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Swiss Barley Soup

Swiss Barley Soup

This is a lighter version of the original Swiss Barley Soup, but it is still packed with flavor! It will make you feel like you are in the Swiss Alps!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine Swiss
Servings 8
Calories 267 kcal


  • large pot or Dutch oven


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 large leek washed and finely chopped, white part only
  • 3 medium carrots peeled and finely diced
  • 3 stalks celery finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 ounces bacon diced
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • ¾ cup pearl barley
  • 2 medium russet potatoes peeled and diced
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 cup half and half
  • fresh parsley for garnish


  • First, heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and leek until the vegetables begin to soften, which is about 10 minutes.
  • Then, add the carrots, celery, bay leaf, and bacon. Then lower the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Next, add the stock, barley, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low to simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
  • After 1 hour, remove the bay leaf. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the half and half. Allow the half and half to cook through for 1-2 minutes, without boiling. Then remove the pot from heat.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with parsley and serve!


Nutrition information: 267 calories, 13 grams of protein, 11.6 grams of fat, 823 mg of sodium, 30.2 grams of carbohydrates, 4.6 grams of fiber. 
Serve this soup as a starter to your meal or it can be eaten as a meal on its own with crusty bread!
If you are vegetarian, change the chicken stock to vegetable stock and cook it without bacon.
You can use hulled barley instead of pearled barley to add even more fiber and nutrients, cook for at least 1 ½ hours and increase the amount of stock used due to evaporation.
Keyword potatoes, soup