Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew is a hearty, flavorful soup with tender beef and vegetables, plus plump barley. An easy crockpot recipe that’s comfort in a bowl. It’ll make any cold, wintry day feel much cozier! Watch the video!

beef barley soup in a bowl, plus bread and glass of red wine

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I counted it out on the calendar.

Just a little more than 10 weeks until the first day of spring!

Besides that same day being the birthday of both my dad and our first born daughter (I LOVE that they share this day together!), I’m so looking forward to some warmer temps. This subzero cold spell here in the Midwest is getting mighty old!

Soon, my friends.

Soon we will see green grass and blue sunny skies and temps above 30°F.

I canNOT wait!

But in the meantime, to help us through this cold, we have stew.

Warm and comforting, and ladled from the slow cooker that does all of the hardest work for you, it just doesn’t get much better than this Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew. Enjoy this recipe that’s sure to warm you up!

beef barley stew in a white bowl

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew

It is so hard to resist chunks of beef roast that have been immersed in the slow cooker‘s magic. Ultra tender and infused with the flavors of their surroundings, the beef bites are my very favorite part of this beautiful slow cooker beef and barley stew.

For more slow cooker recipes, click here.

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew

I don’t use barley a whole lot in my cooking, but always know how much Blake likes his Mom’s ground beef and barley soup. My recipe, which does away with the cans of creamed soups I found in my MIL’s recipe, is simple in its ingredient list, yet huge on flavor. HUGE!

I always find it amazing how much deliciousness comes out of the combination of beef broth, red wine, tomato paste, and a little Dijon mustard. And the flavors only intensify when set to mingle and slowly cook for the afternoon in the slow cooker.

If you like this stew, you might also want to check out my Slow Cooker Beef and Sweet Potato Soup, which incorporates a bit of delicious Southwestern flair!

stew made with beef, barley, and vegetables - in a white bowl

This recipe for slow cooker beef and barley stew does involve some chopping, but all the fresh veggies are well worth the effort. The onion, potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms add hearty goodness and incredible flavor.

And the veggies make the stew look so pretty, don’t you think? It’s always much more enjoyable to eat a dish that looks beautiful!

Once the chopping is done (which really doesn’t take that much time, I promise!), all that is required is patience…which I find ridiculously hard to summon up some days. The aroma of a slow simmering stew is one of the greatest sensory experiences ever. Especially when it’s accompanied by the outdoor’s dreary skies and temperatures in the single digits.

Just trust me.

Make this stew.

It’ll make these cold, wintry days feel much, much cozier.

Like this Beef Barley Soup? Pin it!

pinterest image of Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew

Here are a few more barley recipes you might like:

stew made with beef, barley, and vegetables - in a white bowl

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Stew

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 25 minutes

Simple ingredients are left to mingle in the slow cooker, resulting in a rich and flavorful stew of tender beef and vegetables with barley. Total comfort!


  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1" cubes
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, cut into thin slices
  • 8 large carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally into 1/2" pieces
  • 6 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 medium-large yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 c. low sodium beef broth
  • 1 c. dry red wine
  • 1/4 c. tomato paste
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 3/4 c. pearl barley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • chopped fresh parsley


  1. Sprinkle beef fairly generously with kosher salt and pepper. If you own this awesome slow cooker, where you can brown meat right in the slow cooker - add the oil to the slow cooker and then brown the beef right in the slow cooker, searing beef on all sides. Otherwise use a large skillet over medium-high heat to heat the oil and then brown the beef. Drain off fat. If using a skillet, transfer beef to slow cooker.
  2. Add mushrooms, carrots, garlic, potatoes, onion, beef broth, wine, tomato paste, mustard, and thyme, and stir well to incorporate. Then stir in barley and add the bay leaf. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Then turn heat to low and cook for 2 hours more, or until beef is tender. Serve hot, with fresh parsley sprinkled over the top. A good, crusty bread for dipping is always welcome.


from a farmgirl's dabbles

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 353Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 498mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 27g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

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This post was previously published February 2015. Photographs and some of the text were updated January 2018.