Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup

Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup

This creamy vegetarian mushroom barley soup is packed full of whole grains and veggies in a creamy (but not too heavy) soup. Perfect soup for a cold day!


Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup

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When people ask me about Macheesmo, one of the first questions I get asked is how I don’t weigh approximately 400 pounds. I think I’ll save my philosophy on healthy eating for another post, but regularly eating veggie-heavy recipes like this Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup is a good start.

I try to post delicious and interesting things on Macheesmo (savory french toast anybody?) But, this vegetarian barley soup was both delicious and healthy so it was a must-post recipe for me.

The mushrooms and barley in this recipe produce a very filling soup, and while many barley soups feature beef, I like the vegetarian version actually. I definitely don’t miss meat when I’m eating it. Everything has a great texture to it and tons of flavor. Plus barley is hugely underrated so it’s worth posting on. I think you can find it boxed in the cereal section or definitely loose in the grain section.

Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup

Serves 4
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Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup
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This creamy vegetarian mushroom barley soup is packed full of whole grains and veggies in a creamy (but not too heavy) soup. It’s a perfect bowl of soup for a cold winter day!


1 quart chicken stock, divided
SUB: Veg Stock for vegetarian version
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 small white onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chives, garnish


1) In a medium pot, add the barley along with 1 1/2 cups chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer over low heat until barley is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

2) In a larger pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook until mushrooms lose their liquid and start to brown a bit, maybe 6-7 minutes.

3) Stir in onions, carrots, and celery and cook for another 4-5 minutes until veggies soften. Season with another pinch of salt and pepper.

4) Add flour to the veggies and stir in. Cook the flour and veggies for a minute or two to cook off any flour taste. The flour should turn a light tan color.

5) Slowly stir in the remaining chicken stock (2 1/2 cups) and bring to a slight simmer over medium heat. Cover and simmer for 7-8 minutes to meld flavors and thicken soup slightly.

6) Stir in cooked barley. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Taste and season to your liking.

7) Serve soup while warm garnished with fresh chives.

Nutrition Info

How to Make Barley Soup

I’m a fan of cooking the barley separately for this soup. It ensures your barley is cooked and that it doesn’t soak up all the liquid for the soup. Just simmer about 1/2 cup of barley in 1 1/2 cups chicken stock over low heat until it’s tender. It’ll take about 25 minutes or so. You can do it while you are cooking the rest of the barley soup.

Barley Soup Recipe
Barley Cooked

If you want to speed up the prep on this mushroom barley soup, you can do all of your slicing before hand which would make this almost a thirty minute meal I think!

Mushrooms for barley soup
Chop these in advance if you want!

Start the barley soup recipe by melting some butter in a large pot and adding the mushrooms. Cook these until they lose their liquid and start to brown a bit around the edges.

Cooking Mushroom Barley Soup
Starting ‘shrooms.

Then you can add your other veggies!

Veggies for Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe
Lots of veggies.

Cook the veggies for a few minutes before you move to the next step! A pinch of salt and pepper at this point wouldn’t hurt.

Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup
Thicken time!

Add some flour to the veggies to form a roux. This will thicken the soup a bit and give it a creamy texture. Stir the flour into the veggies for a minute or two to cook out any flour taste. Then you can slowly stir in the liquid.

Barley Soup

Simmer that for 6-7 minutes until the veggies are tender and the soup thickens slightly. Then add the cooked barley to the soup!

Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup
Done deal!

Make sure to add your sour cream last off the heat. Not a great idea to simmer sour cream. It might break apart a bit, but don’t worry about it! Taste the barley soup for salt and pepper and serve with fresh chives!

Can you Cook this Barley Soup in a Slow Cooker?


If you’re using a slow cooker, I would add everything to the slow cooker at once (not the flour) and cook on high for 4 hours or low for at least 6 hours. Right before serving, I would recommend stirring in a slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water to thicken the barley soup a bit and then add the sour cream as well.

The soup is pretty doable though if you chop your stuff in advance!

If you’re looking for a filling and delicious vegetarian soup to try, try this creamy mushroom barley soup recipe!

Mushroom Barley Soup

Here are a few other great vegetarian soup recipes!

24 Responses to “Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup” Leave a comment

  1. I like your new photo captions!

    I also like that you are sharing recipes that are meat-less and healthy. We don't eat meat daily, either, but sometimes it is tough for me to put together a meal where you don't miss the meat. This is a great idea and I will give it a shot next week! I think you should continue to highlight these types of things -a lot of totally vegetarian recipes are awful (ie meat alternatives, which I hate). Coming from someone who jumped on the Meatless Mondays bandwagon last year – this year we are up to 2 days without meat – it would be a great help to hear what you do! I totally agree with you – we eat less meat now, so when we do eat it, I really embrace it. I find myself not eating some junk because it's not good enough to waste my meat portion for the day on.

    I'm with you on the eating healthy thing. I get the same question and I'm never really sure how deep to go when I explain that we eat healthy, tasty food instead of nutritionally void things that seem to be so common now. Thank you for your post today!

    1. Thanks for the thoughtful comment Rebecca! I definitely will be posting more veg focused dishes since that’s mainly what I eat these days.

      However, rest assured when I post a meat dish (next monday for example), it will be an excellent one. :)

  2. Hi! I just found your blog today! This stew looks hearty, delicious and healthy! I'm bookmarking it, as we're trying to eat more whole grains and vegetarian meals. Thanks!

  3. I just wanted to comment on the fire roasted tomatoes in this recipe. For those of you that haven’t tried them yet- go find some. Today. Yes, I am serious. They give a wonderful flavor to anything you put them in. They make the best pasta sauces and soups. I travel over thirty miles to purchase these and I buy them by the case. You must try them.

    BTW… Bring on that Master Smoothie post!

  4. This is the best kind of stew, the kind you can sink your teeth into! It looks delicious and hearty and I’m going to have to try it in my own “beast” which isn’t as big as yours:)

  5. This is my 1st time on Taste Spotting. My friend just told me about the website today. I quit eating beef and pork about 5 years ago after being on Previcid for 5 years . A book called “Eat right for your type” by Peter DiAdamo was the answer I had been looking for. I found it very to digest meat and found that type A positive group should not be eating red meat. I thought it would be dificult but not so. I eat some turkey, chicken and fish. I have not had to take anything for acid reflux. But I do regularly drink about 2 ounces of 50% Organic apple cider with honey and 50% filtered water and about 1/3 cup honey. The vinegar should be organic and un pasturized. I don’t get on blogs because I don’t know when to quit talking. I love Barley and will try this stew on Saturday. I also am on a restricted sodium diet and can’t have dark greens because of blood thinner. I am a joy to be around (HA!) but life is indeed good. I am still alive! I will revisit as I do so much vegetarian eating.
    I really came to the website looking for a recipe for Chilled Mango Soup and any other chilled soups that are someone’s favorites.

    Thanks and have a Blessed Day!

  6. There is something really satisfying about throwing a whole bunch of vegetables into a big pot – it’s homey and comforting. Your stew looks delicious, although the yoghurt is something I wouldn’t have thought of – now I want to try it to see what it tastes like!

    1. Hey Katie, you gotta try the greek yogurt. It’s tangy and delicious. Don’t use reg yogurt though… that’s be too sweet I think.

  7. I just put this in the crockpot – heading off for a hike on a beautiful Saturday. Have got friends coming over for dinner, one of which is vegan. Hope we like it because I did what you did – doubled everything. Looks like a ton of it!

  8. This looks super yum… but noone at my house really likes soups/stews but me :-(

    Do you have any other great ideas for barley besides stew?

    1. You can just eat barley for breakfast! I think it might be good in kind of a cold salad fashion… I’ll try to find a good recipe for it ;)

  9. Got this simmering away in my crock pot right now. My husband love to make big batches of healthy dishes that we can eat off of all week for lunch.

  10. I just made this this afternoon. This has to be one of the easiest recipes on Macheesmo! I made it on the stove and, like you said, just simmered it for 45 minutes or so and it turned out really well. I've never made such an easy soup, and at about 12 serving (I doubled the recipe too), the work to yield ratio is awesome! Plus, all you need is a knife, a pot, and a cutting board–just my speed.This should definitely get a quick and easy tag. =) Thanks for the recipe!

  11. I just made this today and it’s really yummy! I was looking for a recipe that fits into the Weight Watchers “Simply Filling” plan (‘cuz it’s what I’m doing to atone for a recent vacation where I ate everything in sight), and this fits the bill perfectly. I followed your recipe exactly, except I accidentally added a 15 oz. can of tomato sauce (don’t ask), but that doesn’t seem to have hurt it any. Thanks for sharing this!

  12. This looks great. While this can easily be remedied, it’s funny to call this the vegetarian version when it’s cooked with chicken broth…

  13. Made this today and it is AWESOME. A trick to keep the sour cream from splitting…add 1 Tablespoon of flour to the 1/2 cup sour cream, and make sure it is room temp before adding it to the soup.

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