Beef Barley Soup

This easy recipe for homemade beef barley is perfect for a cold winter day and an excellent way to use leftover roast beef. Hearty and delicious!

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. You may often think of a hearty bowl of soup as a winter dish, but this beef barley works for me any day of the year!

I usually make this soup the day after we have a roast beef dinner. Leftover roast beef is ideal for soup and sometimes I cook up a prime rib or top sirloin roast, just so that I have an excuse to make this beef barley soup.

A bowl of soup with some saltine crackers for crumbling.

Barley is great for soup. It has a nutty texture and a great variation from rice, macaroni or diced potatoes in soup. I keep a container of dry pearl barley in the pantry for those soup day cravings.

Step by step photos for how to make homemade soup

How to make homemade soup

  • The first step to making this soup is to sauté the onion, celery and carrots in a large stock pot with butter.
  • While the veggies are cooking, you can dice up the beef. Cut them into small chunks. You can use either raw or cooked beef. I often make this soup when I have some leftover beef roast. It is an awesome way to use up the leftovers.
  • Toss the cut up beef in the stock pot and stir. Cook for another 6-8 minutes. 
  • Dump in a can of diced tomatoes (28oz), beef broth, water and seasonings. Bring to a boil and reduce heat so that the soup is cooking at a low rolling boil.
  • Dump in the pearl barley and continue to cook for 30-45 minutes.

Scooping a ladle of fresh soup out of a large stock pot

This soup will have a rich and silky broth and is hearty, packed with beef, carrots, onion, celery and lots of barley! There is a lot of soup in this pot and it will feed a crowd. It is so hearty that I would not serve this before a main course. Homemade beef barley soup is a meal in itself.

A spoonful of hearty soup that is perfect for a cold winter day.

Other soup recipes

Check out some of these other great classic soups!

Homemade Beef Barley Soup - easy recipe

A spoonful of hearty soup that is perfect for a cold winter day.
4.84 out of 5
12 reviews
Classic soup that is hearty and delicious with simple detailed instructions. Perfect for a cold day
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12


  • 1 cup onion , chopped
  • 1 cup celery , chopped
  • 1 cup carrots , chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups leftover roast beef or stewing beef , finely chopped
  • 7 cups water
  • 7 cups beef broth
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 whole bay leaves


  • 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, for about 6-8 more minutes.
  • Add the water, beef broth and diced tomatoes and seasonings. Bring to a boil and lower heat so that it is cooking at a low rolling boil.
  • Dump in the barley and continue to let the soup cook at a low rolling boil for 30-45 minutes. The barley should be fully cooked and the beef should be tender.


Per serving:

Calories: 318kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 37gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 1127mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3g

Nutrition Disclaimer


Did you try this recipe?

Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

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

  • 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.


  • 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!

  • This looks like a delicious soup – so rich.

    • Quick question before making the soup, with the diced tomatoes do you drain them before putting in?

      • Reply
      • I don’t drain the can of diced tomatoes. I just dump it all in.

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

    • And barley is a grain too….

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

  • 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. 🙂

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Reply
    • 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!?

  • 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!

    • Reply
    • 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!!

  • 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.

    • Reply
    • Thanks for the report Doreen. I am so glad that it turned out well! Now you have me craving beef barley soup!!

  • great soup kids and I love it.

  • 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

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

    • Reply
  • 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!

    • Reply
  • Made this soup today, it was so yummy! Thanks!

    • Reply
  • 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.

    • Reply
  • Great recipe, exactly what I was looking for

    • Reply
  • 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

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

    • Reply
  • 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!

    • Reply
  • Is the canned beef broth concentrated, and then still add the water?

    • No – this broth is not from concentrate

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

    • Reply
  • 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!

    • Reply
  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Reply
  • 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.

    • Reply
    • It freezes wonderfully. I make a big batch and always freeze it. It is great with buttered saltine crackers

      • Reply
  • 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!

    • Reply
  • 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

    • Reply
  • 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.

    • Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for sharing your tips and additions

      • The family has the flu so I’m making soups for meals for when they get hungry. This beef barley recipe is excellent, taste good and the family is getting something in their bellies they can keep down . Thanks . Les

        • Reply
  • Beef barley soup recipe THE BEST SOUP EVER! !!

    • Reply
      • Thanks I LOVE the soup it’s simply AWESOME

        • Reply
  • 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!

    • Reply
  • 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!!

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

    • Reply
  • I use this recipe often (with regular beef not smoked) and we all love it! Usually make it on Sunday and then bring to work for lunch several days that week. It is an excellent recipe and we are going to try your chicken noodle soup recipe next.

    • Reply
  • I am making this for the second time but I pre-cooked the barley and use two 900 mls of beef broth (2 terra packs) and reduced the water by the extra beef broth. Turned out great.

    I just noticed that you didn’t pre-cook the barley. Is that correct? Seems faster but I thought you had to. Thanks’ great recipe!

    • Reply
    • I don’t pre-cook the barley, but sometimes they seem to absorb more of the liquid and I add a little extra broth, if needed.

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