Home > Dinner > Beef > Beef and Barley Soup Beef and Barley Soup February 28, 2019 | 10 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. Beef and Barley Soup is a hearty, healthy, and delicious meal in a bowl. I love that you can put this soup into your slow cooker in the morning, let it cook all day without supervision, and have it ready to enjoy in the evening. This soup pairs perfectly with a crusty loaf of bread, a simple Italian salad, or this Winter Fruit Salad! Beef Stew has always been one of my favorite comfort foods during the winter. The minute it gets even a little bit cold outside, I whip out the crockpot and make a batch. It’s funny how food can bring you back to places and times in an instant. Beef stew, for me, instantly takes me to when I was a kid, watching my dad make stew in a Dutch oven over coals outside. We’d go out to watch him in the freezing cold and then rush in and snuggle up by the fire while he dished it up for us all. And this soup does not disappoint; it’s rich, hearty, and packed with good ingredients. It’s really the perfect recipe to make in those cold temperatures — in fact, it might even have you craving cold weather so you can make it again! How to make Beef and Barley Soup Sear the meat. Quickly sear the meat (optional step) and then toss in the slow cooker. Sauté the veggies. Sauté the veggies in the same pot and then add to the cooker; we sauté the veggies to add flavor and texture to the soup! Add everything to the slow cooker. Load everything else to the pot and give it a good stir! Cook. Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours. Cooking Tips Use a well-marbled chuck roast: The cut of beef you use makes a big difference in the flavor. The more fat marbling the chuck roast has, the more flavor it will have. Leaner cuts like sirloin or round roast will end up tough and dry. Get a good sear on the beef: While you can add the beef completely raw to the slow cooker, I highly recommend searing it first. Searing the meat improves the overall flavor, texture, and appearance of your soup. Good-quality tomatoes: I recommend using high-quality fire-roasted tomatoes. There is a huge difference in the taste and flavor between a good brand of fire-roasted tomatoes and typical store-brand canned tomatoes. (I love Cento® or Muir Glen®.) Use beef stock instead of broth: Beef stock has a richer flavor than beef broth. You can read more about the difference between the two here, but short story: beef stock adds more flavor to this Beef and Barley Soup! Cook on low: While you can cook this on high heat, I recommend cooking on low — you’ll end up with a more flavorful soup with exceptionally tender meat. Barley FAQs1Do you cook barley before adding it to the soup?No, and that’s the beauty of this slow cooker Beef and Barley Soup! You can add everything (including uncooked barley) to the pot and 7-8 hours later, it will all be perfectly cooked. It’s almost magic! 2Can you substitute quinoa for barley in the soup?Substituting quinoa in for the barley should work fine. I’ve shared quite a few quinoa soups. (This Crockpot Chicken Quinoa Veggie Soup and this Crockpot Quinoa, Italian Chicken, and Veggie Soup are two of our favorites!) One note: The quinoa does continue to absorb liquid, so Beef and Barley Soup will come out more like stew. 3What kind of barley do you use for this soup?I use pearled barley for this soup. Pearl barley is whole-grain barley that has its fibrous outer “shell” removed and polished to remove some of the other outer bran layer. It cooks well in this soup and tastes amazing! Quick-cooking barley is thinner, and since it cooks faster, it can get mushy over the long slow-cooker cooking time. 4How long does pearl barley take to cook in a slow cooker?Slow cooker directions: cover and cook the pearl barley in the slow cooker set to LOW for 7-8 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours. To cook barley separately in a pan, bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook, adding more water if the pan dries out, until done with a chewy but tender texture. Forpearl barley this will take about 25 to 30 minutes. Popular Soup Recipes Chicken Enchilada Chili (reader favorite!) Crockpot Chili (Winner of DOZENS of chili cook-offs) Crockpot White Chicken Chili (rave reviews!) Chicken Tortilla Soup (2o-minute recipe!) Cheddar Broccoli Soup (easy stovetop recipe) FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Beef and Barley Soup 5 from 1 vote - Review this recipe This Beef and Barley Soup is a hearty, healthy, and delicious meal. I love that you can put this soup into your slow cooker in the morning, let it cook all day without supervision, and it'll be ready to enjoy in the evening. SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Beef and Barley Soup 5 from 1 vote - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe This Beef and Barley Soup is a hearty, healthy, and delicious meal. I love that you can put this soup into your slow cooker in the morning, let it cook all day without supervision, and it'll be ready to enjoy in the evening. Course Dinner, Main Course, Soup Cuisine American Keyword beef and barley soup Prep Time 30 minutes Cook Time 7 hours Cooking Time 7 hours Total Time 7 hours 30 minutes Servings 8 servings Calories 397kcal Author Chelsea Ingredients1 and 1/2 pounds beef chuck roast trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch piecesFine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper3 tablespoons olive oil divided1 medium yellow onion peeled and diced4 cloves garlic minced2 large carrots peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces2 ribs celery sliced in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/2 inch pieces8 1/2 cups beef stock or broth (low sodium) divided (Note 1)2 tablespoons tomato paste1 pound Yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes 2 beef bouillon cubes*1 and 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or use 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme)2 bay leaves3/4 cup pearl barley1 and 1/2 teaspoons white sugar3/4 teaspoon EACH: dried basil, dried oregano1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoesOptional: fresh chopped parsley, crusty loaf of bread InstructionsCube the beef and then pat dry with paper towels. Generously salt and pepper all the sides. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat and once it's shimmering, add the beef cubes (in one even layer; you can do this in batches to not overcrowd the meat). Sear for about 15-20 seconds per side (about 1 minute total) and then transfer the beef to a large slow cooker.Turn heat down to medium-low and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Next, add in the carrots and celery and continue to saute, stirring occasionally for 5-8 minutes.Turn the heat up to high, add 1 1/2 cups of beef stock (or red wine), and scrape any browned bits up from the pan. Stir and simmer for 3 minutes and then pour the veggie mixture into the crockpot. While the veggies are simmering, you can add everything else to the crockpot: tomato paste, chopped potatoes, crumbled beef bouillon cubes, Worcestershire sauce, fresh thyme, bay leaves, uncooked pearl barley, white sugar, dried basil, dried oregano, undrained fire-roasted tomatoes, and finally the rest of the beef stock.Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.Remove bay leaves and taste for seasoning. It will vary greatly depending on the actual beef stock and bouillon cubes you use, but I generally add about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.Enjoy with fresh parsley (optional) and a crusty loaf of bread! Recipe NotesNote 1: If you like to cook with wine, you can swap out 1 1/2 cups of red wine for that amount of beef stock in step 4. The remaining 7 cups of beef stock will be added in step 5. *Here are the exact beef bouillon cubes I use. Also, if you're worried about sodium/salt from the cubes and stock you can omit the cubes (or add, crumbled in small amounts, later to taste) Nutrition FactsCalories: 397kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 1299mg | Potassium: 1604mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 3212IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 5mg DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.