Beef Barley Soup

What a weekend! I was asked to be the speaker for a church’s spring retreat. This particular church was one that I was the youth pastor at more than ten years ago. It was a wonderful privilege to open God’s Word along with them throughout the weekend and a great joy to reconnect with many old friends.

It was amazing because it felt like we had stayed connected with many of these people when it had actually been many years since we had seen them. The weekend was a lot of fun, the weather was great, and the retreat centre was the perfect getaway from the big city of Toronto.

Today’s recipe is a classic. Beef barley soup is one of my favourite kinds of soup and I am not sure why, but I do not actually make it all that often. Whenever I do cook up a big pot of this soup, I vow to make it more frequently. Yes it is spring and you might think of soup as a fall or winter meal, but beef barley works for me any day of the year!

This soup has a rich and silky broth and is hearty, packed with beef, carrots, onion, celery and lots of barley!

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4.84 from 12 votes

Homemade Beef Barley Soup - easy recipe

Classic soup that is hearty and delicious with simple detailed instructions. Perfect for a cold day
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword barley, beef, soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12
Calories 205kcal
Author Steve Cylka


  • 1 cup onion , chopped
  • 1 cup celery , chopped
  • 1 cup carrots , chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups stewing beef , finely chopped
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  • In a large soup pot, cook onions, celery and carrots with the butter. Once the onions and celery are tender, about 6-8 minutes, stir in the beef.
  • Cook, stirring often, until the beef is cooked. This should take another 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the water, beef broth and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and stir in the remaining ingredients.
  • Let the soup cook at a low rolling boil for30-45 minutes. The barley should be fully cooked and the beef should be tender.


Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 982mg | Potassium: 417mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 39.2% | Vitamin C: 9.7% | Calcium: 5.1% | Iron: 13.7%

About Steve Cylka

Steve is the author of The Black Peppercorn. He is a recipe developer and food photographer. His recipes have been featured on websites like Bradley Smoker, Times Picayune, Buzzfeed, and Basil & Salt. He has also authored and co-authored a couple cookbooks.


  1. Sounds like you had a fantastic weekend Steve! The soup looks fantastic! I can see why it would be an all time favorite. 🙂

  2. Lovely pictures. You always do such a nice job on here.

    The soup is a childhood favorite of mine. I will have to give this recipe a try. I will put it on the back burner (no pun intended) until the fall. We are already having almost 90 degree days down here in Florida. I want to try this when we get our first cool snap.


  3. Cool that you have a church retreat, our church has many events-but not that one! Anyhow, this soup does look amazing! Barley is not in my diet very much, but this looks like a good recipe to remedy that situation. Enticing photo!

  4. This looks like a delicious soup – so rich.

  5. Like you, I enjoy soup year round. Great recipe!

  6. i like adding grains to my soup. This is a great recipe if I replace barley with quinoa or millet.

  7. This soup seems nice! Best thing it can be made very fast which is good for my short time. Thanks!!!

  8. Well…we’re having hot and cold spring so soup is perfectly fine for me these days. I love a good bowl of hearty soup. This looks perfect!! I’m glad you had a great weekend. 🙂

  9. So glad you had a good weekend, Steve! Being around other Christians is so energizing to me! This soup sounds fantastic. I can eat it any day, all year long!

  10. It sounds like you had a great weekend! I love barley soups, and since the weather here is still variable I could definitely dig into this one.

  11. I am making the soup today Steve I am barbecued out at the moment soup sounds great, I love beef barley. I am a recipe nut. This site has great recipes.

    • Thanks for the note. I am so glad that you have stopped by! I hope you enjoy the soup. I know exactly what you mean about being bbq’d out. SOmetimes you just need a change eh!?

  12. been looking a long time for a good Beef & Barley recipe and this looks to be it, can’t wait to make it but one small question….what size can of tomatoes?
    Very glad to have found this site!

    • Glad you found the site! I use a 28oz can of the diced tomatoes. Gonna add that specification to the ingredient list to help people in the futre. Thanks and I hope you enjoy it!!

  13. Turned out fantastic!! We all loved it, I definitely have found my permanent B&B soup recipe…thank you! And thanks for replying so quickly to my tomato question.

  14. great soup kids and I love it.

  15. my mom used to make the same soup only she used oxtail that she got from the neighborhood butcher it’s one of my favorite. I just made a pot of it but I used your recipe but I’ve never used dice tomato. I’m going to try it today see how good it is

  16. I’ve made this soup a few times now. My family really enjoys it. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Excellent recipe Steve. I made it today and its very tasty. I added a teaspoon and a half of thyme and a few small beef soup bones. Made a huge difference.

    Thanks for the recipe. It’s now stored in my recipe book!

  18. Made this soup today, it was so yummy! Thanks!

  19. Quite delicious, but I had the Ikea moment following the recipe. You know when you assemble the furniture, and end up with two screws at the end. Here I ended up with barley at the end…. Not to mention salt and pepper.

  20. Great recipe, exactly what I was looking for

  21. grandma made it all the time but the broth was grey color. Never been able to get the same taste or color. No tomatos. Would tiny meatbals be ok instead

  22. This soup is wonderful! I made it in a slow cooker and it turned out fabulous. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  23. I made this today, but I didn’t have stew beef,so I used ground beef. I’m sure it will be delicious. Our family restaurant serves beef barley soup every Sunday. We go there after church and that’s what I always have. To make it even better I add a few shakes ofFrank’s hot sauce. So yummy! Thank you for sharing!

  24. Is the canned beef broth concentrated, and then still add the water?

  25. This maybe a stupid question but how many lbs of stewing beef is needed for two cups. Pls help!

  26. I never make comments on recipes. But, this is the second time I have made this. It will be a household fav. Do yourself a favour and take the time to sear the beef in batches BEFORE veggies. Create a flavour base and browned beef then set aside. Then the veggies almost “deglaze it” picking up all the brown bits 🙂 I also used 8 cups broth to 4 cups water. delicious!

  27. Hey making the soup right now smells awesome, but more impressive is your openness about your faith. Thank you for great recipes and being a great witness to the gospel. Please check out our web site for more,

    Grace and Mercy
    Dave ‘Papa Bear’ Peppiatt

    Ps. If your ever down our way I’d love for you to come and speak to our youth.

  28. My husband says this is the best barley soup he has every tasted – and he does not give this type of praise lightly. My son loved it too. It is tasty and hearty. This reciepe is definitely a keeper. Thank you.

  29. Have you tried freezing this, i’m only one person and I find it really hard to find recipes that cater to one or 2 meals for 1 person.

  30. I made this today it’s awesome. I added 2 cloves of garlic and a spoonful of Worcestershire and seasoned the beef with Montreal steak spice, turned out great!

  31. made this recipe and it was amazing….I love beef and barley soup.This recipe call for 6 cups of water and 6 cups of beef broth I used 4 cups of water and 6 cups of beef broth…… totally amazing

  32. Great recipe! I added some garlic and worcestershire sauce when sautéing the vegetables. And bay leaves and thyme with the salt and pepper. Just another way to play with the recipe if you like some extra flavour.

  33. Beef barley soup recipe THE BEST SOUP EVER! !!

  34. Thanks for the recipe. I have been making soups on the top of our woodstove in my cast iron dutch oven this winter, and this one is on the go right now. The house smells wonderful! My mother-in-law is a big home made soup person. She’s done it all her life living on the family farm and my husband loves homemade soups because of it. So I am branching out from my chicken vegetable/noodle. Thanks again!

  35. This is an excellent recipe for old fashioned beef barley soup. Not only is it delicious and hearty, it is easy to prepare. This recipe is the best recipe I have tried on pinterest for beef barley soup. My search for a perfect pot of soup is over. THANK YOU!!

  36. Excellent and so easy…I did add a bay leaf for a tad more flavor. So quick to put together.

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