Authentic Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe – Umami Richness

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Embark on a culinary journey of rustic elegance with our Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe, where earthy mushrooms dance with hearty barley in a symphony of flavors. Each step of simmering and sautéing unveils layers of umami richness and wholesome goodness. The chewy barley and velvety broth create a comforting embrace, while fresh herbs add a whisper of garden delight. Dive into this bowl of hearty warmth, and let the savory, soul-satisfying magic of Mushroom Barley Soup nourish you from the inside out!

Savor the earthy notes of nature with a bowl of mushroom barley soup recipe. This heartwarming blend, brimming with the forest’s bountiful treasure, is more than a meal; it’s an experience. Imagine the woodsy scent of mushrooms filling your senses, harmoniously with barley’s wholesome, nutty flavor. 

mushroom barley soup recipe

Each spoonful invites you to bask in the medley of textures, the meaty bite of fungi, and the comforting chew of grains. Perfect for a cozy evening, this soup pays homage to the rustic roots of our culinary traditions. It’s a love letter to the time-tested balance between simplicity and richness. 

This Mushroom Barley Soup, sprinkled with the magic of fresh herbs, embodies the warmth of home, the lure of adventure, and the pure pleasure of unrushed meals. So, let’s not just consume; let’s journey into an epicurean dream, one delicious bowl at a time.

What Is Mushroom Barley Soup?

Mushroom Barley Soup is a hearty, nourishing dish packed with a powerful blend of earthy mushrooms and chewy barley. This traditional comfort food embodies a balance of textures and flavors – the meatiness of mushrooms complemented by the nutty, robust barley. 

Often simmered with various aromatic herbs and vegetables, it’s a culinary voyage into the rustic simplicity of nature. A delightful medley of warmth, nutrition, and taste, this soup is a perfect companion for cozy evenings or chilled days.

History Of Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe

The origin of Mushroom Barley Soup traces back to Eastern Europe, particularly Poland, and Russia, where both mushrooms and barley were pantry staples. It was a cost-effective way to create hearty, nutritious meals in times of scarcity. 

Mushrooms, foraged from the forests, offered a rich, meaty element, while barley provided substance and a pleasant, chewy texture. 

The soup is a testament to resourcefulness, transforming simple ingredients into a filling, comforting dish. As immigrants moved across continents, this beloved recipe traveled too, earning a place in global cuisine for its distinct flavor profile and soothing nature.

Interesting Facts About Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe

  • Mushroom Barley Soup is deeply rooted in Eastern European cuisine. It made its way to North America with immigrants, becoming a staple in many households due to its ease of preparation and nutritious content.
  • The mushrooms used traditionally depended on seasonal availability, allowing for a rich variation in flavors and textures across different regions and times of the year.
  • Barley, the other star ingredient, is one of the oldest consumed grains in the world, dating back to 7000 BC. Its presence in the soup highlights the cultural history of grain usage in our diets.
  • The soup is often prepared as a vegetarian dish. Still, it can also be enhanced with beef or chicken stock for a deeper, meatier flavor profile.
  • It is not just a cold-weather meal. While it’s warming on chilly days, its earthy flavors can be enjoyed year-round, marking it as a versatile dish.
  • Despite its rustic origins, Mushroom Barley Soup has found a place in gourmet cooking, often served in upscale restaurants, demonstrating its broad culinary appeal.

What Makes Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe Special?

The uniqueness of Mushroom Barley Soup lies in its harmonious balance of simple, earthy ingredients and its deep-rooted history. It showcases the magic that happens when mushrooms’ meaty, umami-rich flavor meets barley’s nutty, chewy texture. The soup represents a beautiful interplay of textures and flavors that’s both comforting and filling.

Moreover, it’s steeped in tradition, tracing its origins back to Eastern Europe, where it was a humble, nutritious meal prepared with locally available ingredients. Today, it’s loved globally, symbolizing culinary simplicity and resourcefulness.

Finally, its versatility is remarkable. It can be tailored to vegetarian, vegan, or meat-inclusive diets. From a quick, nourishing weeknight meal to an elegant starter at a gourmet dinner, Mushroom Barley Soup has proven its worth as a timeless classic.

mushroom barley soup recipe

Ingredients List

Barley1 cup
Water3 cups
Olive oil1 1/2 tablespoons
Onions (chopped)2
Carrot (thinly sliced)1
Celery (thinly sliced)2 stalks
Sliced mushrooms2 (10 ounce) packages
Beef broth5 cups
Salt1/2 teaspoon
Ground black pepper1/4 teaspoon

Ingredient Tips 

  • Mushrooms: Select fresh, firm mushrooms for the best flavor. While button or cremini mushrooms work well, a mix of different types like shiitake, portobello, or even wild mushrooms can add depth of flavor.
  • Barley: Choose hulled or pearled barley. Hulled barley is the whole grain form and takes longer to cook but has a higher fiber content. On the other hand, Pearled barley has the outer husk removed, reducing cooking time.
  • Vegetables: Fresh vegetables like carrots, onions, and celery form the base of the soup. Their sweetness balances the earthiness of the mushrooms.
  • Herbs: Fresh thyme, parsley, or dill are often used. They add a bright note to the soup.
  • Stock: A good-quality stock is crucial. Vegetable stock keeps it vegetarian, while chicken or beef stock adds extra richness. Consider homemade stock for the best flavor.
  • Seasoning: Don’t be shy with salt and pepper. The soup needs proper seasoning to bring out the flavors of the mushrooms and barley.
  • Cooking fat: Traditionally, butter is used to sauté the mushrooms and vegetables, but olive oil or a mix of both can be used for a healthier option.

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients? 

Mushroom Barley Soup is incredibly adaptable to various dietary needs and preferences. Here’s how:

  • Vegetarian/Vegan: The basic recipe is vegetarian. Use vegetable stock and a vegan-friendly cooking fat instead of butter for a vegan version.
  • Gluten-Free: Replace barley (which contains gluten) with a gluten-free grain such as quinoa or rice. Alternatively, you could use diced potatoes or turnips for a grain-free version.
  • Keto/Paleo/Whole30: These diets require minimizing carbs and grains. Therefore, you could substitute barley with low-carb vegetables like cauliflower (you can try cauliflower rice), zucchini, or turnips. Use a high-quality bone broth or vegetable broth for added nutrition.
  • Protein-Packed: For a protein boost, add cooked chicken, turkey, beef, or tofu. This is especially useful if you use the soup as a main dish.
mushroom barley soup recipe

Recipe Directions

  • Begin by boiling barley in water until it reaches a tender consistency.
  • Heat some olive oil and sauté a delightful combination of onions, carrots, and celery in a separate large saucepan, allowing them to release their flavors.
  • Introduce mushrooms into the mix, enhancing the aroma and adding a savory touch.
  • Gradually pour in beef broth, allowing the ingredients to harmonize while bringing the mixture to a gentle simmer.
  • Reduce the heat, allowing it to simmer for approximately 15 minutes, ensuring all the flavors meld together beautifully.
  • Incorporate the cooked barley, season the dish perfectly, and eagerly serve this delightful creation.
mushroom barley soup recipe

Variations, Add-Ons And Toppings

Variations, add-ons, and toppings for the Mushroom Barley Soup can cater to different tastes and dietary requirements. Here are some suggestions:


  • Meat Variation: Add diced cooked chicken, beef, or even sausage for a protein boost.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan Variation: Use vegetable broth instead of beef broth, and ensure the use of plant-based fats.
  • Gluten-Free Variation: Replace barley with quinoa, rice, or diced potatoes.
  • Creamy Variation: Add a splash of cream or a dollop of Greek yogurt at the end for a creamier texture.


  • Vegetables: Other vegetables, such as peas, leeks, or spinach, could be added for additional nutrition and flavor.
  • Beans: Add cooked beans like chickpeas or cannellini for an even heartier soup.
  • Grains: Apart from barley, you could try other grains such as farro, freekeh, or brown rice.
  • Herbs and Spices: Experiment with rosemary and sage or spices like paprika and turmeric for a different flavor profile.


  • Fresh Herbs: Chopped fresh herbs like parsley, dill, or thyme add a bright note.
  • Cheese: A sprinkle of grated Parmesan or crumbled feta could add a delightful savory touch.
  • Croutons: Homemade croutons provide a satisfying crunch.
  • Nuts: Toasted almonds, walnuts, or pecans could give a surprising twist and add flavor and texture.

Scaling The Recipe

Scaling a recipe like Mushroom Barley Soup, up or down, can be relatively straightforward. Here’s a general guideline on how you can do this:

  • Identify the Original Yield: Determine how many servings the original recipe makes. This information is usually listed at the top of the recipe.
  • Determine the Desired Yield: Decide how many servings you want to make.
  • Calculate the Conversion Factor: Divide the desired yield by the original yield to get the conversion factor. For example, if the original recipe serves 4 and you want to serve 8, the conversion factor is 8/4 = 2.
  • Adjust the Ingredients: Multiply the amount of each ingredient in the original recipe by the conversion factor to get the new quantity. For example, if the recipe calls for 2 cups of broth and you’re doubling the recipe, you’ll need 4 cups.
  • Adjust Cooking Equipment and Time: You may need to use a larger or smaller pot based on the number of servings. Cooking time also needs adjustment. More soup might take longer to come to a simmer, while less soup might cook more quickly. However, the simmering time after the soup has reached the desired temperature should remain the same.

What Is Used For Garnishing?

Garnishing the Mushroom Barley Soup can enhance both its visual appeal and flavor. Here are a few popular options:

  • Fresh Herbs: Sprigs of fresh parsley, dill, or thyme add a pop of color and a new flavor.
  • Cheese: A sprinkle of grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano can add a savory touch and beautiful contrast against the earthy tones of the soup.
  • Cracked Pepper: A little freshly cracked black pepper on top can add a bit of spice and visual interest.
  • Sautéed Mushrooms: A few sautéed mushrooms can be set aside and used as a garnish to emphasize the main ingredient.
  • Drizzle of Oil: A final drizzle of good-quality olive or truffle oil can add a touch of richness and sheen to the soup.
  • Cream or Yogurt: A dollop of sour cream, Greek yogurt, or a swirl of cream can add a lovely contrast and creamy finish.
mushroom barley soup recipe

Can I Make Mushroom Barley Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

You can prepare Mushroom Barley Soup in either a slow cooker or an Instant Pot. Both methods will allow the flavors to meld together beautifully. Here’s how you can do it:

Slow Cooker

  • Sauté the onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms in a pan over medium heat until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have released their juices. This step could be done the night before to save time.
  • Transfer the sautéed vegetables to the slow cooker. Add the barley, broth, salt, and pepper.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours until the barley is tender and the flavors are well combined.
  • Adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve hot, garnished as desired.

Instant Pot

  • Using the sauté function, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms, sautéing until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have released their juices.
  • Add the barley, broth, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and set the Instant Pot to the Soup setting. Cook for 20-25 minutes.
  • Once the cooking time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10-15 minutes. Then, release any remaining pressure manually.
  • Adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve hot, garnished as desired.

Can I Use Store Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

You can certainly use store-bought broth for making Mushroom Barley Soup, and in many cases, it’s the most convenient option. When buying broth, look for low-sodium versions to control the salt content of your soup better. Also, pay attention to the ingredients list and avoid broths with a long list of artificial preservatives or additives.

However, if you have the time and ingredients, homemade broth can elevate your soup. Making your broth allows you to control the flavor profile and avoid unnecessary additives or high sodium levels. Plus, it can be cost-effective if you’re already saving vegetable scraps or bones.

Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Soup?

One of the greatest aspects of soup is its flexibility. Alternatively, you can modify the Mushroom Barley Soup recipe to suit your taste and dietary needs or utilize your options. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Meat/Fish: Adding protein like meat or fish can make the soup heartier. Chicken, beef, or turkey are popular choices. If you want to add fish, consider firm varieties like salmon or cod that will hold up during cooking.
  • Pasta: You could substitute the barley with pasta to create a different texture. Small types like orzo, ditalini, or egg noodles would work well.
  • Vegetables: Feel free to add or substitute different vegetables based on what’s in season or what you have on hand. Bell peppers, zucchini, kale, spinach, or even butternut squash could be lovely additions.
mushroom barley soup recipe

Success Tips-Tips And Tricks For Making Soup 

Making soup is a wonderful way to experiment in the kitchen. Still, a few tips and tricks can enhance your soup-making process and the resulting flavor. Here are some suggestions:

Prepping Tips

  • Mise en Place: This French term means “everything in its place.” Before you begin cooking, prepare and measure all your ingredients. This way, you won’t scramble to chop vegetables while burning onions.
  • Uniform Chop: Try to chop your vegetables in consistent sizes. This makes the soup look more appealing and ensures even cooking.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Use the freshest ingredients you can. This is especially important for vegetables and herbs, as fresh ones give the best flavor.

Cooking Tips

  • Sweat the Vegetables: Many soup recipes start with onions, carrots, and celery (a mirepoix). By simmering them over low heat until they’re soft and translucent (but not brown), you’ll lay a flavorful foundation for your soup.
  • Use the Right Liquid: The liquid you use can significantly impact the soup’s flavor. Homemade stock is often the best, but a good quality store-bought broth works well too. Just watch out for the sodium levels.
  • Season in Stages: Don’t add all your salt at the beginning. As the soup cooks, the flavors concentrate, so it’s easy to over-salt. Add some at the start and adjust at the end.
  • Simmer, Don’t Boil: Once the soup has come to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer. Boiling can make the soup cloudy and overcook the vegetables and meat.
  • Time for Flavor: Soups often taste better the next day. This rest time allows all the flavors to meld together.
  • Garnish: Garnishing with fresh herbs, a sprinkle of cheese, or a drizzle of cream or olive oil can add a delightful finishing touch.
mushroom barley soup recipe

Nutritional Values 

Indulge in the wholesome goodness of Mushroom Barley Soup. This comforting dish satisfies your taste buds and offers numerous nutritional benefits. This soup is a nourishing delight packed with fiber-rich barley, vitamin-rich vegetables, and savory mushrooms.

What Are The Total Calories In The Soup?

A typical serving of Mushroom Barley Soup (around 1.5 cups) made with olive oil, onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, beef broth, and barley may contain approximately 250 calories.

This can vary depending on the specific ingredients used, the type and amount of oil used for sautéing, the kind of broth (vegetable, chicken, beef, homemade, store-bought), and additional ingredients like meat or cream.

Using a nutrition calculator online for an accurate calorie count is best. You can input the exact quantities of all the ingredients used in your specific recipe, and it should provide you with a precise calorie count per serving.

Remember that any additions or changes you make to the recipe will affect the total calorie count.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Soup

Mushroom Barley Soup can cater to various dietary needs but also has some dietary restrictions. Here are a few key points:

  • Vegetarian/Vegan: The soup wouldn’t be suitable for vegetarians or vegans if made with beef or chicken broth. However, this can be easily modified using vegetable broth, ensuring no animal-derived products are used.
  • Gluten-Free: Barley contains gluten, so traditional Mushroom Barley Soup isn’t suitable for those with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance. You could replace barley with another grain like quinoa or rice to make a gluten-free version.
  • Low Sodium: The soup might be high in sodium if made with store-bought broth. You could use a low-sodium broth to reduce sodium content or create your broth at home.
  • Nut Allergies: This recipe is generally safe for individuals with nut allergies unless served with a garnish containing nuts. Always check ingredient labels to make sure.
  • Dairy-Free: The basic Mushroom Barley Soup is dairy-free unless cream or a dairy-based garnish is added.

Health Benefits Of Mushroom Barley Soup

Mushroom Barley Soup is not just a tasty and comforting meal; it’s also packed with nutrients that can contribute to your overall health. Here are some potential health benefits:

Rich in Fiber: Barley is a whole grain high in dietary fiber. Fiber helps maintain bowel health, lowers cholesterol levels, and aids in achieving a healthy weight.

  • High in Vitamins and Minerals: Vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions provide essential vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and potassium.
  • Source of Antioxidants: Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, including selenium and glutathione, which help protect the body’s cells from damage.
  • Heart Health: The soluble fiber found in barley can help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels.
  • Immune System Support: Mushrooms are known for their immune-boosting properties. They contain beta-glucans, naturally occurring polysaccharides that stimulate the immune system.
  • Hydration: As a liquid-based dish, soup helps to keep you hydrated, which is crucial for overall health.
  • Low in Fat: Unless cream or other high-fat ingredients are added, Mushroom Barley Soup tends to be low in fat.
  • Satiety: The combination of fiber from barley and vegetables, along with the water content, helps to create a feeling of fullness, which can aid in weight management.

Nutrition Table 

Nutrition Table 

How Can I Make Mushroom Barley Soup Lower In Sodium? 

Reducing the sodium content in Mushroom Barley Soup, or any soup, can be achieved in several ways. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use Low-Sodium Broth: Store-bought broths can be high in sodium. Look for brands that offer low-sodium or sodium-free versions.
  • Make Your Own Broth: Homemade broth allows you to control sodium. You can make a large batch and freeze it in portions for future use.
  • Limit Added Salt: Be cautious with the salt you add during cooking. Remember, you can always add more to individual bowls if needed.
  • Boost Flavor without Salt: Use herbs, spices, garlic, onions, and other aromatics to add flavor without relying on salt. A squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar can also brighten up the soup’s flavor, reducing the need for extra salt.
  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Processed or canned ingredients often contain added sodium as a preservative. Using fresh vegetables and herbs can help reduce the overall sodium content.

How Can I Make Mushroom Barley Soup Lower In Sugar?

Mushroom Barley Soup is generally not a high-sugar dish as it primarily contains vegetables, broth, and barley, all of which are low in sugar. However, if you’re looking to ensure that the soup is as low in sugar as possible, here are a few tips:

  • Avoid Broths with Added Sugar: Some store-bought broths or stocks might contain added sugars. Check the ingredients list and opt for ones without added sugar.
  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Canned or processed foods often contain added sugars for preservation and taste enhancement. Use fresh mushrooms, vegetables, and herbs whenever possible.
  • Watch Your Carbs: While not directly adding to the sugar content, complex carbohydrates like barley can affect blood sugar levels. Consider replacing barley with lower-carb grains or vegetables if you monitor your carbohydrate intake.
  • Avoid Sweet Vegetables: Some vegetables, like carrots or onions, have a higher sugar content than others. You can reduce the amount of these ingredients or replace them with less sweet alternatives.
  • Skip Added Sugar: Some soup recipes may suggest adding a small amount of sugar to balance flavors. You can omit this without significantly affecting the overall taste of the soup.
Mushroom Barley Soup

How To Serve The Mushroom Barley Soup Best?

Mushroom Barley Soup is a versatile dish that can be served in various ways and pairs well with many sides. Here are some serving suggestions:

  • Bread: A hearty slice of whole grain bread, a warm baguette, or a roll is a great accompaniment to help soak up the broth.
  • Salad: A light, fresh salad can balance the hearty, rich flavors of the soup. Try a simple green salad, a tangy coleslaw, or a vibrant tomato salad.
  • Garnish: Garnish the soup with fresh herbs like parsley, dill, or thyme. A swirl of sour cream or a sprinkle of grated cheese can also add a flavorful touch.
  • Pair with Protein: For a vegetarian soup, serve it with a protein-packed side dish. Grilled chicken, pan-seared salmon, or a bean salad could complement the soup nicely.
  • Serve in Courses: If you’re hosting a dinner, the soup could be served as a starter to a main course, like roasted vegetables, grilled meat, or a hearty casserole.
  • Soup and Sandwich: Pair the soup with a sandwich for a lunchtime meal. Consider something simple like ham and cheese or something more elaborate like a grilled vegetable and hummus wrap.
  • Wine Pairing: If you enjoy wine, pair the soup with a light-bodied white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Riesling.

Perfect Side Dishes To Complement Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe

Mushroom Barley Soup is a hearty dish, but you can make it a full meal with the right side dishes. Here are some suggestions:

  • Crusty Bread: Nothing beats dipping a slice of warm, crusty bread into a bowl of rich soup. Opt for a whole grain variety for added fiber and nutrients.
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich: If you’re looking for a comfort food pairing, a classic grilled cheese sandwich could be the perfect companion to your soup.
  • Roasted Vegetables: A side of roasted vegetables can complement the earthy flavors of the mushroom and barley soup. Consider options like Brussels sprouts, carrots, or sweet potatoes.
  • Green Salad: A crisp green salad with a light vinaigrette can balance the hearty and rich flavors of the soup. You could include leafy greens, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and a sprinkle of nuts or seeds.
  • Quinoa Salad: A colorful quinoa salad with veggies, herbs, and a tangy dressing can add a protein-packed and vibrant side dish.
  • Garlic Knots or Rolls: These can be a delicious and aromatic addition. Their buttery, garlicky flavor pairs well with the soup.
  • Stuffed Bell Peppers: For a more substantial side, consider bell peppers stuffed with rice, vegetables, and perhaps some cheese or meat.
  • Cheese Board: If you’re serving the soup as a starter for a dinner party, it could be complemented by a cheese board with a selection of cheeses, fruits, and crackers.
mushroom soup

How Long Can We Store The Soup?

Like most homemade soups, Mushroom Barley Soup can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer using proper storage techniques.

  • Refrigerator: Once the soup has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it. The soup should be consumed within 3 to 4 days for optimal freshness and food safety.
  • Freezer: For longer storage, you can freeze the soup. Cool the soup completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, leaving some space for expansion. Label with the date, and aim to use the soup within 2 to 3 months for the best quality. However, it will remain safe to eat beyond this time if kept continuously frozen.

Can I Make Soup In Advance?

You absolutely can make Mushroom Barley Soup in advance. In fact, like many soups and stews, it often tastes even better the next day. The flavors have more time to meld together, enhancing the depth and richness of the soup.

Here are some tips for making soup in advance:

  • Refrigeration: After cooking, let the soup cool to room temperature (do not leave it out for more than two hours) and then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. As mentioned, it should stay fresh for about 3 to 4 days.
  • Freezing: If you want to prepare the soup well in advance, you can freeze it. Let the soup cool completely, then transfer it to freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. The soup can be frozen for 2 to 3 months for best quality.
  • Reheating: When ready to serve the soup, reheat it gently on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally. If the soup is frozen, defrost it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating, or you can reheat it directly from the freezer. Just allow for a longer reheating time.

What Can We Do With Leftovers?

Leftover Mushroom Barley Soup can be reinvented in a variety of creative ways:

  • Grain Bowl: Use the soup as a hearty base for a grain bowl. Add fresh greens, roasted veggies, and a protein of choice.
  • Stir-Fry: Drain the liquid and use the mushroom-barley mix as a base for a quick stir-fry. Add more vegetables, tofu, or meat and serve over rice or noodles.
  • Pasta Sauce: Blend the soup into a rich sauce for pasta. You should add some cream or cheese for extra creaminess.
  • Pot Pie Filling: Use the soup for a homemade pot pie. Just add a pastry crust on top and bake until golden.
  • Stuffed Peppers: Drain off most of the liquid and use the mixture to stuff bell peppers or large zucchini. Top with cheese and bake.
  • Casserole: Mix the soup with cooked pasta or rice, top with cheese and breadcrumbs, and bake until bubbly for a comforting casserole.
mushroom soup

Special Tools/Equipment Needed

Mushroom Barley Soup can be made using common kitchen tools and equipment. Here’s a list of items you might need:

  • Large Soup Pot or Dutch Oven: You’ll need a large pot to accommodate all the ingredients and allow the soup to simmer without overflowing. A heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven is ideal as it distributes heat evenly, reducing the risk of burning.
  • Sharp Knife and Cutting Board: These are essential for chopping vegetables and herbs.
  • Stirring Spoon: A wooden or heat-proof spoon is useful for mixing the ingredients while sautéing and simmering.
  • Ladle: For serving the soup.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: To measure ingredients accurately, especially following a recipe.

Optional tools 

  • Slow Cooker or Instant Pot: If you prefer, you can make the soup using one of these appliances for a hands-off cooking approach.
  • Immersion Blender: If you prefer a smoother texture, you can partially blend the soup directly in the pot using an immersion blender.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Use Pearl Barley Instead Of Hulled Barley For This Soup?

Yes, you can. Pearl barley has been processed to remove its outer hull and bran, resulting in a shorter cooking time. However, it also has fewer nutrients compared to hulled barley. Either can be used based on your preference and availability.

Can I Use Dried Mushrooms In This Soup?

Absolutely. Dried mushrooms can add a rich, intense flavor to the soup. Rehydrate them in warm water before using, but remember to save and strain the soaking liquid – it’s full of flavor and can be added to the soup.

Why Is My Soup Too Thick?

The barley absorbs liquid as it cooks, even after cooking, which can result in a thick soup. If your soup is too thick, add more broth or water until it reaches your preferred consistency.

Can I Make This Soup Spicy?

Of course! If you prefer a spicy kick, add a diced jalapeno or serrano pepper during the sautéing stage or a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.

Can I Make This Soup With Chicken Instead Of Beef Broth?

In this recipe, chicken broth can be a great alternative to beef broth. It will alter the taste slightly, but the soup will still be delicious. Vegetable broth can also be used for a vegetarian version.

Authentic Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe - Umami Richness

Authentic Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe – Umami Richness

5 from 8 votes
Recipe by Hanna Barnes Course: Soup Recipes


Prep time


Cooking time





Our Mushroom Barley Soup recipe combines earthy mushrooms, tender barley, and aromatic vegetables simmered in a flavorful broth. This comforting and nourishing soup offers a hearty texture, rich flavors, and nutritious ingredients. Warm your soul with each spoonful of this wholesome and satisfying dish.


  • 1 Cup 1 Barley

  • 3 Cups 3 Water

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons 1 1/2 Olive Oil

  • 2 2 Onions (Chopped)

  • 1 1 Carrot (Thinly Sliced)

  • 2 Stalks 2 Celery (Thinly Sliced)

  • 10 ounce 10 Sliced Mushrooms

  • 5 Cups 5 Beef Broth

  • 1/2 Teaspoon 1/2 Salt

  • 1/4 Teaspoon 1/4 Ground Black Pepper

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Barley Preparation
    Bring the barley and water to a boil over high heat in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, cover the saucepan, reduce heat to low, and let the barley simmer for about 30 minutes, or until it’s tender and has absorbed most of the water. Then, set aside.
  • Vegetable Sauté
    Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery to the pan. Cook and stir these ingredients until the onions have softened and turned translucent, which should take about 10 minutes.
  • Mushroom Addition
    Stir in the mushrooms, ensuring they are evenly distributed among the other vegetables. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, allowing the mushrooms to release their juices and brown slightly.
  • Soup Base
    Pour in the beef broth, increasing the heat to medium-high. Allow the soup to reach a simmer. Once it’s simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes. This will allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Final Touches
    Stir the cooked barley into the simmering soup. Season the soup with salt and pepper to your taste, stirring well to distribute the seasonings evenly.
  • Serving
    Serve the soup hot, ladled into bowls. Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or dill for added color and flavor if desired.
  • Additional Options
    For a vegetarian version, substitute the beef broth with vegetable broth. To add protein, consider adding cooked chicken or beef. A creamier soup, a splash of cream or milk can be added at the end, just before serving.


  • Barley: Rinse the barley before adding it to the soup to remove impurities. This will help ensure a clean and delicious flavor.
  • Mushrooms: Feel free to use your favorite mushrooms in this recipe, such as cremini, button, or shiitake. Sliced mushrooms add a wonderful texture and depth of flavor to the soup.
  • Sautéing Vegetables: Take the time to properly sauté the onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil until softened and lightly caramelized. This step enhances the overall flavor profile of the soup.
  • Broth: If you prefer a vegetarian or vegan version of this soup, you can substitute the beef broth with vegetable or mushroom broth for a similar depth of flavor.
  • Seasoning: Adjust the salt and pepper according to your taste preferences. Start with the recommended amounts and add more if needed, keeping in mind that the flavors will continue to develop as the soup simmers.
  • Texture: If you prefer a thicker soup, add more barley or reduce the water used. Conversely, add more water or broth if you like a thinner consistency.
  • Garnish: Consider topping the soup with fresh herbs like parsley or thyme for an extra touch of freshness and visual appeal.
  • Leftovers: This soup tends to thicken upon refrigeration. You may need to add a splash of water or broth to reheat leftovers to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Storage: Store any leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.
  • Enjoy: This Mushroom Barley Soup is a versatile and satisfying dish on its own, but it can also be paired with crusty bread or a side salad for a complete and nourishing meal.

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soup chick!

You've entered a realm where each bowl isn't just a meal; it's an expedition to the core of comfort, well-being, and the sheer delight of feeding both body and soul. My name is Julia, and I'm here to navigate you through the flavorful worlds of Soup Chick. Together, we'll uncover the artistry behind each recipe, share stories that warm the heart, and celebrate the simple pleasures of making and enjoying soup.

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