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Chicken Barley Soup

Quick-cooking barley has been hulled, steamed, and then dried, so it will become soft and plump in 10 minutes as it simmers in broth with chicken and aromatics.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
Chicken Barley Soup

Source: Everyday Food, October 2011


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 carrots, diced small
  • 4 celery stalks, diced small
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 cup quick-cooking barley
  • 5 ounces baby spinach (5 cups)


  1. In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add carrots, celery, and onion. Cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until chicken is opaque at edges, about 2 minutes.

  2. Add broth and thyme and bring to a boil. Stir in barley. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until barley is tender and chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.

  3. Add spinach and cook until wilted, 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Cook's Note

Refrigerate cooled soup in an airtight container, up to 3 days.

Reviews (9)

  • ConnieH 6 Feb, 2014

    OMG! This is so good! The only thing I did different was add kale instead of the spinach because that's what I had in the fridge. Super good, hardy, and my house smells incredible! This is a keeper for sure!

  • SKS 18 Nov, 2012

    So good. The spinach makes it extra special. If you don't have barley, brown rice works great too!

  • ghostahface1 13 Sep, 2012

    Me and my family love this soup.It is a mainstay for us.

  • ThisIsHeather 2 Feb, 2012

    This is a very satisfying soup and a great way to use up spinach. Have made it several times.

  • MrsGalapagos 22 Oct, 2011

    The spinach makes this soup phenomenal. I saw it last week on the show and just made my third batch today since I'm having my adult kids for dinner.

  • mischuring 7 Oct, 2011

    loved this soup. quick and easy and fantastic flavor.

  • MissSherri 7 Oct, 2011

    I watched them make this soup, it looked so easy I had to try. Loved it! Taste great and was easy to make.

  • divajess 7 Oct, 2011

    Easy, delicious. I could not find quick-cook barley, so I used regular barley and cooked it separately, then added it close to the end of cooking. Next time I think I will omit the thyme.

  • dianastyles 5 Oct, 2011

    This was a very satisfying and delicious recipe.

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