Mushroom and Barley Soup

This Mushroom Barley Soup is for serious mushroom lovers.  It’s more like a stew, actually, so dense is it with mushrooms and those lovely chewy nubs of barley. 

Very Mushroomy Mushroom Barley Soup

Make Ahead Mushroom Barley Soup

If you make it ahead, or if you have leftovers, you will notice that it continues to thicken when it cools, especially when refrigerated.  The barley and even the mushrooms will keep absorbing the liquid, so you’ll want to add more liquid when you reheat it.  You could do broth (vegetarian broth makes this a vegetarian soup), but the flavors are pretty rich and deep, so plain old water might be better, to lighten things up a bit.

What Type of Mushrooms to Use in Mushroom Barley Soup

You can absolutely use button mushrooms, available packaged in every supermarket, but many markets are also now carrying a wide range of the more exotic varieties, either packaged or in bulk.  You can combine as many different types as you like in this recipe.

Very Mushroomy Mushroom Barley Soup

Types of Readily Available Mushrooms:

Creminis: Also known as baby portobellos, these are widely available, and very sturdy.   They are still mild in flavor, but a bit more interesting than plain old button mushrooms.

Portobellos: This mushroom is actually a very mature button mushroom, with a fully grown out cap. The portobello  has a meaty texture, great for grilling, and portobello “burgers” are a vegetarian’s good friend come summertime.  

Shiitake: This is a favorite of mine, often called for in Asian recipes.   They are savory and meaty, and have a lot of umami punch.

A hearty cold weather soup for mushroom lovers.

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Very Mushroomy Mushroom Barley Soup

Dried Mushrooms in Mushroom Barley Soup

The dried mushrooms add another layer of mushroom flavor, as does the liquid they are soaked with.  You can use any type of dried mushroom here, from chanterelle to porcini to shiitake to oyster to portobello to a mix—there are some nice dried mushroom blends on the market. Try dried morels, too, for a really special treat!

Very Mushroomy Mushroom Barley Soup

What To Serve with Mushroom Barley Soup

A nice crusty loaf of good bread is an amazing companion for mushroom barley soup, to dunk and then swipe up every last delicious drop! A basket of hot rolls, Irish Soda Bread, or Beer Bread would also be lovely. Also think about garlic bread; try:

Cornbread is also a great companion to Mushroom Barley Soup:

Cheddar Cornbread

Molasses Cornbread

Easy Cornbread

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread

More Recipes with Mushrooms:

Very Mushroomy Mushroom Barley Soup

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Mushroom Barley Soup

A hearty cold weather soup for mushroom lovers.
Yield: 6 Servings
Diet: Vegetarian


  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (or other dried mushrooms of choice)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 10 cups sliced and roughly chopped mushrooms any type
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 8 cups less-sodium chicken or vegetable broth or more as needed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • Sliced scallions and chopped fresh parsley to garnish


  • Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and cover them with the hot water. Let soak for 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid, and finely chop the soaked mushrooms. Return them to the liquid.
  • Heat the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir until the have become tender, and any liquid that they released has evaporated.
  • Stir in the flour and stir for one minute until it is well distributed. Add broth and increase the heat to high. When the soup is simmering add the barley to the soup. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until the barley is tender, about 45 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add more broth if the soup is too thick. Check the seasonings towards the end and add salt and pepper if needed.
  • Serve hot, with scallions and parsley sprinkled on each serving.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 110mg | Potassium: 937mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 32IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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  1. I made this recipe and while very mushroomy tasting, it was very watery! It didn’t look anything like the accompanying photos. I would definitely cut back on the broth!

    1. So odd! Some mushrooms contain a lot of water, so they may have released it into the soup. Thanks for noting.

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