I am going to be making a beef barley soup and need to soak the pearl barley overnight. There are no directions on the back of the package and so I am unclear on what to do. There is a recipe for a barley and bean type soup and it says to soak the barley overnight in water and then drain it in the morning. Is that all that needs to be done?

Also, once the barley is all done soaking, do I add it into the broth and let everything cook or are there more steps?


6 Answers 6


You probably misread the recipe. It's suggested that dry beans soak overnight so that they cook in a reasonable amount of time the next day (unless you use a pressure cooker.)

There is no need to soak barley, pearled or not. It's my guess that you mistook the bean soaking for barley in the recipe. That, or it's a typo.

  • Actually, you were right. =) I did misread the packaging. Commented Mar 7, 2011 at 0:19

Cooking barley is similar to cooking rice: Cover 1 cup of pearl barley with 2 cups of water or vegetable broth and simmer for 30-40 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Or, try using a rice cooker. Add 2 1/2 cups water per cup of barley.

Pre-soak barley in plenty of water to cut down on the overall cooking time. Barley can be pre-soaked for an hour or overnight. Pre-soaking will reduce the cooking time to about fifteen minutes.


I don't believe it is necessary to soak pearl barley, just add it in and let it cook like you would rice or pasta.

Nota bene: be sure not to add more barley than the recipe calls for, as the barley can easily become overwhelming.


Normally you do not need to soak barley beforehand. However it is often recommended to cook the barley with cold water and bring to boil.


I do not pre soak my barley for soup. Once I have browned the meat with onion and garlic I add a cap full of natural apple cider vinegar then start adding everything else. I add the containter of chicken stock into the pot, added my barley, diced potatoe and vegtables. I cook on medium heat then later lowered to simmer. I was done in no time.


I never soak my soup barley. Of course, I don't pre-cook it, either. I just wash it, throw it in the pot, and let the starches it releases thicken my soup as it cooks. As a shortcut, it works great, and I never have to wonder how to thicken my soup.

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