Vegetable Beef Barley Soup

Total Time

Prep: 45 min. Cook: 7 hours


8 servings (2-3/4 quarts)

Updated: Jun. 29, 2023
The barley helps to make this soup filling and robust. I like to eat vegetable beef barley soup with a piece of crusty bread slathered in butter.—Tara McDonald, Kansas City, Missouri
Vegetable Beef Barley Soup Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup sliced fresh carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
  • 1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (8-1/2 ounces) peas, drained
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 3/4 cup medium pearl barley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the seasoned salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Add beef and toss to coat. In a large skillet, brown beef in oil until meat is no longer pink; drain.
  2. Transfer to a 5- or 6-qt. slow cooker. Add the water, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and bouillon. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until meat and vegetables are almost tender.
  3. Add the corn, tomatoes, peas, tomato juice, barley, salt and pepper; cover and cook 2 hours longer or until barley is tender.
Vegetable Beef Barley Soup Tips

Can you use different kinds of barley to make vegetable beef barley soup?

When it comes to recipes with barley, be sure to use the specific type called for in the ingredients. In this particular soup, barley flakes and quick pearl barley shouldn't be used as a substitute because they cook much more quickly than pearl barley and won't hold up as well in the slow cooker. Most barley on grocery store shelves is pearl barley, which has had the hull removed as well as some (or all) of the outer bran layer. Although it's technically not a whole grain, pearl barley is healthier than most refined grains because more of the fiber is left after it's processed.

What else can you add to vegetable beef barley soup?

Like most slow-cooker soup recipes, this recipe is really versatile. You can add mushrooms or additional root vegetables at the beginning, like diced turnips, rutabaga or parsnips, or more tender veggies like green beans during the last 2 hours of cooking time. Some of your favorite herbs like rosemary, thyme or basil would boost the flavor as well.

Can you use broth instead of water and bouillon in vegetable beef barley soup?

If you prefer to use broth instead of bouillon, substitute 3 cups of beef broth for the water and bouillon, and reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon. You could also use beef stock if you have that on hand (if you don't already know, here's the difference between beef broth and beef stock). If you liked this recipe, be sure to try more of our favorite slow-cooker beef recipes.

Peggy Woodward, Taste of Home Senior Food Editor

Nutrition Facts

1-1/3 cups: 364 calories, 10g fat (3g saturated fat), 53mg cholesterol, 852mg sodium, 44g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 8g fiber), 22g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 medium-fat meat, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat.