Classic Mushroom Barley Soup – Connoisseurus Veg

This mushroom barley soup is delicious, comforting, and loaded with savory flavor! Super easy to make and hearty enough for a meal, it’s guaranteed to warm you up when it’s cold out.

Bowl of Mushroom Barley Soup with a spoon in the background.

Simple mushroom barley soup is one of my own personal favorite comfort foods. I shared a recipe for creamy vegan mushroom barley soup a few years back, and while I love that soup, sometimes I find myself craving a simplified version. This one is just as hearty and delicious as the creamy version, but it’s brothy and not as rich. It’s also quite a bit easier to make!

This particular version is adapted from an old family recipe that I used to have jotted down on an index card. I’d bust it out every winter to cook up batch after batch of the stuff.

I’ve adapted and adjusted the recipe over the years and it’s just gotten better and better. A big bowl of this simple vegan soup is so incredibly soothing when it’s cold outside.

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Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Olive oil. This recipe calls for a decent amount of oil, as this is what’s needed to brown the mushrooms properly. You can cut back on the amount if you’d like, but I find the mushrooms cook up best with plenty of oil.
  • Mushrooms. We’re using cremini mushrooms (also known as baby bella mushrooms), but you can absolutely substitute with other varieties of fresh mushrooms if you’d like. White button mushrooms, shiitakes, and portobello mushrooms will all work.
  • Onion.
  • Carrots.
  • Celery.
  • Garlic.
  • White wine. You can leave this out if you prefer to cook without alcohol.
  • Spices. We’re using dried thyme and fresh sage.
  • Pearl barley. Hulled barley can be substituted if that’s what you have on hand, but you’ll need to roughly double the simmer time and add a bit more liquid as it reduces. It’s also a good idea to soak hulled barley for a few hours before cooking.
  • Vegetable broth.
  • Salt & pepper.
  • Fresh parsley. This is optional, but I love sprinkling a bit on top of my soup for a burst of freshness.

How It’s Made

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

Mushrooms cooking in a pot.
  • Cook sliced mushrooms first in a generous amount of olive oil. You’ll want to cook them for a few minutes on each side, until they brown. Remove them from the pot when they’re done.
Onions, carrots, celery and garlic cooking in a pot.
  • Sweat diced onion, carrots and celery in a bit more olive oil. Cook them until they soften, then add minced garlic.

Tip: Consider cooking the mushrooms in batches to avoid crowding the pot too much, which can prevent them from browning. I cooked mine in two batches.

Broth being poured into a pot filled with vegetables, mushrooms, and pearl barley.
  • Return the mushrooms to the pot, add the wine and herbs, and simmer briefly until the liquid reduces by about half. Now add the barley and broth.
Mushroom Barley Soup simmering on the stove.
  • Raise the heat, bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the barley is tender.

Tip: Add water to the pot if the broth reduces too much while cooking. I like to keep a kettle of hot water on the stove so I can add as needed without cooling down the soup.

  • Remove the pot from heat and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
Pot of Mushroom Barley Soup with a wooden spoon.
  • Ladle your mushroom barley soup into bowls and optionally top each one with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
White wooden surface set with Dutch oven and bowl of Mushroom Barley Soup.

Leftovers & Storage

Leftover mushroom barley soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, or in the freezer for 3 months. The barley will continue to soak up liquid as it sits, so you may need to thin the soup with some broth or water.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does barley contain gluten?

Yes, barley does contain gluten. If you need a gluten-free substitute, try wild rice, brown rice, or quinoa. You’ll need to adjust the cook time with any substitutions.

What is the difference between pearl barley and hulled barley?

Pearled barley is barley that has had the outer husk, bran layer and germ removed, whereas hulled barley has only the husk removed. Hulled barley is therefore somewhat more nutritious, but takes longer to cook.

More Soup Recipes

Like this recipe? If so, please stop back and leave me a review and rating below if you try it! Also be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, or subscribe to my newsletter for more recipes like this one!

Close up of Mushroom Barley Soup in a bowl with spoon.

Classic Mushroom Barley Soup

This mushroom barley soup is delicious, comforting, and loaded with savory flavor! Super easy to make and hearty enough for a meal, it’s guaranteed to warm you up when it’s cold out.

Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes


  • 5
    olive oil,
    or as needed, divided
  • 1
    cremini mushrooms,
    cleaned and sliced
  • 1
    medium onion,
  • 2
    medium carrots,
  • 2
    medium celery stalks,
  • 4
    garlic cloves,
  • ½
    dry white wine
  • 1
    dried thyme
  • ½
    rubbed sage
  • 8
    vegetable broth
  • 1
    pearl barley
  • Salt and pepper,
    to taste
  • Fresh parsley,
    optional, for topping


  1. Generously coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat. Give the oil a minute to heat up, then add the mushrooms in a single layer. (Note 1).

  2. Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes on each side, until browned.

  3. Remove the mushrooms from the pot and transfer them to a plate.

  4. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot and give it a minute to heat up.

  5. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot and celery. Sweat the vegetables for about 5 minutes, until they start to soften, stirring occasionally.

  6. Add the garlic to the pot and cook it with the vegetables for about 1 minute, until very fragrant.

  7. Return the mushrooms to the pot, then stir in the wine, thyme and sage. Bring the wine to a simmer and let it cook until the liquid is reduced by about half, about 4 minutes.

  8. Stir in the broth and barley. Raise the heat and bring the liquid to a boil.

  9. Lower the heat and allow the soup to simmer for 40 to 45 minutes (Note 2), stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender. Add water to the pot if the liquid reduces too much.

  10. Remove the pot from heat and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.

  11. Ladle into bowls and optionally top each with a sprinkle of fresh parsley. Serve.

Recipe Notes

  1. You may need to cook the mushrooms in batches to avoid crowding the pot. I generally do two batches using my 7 quart Dutch oven. The amount of oil needed can vary a bit, but I generally use about 4 tablespoons to cook all of my mushrooms (2 tablespoons per batch).
  2. Cook the soup for less time if you prefer firmer barley, more time if you prefer softer barley.

Nutrition Facts

Classic Mushroom Barley Soup

Amount Per Serving (1.5 cups)

Calories 309
Calories from Fat 110

% Daily Value*

Fat 12.2g19%

Saturated Fat 1.8g9%

Sodium 821mg34%

Potassium 588mg17%

Carbohydrates 34.5g12%

Fiber 6.9g28%

Sugar 8.9g10%

Protein 5.8g12%

Calcium 49mg5%

Iron 2mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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