Slow Cooker Vegetable Barley Soup

Slow Cooker Vegetable Barley soup for the win!  Made with pearl barley for those chilly fall nights. 🙌

bowl of barley soup in bowl with side of cheese and bread

Everyone has their own version of vegetable soup. Some use bags of frozen mixed vegetables, chopped meat or even noodles. My neighbor uses canned tomato soup as her base and a gal at our church includes beans. All of these versions are yummy, but I have a preference for fresh chopped vegetables, spices and pearl barley simmering in a good quality vegetable broth. Have you ever cooked with barley before? One of those ancient grains, the pearl version has the hull and bran removed to make it tender enough for soups, stews or porridge. When cooked down, the pearls have a puffed texture and give a chewy, almost nutty flavor. We love it this slow cooker vegetable barley soup recipe!

My recipe for vegetable barley soup is a favorite for company because I can prep it the day ahead and start it in the morning with a slow cooker. It will fill at least 10 hearty bowls or make enough leftovers for the week. My children really enjoy the flavors of this soup as well – one of the best ways I can get them to eat a rainbow of vegetables! Paired with a side of crusty bread and cheese, it’s the perfect hot meal for those cooler autumn days.

Are you ready to make my version of vegetable soup? Come on in to my kitchen!

carrots, onions, corn, zucchini, peppers and broccoli

This soup uses seven different fresh vegetables. You will need  green onions, red pepper, garlic,  carrots, celery, broccoli, zucchini and frozen peas and sweet corn. Not pictured are canned diced tomatoes, fresh parsley and spices…and of course, pearled barley (which will come into play at the end).

chopped vegetables on cutting board

Before you bring your slow cooker out of the cupboard, sauté one bunch of chopped green onions (white and green parts) and three minced garlic cloves in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. One thing I have learned over the years is to always sauté the onions and garlic before adding them to your slow cooker. This will bring out the sweetness of the onion and flavor of the garlic. A must! Since this recipe also includes 1/2 cup diced red pepper, I am sauteing the pepper along with the onions and garlic. Once fragrant and tender, set them aside.

vegetables chopped in bowl

In your slow cooker, add your sautéed vegetables, 1 cup each of fresh chopped carrots, celery, broccoli and zucchini, 1/2 cup each of frozen sweet corn and peas and one 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes. Pour over 6 cups of good quality vegetable broth and stir it all together. As most of you know, I like to use Rapuzel Vegetable Bouillon with Herbs to make my broth. I find it here on Amazon.

spices for vegetable barley soup in your slow cooker

Now for the spices! To your slow cooker, add 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley. You can use regular paprika if you don’t have Hungarian, but you will miss the sweetness!

Stir it all together and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours.

pearl barley in bag

How to Cook the Barley In Your Soup

By now, your kitchen will smell wonderful and your vegetables will be tender. It’s time to add our barley! It only takes a small time for the pearls to puff up and be tender so we don’t want it add them to our soup until the end. Here is what uncooked pearl barley looks like.

rinse pearl barley before adding to soup

Rinse 1/2 cup of pearls under water to remove any sentiments and drain. Add the rinsed pearls to your slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 1 additional hour or LOW for 2 additional hours. You might be thinking that 1/2 cup of pearled barley won’t be enough, but I assure you that once those pearls soak up some broth and incorporate themselves through the soup, you will see why we only need 1/2 cup!

Have a taste and add more salt if you’d like and get those bowls ready…

ladle of pearl barley soup

My friends, right here is what I love about fall cooking.  Full of flavor hot slow cooker vegetable barley soup. I hope you love this version as much as we do!

Enjoy 🙂

ladle of pearl barley soup
Created by: Lynette Rice

Slow Cooker Vegetable Barley Soup

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10
Slow cooker vegetable barley soup made with nine vegetables and pearl barley.


  • 1 bunch green onions chopped
  • 1/2 cup red pepper chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots chopped
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley rinsed and drained


  • Saute 1 bunch of chopped green onions, 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper and 3 cloves of minced garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • In your slow cooker, add the sautéed vegetables, 1 cup each of fresh chopped carrots, celery, broccoli and zucchini, 1/2 cup each of frozen sweet corn and peas and one 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes.
  • Pour over 6 cups of good quality vegetable broth and stir it all together.
  • Add 1 tsp. Hungarian paprika, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. dried dill weed, 1/4 tsp. pepper and 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley.
  • Stir it all together and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours.
  • Rinse 1/2 cup of pearl barley under water and drain. Add the rinsed pearls to your slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 1 additional hour or LOW for 2 additional hours.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 87kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 370mg | Potassium: 361mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2920IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. The season for soups has started and your recipe comes at the right time! with all those veggies and grain, it sounds like delicious, healthy bowl! I have never cooked with Barley. Barley also has gluten right? I am going to try the recipe with some whole millets.

    Thanks for sharing

    1. Meredith Edwards says:

      Hi Ashima!
      Yes, barley does have gluten, but you could sub millet, quinoa or rice…all would be good here. Hope you enjoy!

  2. Karyl | Karyl's Kulinary Krusade says:

    I’ve never cooked with barley, but this soup looks so good! I’m definitely going to have to give it a try

    1. Meredith Edwards says:

      Hope you do! Thanks Karyl 🙂

  3. Vicky @ Avocado Pesto says:

    5 stars
    LOVE a good hearty vegetable soup! My go to grain is quinoa but I need to try making a soup with barley instead!

    1. Meredith Edwards says:

      Hi Vicky!
      Quinoa would be in this soup good as well!

  4. Slow cooker soups are so wonderful. I absolutely love how you can just throw everything in and then when you come back later at mealtime, a delicious bowl of soup is ready and waiting! This veggie soup looks perfect for a a rainy fall day!

    1. Meredith Edwards says:

      Thanks Shannon!
      Hope you enjoy 🙂

  5. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way says:

    5 stars
    We love our beef barley soup — we’ve never put barley in our vegetable soup. I bet it tastes wonderful! We love soups and even make it in the summer time. We’ll have to give your recipe a go with the fresh veggies.

    1. Meredith Edwards says:

      We made vegetable year round also – too good to leave out for a season!

  6. Denise wright says:

    My husband LOVES beef and barley soup so I think will love this. How great that you made this in a slow cooker! Can’t wait to try it.

    1. Meredith Edwards says:

      Thanks Denise!

  7. I have had a bag of pearled barley sitting in my pantry for a while now, I think I will put it to good use in this recipe. To entice the African palettes in my house, I will add some cayenne pepper when I make mine.

    1. Meredith Edwards says:

      Hi Lois!
      Hot spices in this soup would be wonderful. Cayenne, chipotle powder, red pepper flakes or hot sauce… yum!

  8. Veena Azmanov says:

    5 stars
    I love barley but have not been making it as often.. I need to start again. We love vegetable soup so I must try this soon. Saving for later.

    1. Meredith Edwards says:

      Thanks Veena!
      Hope you enjoy 🙂

  9. Ben Myhre says:

    I like barley in all it’s glorious forms. I might have to try this one, as I have not cooked it as a soup yet.

    1. Meredith Edwards says:

      Another glorious form for you! We just love it in soup. Enjoy, Ben!

  10. Ashley @ Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen says:

    I put barley in my beef stew, but haven’t thought to use it in a veggie one like this. Love this colorful combination – total fall comfort food!

    1. Meredith Edwards says:

      Hi Ashley!
      Funny, I haven’t tried barley in beef stew. Good idea for me as well! 🙂