chicken and barley soup with vegetables
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5 from 1 vote

Chicken Barley Soup

Pearled barley and chicken breasts cook directly into the soup, creating a flavorful broth and an easy one-pot meal in 1 hour. Dairy free, vegan optional, gluten free optional
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: barley, chicken, dairy free, soup, stew, vegetable, winter
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 213kcal
Author: Chef Sara Furcini


  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 6 ribs celery washed and chopped
  • 4 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1 pound pearl barley
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • fresh herbs (for garnish) parsley, dill, thyme, tarragon


  • Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chopped vegetables and salt. Sweat the vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the thyme, bay leaf, whole chicken breasts, rinsed barley*, and black pepper. Fill the pot 3/4 full with filtered water and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer, covered, until the barley is tender and chewy - about 50 minutes. You may need to add extra water to the pot to keep the barley submerged. Serve hot soup with fresh herbs sprinkled on top. Store leftovers in the fridge.


Barley Tip

Since barley thickens as it cools, you may want to reduce the amount of barley in the recipe by half if you are planning for leftovers. You may also cook the barley separately and store outside of the soup. Add to the stock and reheat as needed.

Gluten Free Chicken Soup

No problem! This soup is made to be adapted. You can use any gluten free rice in this recipe, just be sure to reduce the cooking time according to the package instructions. Wild rice would be an excellent alternative because it has that nice toothsome quality that's fun in soup.

Vegan Barley Soup

If you want a hearty vegetable and barley soup, you are going to love this soup with mushrooms. Simply add a medley of mushrooms (shiitakes, button, cremini) to the oil to caramelize. When the mushrooms look a bit brown, add the rest of the vegetables to sweat and proceed with the recipe. Please note that you may want to add vegetable stock in place of water for a richer flavor.


Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 465mg | Potassium: 376mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 3513IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg