Mushroom Barley Soup

This favorite mushroom barley soup is full of vegetables, chewy barley, and warming broth. It’s a recipe for cozy on gray days!

Mushroom barley soup

Here’s of the coziest soups out there, ready to join the ranks of tomato basil and wild rice. Yep, it’s mushroom barley soup! This one is full of flavor: it uses both dried and fresh mushrooms for earthy savoriness. And it’s got a warming broth and nutritious veggies. But the star? Whole grain barley, which infuses each bite with a pasta-like chewy texture. If you love barley soup, you’re going to be all about this one! It’s perfect for healthy desk lunches in a thermos or enjoying a big steaming bowl after a long day. Alex made this one for me, and from the first bite I was hooked.

Mushroom barley soup

Mushrooms: both dried and fresh!

If you’re reading this, we’ll assume you’re mushroom lovers like we are. It took me years, but I finally learned to embrace the incredible flavor you can get from the humble mushroom, especially in plant based recipes.

For this recipe, you’ll use two types of mushrooms: both dried and fresh! Don’t be scared of the dried mushrooms: they’re very easy to use! If you’ve never worked with them before, here’s the down-low on using dried mushrooms:

  • Use any type. For this mushroom barley soup, you can use whatever type of dried mushroom you find at the store. Porcini is likely the easiest to find, but any will do.
  • Soak before using. Dried mushrooms needs to be dehydrated before using. For this recipe, you’ll soak the mushrooms for 30 minutes before adding to the soup.
  • Use the soaking liquid too. You’ll also pour in the mushroom soaking liquid into the soup, since that has lots of flavor too! Just make sure to strain out the liquid to make sure there are no tough parts of the mushrooms included.

Want more? Here’s all you need to know about working with dried mushrooms.

Barley soup

Tips on making mushroom barley soup

This mushroom barley soup is warming and cozy, but you can make it literally any time of the year. Packed with whole grains and vegetables, it’s a restoring, healthy dinner recipe or perfect for lunch. This soup is pretty straightforward to make, after you keep in mind the notes on using dried mushrooms above. Other than that, you’ll find it’s similar to many soup recipes you’ll find. Here are a few notes on this soup:

  • Speed it up with knife skills. The easiest place to get time savings in cooking is knowing your knife skills! To brush up, head to our Knife Skills 101 or click the links to the vegetables in the recipe below.
  • Try homemade veggie broth. Did you know you can make your own vegetable broth? It’s super easy and a great way to use up leftover veggies. Go to How to Make Vegetable Broth.
  • To make it more filling, add white beans. The soup is seriously good and filling on its own. If you want to take it up a level, add 1 15-ounce can of white beans with all the veggies. It adds even more plant based protein to keep you full!
  • Is barley gluten free? No! Barley contains gluten, so it’s not part of a gluten free diet.
Mushroom barley soup

What to serve with barley soup

How to make this mushroom barley soup into a meal? With soup, it’s all about the right sides. Here are some of our favorites to add to this one:

Mushroom barley soup

This barley soup recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Mushroom barley soup

Mushroom Barley Soup

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (18 votes, average: 4.56 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


This favorite mushroom barley soup is full of vegetables, chewy barley, and warming broth. It’s a recipe for cozy on gray days!



  • 1/2 ounce dried mushrooms
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper


  1. Soak the dried mushrooms in 2 cups of room temperature water for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, dice the onion. Peel and dice the carrots. Dice the celery. Slice the baby bella mushrooms. Mince the garlic.
  3. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced baby bella mushrooms, soy sauce, and basil. Cook 4 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook 5 to 6 minutes until softened. Stir in the barley and cook for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and kosher salt.
  4. Bring to simmer and cook 25 to 30 minutes until barley is soft. Whenever the dried mushrooms are finished soaking (likely around when the simmering starts), remove and rinse them, then add them to the soup. Pour the remaining liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into the soup (this avoids any tough particles).
  5. Finish the remaining simmering time, then taste and add additional salt or pepper if desired. Ladle into bowls and serve warm.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Keywords: Barley Soup, Mushroom Barley Soup, Vegetable Barley Soup

Mushroom recipes

Mushroom obsessed like we are? Here are a few more recipes you might enjoy:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    October 23, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    I listened to you and added the white beans and it really was filling! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sonja Overhiser
      October 24, 2019 at 8:10 am

      We are so glad to hear this! Thank you so much for making it, and glad you liked the white beans! :)

  • Reply
    November 2, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    This soup was divine. Used my own broth made from scraps. Added the beans. The highlight was your Dutch over bread. Great meal on a gray day!

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      November 3, 2019 at 7:39 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this soup and the bread!!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    Hi, I am really interested in making this, but I really don’t like onions unless they are basically translucent and undetectable. I am worried that if I follow your directions and cook the mushrooms for only 5 or 6 minutes they won’t be as soft as I prefer. I am also worried that if I cook them longer that I might overcook the mushrooms. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      November 3, 2019 at 7:23 pm

      Hi! I think you could cook both the onions and garlic for 5 minutes before adding other ingredients and cooking 5-6 more minutes.

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