Slow Cooker Beef & Barley Soup

Slow Cooker Beef & Barley Soup is a comforting and hearty dish that warms the soul with its rich flavors and tender beef. This soup combines the earthy goodness of barley with the wholesome taste of vegetables and savory beef, all simmered to perfection in a slow cooker. Whether you’re coming in from a chilly day or simply craving a bowl of nourishing goodness, this soup is the answer.


For the Soup:

  • 1 pound stewing beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For Garnish (optional):

  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Grated Parmesan cheese


Searing the Beef (Optional but Recommended):

  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the bite-sized stewing beef pieces to the skillet and sear them until they are browned on all sides. This step enhances the flavor of the beef, but you can skip it if you’re short on time.

Slow Cooking the Soup:

  1. In your slow cooker, combine the seared beef (if using), pearl barley, chopped carrots, chopped celery, minced garlic, and finely chopped onion.
  2. Pour in the beef broth and add the bay leaves and dried thyme. Stir everything together.
  3. Season the mixture with salt and black pepper to taste. Keep in mind that the beef broth already contains salt, so adjust accordingly.
  4. Cover the slow cooker and set it to cook on low heat for 6-8 hours, or until the beef is tender and the barley is cooked to your desired level of doneness. The longer you cook, the softer the barley will become.

Serving the Beef & Barley Soup:

  1. Once the soup is ready, discard the bay leaves.
  2. Ladle the hot soup into bowls.

Garnish (optional):

  1. Sprinkle each serving with chopped fresh parsley and a generous pinch of grated Parmesan cheese for added flavor and freshness.
  2. Serve the Slow Cooker Beef & Barley Soup hot and enjoy its hearty, comforting goodness.

Variations and Tips

  • Vegetable Variations: Feel free to add other vegetables like peas, corn, or green beans to the soup for extra nutrition and flavor.
  • Mushrooms: Sliced mushrooms are a delightful addition for those who enjoy their earthy taste. Add them during the last hour of cooking.
  • Herb Choices: Experiment with herbs like rosemary or marjoram for different flavor profiles.
  • Stovetop Version: If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can make this soup on the stovetop. Simply simmer it over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the beef and barley are tender.
  • Beef Choices: You can use different cuts of beef, but stewing beef works well as it becomes tender during slow cooking.
  • Make It Ahead: Soups often taste even better the next day, so consider making this a day in advance.
  • Storage: Store any leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days or freeze for longer storage.


Slow Cooker Beef & Barley Soup is a bowl of comfort that’s perfect for chilly days or when you simply crave a warm and satisfying meal. With tender beef, wholesome barley, and an array of vegetables in a flavorful broth, it’s a hearty and nourishing dish that’s easy to make in your slow cooker. Whether you’re serving it to family or enjoying a quiet bowl by yourself, this soup is sure to warm your heart and soul with each spoonful. Savor the simplicity and warmth of Slow Cooker Beef & Barley Soup!

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