Baked Barley with Mushrooms

$3.05 recipe / $0.76 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.72 from 28 votes
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I grew up eating this Baked Barley with Mushrooms and I always looked forward to it on chilly winter nights. It’s a simple dish made with pearled barley cooked in a flavorful mix of vegetable broth, butter, and mushrooms for an extra umami kick. Plus, it cooks mostly in the oven, leaving your hands and attention available to tend to other things. It’s a nice alternative to plain rice for meals like pot roast, brisket, baked pork chops, or any roasted or braised meat. Those hearty little grains are perfect for soaking up every last drop of your pan drippings!

Originally posted 9/3/2013, updated 12/15/2021.

Overhead view of a bowl full of baked barley with mushrooms

What Kind of Baking Dish to Use

You’ll need some sort of baking dish with a tight-fitting lid, like a Dutch oven, because if the steam from the broth is not held inside as it bakes, the barley will not cook through. I used an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven that was probably a little too big for the scale of this recipe, but it still turned out great. The recipe makes about four cups, so something in the 2-3 quart size range is probably ideal. Glass, ceramic, or cast iron will all work as long as it has a tight-fitting lid.

If your baking dish is not safe for use on the stovetop, simply use a skillet for the first couple of steps (sautéing the mushrooms), then transfer to the baking dish when adding the barley and broth.

What is Pearled Barley?

It’s very important that you use pearled barley for this recipe. Pearled barley is whole barley grains that have had the outer husk removed and are then are polished to remove some or all of the outer bran. The resulting grain is tender and chewy once cooked, and doesn’t take quite as long to cook as hulled barley. You can usually find pearled barley near the dry rice and beans in the grocery store, or near other specialty grains. 

I used the Bob’s Redmill brand, which is slightly less polished than other brands that I’ve used and it resulted in a slightly more firm grain. 

Add More Vegetables

This recipe is pretty flexible and you can experiment with adding more hearty vegetables, like carrot, celery, onion, turnip, or rutabega. I suggest dicing the vegetables and sautéing them briefly with the mushrooms before adding the remaining ingredients. 

What to Serve with Baked Barley

This baked barley would go awesome with something like Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Crispy Onions, Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Slow Cooker Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew, or pot roast.

Side view of a serving dish full of baked barley with mushrooms

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Baked Barley with Mushrooms

4.72 from 28 votes
Baked Barley with Mushrooms is a hearty side dish perfect for chilly fall and winter nights that pairs perfectly with roasted meat or stew.
overhead view of baked barley with mushrooms in a serving bowl with a spoon
Servings 4 1 cup each
Prep 5 mins
Cook 1 hr 5 mins
Total 1 hr 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 8 oz. mushrooms ($1.49)
  • 4 Tbsp butter ($0.40)
  • 1 cup pearled barley ($0.57)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth ($0.26)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional) ($0.10)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Mince the garlic and slice the mushrooms
  • Add the garlic, mushrooms, and butter to a Dutch oven. Sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have softened.
  • Add the barley, vegetable broth, thyme and freshly cracked pepper to the dutch oven. Stir to combine, place the lid on top, and transfer to the oven. Bake the barley for one hour.
  • After baking for one hour, stir the barley to fluff it up. Give the barley a taste and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking. Top with chopped fresh parsley just before serving.

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Equipment

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 298kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 7gFat: 12gSodium: 578mgFiber: 8g
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How to Make Baked Barley with Mushrooms – Step by Step Photos

Butter, garlic, and mushrooms in the pot

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Add 4 Tbsp butter, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 8oz. sliced mushrooms to a pot. Sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have softened.

close up of pearled barley in a measuring cup

This is what the pearled barley looks like. As mentioned above, this is Bob’s Redmill brand, which appears to be less polished than other generic brands I’ve used in the past. Pearled barley often looks very white, so this barley still has a considerable amount of bran left intact. Because of that, the grains were a little more firm this time around. Either way, it still tasted great!

broth being poured into the pot with barley and thyme

Add one cup pearled barley, ½ tsp dried thyme, a little freshly cracked black pepper (⅛ tsp), and 2 cups vegetable broth to the pot. Stir briefly to combine.

lid being placed on the pot

Place a lid on the pot and transfer it to the oven. Bake the barley in the 350ºF oven for one hour.

baked barley before stirring

After baking it will look like this–the mushrooms will have risen to the top, fully covering the barley.

Stirred barley in the pot

Give the barley a good stir. Taste the barley and add salt or pepper if desired.

overhead view of baked barley with mushrooms in a serving bowl with a spoon

Top with chopped parsley just before serving.

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  1. Hi, team —
    I’m fairly certain this same recipe could be made with equal success using pearled farro, rather than barley (the farro is what I have in the pantry at present). My question is, how much more cooking time would this ingredient switch require?

    Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated, and thank you for your hard work and all of the great recipes. Happy holidays!

  2. This was great. I didn’t want too many leftovers, so I cut the broth and barley in half, but kept the mushrooms the same. Turned out wonderfully. Nice and ‘meaty’. Wonderful side dish.

  3. On the recommendation of several comments I added some additional vegetables to the double recipe I decided on – half an onion sautéed with the garlic, and then one large parsnip and three large carrots cubed and pan-fried until softened. I will admit to being concerned about this since it turned out to be a large volume of food that I hoped wouldn’t be screwed up (I fitted everything into a 9×13 pan with tightly-wrapped foil over the top, and the pan was mostly full), but my trust was validated once again. I definitely needed to add some salt at the end during the fluffing stage, but it was delicious. I paired this with the creamy mushroom chicken and got many compliments.

  4. Sounds like a dish I made from the Women’s Day magazine when I first got married and then I lost the recipe. Do you think this would freeze well?

  5. Absolutely delicious! I used a 3-qt Le Crueset small dutch oven, perfect. Diced small onion and sauteed with garlic. Definitely making this again.

  6. Delicious! I halved the butter to make it a little healthier and used farro instead of barley. Next time, I’ll double the mushrooms and double the recipe – it’s a lot of oven time for ~4 cups of food.

  7. I am planning to make this for Christmas Eve because we have vegan family members .  I am hoping substituting olive oil for butter will work.  Can I make this the night before and reheat for my buffet dinner?

    Thanks!

    1. This one does reheat pretty well. I would suggest trying to find vegan butter to substitute instead of just oil, though. The cream in the butter really adds a ton of flavor that you won’t get with oil.

  8. AMAZING! I doubled the amount of mushrooms, might add even more next time, because there will definitely be a next time. Also added maybe 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to the mushroom saute. So simple, great earthy heartiness. This one is a winner, Beth. Thanks!

  9. Hi Beth! This sounds tummy-warming! Do you think it would be TOO mushroomy if made with mushroom stock?

    1. Ultimately I think that’s just going to be a matter of personal preference, but it sounds like something I’d definitely try if I had mushroom stock on hand!

      1. I have used a pack of dried mushrooms and made stock. I then took out the mushrooms and fried them with the onions and a green pepper before adding the barley. It works out very nicely.

  10. Would this work with the white corning ware and the glass lid? My dutch oven cannot go in the oven. Has anyone tried this in the Instant Pot? Could this recipe be made on the stove? Thanks!

  11. Could you give me ideas on alternative grains to do this with? I am gluten sensitive and barley is a gluten containing grain.

    1. You might be able to do something similar with brown rice, but I’d need to test it first to find out if it would need a different amount of liquid or if that cooking time is adequate.

  12. This was so easy to make and turned out wonderfully! I used medium pearled barley and subbed dried basil for thyme. I added a diced onion and some diced rutabaga (thank you for that suggestion!) and also added some more salt at the end. Even my vegetable-skeptic guest was a fan!