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Homemade Beef & Barley Soup

5 from 4 votes

I’ve been making this homemade Beef & Barley Soup recipe for more than 30 years, and back when I had my deli and catering business, this was a popular lunchtime pick. I must have made hundreds of gallons of it back then, and today, it’s still one of my family’s most requested soups. Hungry? Let’s get cooking!

a bowlful of homemade beef & barley soup in a white bowl on a plate with a sandwich in the background

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Hearty, filling, delicious, and nutritious, this is a classic beef barley soup. It’s filled with tender chunks of meat, just the right amount of barley, and plenty of veg.

Ready to make something delicious! Let’s go!

Ingredients to Make Beef, Vegetable & Barley Soup Recipe

  • Beef – I use stew beef, cut into small pieces – small enough to fit on a spoon with some other veggies.
  • Beef stock/broth – use homemade if you have it or can make it. Otherwise, look for a good brand without added color or flavor. And, go low-sodium or no-salt added, if you can.
  • Barley – pearl barley is what I use and it is so nutritious!
  • Carrot
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Garlic
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper

How To Make Vegetable Beef & Barley Soup

  • Cook the barley in water until firm but still tender.
  • Brown the beef in oil. Set aside.
  • Sautee the carrots, onions, celery and garlic in oil until soft.
  • Add the beef and sauteed veggies to a large pot along with the beef stock and simmer.
  • Add the barley and remaining veggies.
  • Season and serve!
a cutting board with cubes of stew beef on it to make homemade beef & Barley soup.
Chunks of stew beef on a cutting board.

Chef Jenn’s Tips to Make This Homemade Beef & Barley Soup

  • I like to cook the barley separately that way it doesn’t absorb all my beef broth.
  • I use fresh veggies with the exception of the peas and corn. If I had fresh peas and corn, I’d use that but they’re rarely in season when I make this soup.
  • Stewing beef is an easy and cheap beef for this dish, but use whatever you’ve got on hand.

What To Serve With This Classic Beef Barley Soup

I love a soup and salad combination, or soup and sandwich. But, this easy soup recipe is hearty enough to be a meal all on its own, though for my boys, I usually put some good crusty bread out on the table to fill them up. For dessert, check out this Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe!

Is This Beef Soup Freezer Friendly?

Heck ya! I freeze this soup all the time, and if there’s none currently in my freezer then you can bet I’ll be making it soon.

To freeze this homemade Beef & Barley soup, chill it thoroughly first.


What I like to do is drain all the chunks (barley, veg, beef and everything) and chill it separately from the broth because barley will keep absorbing liquid. If you chilled this soup overnight with the barley in it, you’d find most of your liquid gone the next morning.

Then, simply package your soup (chunks and liquid) in freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to three months.

The barley will not absorb more liquid once it is frozen.

To reheat, warm it in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Should barley be soaked before cooking?

Pearl barley does not need to be soaked prior to cooking. It can be added straight to the boiling liquid, but it is a good idea to rinse it first.

Is barley nutritious?

Yes! it is a great source of fiber and other nutrients, and it is a whole grain.

What kind of beef do you use in a classic beef barley soup?

I use stewing beef, but you can use leftover roast beef or whatever you’ve got on hand.

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a bowlful of homemade beef & barley soup in a white bowl on a plate with a sandwich in the background
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5 from 4 votes

Homemade Beef & Barley Soup

Hearty, filling, and delicious, this classic beef barley soup is a keeper!
Course Main Course, Soup, Soups & Stews
Cuisine American
Keyword barley, beef, beef and barley soup, beef soup, beef vegetable soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 314kcal


  • 1 lb stewing beef cut into small cubes
  • 8 cups beef stock low or no-sodium
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • 1 cup carrot diced
  • 1 cup celery diced
  • 1 cup corn niblets from frozen
  • 1 cup peas from frozen
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt divided
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided


  • Season the stewing beef with a good pinch of salt and pepper then brown it in a skillet in 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Set aside.
  •  In the same skillet, heat the remaining tbsp of oil and sautee the carrot, celery, garlic and onions until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes.
  • Add the broth, browned beef, and sauteed veggies to a large pot. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the beef is tender.
  • Meanwhile, add two cups of water and 1/2 tsp of salt to another pot. Simmer the barley for about20 minutes or until it is tender but still firm. Drain and set aside.
  • When the soup has been simmering for 30 minutes (or until the beef is tender), add the drained barley and remaining veggies. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for an additional10 minutes.
  • Season with the salt and pepper to taste, then serve and enjoy!


Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 1290mg | Potassium: 1164mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 3897IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 4mg

A Note on Nutritional Information

Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.

By Chef Jenn

5 thoughts on “Homemade Beef & Barley Soup”

  1. 5 stars
    This soup is perfect for my family! The hubby enjoys a little meat during dinner and I could eat soup breakfast, lunch and dinner so we are both happy with this recipe!!


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