Ground Beef Barley Soup

by Irena

This comforting Ground Beef Barley Soup is a delicious low-glycemic soup with ground beef that whole family will enjoy. This recipe isn’t as high in net carbs as you might imagine, but see the link below for a similar soup that’s lower in carbs.

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Ground Beef Barley Soup in bowl with spoon

I love making soup with whatever I find in the freezer or fridge, and this Ground Beef Barley Soup was one of those happy experiments that turned out to be a real winner. The soup has both vegetable and beef broth for richness of flavor, and barley is one of my favorite comfort-food ingredients that’s also very nutritious. If you haven’t tried barley in soup, I bet you’ll be surprised how tasty it is in this recipe! And if you check the nutritional information you might also be surprised that this soup is relatively low in net carbs.

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

Want a lower-carb version of this soup?

If you’d like a low-carb version of this soup, check out Instant Pot Low-Carb Ground Beef and Cauliflower Soup, which is just as delicious! Or just make soup following the recipe here, but switch out the barley for 1-2 cups of frozen cauliflower rice.

See also  Greek Egg Lemon Chicken Soup with Cauliflower Rice (Video)

Comforting Ground Beef and Barley Soup found on

How to Make Ground Beef Barley Soup:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Start by browning the ground beef (called beef mince if you’re in Europe) in a small amount of olive oil.
  2. I like ground beef in soup, but I don’t like the flavor of beef fat so sometimes I rinse the cooked ground beef with VERY HOT water before I use it in the soup. your choice on that.
  3. Another option for removing excess fat from soup with ground beef is using a Stock Skimmer (affiliate link) like this one to scoop the fat off when the soup is cooking.
  4. Put the rinsed beef back in the pan, then push it to the side, add a little more olive oil if needed, and saute the onions and garlic.
  5. Add the beef stock and vegetable stock (or canned broth), dried parsley, and dried thyme and simmer the soup for 30 minutes.
  6. After the soup has simmered for 30 minutes, add the carrots and celery and simmer for 30 minutes more.
  7. Even though I rinsed the ground beef, there’s now a little bit of fat on the top of the soup that I’ll skim off with the stock skimmer.
  8. Then add the barley and cook about 30 minutes more.  (You may want to add a little water at this point if you think it needs it.)
  9. Cook the soup until the barley is done but still slightly chewy, then stir in the balsamic vinegar, season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  10. Serve Ground Beef and Barley Soup piping hot and enjoy!
See also  Slow Cooker Turkey Soup with Spinach and Lemon

square thumbnail image of Ground Beef Barley Soup in serving bowl

More Comforting Soups:

Slow Cooker Ground Beef Soup with Cabbage
Chicken (or Turkey) Barley Soup 
Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup with Cauliflower Rice
Chicken Soup with Collards and Lemon

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 T minced garlic (or less if you’re not that crazy about garlic)
  • 6 cups homemade beef stock or canned beef broth (see notes)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar (more or less to taste)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste


  1. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large dutch-oven type pan; then saute the ground beef until it’s cooked through and lightly browned.
  2. If desired, put the ground beef into a fine mesh strainer and rinse with VERY HOT water to remove the fat.  (This is optional, but I think it improves the flavor and it makes the soup lower in fat.  If you don’t have a fine mesh strainer, you can skim off some fat when the soup is cooked.)
  3. Put ground beef back in the pan, push to one side, add 1 tsp. more olive oil (if needed) and then saute the onions and garlic until they are starting to soften.
  4. Add the homemade beef stock , vegetable stock, dried parsley, and dried thyme and let soup cook at a low simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. While soup simmers finely chop the carrots and celery.
  6. After 30 minutes, add chopped vegetables to the soup and simmer for about 30 minutes more.
  7. Then add the barley and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. (Before you add the barley you may want to skim off any fat that’s floated to the top, especially if you didn’t rinse the ground beef.  You may also want to add a little more water at this point.)
  8. When the barley is done but still slightly chewy, turn off heat, stir in the balsamic vinegar, season soup with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and serve hot.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 270Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6.4gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 1541mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 26g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

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Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This Ground Beef Barley Soup would be phase 2 or 3 for the original South Beach Diet, due to the carrots and barley. If you wanted to make a lower-glycemic (and lower carb) version of this recipe, you could use more beef and celery and omit the carrots. Soup with barley will probably be too high in carbs for a strict low-carb diet plan but you could make a tasty low-carb version of this soup by replacing the barley with 1-2 cups of frozen cauliflower rice. Or check out Instant Pot Low-Carb Ground Beef and Cauliflower Soup for a similar soup that’s low in carbs.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Soup Recipes to find more tasty soups! Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was posted in 2011. The recipe was last updated with more information and a low-carb option in 2021.

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