celery, garlic, carrot, and onion help bulk up the soup and bring loads of flavor to each bite.

Tomato paste adds a bright pop of acidity to the soup, balancing out the savoriness.

Beef broth serves as a base, while Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce enhance the mouthwatering umami factor in this beef and barley soup.

Fresh rosemary and thyme add a beautiful herbal lift.


How to Make Beef and Barley Soup

Making hearty homemade beef and barley soup couldn't be simpler. Start by sautéing the beef in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. For best results, work in batches so you don't overcrowd the pot – this will ensure the beef browns evenly, which will give your soup loads of flavor. Take the beef out of the pot and set it aside. Add more oil to the Dutch oven and cook the carrots, onion, and celery for 2 to 3 minutes until they begin to soften. Don't brown them. Mix in the tomato paste and garlic and saute until the garlic becomes fragrant about one minute. Stir in the beef broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, and thyme, then season the soup with salt, and pepper. Put the beef into the pot with the rest of the ingredients. Allow the liquid to boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Pop the lid on the pot and cook the soup for about 45 to 60 minutes, or until the beef starts becoming tender. Stir in the barley. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes until the beef is completely tender and the barley is cooked. If desired, add a sprinkling of chopped parsley to the soup, then serve with your favorite bread, and enjoy!

Tips for the Best Beef and Barley Soup

Low and slow is the secret to ultra-tender beef. Don't rush this soup.

Thick-cut vegetables are the way to go when making beef and barley soup. Not only will they soak up the flavor of the other ingredients, but they won't disintegrate when you're cooking the soup.

If you like your barley on the chewy side, add it to the soup halfway through cooking.

You can make your beef and barley soup in an Instant Pot instead of on the stovetop. After browning all the beef in batches, mix all the ingredients into your Instant Pot. Don't forget to lower the amount of broth you use to about 7 cups. Secure the lid and seal the pot. Cook it on manual mode for 20 minutes, then let the soup naturally release for 10 minutes.

To make slow cooker beef and barley soup, cook the soup on low for 6 to 7 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.

For extra flavor, swap out ½ cup of broth for ½ cup of dry red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Syrah.

You can't go wrong adding more vegetables to your beef and barley soup. Potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, and peas would be fabulous in this soup.

What to Serve with Beef and Barley Soup

Beef and barley soup goes amazing with freshly baked dinner rolls, and thick slices of crusty bread or baguette – anything good for mopping your bowl after you've had your last spoonful of soup. Other great-tasting sides to make your beef and barley soup a full meal including roasted veggies, kale salad, green salad, steamed vegetables, roast potatoes, and biscuits.


How to Store Beef and Barley Soup

Let the soup cool, then transfer it to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat your beef and barley soup in the microwave or on the stovetop until completely heated through.

Can You Freeze Beef and Barley Soup?

Absolutely! Frozen beef and barley soup can be kept for up to 3 months. If you decide to freeze your soup to enjoy later on, don't forget to leave some space at the top of the container so the soup can expand when frozen.

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chuck roast, cubed and fat removed
2 lbs
Extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 tbsp
carrots, chopped
1 1/2 cups
celery, chopped
2 ribs
large yellow onion, chopped
Tomato paste
3 tbsp
Garlic, minced
3 to 4 cloves
Beef broth
2 32-ounce cartons
Soy sauce
1 tbsp
Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp
fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tsp
fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tsp
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
pearl barley
1 cup


Heat one tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, season the beef with salt and pepper, then saute until browned.

Remove the beef to a plate.

Add more oil to the pot and add the carrots.

Add the onion, and celery, then cook them for 2 to 3 minutes until they begin to soften.

Stir in the tomato paste.

Add in garlic and sauté until it becomes fragrant about one minute.

Pour in the broth.

Stir in the soy sauce.

Add in the Worcestershire sauce, herbs, salt, and pepper.

Add the beef to the Dutch oven and cover it with a lid. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower it to a simmer. Cook until the beef begins to turn tender, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Stir in the barley.

Cook for 45 to 60 minutes until the beef is completely tender and the barley is cooked.

Serve and enjoy!


Use low-sodium broth if you're watching your salt intake.

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