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Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup

May 3, 2010

in Beef, Recipes, Slow cooking, Soup


This soup is a square meal in a bowl. You should really make this soup. It made my babies practically lick their bowls and my husband pledge his eternal love forever more. OK, so I invented that one, but my kids DID devour their portions. Another reason you should make this soup? It is a proud participant in my ever growing repertoire of how-to-get-tasty-dinner-on-the table-without-missing-my-afternoon-nap recipes. Afternoon naps are capital. Just refer to your closest kindergarten teacher for further information. Gosh, am I ever hungry! too bad there is no leftover soup. My husband pretty much inhaled it all in less then 24 hours. Note to self – double the recipe next time around.

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup


1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 to 1.5 lb (500 to 750 gr) beef stew cubes
2 medium carrots
2 celery stalks
1 medium zucchini (or substitute for  a red pepper, 1 cup broccoli florets or any other vegetable that rings your bell)
4 cups beef stock
1 large can of diced tomatoes (800 ml/28 oz)
1/2 cup barley
1/2 tsp dry thyme
1/2 tsp dry rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped


1. Place chopped onion in a microwave safe shalow dish, mix in 1 Tbsp olive oil and microwave for 2 minutes, just until the onions are translucent. Like so:

2. With a sharp knife, chop the meat cubes into smaller, bite size cubes. Like so:

3. Dice the vegetables into similar bite size pieces.

4. Place meat and vegetables in slow cooker

5. Mix in all the rest of the ingredients (except the parsley) and cook on high for about 3 hours, or on low for about 6 hours. Add chopped parsley and serve, decorated with some more parsley if desired.

6. Optional: if you want to add some richness to the soup, mix 1 Tbsp tub margarine with 1 tsp flour and microwave for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into the  hot soup and mix well.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

kanmuri May 4, 2010 at 4:32 pm

I need a slow cooker now…

ayallawt May 4, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Go for it! it’s worth every cent!

ERNEST BMALETICH SR. November 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm


J November 11, 2011 at 10:28 pm

It sounds delicious but I would like to print the recipe without the pictures.
Is there anyway to do that?

ayallawt November 12, 2011 at 4:24 am

Hi there J,
I’ll try and work on it. In the mean time, you could always cut and paste the recipe into a word processor and delete the photos. Sorry for the extra step.

Thank you!


Ruth November 14, 2011 at 6:24 pm

You failed to mention the size of the slow cooker. Mine is 4qt. Will it be OK in a 4qt cooker?

ayallawt November 14, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Hi Ruth,
I have several sizes of slow -cookers. The rule of thumb is to always fill the cooker to at least half capacity, preferably even 2/3 of it. You should be fine with your 4 qt cooker.

good luck!

MARIAN January 13, 2012 at 2:02 am


Amber February 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Love This Recipe

ayallawt February 29, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Me too!

Thanks Amber

Barbara Green November 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm

I’ve got to get this recipe, sounds so good, but I can’t find where to print the recipe. I’m using Internet Explorer. Can you help me?

Barbara Green November 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I did enjoy this soup when it was finally done, but have a few comments (not critizisms). First it doesn’t fit in a 4 qt. cooker. I tried that first, then switched to a 6 qt. I had the time so decided to cook it on low for 6 hours. When it should have been done, it was only about half cooked, vegetables still raw and meat not done. I changed it to high which then had to cook for another hour and a half. Granted, I’ve had my 6 qt for many years, so that could be the problem, but I’ve used it in the past few months and haven’t had a problem. Also, I would increase the amount of barley. I will try it again sometime cooking it on high and using more barley. Other than that, it is quite good.

p January 3, 2013 at 5:24 pm

all you have to do is copy whole recipe, paste it to a word doc. and delete unwanted parts, save and print. hope this helps

Penny January 8, 2013 at 9:58 am

Recipe serving size (4, 6, or ?)

Marcy January 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Beef in a slow cooker on high takes a lot longer than 3 hours to be tender. More like 6+. My grandmother use to make this all the time – on the stove of course. 🙂 Too much barley makes it starchy. If you make enough for leftovers try cooking the barley separate and then add it to the dish when you serve. That way it doesn’t get bloated and soak up all your juice.

TAMMY CUEVAS January 27, 2013 at 2:57 am

This sounds so good right now! Definitely a cold weather recipe!

Applejacks21 January 27, 2013 at 10:40 pm

I have 10 minute barley. Can I use that?

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