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Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Barley Soup
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4.34 from 3 votes

Slow Cooker Vegetable Beef Barley Soup

Let this hearty soup simmer in your slow cooker during the day and you’ll come home to a wholesome and comforting weeknight dinner. It’s loaded with chunks of tender beef, lots of veggies, and barley, and it’s all cooked together in a simply seasoned broth.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time6 hrs
Total Time6 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 6 to 8


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil plus additional as needed
  • 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 pounds cubed beef stew meat boneless beef chuck
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 6 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2/3 cup pearl barley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme or 2 teaspoons dry thyme


  • Cut the beef stew meat (or chuck) down into small, bite-size pieces.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of beef to skillet and allow to brown on one side for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste while cooking. Flip pieces over and brown for an additional 3 minutes. Transfer browned beef to your slow cooker and repeat with remaining beef.
  • Reduce heat under skillet to medium and add onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook, stirring, to incorporate with any juices the beef left behind in the skillet.
  • Add tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce and cook, stirring for a minute or two until well combined. Transfer the veggie mixture to your slow cooker with the beef.
  • Add mushrooms, beef broth, barley, and fresh thyme to the slow cooker. Stir to combine, cover, and cook on HIGH for 5 to 6 hours or on LOW for 6 to 8 hours, or until beef is fork tender (slow cookers can vary, times are approximate). Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.


Sometimes I opt to add the mushrooms for that last 30 minutes of the cooking time so they will just soften slightly but retain more texture. If added at the beginning they will soften more but still be delicious.