Slow Cooker Chicken Barley Soup

The best easy slow cooker chicken barley soup recipe, homemade with simple ingredients. Loaded with vegetables, rotisserie chicken, Italian seasoning. It’s hearty, healthy comfort food.

This soup is so easy, partly due to the use of rotisserie chicken, and also loaded with flavor and bursting with nutritious ingredients. It is a staple in our meal planning during the colder months. The smell, warmth, and comfort from it cooking all day is irresistible! Slow Cooker Meatball Soup is another favorite this time of year, so make sure to try it.

How To Make Chicken Barley Soup Recipe From Scratch?

  1. Heat butter and oil– In a nonstick pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery– Saute for about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add these sauteed vegetables in a crockpot (6 quart or larger).
  4. Add broth, tomato, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, bay leaf, barley– Mix everything until combined.
  5. Cover and cook– On Low heat for 5 hours or until vegetables are tender and barley is cooked through.
  6. Mix in corn, peas and rotisserie chicken– If the soup is looking too thick, add more broth.
  7. Cover and continue cooking on Low heat for 30 minutes.
  8. Discard bay leaf.
  9. Garnish with fresh parsley– Enjoy!

What Sides To Serve With Chicken And Barley Soup?


This soup is hearty enough to serve on its own, but if you want to make this meal even more filling, here are some ideas:

  • Grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Salads
  • Crackers
  • Breadsticks
  • Cornbread
  • Biscuits
  • Dinner rolls
  • Garlic bread
  • Crusty bread like Ciabatta for dipping

Storage

Refrigerate– In a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Freeze– In a freezer safe container or bag for up to 2 months.

Reheat– From thawed, in the microwave or on the stovetop. You may need to add more broth because the barley will absorb much of the liquid.

Variations

Chicken and barley stew– This is different than soup in that it has beef instead of chicken, and it thicker than the soup version.

Add mushrooms- You can use mushrooms in place of the chicken if you want to keep the soup vegetarian. You can also just add them in the last 20-30 minutes of cooking in order to increase the heartiness of this soup. You can also just add a can of cream of mushroom soup.

Add lemon– Juice or zest for a little tanigness at the end.

Add lentils– To make this soup even heartier!

Add other cooked meats– Add bacon, sliced Italian sausage, ham, turkey, or beef.

Make it spicy– Add crushed red pepper flakes, jalapenos, or cayenne pepper.

Make it creamy– Add heavy cream or full-fat coconut milk for a dairy free option.

Chicken vegetable barley soup– Add more vegetables such as green bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, potatoes, or sweet potatoes.

Make it Mexican– Add black beans and fire roasted jalapenos. Top with avocado and Monterey jack cheese.

Make it Asian- Add 1 can of coconut milk, chili paste, garlic, kale, red peppers, and a little curry powder.

Garnish options- Parsley, basil, chives, green onions, cilantro.

Tips And Techniques

Use leftover chicken– Such as Lemon Pepper Chicken (One Pan), Cajun Chicken (One Pot), or Creamy Lemon Garlic Chicken (One Pot).

Use rotisserie chicken– For time saving convenience.

Use uncooked chicken– I used 2 uncooked breasts, along with the rest of the ingredients, and then shred or diced it at the end.

What kind of barley to use? I use pearl barley, but you can also used hulled barley since it will be cooking on low heat for a long time.

Adjust amount of seasonings- Add more or less Italian seasoning, based on your preference.

Correcting the consistency– The soup will thicken as the barley absorbs broth, and so the longer it sits, the thicker it will become. Add more broth in order to thin it back out when serving.

How to thicken soup? Allow the soup to sit and the barley will soak up the liquid, or continue simmering till the liquid evaporates to your desired consistency.

How to make soup thinner? Mix in more broth.

Can I use something other than barley? Yes, brown rice would be a great alternative to barley. You can also use any small pasta like ditalini or elbow. Barley is more nutritious and contains more fiber than the pasta options though. If using pasta, don’t add it in till the last 10 minutes or so.

Use a multifunctional slow cooker– This allows you to saute the veggies the in the slow cooker. This way, you won’t have to make another pot or pan dirty.

If you are short on time– Don’t saute the vegetables and just add everything in the crockpot and continue with the rest of the steps.

More Slow Cooker Soup Recipes

Easy Homemade Chicken Barley Soup in Black Slow Cooker- Overhead Shot

Slow Cooker Chicken Barley Soup

Easy slow cooker chicken barley soup recipe, homemade with simple ingredients. Loaded with vegetables, rotisserie chicken, Italian seasoning.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Butter, Unsalted
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 cup Onion, Finely chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Finely minced
  • 1 cup Carrots, Peeled, Diced
  • 1/2 cup Celery , Sliced
  • 5-6 cups Chicken broth, Low sodium, Always start with 5 cups and add more, if necessary
  • 1 Tomato, Medium size, Finely chopped, Can also be replaced with 1/4 cup tomato sauce or leftover marinara sauce
  • 1.5 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt, To taste
  • Pepper, To taste
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2/3 cups Pearl barley
  • 1/3 cup Corn, Frozen
  • 1/3 cup Peas, Frozen
  • 2 cups Rotisserie chicken , Diced or Shredded
  • 1-2 tbsp Parsley, Fresh, Roughly chopped, For garnish

Instructions

  • Heat butter and oil a nonstick pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery and saute for about 4-5 minutes until garlic is fragrant.
  • Tip 1: Use a multifunctional slow cooker that allows you to saute the veggies the in the slow cooker. This way, you won’t have to make another pot or pan dirty.
    Tip 2: If you are short on time, don't saute the vegetables and just add everything in the crockpot and continue with the rest of the steps.
  • Add these sauteed vegetables in a crockpot (6 quart or larger).
  • Also, add broth, tomato, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, bay leaf, barley and mix everything until combined.
  • Cover and cook on Low heat for 5 hours or until vegetables are tender and barley is cooked through.
  • Mix in corn, peas and rotisserie chicken. If the soup is looking too thick, add more broth.
  • Cover and continue cooking on Low heat for 30 minutes.
  • Discard bay leaf.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Read all my tips above.
  • Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave or stovetop. Additional broth will need to be added to thin out the soup again because barley absorbs a lot of the broth. 
     

Nutrition

Calories: 294kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 1055mg, Potassium: 441mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 3980IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 49mg, Iron: 2mg
Spoonful of Chicken and Barley Soup- Closeup Shot

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