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Beef Barley Soup

Beef Barley Soup is a the ultimate hearty dinner that is so easy to make. Loaded with ground beef, vegetables and nutrient-rich barley for a filling and delicious meal.

Closeup of a bowl of beef barley soup with a spoon.

Nothing satisfies like a warm bowl of soup on a cold winter night and this Ground Beef Barley Soup is packed with flavor.

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Why You Will Love this Beef and Barley Soup

  • Budget Friendly Dinner: Soup one of the most affordable dinner options and is great to use up bits of vegetables and leftovers that you have in the refrigerator. Add a little more broth to stretch it for a crowd.
  • Easy Ground Beef Recipe: Ground beef and barley soup comes together with just a pound of ground beef and it’s one of our favorite soup recipes.
  • Make Ahead and Freezer Friendly: Soup is one of those meals that just gets better the next day. Make a big batch of soup for the week or freeze it for nights that you need a quick meal without running to the grocery store.
2 bowls of beef and barley soup, bowl of salad.

Ingredients for Beef Barley Soup Recipe

  • Onions – yellow onions or white onions
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Lean Ground Beef
  • Pearl Barley – can be prepared ahead or use quick cooking barley
  • Butter
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Water or Beef Broth
  • Granulated Garlic

Step-By-Step Directions for Ground Beef Barley Soup

Collage cooking carrots, celery onions. Browning ground beef.
  1. Cook the Vegetables & Ground Beef: Dice the onions, slice celery and carrots and place in a large skillet with olive oil. Cook over medium-high heat and season with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally. Cook until vegetables are softened and start to caramelize. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Brown the ground beef in the skillet over medium- high heat.
Collage making a dark roux for soup.
  1. Make the Roux: While the vegetables are cooking, place a dutch oven or large pan over low heat. Melt the butter and stir in flour with a wooden spoon. Stir often, keeping a constant eye on the roux. Continue to cook until roux is between a dark peanut butter color or chocolate brown, depending on how you like it.
  2. Add Water or Broth: Next, add the water or beef broth to the roux, stirring until well combined.
Collage adding vegetables, ground beef, barley to soup.
  1. Combine Vegetables, Beef & Barley: Stir in the vegetables, browned ground beef and the barley. Our barley was pre-cooked, if you do not cook the barley ahead, just add 15 -20 minutes to the cooking time or use quick-cooking barley.
Pot of soup, ground beef, vegetables and barley.
  1. Season and Simmer: Season with granulated garlic and add more salt and pepper if needed. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Overhead view - 2 bowls of beef barley soup, salad, cornbread muffins.

Recipe Notes and Variations for Beef Barley Soup Recipe

  • More Add-Ins: Diced tomatoes, canned beans, frozen mixed vegetables, bell peppers or any leftover vegetables you have in the refrigerator can be added to this soup.
  • Beef: We love to use browned ground beef in soups. Stew meat, cubed steak or leftover roast beef makes an excellent beef barley stew.
  • Leftovers: Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
  • Freezing Instructions: For longer storage, use a freezer-safe container and freeze up to 3 months. Don’t forget to label with the contents and date.
  • Reheat: Cook soup in a pan over medium heat, add a bit of water or broth if desired. Stir until heated through. For frozen soup, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or cook in a covered pot over low heat, stirring occasionally.

What to Serve with Beef Barley Soup

Soup is a meal in it’s own and doesn’t really have to be served with side dishes. We made our jalapeno cheddar cornbread into muffins and served it up with a garden salad. Our Easy Garlic Bread also makes a quick side for any soup night.

Bowl of beef barley soup with a spoon.

The best thing about this Beef Barley Soup recipe is that it is filling and delicious plus it is easy enough for any night of the week.

If you love this recipe as much as we do, please leave a comment and a five star review. Help us share on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook!

Yield: 6 Servings

Beef Barley Soup

Bowl of beef barley soup.

Beef Barley Soup is a the ultimate hearty dinner that is so easy to make. Loaded with ground beef, vegetables and nutrient-rich barley for a filling and delicious meal.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 8 cups water or beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 4 cups pearl barley (pre-cooked if desired)

Instructions

  1. Place onions, slice celery and carrots and place in a large skillet with olive oil. Cook over medium-high heat and season with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally. Cook until vegetables are softened and start to caramelize. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Brown the ground beef in the skillet over medium- high heat, stirring occasionally to crumble and brown on all sides. Drain excess fat and discard.
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, place a dutch oven or large pan over low heat. Melt the butter and stir in flour with a wooden spoon. Stir often, keeping a constant eye on the roux. Continue to cook until roux is between a dark peanut butter color or chocolate brown, depending on how you like it.
  4. Next, add the water or beef broth to the roux, stirring until well combined.
  5. Stir in the vegetables, browned ground beef and the barley. Our barley was pre-cooked, if you do not cook the barley ahead, just add 15 -20 minutes to the cooking time or use quick-cooking barley.
  6. Season with granulated garlic and add more salt and pepper if needed. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Notes

  • More Add-Ins: Diced tomatoes, canned beans, frozen mixed vegetables, bell peppers or any leftover vegetables you have in the refrigerator can be added to this soup.
  • Beef: We love to use browned ground beef in soups. Stew meat, cubed steak or leftover roast beef makes an excellent beef barley stew.
  • Roux: Making a roux for this soup is optional. We love the nutty flavor it adds to the soup from the browned butter and flour mixture. It's especially a great flavor boost if you don't have beef broth.
  • Leftovers: Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
  • Freezing Instructions: For longer storage, use a freezer-safe container and freeze up to 3 months. Don’t forget to label with the contents and date.
  • Reheat: Cook soup in a pan over medium heat, add a bit of water or broth if desired. Stir until heated through. For frozen soup, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or cook in a covered pot over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    6

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 565Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 593mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 6gSugar: 2gProtein: 26g

    Nutritional calculations are estimated and may not be accurate.

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    2 Comments

      1. Hi Judy,
        I have not tested it with gluten-free flour but I think tapioca flour is the best for making a gluten-free roux. I am not sure how it does to brown it like all purpose flour. The roux can be skipped and just use beef broth if preferred.

        ~ Milisa

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