Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup

Invest 20 minutes of prep to max out the flavor in this hearty Slow Cooker Beef Barley Soup. No need to simmer, stir, and fuss; my easy slow cooker soup practically makes itself. Just set and forget!


    • 1 pound boneless beef chuck or stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes (see note 1)
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 large onion diced (about 2 cups)
    • 2 carrots peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
    • 1 celery rib sliced (about ½ cup)
    • 8 ounces mushrooms halved (see note 2)
    • 2 cloves garlic minced
    • ½ teaspoon dried thyme or ½ tablespoon fresh thyme
    • 2 cups beef broth (see note 3)
    • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup pearled barley (see note 4)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


    • Pat beef dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering.
    • Add the beef and let cook, without stirring, until brown on one side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir beef and continue cooking until brown all over, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer beef to the slow cooker, leaving the drippings in the skillet.
  • Add onion, carrots, celery, and mushrooms to the saucepan and sauté until the vegetables have softened and the mushrooms have released most of their liquid, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add to the slow cooker.
  • Add beef broth, chicken broth, water, barley, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 7 to 8 hours. Remove bay leaf and season to taste with salt and pepper.