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Overhead image of a large Dutch oven filled with homemade chicken and barley soup filled with carrots, celery, and onions.
5 from 13 votes

Chicken Barley Soup

This Chicken Barley Soup is made with juicy chicken, tender barley, and vegetables like onion, carrot, and celery in a comforting chicken broth. Nutritious and filling, warm up with a big bowl of this hearty chicken and barley soup.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 567kcal


  • 10 cups cold water
  • pounds chicken thighs - boneless skinless
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion - diced (more if you love onion like I do)
  • 6 large carrots - peeled and chopped
  • 4 stalks celery - chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 cup hulled barley - or pearl barley
  • ½ lemon - juiced
  • salt and black pepper - to taste


  • Add the raw chicken thighs, bay leaves, and salt to a large Dutch oven or stockpot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked - about 30-40 minutes.
  • Once the chicken is fully cooked, carefully remove the chicken from the simmering broth. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean pot (we'll be adding the broth back to the pot a little later).
  • Return the same pot or Dutch oven that was used to simmer the chicken back to the stovetop. Add the olive oil and set over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pot. Mix well to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Return the strained chicken broth back to the pot. Add the hulled barley and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir occasionally. Simmer for at least 45 minutes, or until the barley is tender.
  • As the soup simmers, shred the chicken. Add the cooked chicken back to the soup in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • Stir in the fresh lemon juice and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Serve garnished with red chili flakes or fresh parsley, if desired.


  • You may use pearl barley or hulled barley. Pearl barley cooks in about 25 minutes whereas hulled barley cooks in about 45 minutes.
  • Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • After cooling you may notice that your soup has thickened. This is normal. Simply add additional water or chicken broth until desired thickness is reached.


Calories: 567kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 567mg | Potassium: 676mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1658IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 3mg
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