Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup

If you are looking for the perfect, easy recipe to inaugurate the year's soup season, this slow cooker beef barley soup recipe is just what you need! Not only is this recipe from food blogger and recipe developer Erin Johnson delicious and seasonally appropriate, but thanks to the magic of a slow cooker, it is the ultimate low-maintenance recipe. "This soup is hearty and delicious and is perfect for fall," Johnson says.

This is not a quick recipe, but all you have to do is put a bunch of ingredients in a crockpot and, more or less, leave it alone. If you usually get soup out of a can, it's also a great recipe for beginners who want to venture into homemade soup. You don't have to deglaze or thicken or do anything particularly fancy to make this beef barley soup. You just need a crockpot, a handful of basic ingredients, and roughly six hours. Let's get started!

Gather the ingredients for beef barley soup

To make this slow cooker beef barley soup, use stew beef. Often found at the grocery store under the names chuck roast or round roast, stew beef consists of tough cuts of meat. During the slow process of making a stew or soup, the connective tissues that make stew meat feel tough break down and give the meat a tender texture.

The soup recipe calls for carrots, celery, potato, and sweet potatoes. "You can use all regular potatoes if you prefer, but I love the sweetness of the sweet potato," Johnson says. The soup is seasoned with diced onions, minced garlic, salt, black pepper, and herbs de Provence. You'll also add tomato paste and beef stock (or broth), then incorporate barley near the end.

Fill the slow cooker

Start by placing the beef at the bottom of the crockpot. Then, add the carrots, celery, potatoes, and sweet potatoes, stirring everything together. Add the onion and garlic and mix in all the seasonings, add the tomato paste and beef stock and give the contents of the crockpot one final stir.

Let the crockpot do its thing

Cook the soup on low for five hours. That may seem like a long time, but it's safe to leave your slow cooker on while you run errands, go to work, or leave the house for any other reason as long as you use it safely (via Good Housekeeping). Make sure to place your slow cooker on a heat-proof surface and away from the wall, and using it on its "low" setting is your best bet. After the five hours are up, mix the barley in and cook for an additional hour.

If that's too long to wait, you can cook this soup on high for four hours in the crockpot. You could also forgo the slow cooker entirely. "You can absolutely make this [soup] on the stovetop in a large pot or Dutch oven," Johnson states. "Simply brown the beef, add the other ingredients (minus the barley), bring to a boil, and then simmer until the veggies and beef are tender. Add the barley and cook for an additional 30 minutes."

Serve and store your soup

After six hours of patience, your beef barley soup is ready to serve. This beef barley soup should last in the refrigerator for up to three days in an airtight container, and you can also freeze it and reheat it on the stove. "I like to serve this with crusty bread," Johnson notes. "It's a meal in itself."

Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup
5 from 37 ratings
Perfect for fall, this beef barley soup is easy to make in the slow cooker. The recipe transforms basic ingredients into a hearty dinner everyone will love.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Beef barley soup in bowls
Total time: 6 hours, 10 minutes
  • 1 ½ pounds stew beef pieces
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, diced
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cups beef stock or broth
  • ½ cup barley
  1. Place the beef in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, potatoes, and sweet potatoes to the slow cooker. Mix everything together.
  3. Add the onion and garlic, and mix in the salt, black pepper, and herbs de Provence.
  4. Add the tomato paste and beef stock to the slow cooker, and stir all ingredients together until well combined.
  5. Cook on low for 5 hours.
  6. After 5 hours, mix the barley into the crockpot and cook for 1 hour.
Calories per Serving 205
Total Fat 3.8 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 42.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 24.3 g
Dietary Fiber 4.5 g
Total Sugars 4.4 g
Sodium 551.9 mg
Protein 19.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe