This beef barley soup is the ultimate comfort food! Just a few minutes of work rewards you with a flavorful and hearty soup that’s perfect for the fall or winter!
While this post is sponsored by Perdue Farms, all opinions and ideas are 100% honest and my own.
It seem almost silly to be posting a hearty beef and barley soup recipe when it’s still 95 degrees outside. But I have hope that the fall will be bringing its cooler weather sooner than later.
So get ready for all of the delicious comfort foods. This beef barley soup joins my favorite copycat Zuppa Toscana and the best white bean chicken chili in my top comfort food recipes ever.
Families will love it because:
- It’s so easy to make – just 1, 2, 3!
- It’s an entire meal in one bowl, no sides necessary
- It’s super hearty and filling so no hungry kids afterwards
- The flavor is incredible. We use a secret ingredient to make the flavor of the soup really pop.
- It’s even better warmed up the second day – hello yummy leftovers!
The most important ingredient in this beef and barley soup is the beef. Our beef of choice is Panorama Organic Grass-Fed Stew Meat. If you can’t find it locally in stores, you can get it ordered directly to your home from the Perdue Farms website.
Panorama is the nation’s largest producer of 100 percent grass-fed and grass-finished organic beef. And that right there is speaking our family’s language! Plus, they never receive hormones or antibiotics, and are raised humanely.
It may cost a bit more than regular beef you can pick up in the store, but the quality is so much better. It’s juicy, flavorful, and so tender.
Really you can get pretty much any kind of meat from the Perdue Farms website! And if you use this link, you can also get 15% off your order PLUS free shipping on orders over $119.
Everything comes frozen, so we order items regularly to stock up our freezer and just thaw the meat for whatever weeknight dinners we’re planning to cook the next day.
The other ingredients are pretty straightforward but just a couple of additional notes.
- Beef broth – you can use either beef broth or beef bone broth, either one works just fine.
- Barley – any barley works as long as it’s uncooked. See the note in the tips section for help if your barley soaks up too much of the liquid and reduces the soup too much.
- Ghee – if you don’t have ghee, you can use butter or avocado oil to brown the meat instead
- Coconut aminos – these make the flavor of this soup super rich but if you don’t have them, you can substitute soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce instead.
When you look at the recipe below you might holy cow, this soup takes forever to cook.
Let me tell you a little secret – it takes a while but most of it is hands off, just letting the soup simmer.
It’s the perfect soup to get started while your kids are on a Zoom call, doing homework, or you have like 15 minutes to prep dinner.
That’s really all it takes – about fifteen minutes then some simmering. A lot of simmering.
Okay first things first, heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Then brown the meat on all sides by placing the stew meat in the pot, making sure it’s spread out enough to let each piece brown on all sides.
If you can’t do a single layer of beef because your pot is too small, you might need to split the beef and do it in two batches.
When the beef is browned, remove it from the pot and set aside for now.
Add the ghee to the pot and melt. Then add in your carrots, celery, and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 4 minutes or until the vegetables have browned lightly.
Oh and one more note – when you’re cutting your veggies, make sure they are cut like the photo below, in half-moon chunks. This will help them cook evenly in the soup.
Next you’re going to add in all of your spices and garlic. Cook them for about one minute, stirring continuously so you don’t burn the garlic. No one likes burnt garlic.
Add one cup of the broth and the coconut aminos to deglaze the pot, scraping the sides of the pot to get all the browned bits left by the beef and veggies – aka all the good stuff.
Add the rest of the broth, some salt, and the beef you cooked earlier. Bring this to a boil and then you’re mostly done.
Cover the pot, reduce heat to low (important!), and let it simmer for about an hour.
Add the barley and raise the heat to bring the soup back to a simmer.
Reduce the heat back to medium low and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes or until the beef and barley are tender.
Discard the bay leaves, season with salt to taste, and serve warm.
Cut your veggies about the same size so that they cook evenly. Cut half-moon shapes on the carrots’ thicker end and 1/2 rounds on the thinner ends (since a half-moon won’t be that big).
Add a cup of broth and simmer for an additional 10 minutes if the broth reduces too much while simmering after you add the barley.
Substitute worcestershire sauce or soy sauce for the coconut aminos if you don’t have them on hand. Coconut aminos are definitely the preferred option but the other two work as an alternative.
Use low-sodium beef broth so that you can control the amount of salt added to the recipe.
You can use any kind of barley you want for this soup as long as it’s uncooked barely.
Beef barley soup is kind of a meal on its own, but it would be delicious served with garlic breadsticks and a light dessert like peanut butter pie.
Yes, freeze this soup in an airtight container. When you’re ready to eat, thaw overnight then reheat on the stove. If it gets too thick, add a bit of additional beef broth to thin.
No, you do not need to cook barley before adding to the soup. The soup will cook the barley while it simmers.
No, unlike this Instant Pot basmati rice or some other grains, you do not need to soak the barley before cooking. Just add to the soup and cook.
More Delicious Soups & Stews
- Homemade chicken and noodles
- Butternut squash soup
- Copycat zuppa toscana
- White bean chicken chili
- Homemade Cincinnati chili
Beef Barley Soup
- 1 lb Panorama Beef Stew Meat or chuck roast cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 TBS ghee
- 4 medium carrots peeled and cut into ½ inch rounds
- 5 celery ribs cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- 6 cups low sodium beef broth
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup uncooked barley
- 1 TBS coconut aminos
- Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Dab beef dry with a paper towel.
- Add the beef to the pot in a single layer and cook for 5 minutes, browning all sides. Do not crowd the meat in the pot. If all the meat doesn’t fit, brown half, and then repeat the process with the second half. Remove from pot and set aside.
- Add ghee to the pot and melt.
- Add the carrots, celery, and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring every minute or so until vegetables have lightly browned.
- Add garlic, thyme, and bay leaves and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously to prevent garlic from burning.
- Add one cup broth and the coconut aminos to deglaze the pot and scape up all the browned bits left by the beef and vegetables.
- Add remaining broth, salt, and beef. Bring to a boil.
- Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour.
- Add the barley, stir, and increase the heat to regain the simmer.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, or until the beef and barley are tender. If the broth has reduced too much, add an additional cup of broth and simmer for 10 more minutes, or until the desired soupy consistency.
- Discard the bay leaves, season with salt to taste, and serve warm.
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