Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew


Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew is packed with comforting, good-for-you ingredients, plus the crock pot does all the work!

Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew |

Ahh, thank you so much for all the Charleston recommendations! It’s obvious that both residents and visitors alike are very passionate about the city which is making me even more excited to get there. Squee! I’m still cataloging all the restaurant recs (excel tallier here) but HUSK definitely jumped out at me as one of the most buzzed about places to eat at. Reservation = made.

In other news, we have 6-9″ of snow coming our way this afternoon. If you’re not from a snowy region, let me tell you it’s pretty odd knowing the exact moment when all chaos will be breaking loose in your area. That said, I have until precisely 3pm today to get all my errands done including stocking up on the essentials I’ll need over the next couple of days like mango strips and pepper from Trader Joe’s. I…yeah.

Anyways, in anticipation of being cooped up from the storm, yesterday I cranked up the crock pot and made a huge vat of food hugs, aka Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew, to keep warm with against the snow.

Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew |

I am LOVING this stew!! A base of chicken broth and spices slowly simmers with chicken breasts, hearty barley, fresh kale, both white and sweet potatoes, and chopped carrots until it’s thick and amazing. The chicken got so tender that I could barely fish it out of the crock pot to shred it!

The vibrant, vitamin-packed veggies are the perfect thing to keep healthy with while we’re stuck indoors too. If winter’s here to stay for at least a few more weeks, then I’m glad I have a big batch of this cozy, comforting stew on my side.

Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew |

Start the Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew by stirring together chicken broth, seasonings and spices together in a large crock pot. That’s 48oz chicken broth, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 2 bay leaves, 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Whew!


Next layer in 2 small chicken breasts1 chopped onion (or quartered onion for onion-hating husbands!) and 3/4 cup regular barley – not quick-cooking barley. If you use the quick-cooking kind it’ll be done before the veggies and end up all mushy. No bueno.


Next layer in all the veggies! That’s 4 cups chopped kale, and 1 large sweet and regular potato. Kale is the perfect green to include in this crock pot meal. It’s hearty enough to stand up to a long cooking process, but gets tender enough so that it melts in with each and every bite.


Finish ‘er up with 3 peeled and chopped carrots then press everything down until the liquid is just covering the veggies.


Pop the lid on top then cook on low for 5-6 hours or until the veggies are tender, and barley is plump. Serve with crackers and enjoy!

Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew |

Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew

Serves 8


Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew is packed with comforting, good-for-you ingredients, plus the crock pot does all the work!


  • 48oz chicken broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 small chicken breasts (about 12oz)
  • 3/4 cup regular barley (not quick-cooking)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 large regular potato, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes (I used Yukon Gold)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced


  1. Add chicken broth, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and bay leaves into the crock pot then stir to combine. Layer in chicken, barley, onions, kale, potatoes, and carrots. Do not stir. Press veggies down to cover with chicken broth then cook on low for 5-6 hours or until barley is tender.
  2. Remove bay leaves then discard. Remove chicken breasts, shred, then return to the soup and stir to combine.


Adapted from Clean Eating Mag

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew |

This stew is so healthy it’s semi-ridiculous. There’s no added fat and I can’t get over how something so good for you can taste so, well, GOOD too! I had three bowls yesterday. There. I said it.

Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew |

Stay warm, safe, and dry fellow Midwesterners!

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  1. jesser 02.21.2013

    Ooh this looks great and maybe it’s the answer to my question of what to serve 9 people on Saturday. ;)

    Charleston sounds like such a fun place to visit! I lived in Nashville for 4 years and always wish I’d traveled a bit more around the south. I’ll have to bookmark some recs for “someday.” Enjoy!

  2. Brita 02.21.2013

    This soup looks amazing!!! We’re supposed to get the snow this weekend, so I have a few days to get the ingredients, but it sounds perfect for a snowed in evening :)

    I just discovered your blog recently, and it is so much fun! The pictures, the recipes, the workouts…I’m loving it all!!! Thanks for being so great!!

  3. Julie 02.21.2013

    do you think rice would work instead of barley? Kids cant eat barley because of celiac? Looks really good!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.21.2013

      I don’t think I’ve ever cooked rice in the crock pot, so I’m not sure when you would need to add it in. I would suggest maybe cooking it separately and adding it in at the end!

    • Amanda 10.26.2014

      parboiled rice works great in the crockpot, add it with Everything else

  4. Amber 02.21.2013

    I was wondering the same thing as Julie, except I don’t have barley! Plenty of quinoa, rice, and small pasta. I guess maybe add it at the end and it will work right? No snow coming our way in southwest VA but this looks good to bundle up with for the next few days with our drizzling rain we have coming!

  5. This looks like such a great fall/winter stew recipe! I love that addition of sweet potato (my favorite of all potatoes :) Do you think I could add in some eggplant for extra nutrients?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.21.2013

      Hmmm, I’m not sure! Honestly there isn’t a ton more room for veggies, as it’s already super thick, and I’m not sure how eggplant would hold up in the crock pot. Let me know if you give it a go though!

  6. I am in Omaha, where we are expected to get 8-12″ of snow. This soup would be SO perfect for today and tomorrow! I want to try making it vegetarian without the chicken and by adding in more veggies. It sounds super delicious. Barley in soup is a favorite of mine :).

    Also, I love that TJ’s mango strips are an “essential” of yours! ;)

  7. I heard about all that snow on the news, sorry! I hope everyone stays safe and makes it home in time. This does look like the right recipe for being snowed in. I love kale, especially added to soup.

  8. Tracy B 02.21.2013

    Have you tried Kamut? It is a really big kind of wheat. It works great in the crockpot as it doesn’t get too done and stands up well. I have been buying it in bulk at Whole Foods and am currently obsessed! So good!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.21.2013

      I haven’t, but I’ll definitely look out for it the next time I’m there! Do you cook it like rice/barley/quinoa?

      • Tracy B 02.21.2013

        Yeah, you can. I usually use it in things like soups and crockpot recipes since it holds up really well. I would look in to the timing of cooking it stovetop as is might be longer than smaller grains due to its size.

  9. Brenda 02.21.2013

    I have beef stew in the slow cooker right now, but I am filing this recipe away to use soon. Here in southern Iowa the snow is blowing, and it’s getting ugly out there!

  10. This looks so hearty and FILLING! I love how healthy it is too!

  11. Julia Jolliff 02.21.2013

    This looks like the perfect comfort soup during a blizzard! Crossing my fingers that Chicago doesn’t get dumped on!

  12. Trisha 02.21.2013

    Ughhh, I am SO dreading this impending snow storm. I have a batch of veggie soup in the crock-pot right now and I’m really grateful that I don’t have anywhere I absolutely have to be until 7pm tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean I WANT to just lie around in my pjs for the next 30ish hours…Or maybe I do? But without the snow. Yeah, that sounds good. :)

  13. ugh, snowstorms. can it please be spring now? i’m so sick of below zero temps and snow. i just made some beef stew with dumplings in the ole crockpot, but would totally make this if i didn’t have that to stay cozy during the snow.

  14. Ok, so I REALLY need to get myself a crock pot. This stew sounds so wonderful and warming during these cold (and snowy) winter months!

  15. Danyel 02.21.2013

    I love barley! I always add mine in the last hour of cooking-the regular or quick cooking finish cooking in that hour. Then no mushy barley.

  16. Kim 02.21.2013

    This is on the menu tomorrow! I don’t have any barley and don’t want to go out in the snow so I am going to make it with kamut. And I think your sides of apples and crackers is genius. I love fruit with soups. I think I will serve it with apples and trader joe’s unexpected cheddar.

  17. Katherine 02.21.2013

    Just put this together to start in the morning. Snow is just starting in Cedar Rapids and this looks perfect for tomorrow!

  18. Katerina 02.21.2013

    I will be fasting for Lent soon, Greek Orthodox, and I can see making this without the chicken. Thanks for another great recipe IGE!

  19. Emily T. 02.21.2013

    This looks so good! What size slow cooker do you use? I have a 4 qt crockpot and am trying to decide if it will fit or not.

  20. Heather 02.21.2013

    Hi! I don’t think I’ve ever commented but I have been reading your blog for about a year now and I just love you and IGE!:) You always make me laugh:) When I saw you were headed to my home state(SC) to Charleston, I wanted to say Welcome and I hope you have a great time! It is the lost beautiful part of SC!:)

  21. I’m still sans slow cooker, but this stew may have just swayed me. Can you recommend a good size?

    PS – Us New Englanders are getting your snowy leftovers this weekend. Come on, spring…

  22. Lynn Jones 02.21.2013

    A friend of mine just told me about your blog the other day and I must say that I am officially obsessed! I made the PF Changs lettuce wraps today and they are one of the best things I have ever eaten! I also made a batch of the prosciutto ravioli and they are in the freezer for another day. Tomorrow is going to be the chik fil a chicken bites. Can’t wait!

  23. Hopefully this soup will help keep you warm and satisfied during the snow! I love simple crock pot soups! Perfect for nights when I don’t get home from class tell late.

  24. Jess 02.22.2013

    This soup makes me want to leave work, go home and settle into the couch with a blanket and eat a big bowl of this! YUM! Im not really a fan of soups but I can not wait to make this!

  25. […] browsing my blog reader yesterday, I saw Iowa Girl Eats’ Chicken and Barley Vegetable Soup and was inspired to whip up some soup of my own for dinner. Her recipe, along with the cold San […]

  26. adrianne 02.22.2013

    Love it! Going to turn it vegan (tofu + veggie broth) for my vegan cousin for Sunday dinner. Thank you!

  27. Caroline Helmers 02.22.2013

    Do you have to do anything special to the kale besides chopping? I’ve never cooked with it so just a little nervous!!

    thanks :)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.22.2013

      That’s ok, I was nervous the first time I used it too! If you have a salad spinner, peel the leaves off the thick stem then chop, wash, and spin. If you don’t have a spinner, wash before pulling off the stem. There’s also bags of pre-washed and chopped kale out there, but they always leave in a ton of stems, so I like to buy the whole leaves myself! :)

      • harmonyathome 02.22.2013

        Charleston is a beautiful old city, you can enjoy just walking around downtown looking the architecture, trying so many good restaurant and shopping, it is so many events happen every weekend. also you can visit so many beaches enjoying the southern hospitality. I leave here.

  28. […] Chicken and Barley Slow Cook Soup […]

  29. Stephanie Hanson 02.24.2013

    Ohmygosh….this is amazing and so healthy!! A snowstorm blew through Colorado and this was the perfect way to end a cold day! Will definitely be making this again!!

  30. Jessica W. 02.25.2013

    I made this for dinner yesterday and it was wonderful. Thank you for another amazing recipe! I can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch today :)

  31. Kristin from MN 02.25.2013

    I am making this today! Thanks for the recipe :)

  32. Lauren 02.25.2013

    I made this vegetarian with two veggie bouillon cubes and no chicken and it was still very hearty and very tastey! I got compliments from my carnivore boyfriend who ate a lot of it! Thanks for sharing this healthy adaptable soup! It is delicious!!! :D

  33. Leah 02.26.2013

    I made this on Sunday in the crockpot to have for dinner Monday. It was delicious, thanks for the recipe! I have plenty of leftovers to eat later this week. I will have to add a little more chicken broth to them because all of the chicken/veggies/barley seemed to soak up a lot of the liquid. No big deal, really enjoyed this hearty healthy soup.

  34. […] made Iowa Girl Eats’ Crockpot Chicken and Barley Vegetable Stew. Delicious […]

  35. Samantha G 02.27.2013

    I love this soup! I think this is the first soup my husband actually liked. Thank you so much for posting it!

  36. Carroll Sinclair 02.27.2013

    OMG this soup was awesome and sooo easy!! I have made several of your recipes and have loved everyone of them! Also thank you for telling us about Sara Joi!! She has 3 books and I have read all 3 of them and loved them! Keep up the awesome work you do. I check the website everyday.

  37. […] Crock Pot Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew  […]

  38. Connie 03.02.2013

    Do you think I could make this in a pressure cooker, and if so how long should I cook it for? It sounds fabulous!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 03.03.2013

      Hey Connie! I’m not sure – I’ve actually never used a pressure cooker. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  39. Amanda 03.03.2013

    We made this today and loved it! My husband declared it one of his favorite soups, which says a lo since we maKe soup every Sunday! Thanks :)

  40. Helen d 03.05.2013

    Hi, I’m hoping to make this for a new mama of twins tonight. Just wondering if it’s pearl barley (which I have) or another kind of barley. I’m new to barley so I don’t know the differences. It looks delish – can’t wait to try it!

  41. Rebekah 03.09.2013

    I made this today and it was delicious!!! I added extra carrots because I love carrots in soup!! I also think this would be the perfect soup to keep on hand in the freezer or whip up if you feel a cold or sore throat coming on!!!

  42. […] Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats […]

  43. Joanna Jeffers 05.06.2013

    I made this tonight and it is hands down the most delicious chicken stew I’ve ever made. Thanks so much for the recipe. It’s definitely a keeper.

  44. Mini crock pot 05.23.2013

    Everything looks very yummy.I love it
    Thank you for sharing.

  45. Margaret 08.25.2013

    If you want to use rice instead of barley then cook this on the stove top instead of the crockpot. Works perfectly well.

  46. Emily 09.05.2013

    Do you know what the serving size and calorie/fat content of this soup is?

  47. Liz 09.08.2013

    This looks awesome! Can I substitute pre-cooked rotisserie chicken instead of raw chicken breasts? If so, would it be better to throw them in a bit later?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.16.2013

      You bet! I’d add it in when there’s 20-30 minutes left so it can get warmed up.

  48. Marilyn 09.15.2013

    I’m following the Fast Metabolism Diet and this looks great for Phase 1. As I’m having problems with gluten (and I read that barley is NOT gluten-free), I’m going to try this with millet. Will double the sweet potatoes and cut out the white potatoes so as to make it Phase 1 friendly. I also have a problem with kale, so am thinking about substituting spinach (but may need to add it later in the cooking).

    Ever cooked with millet?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.16.2013

      I haven’t! If you give it a try in this recipe, let us know how it turns out!

      • Marilyn 09.17.2013

        Well, the millet was a little small – the barley gives it more substance. But, it tasted good. I didn’t put the spinach in the pot as I was afraid it would cook up too much. I added it to the bowl I was using and then put the soup on top. It wilted the spinach and it was GOOD!

        Having it for dinner again tonight.

  49. […] more options if you’re not a fan of cow—like this Tunisian Fish and Vegetable Stew, or this Crockpot Chicken and Barley Vegetable Stew, for […]

  50. […] Chicken & Barley Vegetable Stew […]

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