This flavorful Chicken Barley Soup is a comfort food classic that is perfect for soup season. It’s quick and easy to make and full of delicious veggies. 

Chicken Barley Soup costs about $7.39 to make. The recipe makes 4 servings for just $1.85 per serving.

A bowl of soup is like a warm hug on a cold night. For more comforting soup recipes, I recommend this Copycat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup, this Thick and Creamy Potato Soup, this Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup, and Beef and Barley Soup

An overhead picture oc the finished Chicken Barley Soup in bowls.

Chicken Barley Soup

I feel like soups are sometimes reserved for the colder months of the year, but I am here to tell you soups, like this chicken barley soup recipe I am sharing today, can be served year-round. 

Chicken barley soup is a hearty and healthy meal. It is full of vegetables and tender, juicy bites of chicken in a flavorful broth. This is the kind of meal that can feed a crowd if you are entertaining, which will leave them fully satisfied.

Chicken and barley soup is a great alternative to the traditional chicken noodle soup if someone feels under the weather. And obviously, it is a comforting meal on chilly autumn and winter nights. But like I said earlier, chicken barley soup is good all year long.

I am a firm believer in two things food-related: you can eat ice cream in the cold months and soup in the warm months! Break the mold and make this chicken barley soup recipe tonight! 

A spoon listing up some Chicken Barley Soup.

Should I cook barley before adding it to soup?

The answer depends on the length of time you will be cooking the soup. If the chicken barley soup is going to be cooking for a couple of hours, then you can definitely add the uncooked barley into the soup with the rest of the ingredients. Otherwise, you would want to soak the barley for a couple of hours separately and then add it to the soup to cook for about 30 minutes. 

Is Barley Soup healthy for you?

Barley is a healthy grain that has a nutty flavor offering a variety of health benefits. Barley is high in fiber, so it is a great addition to meals such as this soup. 

What part of the chicken is best for chicken soup?

This recipe calls for chicken breasts. However, you can really use any part of the chicken that you would like. This is a great recipe to make when you have some leftover chicken. I like to make it after making this Crockpot Whole Chicken

How do you make chicken barley soup?

  1. To make this chicken barley soup recipe, heat oil in a large pot.
  2. Next, add the vegetables and cook for about 8 minutes.
  3. Then, add the chicken, salt, and pepper, and cook for about 2 minutes.
  4. Next, add the broth and herbs and bring to a boil. The next step is to stir in the barley.
  5. Lastly, cover the pot, reduce the heat and simmer for about 12 minutes. Finally, season to taste and serve the chicken and barley soup. 

A picture collage of how to make Chicken Barley Soup.

Cook’s Tools:

  • heavy-bottomed pot
  • wooden spoon
  • cutting board
  • chef’s knife

Cook’s Note:

  • If you cannot find quick-cooking barley, use regular barley and cook it as per the box’s directions in a separate pot. Add the cooked barley to the finished soup and cook until heated for about 2 minutes. 
  • The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  • If you want to add even more nutrients to the soup, then you can add a bag of fresh baby spinach to the finished soup and cook until wilted about 2-3 minutes. 

How long is it good for:

SERVE: You can keep the soup out for up to two hours before it needs to be refrigerated. 

STORE: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 

FREEZE: Place the cooled soup in a freezer-safe container. Freeze for 4-5 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then add the soup to a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until heated through. 

How much will this Easy Chicken Barley Soup recipe cost to make: 



NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have.

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil – $0.14
  • 4 medium celery stalks – $0.72
  • 1 medium yellow onion – $0.62
  • 4 medium carrots – $0.56
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts – $1.99
  • ½ teaspoon salt – $0.01
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper – $0.03
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth – $1.98
  • 1 cup quick-cooking barley – $0.88
  • 5 sprigs thyme – $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning – $0.21

An overhead picture of all of the ingredients needed to make Chicken Barley Soup.

More Soup Recipes:

A close up picture oc the finished Chicken Barley Soup in a blue bowl.
4.39 from 18 votes

Chicken Barley Soup

Recipe Cost $ 7.39
Serving Cost $ 1.85
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
4 people
This flavorful chicken Barley Soup is a comfort food classic that is perfect for soup season. It’s quick and easy to make and full of delicious veggies. 


  • heavy-bottomed pot
  • wooden spoon
  • cutting board
  • chef's knife


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 medium celery stalks diced small
  • 4 medium carrots diced small
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced small
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 cup quick-cooking barley


  • In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Then, add in the celery, carrots, and onions. Cook, often stirring, until the veggies are softened and the edges of the onion are beginning to brown, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often until the chicken is almost cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the broth, thyme sprigs, and poultry seasoning, and bring the soup to boil.
  • Add the barley and give the soup a good stir. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pot. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the barley is tender​ about 10-13 minutes.
  • Remove the thyme sprigs, season the soup with salt and pepper, and serve.


Serving: 2cups | Calories: 434kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 580mg | Potassium: 1110mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 10328IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 3mg

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This post first appeared on Food Folks and Fun on October 3, 2012. I have since updated the pictures.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Taylor Kiser says:

    This is a comfort food dinner for the win! So cozy and delicious!

  2. This was the perfect hearty soup! I will definitely make it again.

    1. I only used a half tablespoon of poultry seasoning and it was overpowering. I added another 2 cups of water and 2 cups of broth. Is it supposed to be 1 Teaspoon? That would be about right for our taste.

      1. Ann, I am SO sorry! It is a typo, it should be 1 teaspoon. I fixed the recipe.

  3. Jacqueline Meldrum says:

    I like a soup that is thick enough to be a stew. Good hearty food for cold autumn days. Can’t beat it.

  4. This is so hearty and filling – and still low calorie. It’s definitely going on repeat this fall.

  5. The ultimate comfort soup! So flavorful and delicious!

  6. Supplement Crunch says:

    I love how easy these were to make!

  7. Jessica Formicola says:

    I have a great beef barley soup, but not chicken! We are still eating allll the soups here, so I can’t wait to try this!

  8. This was so healthy and comforting. I love the poultry seasoning addition.

  9. Katherine says:

    Such an awesome quick and budget-friendly soup recipe!

  10. This looks so delicious! My hubby is going to love this recipe! I can’t wait to give this a try! So excited!

  11. Sara Welch says:

    Warmed up with a bowl of this for dinner last night and it does not disappoint! Hearty, packed with flavor, and easily is my new favorite soup!