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Published October 21, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Follow these simple-to-prepare instructions for how to cook barley perfectly every time for a delicious seasoned grain to use in cereals, soups, or stews. You will love the chewiness of this.
Barley is an ancient grain commonly used in cereals, bread, and soups. Most of the grain that is grown in the United States is used to feed farm animals or to make beer and whiskey. There are several different ways it can be broken down for cooking. Here are the most common:
- Hulled – Has the outer husk removed and is the most nutritious
- Scotch – This is husked and coarsely ground.
- Grits – These are hulled and cracked into medium-coarse pieces.
- Pearl – This has the bran removed and has been steamed and polished.
- Flour – This is ground and combined with gluten to make yeast bread.
- Water – A restorative drink made from barley for people recovering from an illness.
It’s an inexpensive grain in any general grocery store across the United States.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Barley – I used pearl barley in this recipe.
- Liquid – You can use water, vegetable stock, chicken stock, or beef stock when cooking split peas.
- Salt – I prefer to use sea salt in all my cooking and baking.
Rinse the barley in a colander under cold water.
Transfer it to a medium-sized pot with water, stock, and salt.
Bring it to a boil over high heat. Add a lid and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or once it becomes tender and chewy.
Strain the cooked barley and use it in a recipe. After that, chill it to use in a recipe later. See reheating instructions.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this up to 1 day ahead of time.
How to Store: Cover and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can freeze these covered for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator until it’s soft before using.
How to Reheat: Add the desired amount of cooked barley to a medium-sized sauce pot with a ¼ cup of water or stock and cook over low heat until warm. If you use it in a soup like Scotch Broth, you can add the chilled barley right to the soup, and the broth from the soup will heat them.
Chef Notes + Tips
- You can use hulled barley in this recipe and if you do, add another 15 to 20 minutes of simmering time.
More Grain Recipes
How to Cook Barley
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 2 2/3 cups water or stock
- sea salt to taste
- Rinse the barley in a colander under cold water.
- Transfer the barley to a medium-size pot along with water, or stock, and salt.
- Bring the barley to a boil over high heat.
- Add on a lid and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or just until tender and chewy.
- Strain the cooked barley and use in a recipe, or chill to use in a recipe later. See reheating instructions.