Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe

image of 3 1-cup souper cubes trays on a wooden table filled with mushroom barley soup. there are mushrooms along the left side of the picture.
Table of Contents

    image of 3 1-cup souper cubes trays filled with mushroom barley soup. there is a souper cubes lid on the top of one of the trays with a piece of masking tape that says "mushroom barley soup"


    I'll be the first to admit I never loved mushroom barley soup. When Jake told me he was going to make it for dinner, I was less than enthused. However, I had class until 6 pm and a 30+ minute drive home and wasn't going to complain about a home-cooked dinner waiting for me when I got back from school. Holy moly.

    The barley soup was absolutely delicious. So much so that I asked him to recreate it once I finished through our freezer stash. Whether you enjoy this wonderful recipe on a cold day when you’re craving comfort food, or whenever you just need a fast pre-made meal from your freezer, this will be your new go-to!

    What I love about this delicious soup is that it uses both dried and fresh mushrooms. We make sure to add the liquid that was used to hydrate the dried mushrooms (our favorite is porcini) as it adds so much delicious mushroom flavor to the barley soup.

    Best Types of Mushroom to Use for Mushroom Barley Soup

    You can use many varieties of mushrooms for Mushroom Barley Soup. We prefer to use brown mushrooms as we find they have more flavor than white mushrooms. Our favorites include:

    • Cremini mushrooms
    • Baby Bella mushrooms

    Vegetarian or Vegan Adaptations for Mushroom Barley Soup

    The only animal-based part of this excellent recipe comes from the type of stock you use. Historically, we made this with our homemade chicken stock or homemade bone broth. However, since we try to limit the amount of meat we eat per week, we often make this recipe with homemade vegetable broth. Choose whichever stock you like best: beef stock, chicken stock, vegetable broth, mushroom broth, etc.

    Freezing Mushroom Barley Soup

    You can freeze mushroom barley soup. Our favorite method is to pour the soup into our 1-cup Souper Cubes® trays and let the soup cool. Then we place the snug-fitting lid on top and label it with masking tape. From there, we place the filled tray in our freezer. You can either leave the mushroom and barley soup in the freezer until you're ready to heat some up or pop out the frozen cubes and place them in a freezer-safe bag. The benefit of placing the frozen cubes in a freeze-safe bag is that it's often more space-efficient and frees up your Souper Cubes® tray to freeze something else.

    8 frozen 1-cup cubes of mushroom barley soup neatly stored in a gallon-size ziploc bag.

    While we prefer to use our 1-cup trays, you can definitely use our 2-cup trays too. I often end up heating up a 1-cup portion for myself and Jake will heat up 2 1-cup cubes for himself.

    Reheating Mushroom Barley Soup from Frozen

    There are a lot of ways to reheat soup from frozen. If you can, we always recommend letting the soup thaw in the fridge for several hours, as this will ultimately reduce the amount of time it takes to reheat. If you skip that step, as we often do, that's totally okay.

    Here Are Our preferred Ways to Reheat Frozen Soup:

    • If reheating 1-cup: place in a mug and microwave for 3+ minutes until hot. Stir before eating in case any parts of the soup haven't fully defrosted.
    • If reheating 2+ cups:
      • Place frozen cubes of soup in a microwave-safe and microwave until hot, or
      • Place frozen cubes in a pot and place over low-medium heat until soup begins to melt and a liquid covers the entire bottom of the pot. Then raise heat to medium heat and cover with a lid until simmering.

    How To Make Mushroom Barley Soup

    Gather and Prep Your Ingredients

    ingredients for mushroom barley soup in various bowls on a dark wooden table 

    I love that this dish has relatively few ingredients (8 total) but is packed with flavor.

    Hydrate Dried Mushrooms

     4 images in a 2 by 2 grid showing how to hydrate dried mushrooms in hot water, straining them, and chopping them on a cutting board

    We love the umami flavor that dried mushrooms bring. You can use any dried mushrooms, but we prefer to use dried porcini.

    To hydrate dried mushrooms, you can either:

    • Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small pot, add dried mushrooms, turn off heat, cover with lid, and wait 10-15 minutes.
    • Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, place in a bowl, add dried mushrooms, and wait 10-15 minutes.

    Once you’ve let the dried mushrooms soak for 10-15 minutes, take the mushrooms from the soaking liquid and drain them over another bowl. You’ll want to use 1-cup of the mushroom stock for the Mushroom Barley soup and roughly chop the hydrated mushrooms.

    Sauté Onions and Carrots
    diced carrots and onions in a large all-clad pot ready to be sauteed for mushroom barley soup 
    Sauté Mushrooms 
    sliced brown mushrooms in an all-clad pot browning in olive oil
    Jake loves to remind me that it's important to cook the mushrooms in small batches so that it doesn't overcrowd the pot. I agree. It cooks faster and develops a better flavor since it can start to brown.
    Sauté Garlic
    sauteed brown mushrooms with 4 cloves of minced garlic in a large all-clad pot for mushroom barley soup
    You only need to sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds or so, make sure it doesn’t burn.
    Add Remaining Ingredients to the Pot
    4 images in a 2 by 2 matrix of sauteed veggies, then a pot with 8 cups of broth (previously frozen in 1-cup souper cubes trays), barley in the thawing broth, and a finished mushroom barley soup in the all-clad pot
    Serve and Enjoy!
    mushroom barley soup in a gray bowl with a golden spoon, on top of a blue placemat and white cloth napkin 
    Freeze Leftovers to Enjoy Later
    image of two 1-cup souper cubes trays filled with mushroom barley soup on top of a wooden table near a pile of mushrooms

    We would love to hear your ideas or better yet, post a photo of your cubes organized in our Freezer Meals & Recipes Facebook Group!

    Souper Cubes frozen sauce
    Happy Freezing!

    Take your freezer meal prep to the next level.

    Shop our selection of freezer-friendly containers today!