Slow Cooker Ground Beef, Barley, and Vegetables Soup

Beef and Barley Soup
LauriPatterson/E+/Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 6 hrs
Total: 6 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
403 Calories
14g Fat
31g Carbs
39g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 403
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 5g 27%
Cholesterol 101mg 34%
Sodium 751mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 6g 22%
Protein 39g
Calcium 124mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

When it's cold outside, having soup is as natural as wrapping yourself in a warm blanket and covering your feet with thermal socks. This classic beef barley recipe is healthy comfort food that the whole family can enjoy in the fall and winter months. Here's a soup that is not too thin and not too thick. It's a hearty combination of vegetables, ground beef, and barley with a taste that will bring back memories. Serve this warm with a rustic loaf of bread or biscuits and a crispy salad.

Adding croutons, fried onions, shredded cabbage or softened cubed potatoes would make the dish look finished and give it the twist it deserves. To make it extra special, pair the soup with a glass of wine and serve with a decadent dessert.


  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 2/3 cup pearl barley
  • 3 to 4 medium carrots (diced)
  • 3 stalks celery (diced)
  • 1 (28 ounces) can tomatoes
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Optional: 1 (10 1/2 ounces) can tomato soup
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat; drain well.

  2. Transfer meat mixture to slow cooker; add barley and remaining ingredients.

  3. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour, then on low 5 to 6 hours.

  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.


  • Given the simplicity of beef barley soup, you can make it more elegant and fancy for a dinner or dress it down for a quick lunch. It's all in the presentation and accompaniments. A lunch might pair the soup with an open-faced sandwich or a couple of boiled eggs, while homemade croutons or a cheese topping could add some pizazz to the soup itself.
  • Pair this soup with a dry red wine or red blend.


  • Add 1 cup of shredded cabbage to the soup along with the barley and vegetables.
  • Add 1 to 2 cups of diced potatoes to the slow cooker.
  • For a spicy vibe, add a dash of cayenne pepper or hot sauce.

Recipe Tags: