Classic Mushroom Barley Soup – Connoisseurus Veg

This Mushroom Barley Soup is delicious, comforting and full of delicious flavor! So easy to make and hearty enough to eat, it’s guaranteed to warm you up when it gets cold.

Bowl of mushroom barley soup with a spoon in the background.

Simple Mushroom Barley Soup is one of my personal favorite comfort foods. I shared a recipe for Creamy Vegan Mushroom Barley Soup a few years ago, and while I love that soup, sometimes I find myself craving a simplified version. It’s just as hearty and delicious as the creamy version, but not as brothy and rich. It’s also quite easy to make!

This particular version is adapted from an old family recipe that I used to jot down on an index card. I took it out every winter to cook batch after batch of stuff.

I’ve adapted and adjusted the recipe over the years and it just got better and better. A big bowl of this simple vegetarian soup is incredibly soothing when it’s cold outside.


Ingredients you will need

  • Olive oil. This recipe calls for a fair amount of oil, as this is what is needed to brown the mushrooms properly. You can reduce the amount if you like, but I find mushrooms cook best with lots of oil.
  • mushroom We’re using cremini mushrooms (also known as baby bella mushrooms), but you can absolutely substitute with other varieties of fresh mushrooms if you like. White button mushrooms, shiitake and portobello mushrooms will all work.
  • onion
  • the carrot
  • Celery.
  • garlic
  • White wine. If you want to cook without alcohol, you can leave it out.
  • spices. We are using dried thyme and fresh sage.
  • pearl barley Hulled barley can be substituted if you have it on hand, but you’ll need to roughly double the simmer time and add a bit more liquid as it reduces. It’s also a good idea to soak hulled barley for a few hours before cooking.
  • Vegetable broth.
  • Salt pepper.
  • Fresh parsley. It’s optional, but I like to sprinkle some over my soup for freshness.

How is it made?

Below is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. If you want to skip the recipe, scroll all the way down!

Cooking mushrooms in a pot.
  • First cook the chopped mushrooms in plenty of olive oil. You’ll want to cook them for a few minutes on each side, until they’re browned. Remove from pot when they are done.
Cook onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a pot.
  • Sweat the onion, carrot and celery in a little more olive oil. Cook them until soft, then add the minced garlic.

Suggestion: Consider cooking mushrooms in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot, which can prevent them from browning. I cook mine in two batches.

The broth is being poured into a pot filled with vegetables, mushrooms and pearl barley.
  • Return the mushrooms to the pot, add the wine and herbs and simmer briefly until the liquid is reduced by about half. Now add the barley and broth.
Mushroom barley soup simmering on the stove.
  • Raise the heat, bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the barley is tender.

Suggestion: If the broth reduces too much during cooking, add water to the pot. I like to keep a kettle of hot water on the stove so I can add as needed without letting the soup cool.

  • Remove the pot from the heat and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
Bowl of mushroom barley soup with wooden spoon.
  • Ladle your mushroom barley soup into bowls and optionally top each with a sprinkling of fresh parsley.
White wooden surface with dutch oven and bowl of mushroom barley soup.

Remaining and storage

Leftover mushroom barley soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. The barley will soak up the liquid as it sits, so you may need to thin the soup with some broth or water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does barley contain gluten?

Yes, barley contains gluten. If you need a gluten-free option, try wild rice, brown rice or quinoa. You will need to adjust the cooking time with any substitutions.

What is the difference between pearl barley and hulled barley?

Pearled barley is barley that has had the outer husk, bran layer and germ removed, whereas hulled barley has only the husk removed. Hulled barley is therefore slightly more nutritious, but takes longer to cook.

More soup recipes

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Spoon off the mushroom barley soup into a bowl.

Classic Mushroom Barley Soup

This Mushroom Barley Soup is delicious, comforting and full of delicious flavor! So easy to make and hearty enough to eat, it’s guaranteed to warm you up when it gets cold.

cooking time 1 hours 10 minutes
total time 1 hours 25 minutes


  • 5
    table spoon
    olive oil,
    or split as needed
  • 1
    cremini mushrooms,
    clean and cut
  • 1
    medium onion,
    to cut
  • 2
    medium carrot,
    to cut
  • 2
    medium celery stalks,
    to cut
  • 4
    garlic cloves,
    minced meat
  • ½
    the cup
    Dry white wine
  • 1
    dried thyme
  • ½
    Rub sage
  • 8
    the cup
    Vegetable broth
  • 1
    the cup
    pearl barley
  • salt and pepper,
    to test
  • fresh parsley,
    Optional, for topping


  1. Generously coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place over medium heat. Give the oil a minute to heat, then add the mushrooms in a single layer. (Note 1).

  2. Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes on each side until browned.

  3. Remove the mushrooms from the pot and transfer to a plate.

  4. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot and let it heat for a minute.

  5. When oil is hot, add onion, carrot and celery. Sweat the vegetables for about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften, stirring occasionally.

  6. Add the garlic to the pot and cook with the vegetables for about 1 minute until very fragrant.

  7. Return the mushrooms to the pot, then stir in the wine, thyme and sage. Bring the wine to a simmer and let cook until the liquid has reduced by about half, about 4 minutes.

  8. Stir in broth and barley. Increase the heat and bring the liquid to a boil.

  9. Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for 40 to 45 minutes (Note 2), stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender. Add water to the pot if the liquid is too low.

  10. Remove the pot from the heat and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.

  11. Ladle into bowls and optionally top each with a sprinkling of fresh parsley. serve

Recipe notes

  1. You may need to cook the mushrooms in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot. I usually make two batches using my 7 quart dutch oven. The amount of oil needed can vary a bit, but I usually use about 4 tablespoons to cook all my mushrooms (2 tablespoons per batch).
  2. If you like hard barley, cook the soup for less time, if you like soft barley, more time.


Classic Mushroom Barley Soup

Amount per serving (1.5 cups)

calories 309
Calories from fat 110

% Daily Value*

thick 12.2 grams19%

1.8 grams of saturated fat9%

Sodium 821mg34%

potassium 588 mg17%

carbohydrates 34.5 grams12%

6.9 grams of fiber28%

8.9 grams of sugar10%

protein 5.8 grams12%

calcium 49 mg5%

iron 2 mg11%

* Percent Daily Value is based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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