This Hearty Beef Barley Soup is a restaurant-worthy, absolutely delicious, easy-to-make and filling meal. Made with only 8 ingredients, less than 30 minutes of active cooking time, and minimal cleanup, it will feed the whole family!
I cook this Hearty Beef Barley Soup every single week during the winter months. It is my family’s absolute favorite soup. It is rich, flavorful, and healthy, and I bet you’ll be making it often once you give it a try. Seriously, it is just incredibly delicious!
I like making it a bit thick, with an almost stew-like consistency, but it is totally okay to add some extra broth to thin it out. You can use beef or chicken broth in this recipe with great results.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE HEARTY BEEF BARLEY SOUP
Now let's take a minute and talk about barley.
Barley is actually one of the oldest consumed grains in the world. Although it is not as popular as quinoa these days, the health benefits are just as impressive. Barley, being an excellent source of fiber, keeps your body toxin-free. It helps to strengthen your immune system, lower your blood sugar, improve digestion, prevent heart disease, provide antioxidants, and the list goes on. If you'd like to learn more about the health benefits, check out this article: Barley Nutrition Facts, Benefits & How to Cook It!
WHAT KIND OF BARLEY IS BEST FOR BEEF BARLEY SOUP
There are many varieties of barley, depending on the processing method. In this Hearty Beef Barley Soup, you may use Hulled Barley (a bit healthier) or Pearl Barley (more common). If using hulled barley, keep in mind that it has a bit rough (chewy) texture and may require some extra cooking time.
WHAT KIND OF BEEF TO USE
The best cut for this recipe is boneless chuck roast. It has a great flavor and softens very nicely.
If you’d prefer, you can also use ground beef in this recipe. If making a ground beef barley soup, you can reduce cooking time to one hour.
BEEF BARLEY SOUP RECIPE
1. Heat up a large pot on high heat. Add the olive oil and beef. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the liquids evaporate and the beef starts to brown.
2. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, carrots, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the tomato paste, thyme, salt, and pepper and mix everything well. Add the barley and beef (or chicken) broth. Reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until the beef is very tender, for about 1 ½ hours.
Note: add extra broth if you'd like to thin out the soup a bit more.
BEEF BARLEY SOUP TIPS
Be patient! It takes some time to cook beef until very tender, so be patient, and cook a little longer if needed.
Homemade is best! Use homemade beef stock for the best flavor.
Pick your barley! Remember, that while hulled barley is healthier, pearl barley has softer texture.
Add herbs! Add some herbs (fresh thyme, rosemary and/or mint) for extra flavor.
You'll also enjoy these hearty soups:
- Homemade Turkey Soup
- Ultimate Mushroom Soup
- Instant Pot Hamburger Soup
- Greek Chicken Lemon Soup
- Chicken Stew
- Easy Puréed Bean Soup
Hearty Beef Barley Soup
- 1 ½ lb. boneless chuck roast, cut into small cubes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 3 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 cup pearl barley (or hulled barley)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 8 cups beef or chicken broth
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat up a large pot on high heat. Add the olive oil and beef. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the liquids evaporate and the beef starts to brown.
- Reduce heat to medium and add onion, carrots, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, thyme, salt, and pepper and mix everything well. Add the barley and beef (or chicken) broth. Reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until the beef is very tender, for about 1 ½ hours. Note: add extra broth if you’d like to thin out the soup a bit more.
I have made this with instant barley. I cook the barley separately on the stove top and add the last 20-30 minutes. Turns out great.
Tania Sheff says
That's good to know. Thanks for reporting back, Carol!
Diane Maloy says
I used to Matheus this soup. Became discouraged when all I could find was something like instant Barley. I’ll try again if I ca find good old fashioned barley. Any suggestions? I’m in Denver: CO. Thanks.
Tania Sheff says
Hi Diane! I am in NJ, and no problems finding old-fashioned barley here. I would suggest ordering online in your case (Amazon, Thrive Market, Vitacost, etc.) Let me know if you try this soup. Happy & Healthy Holidays to you & yours!
I also had trouble finding it and had to buy it on Amazon. I'm in MD
This soup is great! It reminds me of the soup my mom used to make. I added 2 cups of sliced fresh mushrooms, and used homemade stock. I think the taste is so much better than storebought. I also used some herbes de Provence, which includes thyme, for seasoning. Yum! Thanks for the recipe!
Tania Sheff says
Thank you, Alice! It means a lot to me!