Beef Barley Soup With Lemon Recipe (2024)



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Despite the seemingly long list of ingredients, very simple to make and result was delicious. I thought 1/4 cup of barley was low so I added 1/2 cup....stick with 1/4 cup. Didn't realize how much barley expands especially in the leftovers


A few recommendations:
-- Add the vegetables in step 5 ten minutes after barley; the vegetables were too soft by the time the barley was toothsome
-- Use a sachet for the herb bunch instead of twine
-- Add a small knob of fresh turmeric and fish it out at the end
-- Skim the broth scum once or twice during steps 4 and 5
A few substitutions:
-- Rutabagas instead of parsnips (successful)
-- Lamb stew meat instead of beef (also successful)
-- Two Meyer lemons instead of one regular (delicious!)

Lauren W.

This soup is absolutely delicious and easy to make. It may have a lot of ingredients, but the combination of vegetables, spices and aromatics makes for a beautiful, fragrant, and fresh tasting final product. It does require almost two hours of cooking, but it was the perfect opportunity to get some Sunday cleaning done around the house, just stirring or adding here and there. After my cleaning was done, I sat down with a perfect bowl of soup and piece of crusty bread and it was a great reward.


Perfect comfort food stew for a cold wintery day - with great depth of flavor We added 2 tbsp Harissa sauce (dried tomatoes, dried chiles, cumin, etc.) instead of tomato paste. The Harissa goes well with the lemon. Used yukon gold potatoes instead of parsnips and turnips.

Cold weather cook

Pay attention to the medium heat vs. simmer -- the barley and vegetables soak up ALL the liquid, singe-ing fennel on cast iron if you are not careful (eg. taking a bath) during the recommended 45 min - 1 hour in Step 5.

The soup runs *very thick* so don't, also, be deterred by the 1 quart + 8 cups of water instruction. You will need all that liquid.


Awesome soup (and it is a soup)! I cut the meat into bite-size pieces and basically followed the instructions (using low-salt chicken stock) and cooked through step 5. The soup at that point was cooled and refrigerated. The flavors just came together overnight. I added the greens and lemon and this was delicious before serving. I particularly loved the turnips. A wonderful soup, a great meal; make it your own!

Jim McGrath

Honestly, these days, I usually pass on "too many" ingredient recipes. It's frankly a pain. In this case there is a healthy dose of vegetables. Further, the combination of spice and beef flavor really makes those vegetables attractive to those who need to eat healthy but miss the protein.


I used my Instant Pot, and it was very successful! Sauteed the meat first, then the leeks, celery, garlic & fennel, then added the meat back & everything else. I halved the recipe, & used 1/4 cup barley (based on other reviews saying it should be cut back) & added a quart of stock & a cup of water. Pressured cooked it for 35 minutes, let it naturally cool down for 15, then vented. Finished up with garnishments. Very good! (I will admit to adding hot red chile flakes.)


Use farro instead. Same cooking time


Really terrific on a cold Sunday night! I had 1.5 lbs of chuck and so just used "heaping" measurements for the spices to compensate. Will probably use the same amount next time as it turned out to be a good ratio of beef to vegetable to barley. Serrano slices on top were very pleasant with the lemon. I'm excited for leftovers.

Pat Rooney

At first I thought there's way too much water but Melissa's right; those little barleys soaked up the moisture and it took on a creamy, porridge texture. Adding the lemon zest is a nice touch, removing the heavy protein thud of the beef.


This soup sounded so good. Except that I am vegetarian. I decided to make it without the beef and using vege broth. It was sooo goood. I finished the dish with a spoonful of sour cream. I ate two servings. Thank goodness I had the vision to skip the meat in this recipe.

Don Ugent

We made this Friday, St. Patrick's Day, and added a bottle of Guiness Stout, in substitution for some of the water to be added. Gave us a bit of Irish flavor. The spices really make the soup, so don't miss them. A lot of ingredients but so what, that's what makes the soup so fabulous. And, we have enough for several dinners. Some crusty bread is also a good addition. Thanks for sharing this recipe.


Made this and did not love it. I didn't mind dicing and slicing all the veggies; the veggies are what drew me to this recipe. But, the end result fell short. Just not much flavor. If I made it again, I'd double (yes, double!) up on the spices. I also didn't find it needed this much cooking time. I prefer my veggies with more bite than this.

Joanne Benzenhafer

I make beef and barley veggie soup which gets rave reviews. I look at this recipe and feel it seems way over spiced/seasoned. Let ingredients shine by not burying them under so many herbs, spices, seasoning.

Sue Kucharski

Excellent! Melissa Clark knocked it out of the park yet again! Every beef and barley soup I’ve made has been “heavy”. I loved the lightness and freshness of this soup thanks to only 1 lb of meat chopped small and all those vegetables. This one is A DEFINITE KEEPER!


I followed this recipe to the T and it was fabulous. I loved the nice bright kick from the lemon. The broth was much lighter than other beef barley recipes, which made this my new favorite cozy meal. The whole family (including a picky 6 year old) loved it.


This is excellent made with lamb and farro! I don’t care for beef stews, but this was delicious. And what a great way to add whatever veggies you have on hand. I had mushrooms to use or lose,so threw those in, along with some extra spinach and added a small potato. Will up the rosemary and coriander next time, just for added aromatics.


Would make again. Lots of ingredients, but worth the taste. I didn't bother with the sachel, just used some dried herbs directly in the soup at that stage, bout a tsp each. Made about 6 servings. Wish there was a slow cooker version, but pretty easy to do on a lazy Sunday.


This is delicious as is but needed a few tweaks to make it really come together:- used chard instead of spinach- used some potatoes instead of turnips (turnips might be fine if they’re added toward the end. They were way too mushy added per the instructions)- added a 28oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, without sauce, broken up with a wooden spoon. (This is key…the tomato paste alone doesn’t provide sufficient tomato flavor. Combined, this gave great depth)


I made this but with modifications- basically combined a few recipes! I did not include barley to make this keto friendly-so I cut the water entirely- I added 1/4 cup of cognac and 1 cup of red wine once I removed the beef to deglaze the pot then added in onion, fennel and sautéed for about 7 minutes, & garlic, chopped tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of paste and added back in the beef and 4 cups of bone broth- I added all the vegetables at the time- carrots, celery and parsnips cooked 2 hours- YUM!

Jack from Joisey

Made this close to the directions. I added more beef (and some short ribs I had in the freezer). I tend to find the 'as is' recipes for soupd and stews a bit bland, so I wind up adding much more in the way of spices (cumin, coriander, some Middle Eastern spice mixes), some red wine, some worcestershire sauce, tasting as I go. It did turn out great, big hit with the family as well.


Added a bit of Guinness instead of lemon, otherwise I followed original recipe using beef stock. Excellent. Will make again. I agree with other comments that this was a simple soup to prepare.


Feels like it was lacking something fatty, as I was desperately craving something more while eating this soup. Definitely would benefit from more meat as well.


Used farro instead of barley.


We are surviving in a sick house and this restorative delicious soup gave us a reason to live. I had to make a few veggie adjustments to match what was in our kitchen. Also, I let the cubed meat sit in a few tsps. of Harissa before cooking.I will make it again this winter.


Perhaps it needed more coriander and cumin, but I found it underwhelming.

Granny Annie

After cooking, can half of this soup be frozen?


Delicious. Used Coonan stew meat. Subbed two Yukon golds for parsnips and turnips. No lemon necessary.

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Beef Barley Soup With Lemon Recipe (2024)


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