**This recipe was updated June 25th, 2022
Slow Cooker Beef Barley Stew has tender morsels of beef in a rich, savory thick broth that is comforting with the pearl barley and other tasty vegetables. This hearty and comforting stew is as healthy as it is incredibly delicious.
This beef barley recipe is so versatile because some ingredients can easily be swapped out to adjust what you have in the pantry, and it will still be amazingly delicious.
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Hearty Beef Barley Soup in the Slow Cooker
This beef stew is one of the first things I think about when the cold weather hits. I want to drag out the crock pot and make an easy stew that sticks to the ribs.
When I make my Ninja Foodi Roast Beef Recipe for dinner, usually there will be leftover beef. This beef stew with barley is the perfect way to use it up, and so will always be on the menu in the next day or two.
Beef – I love to use leftover roast beef but this stew is also excellent using ground beef!
Barley – Pearl Barley is what I used for this recipe
Vegetables – I used potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, celery and onions. Use what you have on hand that pairs well with beef.
Gravy Packet – I used a mushroom gravy packet but you can certainly use a beef gravy packet as well that would level up the savory beef flavor. *See the recipe card below for more on this.
Beef Stock – Chicken stock can be used in a pinch and will still be delicious, it just won’t have the depth of beefy flavor.
Seasonings – Salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic.
Slow Cooker – My slow cooker is a 6 QT slow cooker that has Low, High, and Warm settings.
Cooks tip: If you like easy crockpot cleanup, try using the slow cooker liners. They’re specifically designed to withstand high heat, and long-duration cooking, which makes your clean-up a breeze!
Making Beef & Barley Stew
This couldn’t be easier!
1. Chop the leftover beef into small, bite-size morsels.
2. Place all the chopped vegetables, seasonings and beef in the slow cooker bowl.
3. Add the barley and broth.
4. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 5 – 6. Keep an eye on it as sometimes, some crock pots cook faster or hotter than others, and so the cooking time should be adjusted according to how yours cooks.
Other Ingredients to add to the Beef Stew
Making this recipe unique to you is super easy by adding extra ingredients that you might have on hand, and that your family likes.
- ½ cup of Red Wine
- A few tablespoons of Tomato Paste
- 1 cup of Frozen Peas – add these at the end, approximately 10 minutes before serving so they don’t turn mushy.
- Extra herbs such as bay leaves and fresh rosemary, or Italian herbs.
- For a spicy kick, try adding some dried red chili flakes.
Why Beef Barely Stew and not Beef Barley Soup?
This recipe could easily be called beef barley soup, but this beef stew recipe has a thicker consistency to the broth than regular beef soup with barley.
If you’re looking to stretch the recipe, add a bit more beef broth and barley or, my Hearty Beef Rice Soup might be something you want to check out.
What to do with Leftovers
Keep the stew in the fridge for up to 4 days in an air-tight container. Also, this beef stew freezes beautifully!
To Freeze: Place into air-tight, freezer containers. A handy tip is to freeze them in freezer bags, then lay it flat in the freezer to take up less room. Alternatively, you can portion out the leftovers so they can easily be reheated whenever just one or two people want a quick, nourishing meal.
Thawing: Leave the frozen container in the fridge overnight, or transfer it to a microwave-safe container and heat from frozen. Reheating times will vary from 2 minutes to approximately 5 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave. You can also easily reheat it on the stovetop in a saucepan.
Questions you might have about this Beef Stew Recipe
You can purchase cooked roast beef in packages usually at your grocer. Also, this beef barley recipe can easily be made with cooked ground beef as well.
Pearl barley has a natural starch that when cooked long enough, will help thicken stews and soups. The starch contributes to the heartiness of the dish.
No. The amount of time that the barley will be slow cooking will be enough time to cook it through. I do recommend checking the stew as it cooks and testing the barley as some crockpots can cook hotter and quicker (or slower) than others.
Btw, if you’re looking for more slow cooker/crockpot recipes, check these out:
- Smoked Pork Bone Soup with Peas – click here
- Slow Cooker Taco Stew – click here
- Slow Cooker Cream of Mushroom Meatballs – click here
- And this! —> 20 Slow Cooker Soups and Stew Recipes – click here
I hope you love this slow cooker beef barley stew as much as my family does! If you make it, please let me know and comment below.
- 2 cups beef roast, cooked, shredded or diced
- ½ cup barley, raw
- 1 potato, diced, large
- 2-3 ribs celery, sliced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, sliced. *see notes
- ½ cup sauteed mushrooms, *see notes.
- 2 teaspoon garlic, minced
- as desired, salt and pepper
- 1 pkg mushroom gravy mix, *See notes
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1 pinch salt and pepper, **Use as desired!
- 1 teaspoon thyme, dried
- Add all ingredients listed above to the slow cooker bowl. Mix well until everything is well incorporated.
- Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 5 - 6. Keep in mind these cooking times are approximate as all slow cookers/crockpots cook at slightly hotter or slower temps. Keep an eye on the stew and when the barley is cooked through and the carrots and potatoes are tender, the stew is ready to serve.
You’ll find that in this recipe, I only use one carrot. I do this because personally, I find that the carrot adds a certain sweetness, and I find if you use more than one, it adds too much sweetness to the stew.
The sauteed mushrooms can be replaced with canned mushrooms or omitted altogether.
The mushroom gravy packet can be replaced with a beef gravy packet if you prefer.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 382Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 1057mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 5gSugar: 3gProtein: 29g
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.