Beef Barley Soup
This Beef Barley Soup recipe is rich, hearty, satisfying comfort food with huge flavor and minimal effort! It’s loaded with buttery beef, onions, carrots, potatoes, celery and perfectly textured barley in a rich, flavorful beef broth. This Beef and Barley Soup is the perfect make-ahead dinner, reheats beautifully and freezes well too! It is an old comforting classic waiting to become a new family favorite!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 servings 20minutes
Cook Time
8hours
Servings Prep Time
6-8 servings 20minutes
Cook Time
8hours
Beef Barley Soup
Ingredients
  • 2lbs. beef chuck roasttrimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1/2teaspoon pepper
  • 1 medium oniondiced
  • 4 medium red potatoeschopped into ½-inch pieces (about 1 pound)
  • 3 carrotspeeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 ribs celerycut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 -6cloves garlicminced
  • 3/4cup pearl barley
  • 114.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes,undrained
  • 2tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2tablespoons beef bouillon or better than bouillon
  • 1tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2tsp EACH dried thyme, dried oregano, ground mustard, ground cumin, paprika
  • pinch red pepper flakesoptional
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6cups reduced sodium beef broth
Instructions
  1. Chop beef into bite size pieces. While beef is still on the cutting board, toss it with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add half of the beef to the very hot skillet and let cook undisturbed for approximately 2 minutes, or until nicely seared on one side; flip beef over and sear the other side then continue to cook while stirring until beef is browned all over but not cooked through. Remove beef to 6-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Repeat with remaining beef.
  3. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and give them a stir.
  4. Cook on HIGH for 4-6 hours or on LOW for 8-10 hours or until vegetables are tender and beef is melt-in-your-mouth tender. Discard bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe Notes

How to Make Beef Barley Soup on the Stove

  • Sear Beef:  Chop meat into bite size pieces. While meat is still on the cutting board, toss it with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Once very hot, add half of the beef and let cook undisturbed for approximately 2 minutes, or until nicely seared on one side; flip beef over and sear the other side then continue to cook while stirring until beef is browned all over but not cooked through. Remove beef to a plate then repeat with remaining beef; transfer remaining beef to a plate.
  • Sauté onions:  To the same pot (don’t wipe out) add onions and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes (add oil if there isn’t enough leftover from the beef), add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. 
  • Add ingredients:  Return beef to pot and add all remaining ingredients except potatoes, carrots, celery and barley. 
  • Simmer beef:  Cover and bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer, covered, for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally and replacing lid, until beef is tender.
  • Add vegetables and barley:  Add barley, potatoes, carrots, and celery and continue to cook an additional 35 minutes or until the barley is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Ground BEEF BARLEY SOUP:

  • Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Brown beef and onions.
  • Add potatoes, celery, carrots and garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
  • Add all of the remaining ingredients, including the barley and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until barley is cooked and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Can I use leftover meat?

Yes!  You are welcome to cook the Beef and Barley Soup according to directions then stir in leftover pot roast, leftover steak or roast beef and warm through. 

WHERE CAN I PURCHASE PEARL BARLEY?

Pearl barley is the most common type of barley used in cooking, in fact, most recipes call for pearl barley or intend for cooks to use this type of barley if the recipe doesn’t specify.  This is good news for us because it means pearl barley should be easy to find at your grocery store located with the other grains.  If your grocery store doesn’t carry pearl barley, then there are many options on Amazon. 

PREP AHEAD 

Although this Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup is very easy to make, it does require a good amount of prep work.  Fortunately, you can do ALL of the prep work ahead of time:

  • Beef:  trim and chop the beef into pieces the night before.  You can even sear the beef the night before.  Make sure your beef cools to room temperature before sealing in an airtight container and placing in the refrigerator.
  • Veggies:  chop all the vegetables and aromatics the night before and place them in an airtight container.  The only vegetable you will have to keep separate is the potatoes.  Chopped potatoes need to be submerged in water, covered with plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator or else they will brown due to oxidation.  By keeping them submerged, however, I guarantee they will look as good as new!
  • Everything:  You can completely assemble the Beef and Barley Soup in the crockpot and refrigerate the ceramic insert.   This makes for a hassle free, no fuss morning! Just be aware you may need to add additional cooking time and a little extra broth at the end of cooking.

CAN I FREEZE Beef Barley Soup recipe?

If you are making Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup to freeze, then I would omit the potatoes because potatoes do not freeze-and-reheat well.  They turn into a bizarre, mushy texture. 

You can still enjoy potatoes in your current soup and freeze the leftovers without potatoes by cooking the potatoes separately.  To steam your potatoes, place them in a microwave safe bowl with about ¼” of water up the sides, cover, and microwave until tender, about 8 minutes.  Add potatoes to the portion of the soup you are not freezing.

To freeze Beef Barley Soup:

  1. Cool: Allow Beef and Barley Soup to cool completely before freezing to preserve the integrity of the ingredients.
  2. Package:  Transfer soup to an airtight freezer safe container or freezer bag.  You can even use sandwich size plastic bags for individual stew portions.  Squeeze out any excess air to prevent freezer burn and label
  3. Freeze. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  4. Defrost/Reheat. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat in the microwave, crockpot or stove according to aforementioned instructions.