Beef Barley Soup

5 from 4 votes
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Braised Beef Barley Soup is a hearty, filling, and nutritious soup that is slow cooked for hours to achieve the most tender and juicy pieces of beef. It’s loaded with veggies, pearl barley, and a delicious and flavourful red wine beef broth, making this the ultimate weeknight comfort meal.

This time of year (after Christmas, but before New Years Eve) I am all over the place when it comes to what to cook. I am still full from all of the big meals we’ve eaten over the past few days, so I am looking for something more hearty and nutritious. If this sounds like you too, you need to give my Beef Barley Soup recipe a try.

Looking for more soup recipes?

Be sure to check out all of the Soup + Crockpot recipes right here on the blog. Down below I will share a few personal favs.

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Keep in touch with me on Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest! Also, if you do make this recipe (or any recipe of mine for that matter) be sure to tag #sammymontgoms so I can see your re-creations!

Beef Barley at a glance

Taste: hearty, filling and incredibly flavourful.
Time: the prep work doesn’t take much time, about 20 minutes. It then simmers on the stove for 5-6 hours, which I promise, is worth the wait.
Effort: very minimal effort for this one, and it’s made in one-pot.
Freezer friendly: I always make a big batch of this soup to have some leftover to freeze. It’s perfect on those nights where I don’t feel like cooking, but want something quick, warm, and comforting.


Here is a quick overview of the ingredients you’ll need to make my Braised Beef Barley Soup. For the exact detailed measurements and ingredients, scroll to the bottom of this page to review my recipe card.

  • olive oil: for frying the beef
  • stewing beef: chuck roast is my favourite cut of beef to use in this recipe.
  • carrots
  • celery
  • yellow onion 
  • garlic cloves 
  • tomato paste
  • worcestershire
  • red wine: either a cabernet sauvignon or merlot.
  • beef broth: chicken stock or vegetable stock will also work.
  • pearl barley
  • fresh herbs

Substitutions & FAQ’s

Crockpot: simply sear the beef in a pan as the recipe indicates, and add everything to the crockpot (except the fresh parsley) and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours.

Looking to make this recipe in and instant pot? Check out this article here: Crockpot to Instant Pot Conversions

What other types of beef can I use in this recipe?
I recommend using a chuck cut (stewing beef) for this recipe as it contains more fat which will help tenderize the beef while it simmers. I’ve also had a lot of people tell me that they use ground beef in this recipe, which would also be delicious if thats what you have on hand.

What type of barley should I use in this recipe?
I use pearl barley for this soup, but hulled barley would works too. There are many differently types of barley but pearl barley is the most commonly used for Beef Barley Soup recipes. If you can’t find barley you can always use couscous.

Can I remove the red wine in the recipe? Yes, just be sure to add the equivalent in beef stock.

Storing & reheating

Can I freeze this recipe? Yes! And I almost always do. Just keep in mind when you freeze the soup it becomes thicker, so when you reheat it, just have a some beef stock on hand to thin out the soup. If you don’t have beef stock at the time, water will also work.

Reheating from frozen? Take the soup out of the freezer the day before to thaw. Add it to a pot with a splash of beef stock or water and cook until heated throughout.

Storing: This soup will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container. Simply add the leftovers to a pot with a splash of water or beef stock and cook until heated throughout.

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If you enjoyed this Beef Barley Soup please consider leaving me a 5 star rating and review in my recipe card provided below, it means so very much to me!

5 from 4 votes

Beef Barley Soup

Braised Beef Barley Soup is a hearty, filling, and nutritious soup that is slow cooked for hours to achieve the most tender and juicy pieces of beef. It's loaded with veggies, pearl barley, and a delicious flavourful red wine beef broth, making this the ultimate weeknight comfort meal. 
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 6 hours
Servings: 6 people


  • 1 large dutch oven or crockpot


  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • lbs stewing beef, cubed
  • 5 carrots, peeled, diced
  • 3 celery, diced
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire
  • 1 cup red wine, cabernet sauvignon or merlot
  • 7½-8½ cups beef broth, low sodium
  • cups barley, (I use pearl barley)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • handful fresh thyme
  • fresh parsley, chopped, optional for garnish
  • salt
  • pepper


  • Begin by preparing your stewing beef into ½ inch cubes and pat to dry using paper towel.
    Generously season both sides with salt and pepper.
    Toss to combine.
  • Prepare your carrots, celery and onion by chopping them into similar sized pieces, about ½ inch in size.
    Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot, preferably a dutch oven to medium/high heat.
    And your olive oil and once hot, add in your stewing beef and fry on each side, just until golden brown. About 1-2 minutes per side.
    Work in batches to avoid over crowding the pan.
  • Once the beef has a visible sear, remove it using a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • To the same pan, add your carrots, celery and onion and let saute for 5-7 minutes on medium heat, just until the veggies begin to soften.
  • Next, add your garlic and let sauté for another minute.
  • Add your tomato paste and let cook on medium heat for 1-2 minute, or until it's incorporated well and turns into a deeper red color.
  • Degalze with the red wine and bring to a light simmer to allow the wine to reduce by half. About 3 minutes.
  • Return your beef back to the pot, along with the worcestershire, beef broth (I would start with 7 cups), bay leaves and fresh thyme.
    Cover and let simmer on low for at least 5-6 hours.
    (Tip: if the meat isn't as tender as you'd like it to be, continue simmering it for an additional hour or so. The longer you slow cook the soup, the more tender the beef will become).
  • During the last 45 minutes of cook time, add your barley, cover and let continue cooking on low/simmer until the barley is plump and fully cooked.
    Stir every 10 minutes or so to avoid he barley from sticking together.
    (Tip: if the soup is too thick for your liking once the barley has cooked, add 1/2 cup of beef stock at a time until its reached your desired consistency).
  • Taste to see if you need any additional salt or pepper.
    (Depending on if you use a salted/unsalted salted beef stock, will determine how much additional salt, if any, is required).
  • Dish up and top with fresh parsley and loads of fresh cracked pepper.
  • Enjoy along side fresh buns or biscuits.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 people

About Sammy Montgoms

I am so glad you are here. I am a BIG foodie gal. I am one of those people who lives to eat, rather than eats to live. I love to create nostalgic Italian dishes (especially pasta), but I also love to whip up simple and quick recipes for my family. Hopefully, my page inspires you to do the same. Thank you for being here, and happy eating!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Made this for the first time, and OMG it’s soooo delicious!! Easy, very little clean up and my house smells like I’m a professional chef. This will definitely be added to my winter menu!

    1. Hi Sarah! Yes! That is such awesome news, so happy you enjoyed it! It’s one of my favs too.

  2. 5 stars
    I just made this tonight and it is the best beef barley soup I’ve ever had!! All the right flavors and so comforting. This one is a keeper! Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Sam! Awe, thanks for this review, I so appreciate it. And I am so happy you loved the soup!

  3. 5 stars
    This soup is amazing! I used a Dutch oven and followed all of your steps. I brought it all to a boil and baked it at 325 degrees F for 2 hours, then added the pearl barley and baked it all for one more hour. Delicious! Perfect for a snowy New England Sunday!