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Slow-Cooker Beef and Barley Soup

Total Time

Prep: 20 min. Cook: 8-1/2 hours


8 servings (2 quarts)

Updated: Jan. 05, 2023
Here's a stick-to-your-ribs type of slow-cooker beef and barley soup. I've also used a chuck roast, rump roast and London broil that's cut into bite-size pieces with tremendous success.—Jane McMillan, Dania Beach, Florida
Slow-Cooker Beef and Barley Soup Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 carton (32 ounces) beef broth
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer or nonalcoholic beer
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup medium pearl barley
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed


  1. In a large skillet, brown beef in oil; drain. Transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker.
  2. Add the broth, beer, onion, barley, garlic, oregano, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, pepper flakes, pepper, salt and bay leaf. Cover and cook on low, 8-10 hours.
  3. Stir in vegetables; cover and cook until meat is tender and vegetables are heated through, 30 minutes longer. Discard bay leaf.
Slow-Cooker Beef and Barley Soup Tips

How else can you cook slow-cooker beef and barley soup?

If you’d like to enjoy this soup sooner, make it on the stovetop! Prepare as directed until you would add it to a slow cooker, and instead cover and simmer for 1 hour, checking the water level and adding more if needed. Then add the vegetables and cook until heated through. Discard the bay leaf and enjoy.

How do you thicken slow-cooker beef and barley soup?

If you like your slow-cooker beef and barley soup a little thicker, add a thickening cornstarch slurry to the mix. To make a slurry, mix cornstarch with equal parts water (we recommend 1 tablespoon cornstarch for every cup of liquid in the recipe). Add the slurry to the pot and whisk continuously over high heat until well incorporated and the sauce starts to thicken.

What can you do if the barley is too soft?

Barley is a hearty and nutty grain that adds flavor and nutrition to any dish. It can, however, take a while to reach the perfect tenderness. If you’re worried about the rest of the soup getting mushy, or the barley itself, try cooking the barley on the side or substituting quick barley, which cooks in a fraction of the time.

Maggie Knoebel, Taste of Home Associate Recipe Editor/Tester

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 233 calories, 8g fat (2g saturated fat), 53mg cholesterol, 644mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 4g fiber), 20g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1 starch.

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