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Beef and Barley Soup

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Beef and Barely Soup is a classic, comfort soup recipe made with ground beef, vegetables and simple spices. This Beef and Barley Soup recipe is a classic that has been in the Fam for generations. 

Looking for other simple soup recipes? Check out my recipes for Tortellini Soup or Broccoli Potato Cheese Soup

bog pot of beef and barley soup

I remember my mom making this soup all the time as a kid, little did I know how healthy it was. I just loved the fresh flavors and warmness as it hit my belly on cold days. Also, those little bits of barley are the best, such a unique texture and flavor that just add so much to this simple soup. 

Now it’s my turn to be the mom and fill my kids bellies with warm soup and delicious food memories. This soup is one that will continue to be on repeat in our home and hopefully for generations to come. 

Ingredients for beef and barley soup recipe. Onion, cabbage, carrots, celery, canned tomatoes and ground beef

What goes into Beef and Barley Soup?

These simple ingredients are easy to keep on hand for a quick and simple meal any day of the week!

  • Ground Beef/Chuck– You will need about 2 pounds of beef for this recipe. Look for beef that is 80% or higher lean. 
  • Onion-yellow onions are the best for this recipe, white can also be used
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Green Cabbage- to shred the cabbage simple take a sharp knife and slice the cabbage into thin strips and then again in half if the strips are too long. 
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Beef Broth- pre-made packaged Beef Broth works great, or I usually make my own with this Beef Base, this is something I always have in the refrigerator for quick meals. 
  • Bay Leaf
  • Dried Thyme
  • Dried Basil
  • Pearled Barley
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh Parsley- this is completely optional, just adds a little flavor and finishing touches to this soup. 

collage of steps to make barley soup with beef

How to Make Beef Barley Soup

  1. Brown the ground beef in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large 5 quart pot. Once the beef is brown (it doesn’t need to be cooked through all the way at this point) add in the onion, celery and carrots. Cook and stir for an additional 2-3 minutes, just until they are tender. 
  2. Add in the cans of tomatoes and shredded cabbage, stir to combine. 
  3. Pour in the beef broth, spices and uncooked barley
  4. Bring the soup to a boil, give it a good stir, turn the heat down to simmer and cover with a lid. 
  5. Simmer the soup covered for at least one hour before serving

soup with barley beef and vegetables

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Beef and Barley Soup

Beef and Barely Soup is a classic, comfort soup recipe made with ground beef, vegetables and simple spices.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American, Comfort Food
Keyword: Beef and Barley Soup, Comfort Food
Servings: 12
Calories: 224kcal


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2-2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup celery, sliced
  • 4 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1-2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 3/4 cup pearled barley
  • 3 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped


  • In a large 5 quart pot, heat up olive oil over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook and stir until browned.
  • Add in chopped onion, carrots and celery. Cook and stir an additional 2-3 minutes until just tender. They don't need to be soft as they will continue to cook as the soup simmers.
  • Pour in the cans of diced tomatoes and chopped cabbage. Stir to incorporate.
  • Pour in the beef broth and add in the bay leaf, thyme, basil, salt, pepper and pearled barley.
  • Bring the soup to a boil, cover with a lid and turn down the heat so the soup is just simmering.
  • Simmer covered for one hour, stirring occasionally.


  • This soup can also be cooked in a slow cooker. Brown the beef and add to the slow cooker with the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 7-8 hours before serving. Add the parsley when ready to serve. 


Calories: 224kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 1084mg | Potassium: 371mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2034IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @feedingyourfam or tag #feedingyourfam!

Can I Cook Beef Barley Soup in a Crock Pot?

The simple answer is definitely! To cook this Beef and Barley soup in a slow cooker, start by browning the beef. Add the beef to the crock pot with all the remaining ingredients, except the parsley. 

Cook on low for 7-8 hours and add fresh parsley just before serving. 

How to Store Leftover Soup?

If you have leftovers of this soup it will easily store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container. 

This soup also freezes great. Freeze for up to 3 months before using. I love that this soup makes such a big batch because I will make it once and we can have it twice for dinner. Usually we eat it the day we make it for dinner, then I will place what is leftover in an air tight container in the freezer to eat on another day! Who doesn’t love a two for one dinner?!!

How to Reheat Leftover Soup?

The three main ways I will reheat soup are:

  1. In the microwave. Simply microwave in a microwave safe bowl in 2-5 minute increments, stirring in between, until the soup has heated through. This is also the quickest way. 
  2. Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat. Place in a large pot over medium heat and cover with a lid, about every 5 minutes, remove the lid and give the soup a stir. 
  3. In the crock pot. Place the frozen soup in the crock pot and set the heat to high for 1-2 hours until the soup is warmed through. 

Variations to Beef and Barley

There are many ways you can add additional vegetables and flavors to this soup, a few suggestions I have tries are:

  • potatoes-peel and dice into small pieces and add with the cabbage
  • frozen peas-can be added at the last minute if desired
  • zucchini- add and saute with the carrots and celery

I would love to hear of any other variations you have or would like to try! Leave me a message down in the comments with your suggestions!

beef and barley soup

Beef and Barely Soup is a classic, comfort soup recipe made with ground beef, vegetables and simple spices. This Beef and Barley Soup recipe is a classic that has been in the Fam for generations. 

If you’re looking for other soup recipes check out my recipe for Tortellini Soup or this classic recipe for Southwestern Tortilla Soup. 


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Recipe Rating

One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    This soup is delicious! I also made the easy lasagna soup, so i had some parmesan left over, a little sprinkled on top of the beef and barley just makes it that much better. So easy, so tasty, perfect for the cold weather coming up, and the cold/soar throat i just got over! Will be saving this recipe for the future.