Authentic Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe – Umami Richness

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

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 1

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.

mushroom barley soup recipe 2

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 3

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 4

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.
mushroom barley soup recipe 5

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.
mushroom barley soup recipe 6

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.

mushroom barley soup recipe 7

How To Serve?

  • 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.
mushroom barley soup recipe 8

Perfect Side Dishes

  • 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 barley soup recipe 9

Storage And Make Ahead

  • Storage: Store mushroom barley soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. For longer storage, freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare the soup as directed, but do not add any fresh herbs or dairy. Let it cool completely before transferring to airtight containers. Refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, reheat the soup and add fresh herbs and dairy, if desired, just before serving for the best flavor and texture.
mushroom barley soup recipe 10

What Can We Do With Leftovers?

  • 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.


  • Use a variety of mushrooms for depth of flavor; cremini, shiitake, and porcini add different textures and tastes.
  • Toast barley before adding it to the soup for a nuttier flavor.
  • Add a splash of soy sauce or tamari for umami richness.
  • Enhance the broth with a combination of vegetable and mushroom stock for a robust base.
  • Simmer the soup slowly to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Stir in a dollop of sour cream or yogurt just before serving for added creaminess.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or thyme for a burst of freshness.
  • For a heartier version, add diced potatoes or carrots along with the barley.
  • Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavors.
Authentic Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe - Umami Richness

Authentic Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe – Umami Richness

0 from 0 votes
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.
  • Large Soup Pot Or Dutch Oven
  • Sharp Knife And Cutting Board
  • Stirring Spoon
  • Ladle
  • Measuring Cups And Spoons


  • 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.

Nutrition Table 

mushroom barley soup recipe 11

Leave a Comment

Author picture

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.

More About Me