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.
4.62 out of 5
31 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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Recipe Rating


  • Great recipe, exactly what I was looking for

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  • 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.

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

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  • 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!

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

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  • 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

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  • great soup kids and I love it.

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  • 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.

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

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  • 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!

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    • 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!!

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  • 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.

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    • 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!?

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  • 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.

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  • 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!

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  • 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. 🙂

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

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

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    • And barley is a grain too….

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

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

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

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  • This looks like a delicious soup – so rich.

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  • 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!

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  • 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.


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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. 🙂

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