Chicken Barley Soup

“No question—this is my favourite barley soup! It’s so filling that I serve it as a hearty main dish, and I have given the recipe to many of our friends and relatives. It simply tastes too good to keep to yourself!” —Diana Costello, Marion, Kansas

Chicken Barley SoupPhoto: Taste of Home
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
5servings (about 1-1/2 quarts) 35minutes + cooling 1hour
Servings Prep Time
5servings (about 1-1/2 quarts) 35minutes + cooling
Cook Time
Portions: servings (about 1-1/2 quarts)
Portions: servings (about 1-1/2 quarts)
  1. In a large stockpot, cook chicken in water until tender. Cool broth and skim off fat. Set chicken aside until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones; discard bones and cut meat into cubes. Return meat to pan along with remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1 hour or until vegetables and barley are tender. Discard bay leaf.
Recipe Notes

Chicken Barley Soup Tips

Do you soak barley before cooking?

For this recipe, you do not need to presoak your barley; it will cook and expand sufficiently within the soup. But it’s largely a matter of personal preference. Pre-soaking barley breaks down harder-to-digest proteins in grains (such as gluten) and produces a less chewy texture.

What kind of barley do you use for soup?

You will often discover that pearl barley is used in soups, as it cooks faster than grains such as pot barley, which is less processed and takes longer preparation and cooking time.

How can you thicken barley soup?

To thicken barley soup that is too thin, you can make a “beurre manié”, which is softened butter mixed with an equal number of tablespoons flour. Mix in a small bowl with a fork, then stir gently into your soup as it heats. You can also create a slurry by combining equal parts cornstarch and cold water; stir the slurry into the soup at the end of cooking time.

Research contributed by Mark Neufang, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant

Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 259 calories, 5g fat (0 saturated fat), 89mg cholesterol, 127mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fibre), 31g protein.

Diabetic Exchanges: 2-1/2 lean meat, 1 starch, 1 vegetable.