Chicken Barley Soup Recipe
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Chicken Barley Soup Recipe

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No question—this is my favorite soup! It's so filling that I serve it as a hearty main dish, and I have given the recipe to many of our friends and relatives. (Especially with the barley, it simply tastes too good to keep to yourself!) —Diana Costello, Marion, Kansas
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. + cooling Cook: 1 hour
MAKES:5 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. + cooling Cook: 1 hour
MAKES: 5 servings


  • 1 broiler/fryer chicken (2 to 3 pounds), cut up
  • 8 cups water
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup medium pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage

Nutritional Facts

1 cup (calculated without salt): 333 calories, 14g fat (4g saturated fat), 84mg cholesterol, 285mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 5g fiber), 29g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 medium-fat meat, 1 starch, 1 vegetable.


  1. In a large stockpot, cook chicken in water until tender. Cool broth and skim off fat. Set chicken aside until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones; discard bones and cut meat into cubes. Return meat to pan along with remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1 hour or until vegetables and barley are tender. Discard bay leaf. Yield: 5 servings (about 1-1/2 quarts).
Originally published as Chicken Barley Soup in Country Woman January/February 1993, p29

Full-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.

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doreensanzone User ID: 1270959 248683
Reviewed May. 27, 2016

"Full of spiced-up flavor. Roast chicken in soup formI I need to experiment more with the amount of barley. Also be aware that you will have to add liquid if you have any left over to reheat. My mom, sister and I all enjoyed this. I will definitely make it again when the weather turns chilly again."

heidiclark1 User ID: 2771648 247479
Reviewed Apr. 25, 2016

"I came back to this recipe after making it two weeks ago. The broth really is delicious."

Dienna User ID: 5814783 232211
Reviewed Sep. 2, 2015

"This is one of the best recipes I have ever tried. This is absolutely delicious and very filling. I normally prefer the creamier soups so for this to hit a 5 star rating from me says a LOT about the quality."

jetluvs2cook User ID: 1675049 231507
Reviewed Aug. 20, 2015

"Very good and healthy soup! I used chicken breast, and instead of water used fat free chicken broth, I was out of bay leaves, so used thyme instead. Will be making this again for sure!"

Wildroseww User ID: 7453377 218218
Reviewed Jan. 18, 2015

"Delicious! The only thing extra that I added was 1/4 teaspoon of celery seed & 2 stalks of celery. My family loved it."

Ltoper User ID: 6733568 25628
Reviewed Jan. 28, 2014

"My family and I loved it. Ty for the recipe. The only thing I did was to add chicken base. Very filling. Will make many more times."

Jami4 User ID: 5573747 10974
Reviewed Sep. 29, 2013

"Loved it as is. I can also think of several ways to change it up. This is definitely a keeper."

Sue Zappa User ID: 1094741 201273
Reviewed Apr. 17, 2013

"This has been one of our family's favorite soup recipes since it was first published. We have 6 children & all of them still ask for it, some make it for themselves now! I use 3 chicken breasts instead of the whole chicken because none of us cares for the dark meat of the chicken. Other than that, I follow the recipe--excellent!"

lisa53202 User ID: 1079567 36892
Reviewed Mar. 6, 2013

"Good soup, although I did feel it needed more salt and chicken base."

hollyfrolly User ID: 7013538 18450
Reviewed Dec. 9, 2012

"Perfect soup. I had pre-cooked a chicken and a few breasts in my crock pot. I used it in this with 8 cups of low sodium chicken broth. Great recipe- thank you!"

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