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Slow Cooker Chicken Barley Soup

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4-6 hours on low
  • Total Time: 23 minute
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


 For a healthy but filling meal try out this Slow Cooker Chicken Barley Soup with some crusty bread. It simmers all day for lots of flavor. This is a forgiving soup that allows you to use cooked chicken or turkey or raw chicken breasts or thighs.  


  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley (not the quick-cooking kind)
  • 12 cups shredded chicken (pre-made) OR 1 1/2 pounds uncooked chicken breasts or thighs
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth (or 3 cups water and 3 1/2 tsp better than bouillon* chicken base)
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  1. In a microwave-safe bowl combine the onion, garlic, tomato paste, olive oil, basil, celery and carrots.  Microwave for about 4-5 minutes, stirring every minute.  Transfer to the slow cooker.
  2. Add in the barley, chicken, chicken broth, tomatoes, salt, bay leaf and pepper into the slow cooker.  Stir a bit and cover.
  3. Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours, until barley is cooked through.
  4. Remove the chicken (if it was uncooked) and shred or cut into bite size pieces. Stir the chicken back into the pot.
  5. Ladle into bowls and top with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!


For this recipe I used my 6 quart oval Kitchenaid slow cooker.* I love this slow cooker (you can see me talking about it in a video here). It cooks low and evenly. I love the medium heat choice because most slow cookers that I’ve seen only have the option of cooking on low or high. If you’re going to buy just one slow cooker, this is the one that I recommend.

(Get the INSTANT POT version of this recipe here)

  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Slow Cooker


  • Serving Size: 1 cup serving
  • Calories: 141
  • Sugar: 2 grams
  • Sodium: 657 mg
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 17 grams
  • Protein: 9 grams