👨‍🍳 Hearty Chicken Barley Soup Recipe | Warm & Cozy

by | Jun 30, 2024 | Chicken Soup Recipes

Have you ever thought about what makes a soup so great? It’s not just the taste; it’s how it warms you inside out.

This chicken barley soup is pure comfort, perfect for chilly nights. It mixes tender chicken with chewy barley. The result is a dish that’s both satisfying and good for you. Each bowl has about 228 calories. It’s a healthy choice for comfort food.

Key Takeaways

  • A chicken barley soup recipe provides approximately six servings.
  • Each serving contains around 228 calories, making it a nutritious option.
  • Variations can include bell peppers, zucchini, kale, or vegetarian alternatives with mushrooms.
  • This cozy homemade soup can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
  • For those with dietary restrictions, gluten-free options such as brown rice can be used.

Introduction to the Hearty Chicken Barley Cowboys Recipe

Welcome to the world of comforting homemade soups with our hearty chicken barley soup. This tasty dish is simple to make and uses wholesome ingredients. It’s a soothing meal that’s both easy and fulfilling.

Do you need something cozy when you don’t feel well? Or maybe you’re just hungry for some comfort food. Our chicken barley soup is the perfect pick, combining tasty chicken, healthy barley, and rich vegetables.

Barley boosts your fiber intake and is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Therefore, this soup is not only delicious but also a smart choice for everyone. It’s designed for convenience and brings nutrition to your family’s table.

Ingredients Needed for Chicken Barley Soup

To make a tasty homemade chicken barley soup, you need just the right mix of items. It’s a soup packed with protein, thanks to chicken, and filled with good-for-you stuff. This includes veggies, grains, and spices that make it yummy and healthy.

homemade chicken barley soup ingredients

Meats and Proteins

The main star of this soup is the chicken, it’s really the heart of the recipe. You should use about 1-1/2 lbs of skinless and bone-in chicken breast. This equals roughly 14 oz of cooked chicken. If you like, you can use chicken thighs instead. About 4 thighs will do. This choice will make the soup taste even better and offer a different texture. Every bowl gives you 31g of protein, which is good for your diet.


Nutritious veggies are key in this chicken barley soup. You start with a mirepoix mix of onions, carrots, and celery. Then, add leeks, mushrooms, and a couple of garlic cloves for a deeper flavor. These veggies make the soup taste great and also bring 5g of fiber per serving. Plus, you get a boost of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

Grains and Flavorings

The soup’s grains and spices are what tie everything together. Start with 2/3 cup of dry pearl barley for a chewy texture. For those choosing a gluten-free path, farro or quinoa are good swaps. Then, add in six cups of low-sodium chicken broth as the base. Tarragon herbs and a bit of lemon juice add that final flavor flourish. A spoonful of olive oil also boosts the richness.

This recipe will take about 1 hour and 5 minutes to make and gives you 9 cups of soup. Each serving has 24g of carbs, 4g of fat, and is 262 calories. It’s perfect for meal prep, and you can freeze extra portions for up to three months.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Making Chicken Barley Soup

Make a delicious chicken barley soup by following these easy steps. First, gather your ingredients. Then, cook your mirepoix. Finally, follow the steps below for a top-notch soup.


Start by getting all your ingredients together:

  • Protein: A whole chicken broken into eight parts brings great flavor to your stock.
  • Vegetables: Chop up carrots, celery, and onion into small pieces for sweetness and flavor.
  • Grains: Choose pearl barley since it cooks faster than hulled barley.

Getting everything ready ahead of time will make things go smoothly. Just follow the steps and you’re good to go.

Cooking Process

Now it’s time to cook your chicken barley soup:

  1. Browning the Chicken: Brown your chicken in a large pot or Dutch oven. This step adds flavor.
  2. Simmer the Stock: Pour in 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Let your chicken simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until it’s really soft.
  3. Remove and Shred Chicken: Take out the chicken, let it cool, then shred it.
  4. Prepare the Mirepoix: Cook carrots, celery, and onions in the same pot until they’re soft.
  5. Combine Ingredients: Put the shredded chicken back, along with chicken bouillon, herbs, and barley.
  6. Simmer: Let it all simmer for an hour until the veggies and barley are just right.
  7. Final Touches: If you like, add half-and-half for creaminess. You can also thicken it with butter and flour or a cornstarch mix.

Want a change? Use rice, farro, or wheat berries instead of barley. Or, go low-carb with cauliflower rice. This soup lasts up to five days in the fridge, or you can freeze it for three months. It’s great for planning your meals.

How to Make Chicken Barley Soup in a Slow Cooker

Making slow cooker chicken barley soup is easy with these recipes. You can just set it and forget it. This way, you’ll always get a tasty meal.

First, get these ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, sliced

It’s important to layer the ingredients right. Start with the chicken. Then add your veggies and barley. Pour in the broth and add seasoning. Cover it up and let it cook.

slow cooker chicken barley soup

You can tweak the recipe a bit. Try it with chicken thighs or different barley. But pearled barley will give it the best texture. For amazing taste, use boxed broth instead of canned.

When it’s done, you can shred the chicken and mix it back in. This recipe will feed about 8 people.

Setting Cooking Time Servings
Low 8-10 hours 8 servings
High 3 to 3 and a half hours 8 servings

With this method, you get a lovely, easy-to-make chicken barley soup. It’s full of those warm, filling flavors we love.

Health Benefits of Chicken Barley Soup

Chicken barley soup is not just tasty, it’s full of good stuff for your health too. It’s a warm, hearty meal that’s good for everyone. Children, adults, and the elderly can benefit from its nutrients.

Nutritional Value

Each bowl of chicken barley soup contains about 355 calories. It also has 27 grams of carbs, 20 grams of protein, and 19 grams of fat. The chicken and barley in the soup provide plenty of protein and fiber. This makes it a meal that fills you up and is good for you.

Here’s a closer look at what you get in each serving:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 355
Carbohydrates 27g
Protein 20g
Fat 19g
Fiber 6g
Cholesterol 28mg
Sodium 137mg

Perfect Comfort Food

Chicken barley soup is perfect for people facing tough health battles, like chemo patients. It’s rich in protein for muscle repair. The barley boosts the soup’s fiber, which helps with digestion.

This recipe is also flexible. You can change it to fit different diets. For example, you can make it with less potatoes for a thinner soup. Using rotisserie chicken not only saves time but also makes the soup tastier.

This soup is full of what you need to stay healthy. It has vitamins B, and important minerals. Carrots and celery add even more nutrients, like vitamins A and C, to make this soup a well-rounded meal.

Tips for Customizing Your Chicken Barley Soup Recipe

Make your soup special by adding your favorite tastes. Use these creative cooking tips to create a chicken barley soup that’s both delicious and healthy.

Start with the basics. You need 10 cups of water, but you can use some chicken stock or veggie broth instead. This change will make your soup richer. Also, you can switch 3 chicken drumsticks for shredded chicken or tofu if you prefer.

Now, let’s look at the veggies. A classic option is 2-3 potatoes, but you can use sweet potatoes or squash for sweetness. Adding spinach, kale, or some bell peppers boosts the nutrition. Zucchini is a great choice too.

For the grains, the recipe asks for 1/3 – 1/2 cup of barley. But feel free to use farro, quinoa, or wild rice instead. Each grain will bring its own flavor and texture.

customizable chicken barley soup recipe

Using spices and seasonings is key to making your soup unique. Try some smoked paprika, cumin, or curry powder for a new taste. These can really make your chicken barley soup stand out.

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in your soup pot.
  2. Sauté 1 medium yellow onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 medium carrots, and 3 celery ribs until tender.
  3. Add the 4 cups of chicken stock and 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add the barley and reduce to a simmer, cooking for approximately 30 minutes until tender.
  5. Incorporate the chicken (rotisserie or drumsticks) and cook until heated through.
  6. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.

Your soup will be a hit, no matter the season. These creative cooking tips will boost the flavor and nutrition of your soup. Enjoy your delicious and filling meal. Happy cooking!

Classic Chicken Barley Soup Variations

Adding new twists to the classic chicken barley soup can make it more interesting. For instance, a dash of citrus or fresh herbs can offer unique flavors. This way, an old favorite becomes a new adventure for your taste buds.

Lemon Chicken Barley Soup

The lemon chicken barley soup is a lively change from the plain chicken barley soup. It uses lemon zest and juice to bring a tangy, refreshing taste. This not only makes the soup tastier but also adds vitamin C, making it healthier.

Herb-Infused Chicken Barley Soup

If you like your meals to smell good, then herb-infused chicken barley soup is a great pick. It uses fresh herbs like tarragon and thyme. This adds a fragrant and full-bodied taste to the soup. You can always add more herbs, depending on what you like or what’s in season.

Barley is the fourth most produced grain worldwide. It’s not as common in American kitchens, but it should be. It’s used in many foods and drinks. These soups are full of good stuff and taste delicious. They can feed six and are quick to make. Trying different recipes will keep your meals exciting and healthy.

Storing and Reheating Chicken Barley Soup

It’s key to know how to store soup well to keep its taste and freshness. Chicken Barley Soup, making 8 to 10 servings, can stay good in the fridge for five days. You can also freeze it for 3-4 months in freezer-safe containers.

To keep your soup tasty when you heat it, you need to be careful. Warm it up on the stovetop at medium heat, stirring every so often. Try not to let it boil, since that could change the texture of the soup. If a microwave is your go-to, heat it in short bursts on medium, stirring in between.

To keep soup fresh, use airtight containers. This stops air from getting in and flavors from getting out. Make sure your soup is fully cooled before you put it away. Following these simple steps will help your Chicken Barley Soup stay delicious.

Storage Type Duration Temperature
Refrigerator Up to 5 Days 40°F (4°C) or below
Freezer 3-4 Months 0°F (-18°C) or below

By following these steps, your soup will last longer and taste better. It makes each meal with this soup more enjoyable. So, use these tips when you cook up a pot of Chicken Barley Soup.

Preparing Chicken Barley Soup for Meal Prep

Chicken barley soup works great for meal prep. It stays flavorful and nutritious even after freezing. To keep your meal prep fresh, learn the best ways to freeze, thaw, and reheat it.

Freezing and Thawing

First, let your soup cool to room temperature. Then, put it in airtight containers or freezer bags. Remember to leave space at the top for when it expands.

When it’s time to thaw, move the soup from the freezer to the fridge for 24 hours. Or, for a faster option, thaw it in cold water. This speeds up the process.

Reheating Techniques

Reheating soup for meal prep is easy if you do it right. For chicken barley soup, heat it in a pot on the stove. Heat it until it gently boils. Stir now and then to heat it evenly. This also helps prevent it from sticking.

Another way is to microwave smaller portions. Just cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid. Heat it on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Cooking Element Time
Pearled Barley Cooking 25-30 minutes
Hulled Barley Cooking About 40 minutes
Unhulled Barley Cooking 40-50 minutes
Barley Simmering 30-45 minutes
Mushroom Cooking 8-10 minutes
Vegetable Sautéing 8-10 minutes
Stock Simmering 3-4 hours

Use these tips to keep your chicken barley soup flavorful and easy to prep. Enjoy your cooking!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making Chicken Barley Soup

When you make chicken barley soup, certain missteps can spoil it. To make your soup tasty and right, dodge these cooking faults. Here’s what you should know:

75% of the flavor in soups comes from the stock used.

Overseasoning: It’s common to put too much salt in, especially with bought broth. 90% of homemade broths have less salt than those you buy. Always taste your soup while you season it.

Not using broth or making a quick broth: If you don’t use broth or make a quick one, using veggie scraps, your soup won’t taste as good. Remember, 75% of a soup’s taste comes from the stock.

Cooking grains in the soup: Cooking things like pearl barley straight in the soup can make it too thick. It’s better to cook these things on their own.

Not using an immersion blender: Blending your soup to make it smooth is easier with an immersion blender. This way, you get a velvety soup.

Not adding acid: Lemon or lime juice can boost your soup’s flavor more than extra salt. This is a great trick for your recipe.

Timing of seasoning: Many people season their soups too soon. For the best taste, add your spices later on.

Common Mistake Percentage
Cooking Grains in the Soup 60%
Seasoning Too Early 70%
Overseasoning 85%
Overcooked Vegetables 65%
Using Dried Herbs Over Fresh 95%

Remember these tips and avoid the mistakes to make great chicken barley soup. It will be tasty and well-balanced. Paying attention to details and the basics of making soup is the key to avoid cooking errors.

Pairing Chicken Barley Soup with Other Dishes

The joy of pairing soup with other foods enhances the dining experience. Chicken barley soup’s rich flavors shine with the right sides. Let’s look at some perfect dishes to go with your chicken barley soup.

  1. Crusty Bread:

    Fresh, crusty bread is a must with soup. Its crunchy outside and soft inside contrast perfectly with the soup’s heartiness.

  2. Green Salad:

    A green salad with a light vinaigrette brings freshness to your meal. It adds color and balances the soup’s richness.

  3. Roasted Vegetables:

    Carrots, bell peppers, and zucchini roasted to perfection make a great addition. Their caramelized edges and sweet notes enhance the meal.

For a clearer picture, here’s the nutrition info for each serving of chicken barley soup:

Calories Carbohydrates (g) Protein (g) Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Cholesterol (mg) Sodium (mg) Potassium (mg) Fiber (g) Sugar (g)
318 19 15 20 11 80 976 576 3 5

Adding these sides turns your meal into a perfect blend. With these meal ideas, you’ll enjoy a well-rounded dinner that lets the chicken barley soup stand out.

Chicken Barley Soup Recipe for Special Diets

Creating a special diet soup recipe might seem hard at first. Yet, even the classic Chicken Barley Soup can fit different diets. By tweaking a few things, this meal can become gluten-free or vegetarian.

For those who need gluten-free options, swap out barley with farro or quinoa. Besides being free of gluten, they are packed with protein and fiber. This makes the soup tasty and good for you.

Vegetarians can take out the chicken and add in veggies like mushrooms or protein-rich tofu. It’s important to keep the flavors rich. Using a good vegetable broth like Better Than Bouillon Organic Vegetable Base does this well. It keeps the meal vegetarian-friendly.

Ingredient Gluten-Free Option Vegetarian Variation
Barley Quinoa or Farro Extra Vegetables (e.g., mushrooms)
Chicken Broth Chicken Broth Vegetable Broth
Chicken Chicken Tofu or Legumes

This special diet soup recipe is flexible. It easily fits a variety of eating styles. This means that everyone can enjoy its comforting taste.

After adding the grains, let the soup simmer for 30 minutes. This makes sure everything is just right. It also turns the soup into a great make-ahead meal. The flavors get even better overnight, perfect for the following day.


Making a great chicken barley soup is more than using a recipe. It’s about mixing simplicity, nutrition, and coziness. We explored the main ingredients, like chicken breast, carrots, and barley. We also added flavors with thyme, rosemary, and sage.

The cooking steps showed us how fun and rewarding it can be. This soup fits well into any menu. The Bais Yaakov Cookbook does more than offer recipes. It supports a good cause too. This makes it a special pick for kitchen lovers.

Chicken barley soup is packed with good stuff. Each serving has 250 calories, 20 grams of protein, and 35 grams of carbs. It’s a smart choice for those who want a wholesome, tasty meal that they can tweak with their favorite ingredients.

With these tips, start your soup adventure. Make a delicious and heartwarming bowl at home. It’s a simple pleasure that warms the heart, perfect for anyone.


What ingredients are essential for a delicious chicken barley soup recipe?

You’ll need shredded chicken, onions, carrots, celery, leeks, and mushrooms. Also, pearl barley, lemon juice, and tarragon for flavor.

Can I make homemade chicken barley soup in a slow cooker?

Absolutely. Slow cookers make chicken barley soup both easy and tasty. Just layer your items, set the time, and let it cook on its own.

What are the nutritional benefits of healthy chicken barley soup?

This soup is full of fiber, protein, and vitamins. It comes from a mix of healthy veggies and is a great, whole meal.

How can I customize my classic chicken barley soup recipe?

Change the flavor and style by mixing up ingredients and spices. Try lemon zest or herbs like thyme and rosemary for something new.

Are there various types of chicken barley soup to try?

Yes. Varieties include Lemon Chicken Barley Soup and Herb-Infused Chicken Barley Soup. These twists add special and unique flavors.

What is the best way to store and reheat chicken barley soup?

To store well, keep it in a closed container in the fridge. When reheating, use low heat, stir often to keep it fresh.

How can I make chicken barley soup suitable for meal prep?

It’s great for prep because you can freeze it. Just divide it up, freeze, then thaw and reheat whenever you’re hungry.

What are common mistakes to avoid when making chicken barley soup?

Don’t overcook the barley or forget to season well. Also, be careful with cream so it won’t curdle and spoil the soup.

What dishes pair well with chicken barley soup?

Enjoy it with crusty bread, fresh salads, or easy steamed veggies. They match the soup’s deep flavors well.

How can I adapt chicken barley soup to fit special dietary needs?

For gluten-free, choose barley that is gluten-free. To make it vegetarian, go for tofu or beans, and use veggie broth instead of chicken broth.