Beef Barley Soup is a wholesome dish with a rich beef flavor, a variety of vegetables, and chewy pearl barley. It’s a perfectly hearty and delicious choice for a nourishing and filling meal, especially in the colder months. And we get really cold weather around here, for sure! For another comforting soup that will warm you up and fill you up, try my Beef Stew with Dumplings, too!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Meat: Chuck roast is a good choice of meat because it has lots of marbling, which means it has bits of fat mixed in the meat. This adds flavor and keeps the meat juicy while it cooks. Chuck roast also has a good mix of lean meat and fat, making the soup tender and tasty. If you can’t find chuck roast, you can use bottom round or brisket instead. It’s important to brown the meat before you add the rest of the soup ingredients, which adds so much flavor to the soup.
Beef Broth: The beef broth is the base of the soup, providing a rich and savory liquid. Beef stock would also work, but you may have to adjust the salt added, so taste it to be sure.
Vegetables: I added onions, carrots, and celery to the soup. Along with the garlic and tomato paste, the vegetables complement the beef and barley, adding layers of flavor, texture, and nutritional value.
Barley: Look for pearl (or pearled) barley which is barley that has had its outer hull removed, along with part of the bran layer. It’s usually found in the same aisle as oats and rice in the grocery store. Pearl barley takes less time to cook than hulled barley, so stick with pearl barley for this recipe. I do not recommend using quick pearl barley, which cooks in an even shorter time.
Can I Make The Soup Ahead Of Time?
To get a head start on the soup, you can cut up the beef a day ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. You could also get the vegetables cut up a day or two in advance and store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator to save time. Then, it’s all about putting everything together when you are ready for a satisfying and comforting soup. Or, get the whole pot of soup made and store it in the refrigerator overnight to warm up and serve the next day. Sometimes, that even brings out more flavor in the soup!
What To Serve With Beef Barley Soup
Beef Barley soup is definitely hearty enough to be a main dish. So, pair it with some delicious side dishes to round out the meal. Here are some options to serve with the soup:
- Crusty Bread (like a French baguette)
- Dinner Rolls
- Garlic Knots or Garlic Breadsticks
- Mashed Potatoes (or Cauliflower Mashed)
- Roasted Vegetables like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, or green beans
- Cornbread or Cornbread Muffins
How To Store Beef Barley Soup
To store beef and barley soup, first, let it cool to room temperature. Next, store it in an airtight container or portion it into smaller containers for easy grab-and-heat meals! It will last in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat the soup in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Can I Freeze This Soup?
Yes, beef and barley soup freezes quite well! To freeze the soup, first, let it cool to room temperature. Then, store it in a freezer-safe sealable bag or container, leaving a little bit of room for expansion. Label and date the packaging; it will last up to 3 months. When ready to reheat it, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Beef Barley Soup
- 2 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 9 cups (72 ounces) beef broth
- 1 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
- 3 medium carrots, cut into rounds (about ½ cup)
- 2 ribs celery, diced (about ½ cup)
- 3 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup (200 g) pearl barley
- parsley, chopped for garnish
- To a medium bowl, add chuck roast, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Set aside.
- To a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add oil. Once hot, add the beef to the pot and brown it on all sides, about 7-8 minutes.
- Add the beef broth, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. Let the soup simmer for about an hour, or until the beef is tender. Then, add the barley, cover, and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the barley is tender.
- Garnish with parsley. Serve warm.
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What the Test Kitchen had to say about this recipe:
Such a warm and comforting soup with lots of flavor! I plan to make this one at home this winter! And, the leftovers are so good, too!
What a wonderful warming, flavorful soup! This was fantastic and hearty. I love the texture of the pearl barley!
This soup is just so warm and comforting and delicious. I love the hearty bite of the barley!