How to cook barley

25 Feb

Barley, broth and tall(er) saucepan

Similar to rice, barley comes in various forms of readiness. Quick barley has been cooked down already. While it takes less time to cook, like minute rice its nutritional value has been decreased. Pearl barley or medium barley (shown in photo) will take longer to cook but are better for you.

I typically buy my barley in bulk at Sprouts. The box on the right was “donated” from a friend who wouldn’t eat it. Although the directions on the box call for adding 4 cups of liquid, I found that was too much and the cooked barley was gummier than I like. I have never found a need to soak barley prior to cooking and I usually don’t even rinse it either.


  • Add 3 cups of water or broth to a large saucepan and bring to a boil. In the photo you can actually see the broth that was left in the bottom of the baker when I cooked my last whole chicken. I didn’t even skim the particles, I just added enough water to measure 3 cups.
  • Add one cup pearl barley. Bring back to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Adding salt to the water may cause the barley not to cook right.
  • Remove from heat and let barley sit about 5 minutes. Makes about 3 cups.

Word to the wise, Barley can be gooey when it cooks so if you use a tall saucepan you’ll have less mess to clean up. I once tried to make it in the rice cooker. I won’t do that again as I’m still finding what I think is gluten residue in small places in my kitchen.


Posted by on February 25, 2011 in Barley, Grains, Kitchen Basics



2 responses to “How to cook barley

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