A hot bowl of beef barley soup makes for a hearty and comforting meal. Filled with rich, juicy chunks of ribeye steak, loads of colorful vegetables and tender barely, my beef barley soup recipe is the perfect nutritious dinner to cozy up with on a chilling evening!
Beef Barley Soup, a warm and cozy hug in soup form
Being the avid soup lovers that we are in our household, one of our favorite meals to enjoy on a chilly weekday evening as we sit down to watch our favorite shows is a hot bowl of soup.
My, oh, my, nothing compares to this soothing, savory meal, with each spoonful like an elixir for the soul as the hot liquid makes its way to the belly, feeling like a warm hug from within.
My beef barley soup is a recipe that I often make as temps begin to fall and the evenings become a bit more blustery.
Filled with rich, juicy chunks of ribeye steak, a variety of veggies such as carrots, celery, onion, peas and diced tomatoes, plus nutritious barley, its delectable earthiness is simply irresistible.
It's the perfect meal to ladle up and get extra comfy-cozy with along with a favorite blankie!
My Beef Barley Soup Recipe
Beef barley soup should have a rich, beefy flavor, with chunks of tender beef that melt in the mouth. It should be filling, yet also brothy and savory, loaded with earthy textures.
To create the beefy flavor for this soup, the cut of beef one uses makes the difference...
One really great option that is not very expensive is beef stew meat or beef chuck roast cut into chunks, but these cuts do take much longer to cook, typically about 2 hours of simmering for a nice, tender result.
If I'm looking to save on time, and if I'm craving very tender, rich pieces of beef, I typically will opt to go a slightly more pricey route and use ribeye steak.
Ribeye has amazing beefy flavor, and because it is meant to be cooked quickly rather than for an extended period, the chunks of steak only require a quick sear before being removed from the pot only to be added back in at the end to finish in the hot broth.
(I use ribeye in this delicious Steak and Ale Soup with Mushrooms recipe, and it makes for a richer end result because of the marbling of fat in the rib eye—lots of great flavor in that!)
It's up to individual preference which cut of beef one prefers to use, but for the sake of my recipe here, I'm using the ribeye steak because I love the flavor of it.
Ribeye is a bit of a treat, and because this is one of my personal favorite soups, I'm willing to splurge a little for it.
Here's a glance at my beef barley soup recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I place a large soup pot over medium heat, and while it heats up, I toss my steak cubes with some salt/pepper and flour to coat. I sear my beef for a few minutes on all sides until browned, then remove it with a slotted spoon and set it aside.
- Next, I add into the pot my veggies along with my aromatics, followed by the remainder of my ingredients through the diced tomatoes, and simmer the soup for 15 to 20 minutes until the veggies are tender. While the soup simmers, I prepare my barley.
- Once the vegetables in the soup are tender, I turn off the heat under the soup and add the seared ribeye back in, to allow the beef to warm through.
- To serve, I add some of my cooked barley to my bowl, ladle the hot soup over, and enjoy!
Beef Barley Soup
by Ingrid Beer
This rich, cozy beef barley soup is filled with savory chunks of tender ribeye steak, an array of fresh, colorful vegetables and tender barley!
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 579 calories
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
- 2 ribeye steaks (about 1 pound each), trimmed of excess fat and cubed into bite-size pieces
- Black pepper
- 4 tablespoons flour, divided use
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 ribs celery, diced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning/dried herbs
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1 (14.5 ounce ) can diced tomatoes, drained of juices
- 1 cup organic, quick cooking barley
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 1 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Place the cubed rib eye into a medium bowl, and sprinkle with a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper. Sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of the flour, and toss to coat.
- Place a medium-large soup pot over high heat, and add in the butter and the olive oil. Once melted and hot, add in beef cubes (work in two batches as to not overcrowd the pot) and allow it to sear on all sides until a golden crust forms, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside. (Beef should be rare inside.)
- To the same pot, add in the diced onion, carrots and celery, and stir to saute for 2-3 minutes, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of pan for flavor. Add in the Italian seasoning and the garlic, and stir until aromatic.
- Add in the tomato paste and stir to combine, followed by the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.
- Add the beef broth, whisking all the while to keep the soup smooth, then add in the diced tomatoes.
- Bring the soup to a vigorous simmer, then cover and reduce the heat and allow the soup to simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.
- While the soup simmers, prepare your barley according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside, keeping it warm.
- To finish the soup, turn off the heat and add back into the pot the seared beef along with any juices, plus the peas and the parsley. Allow the soup to sit for about 5 minutes to allow the beef to gently heat through and finish cooking to medium-rare.
- To serve, add about ½ cup cooked barley to individual bowls, ladle hot soup over top and enjoy.
Tips & Tidbits for Beef Barley Soup:
- Cut of beef for tender results: For this recipe, I chose to use ribeye steak cut into cubes, because of the richness and flavor. It is more expensive, but worth it, and quick-cooking as well. You could also use beef stew meat—just know that after you brown it you will leave it in the pot and add in the other ingredients. Then, you will simmer the soup for about 2 hours until the meat is tender.
- Hearty vegetables for earthiness: I love the basics in this beef barley soup: carrots, onions, and celery. Since there is barley being added, I leave out potatoes, though you can add those in if you like. You can also substitute parsnips, cubed butternut squash, leeks, rutabaga or turnips—I've used them all and they're delicious!
- Gluten-free option to flour: I use flour to coat my cubed rib eye before browning it, but if you're looking for a gluten-free option, you can substitute gluten-free flour or corn starch, and also leave the barley out of the bowl when serving.
- Cook the barley separately: I've found that anytime I add barley, quinoa, or even rice directly into my soup pot, when preparing a soup that calls for any of these, they absorb the liquid over time and the soup becomes super thick. I like to keep my soup brothy, so I cook my barley separately (and store it separate), then simply add a few spoonfuls to my bowl before ladling in the hot soup.
Hungry for more cozy soup recipes? Check out this Steak and Ale Soup, this Rigatoni Meatball Soup, this Sausage Tortellini Soup, this Hearty Italian Chicken and Autumn Veggie Soup, or this Harvest Stew with Smoked Sausage!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2018, and has been updated with even more love!