How to Make Mushroom Barley Soup

Mushroom barley soup is a comfort food staple for many people. It's warm, tasty, good for you, and easily one of my favorite mushroom soup recipes.

Mushroom barley soup recipeFor this recipe I use pearl barley, which is simply hulled barley with the outer bran layer polished off. It contains less fiber, but it's still nutritious and takes far less time to cook with no pre-soaking.

The barley to broth ratio below yields a good, thick soup. Experiment with the amounts to see what works for you. Add more barley and you'll get a hearty stew instead of a soup. Also delicious!

Don't forget the mushrooms. Porcini mushrooms are great here but cheap button mushrooms will work in a pinch.

Recommended mushrooms: Porcini, cremini, oysters, and white buttons.



  • 1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced or chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cups broth (vegetable, mushroom, beef, or chicken)
  • 3/4 cup dry barley, rinsed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Warm the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, celery, and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the broth, vinegar, mushrooms, and barley. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to low.

Cover the pot and let the soup simmer until the barley is tender, usually around an hour. Check and stir as it's cooking.

When the barley is done, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool a little. Salt to taste and reward your patience with a warm, comforting bowl of mushroom soup!



  • You can substitute barley for different grains such as rice or orzo. Cooking times may change a little so keep checking to see when it's at your desired tenderness.
  • Add a tsp or two of your favorite herbs such as parsley or thyme.
  • Use a bay leaf during cooking and remove when done.
  • Add other vegetables such as broccoli, baby bok choy, or a few shredded leaves of spinach or chard. Start with just 1/2 cup at first if you're not sure how much to use, and remember that the more you add the more likely they could overpower the flavor of the rest of the dish.
  • For a tomato mushroom barley soup recipe, add 1 tbsp of tomato paste and 6 chopped roma tomatoes.

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