Barley Substitute in Soup/12 Gluten-free Barley Alternatives

Being a mom, I always try to make a healthy and flavorful meal at the same time, but neither my husband nor my kids do not like the taste of barley. So, making barley soup with barley is quite hard but not impossible; also, make sure your kids or husband going to like it.

So after so many failed attempts, I finally came to conclude that these 12 Barley substitutes for soup make the soup more healthy; they also have it without a tantrum. So what are you waiting for? Come and check? I’m pretty much sure you won’t disappoint.

What is Barley, and what is Pearl Barley?

Barley is a cereal grain that is harvested for its edible grains. The grain is used in making flour and beer, among other things. Barley is mostly grown in cooler climates, such as Scotland. However, recently more barley is also planted in America and Australia to take advantage of the increased demand for barley due to its vitamins and minerals.

Basically, pearl barley is a kind of barley that has been polished to remove its bran layer. Pearl barley is higher in calories than regular barley, but it is also more nutrient-dense. It is a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Pearl barley can be utilized in soups, stews, casseroles, and pilafs. It can also be ground into flour to make bread and pastries.

Barley is a multipurpose grain that can be used in many different recipes, and pearl barley is particularly nutritious. If you like to make a hearty stew or some sweet pastries, barley is a great ingredient to use.

What is a good substitute for barley in soup?

Some good substitutes for barley in soup include rice, quinoa, and amaranth. These grains can provide a similar texture and consistency to barley while also being gluten-free. Experiment with different grains to find the perfect one for your soup recipe!

1. FARRO- Perfect barley substitute in soup

Farro is one of my favorite substitutes for barley in soup. It also has a nutty flavor and a chewy texture.

I love to use farro in soup because it gives the soup a hearty, filling texture. It’s also a fantastic method to add some extra protein and fiber to your diet. Farro is an excellent source of both waters soluble and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber can support lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber helps to promote regularity and prevent constipation. Farro also a great substitute for Hominy.

If you’re searching for a delicious, healthy soup recipe that features farro, look no further than this Tuscan Farro Soup. This soup is sealed with healthy ingredients like kale, carrots, tomatoes, and cannellini beans. It’s also incredibly effortless to make and can be on the table in just over an hour.

2. Oats- Gluten-free Substitute for barley in soup

If you’re searching for a gluten-free soup substitute, oats make a great replacement for barley. Just ensure to use gluten-free oats if you need the soup to be gluten-free. Oats will give the soup a slightly different texture, but they will still provide the same hearty flavor that you are looking for in a traditional barley soup.

To make your gluten-free oats, simply soak one cup of oats in water for several hours and then cook them until soft. Once they are cooked and softened, you can use them as a barley substitute in any soup recipe that calls for barley.

This is a fantastic method to make sure that you are still getting all the nutritional benefits of the soup without having to worry about gluten.

Just be sure to cook the oats thoroughly before adding them to your soup so that they don’t become mushy.

3. Sorghum- Gluten-free alternative to barly

Sorghum is a grain that is similar to barley. It can be used as a substitute in recipes that call for barley. Sorghum can also be used in soups, stews, and casseroles. It is a good source of fiber and protein. Sorghum is a gluten-free grain.

sorghum is a grain that is similar to barley and it can be used as a substitute in recipes that call for barley

Sorghum is a multipurpose grain that can be used in many different dishes. It also has a nutty flavor and chewy texture. Sorghum can be used in place of pearl barley to add extra fiber and protein to your diet.

Sorghum is also a popular ingredient in dishes that are commonly made with rice, such as soups, stews, and casseroles. It can also be utilized in baked goods like bread, muffins, and other desserts. Sorghum is easy to prepare and can be cooked in the same way as rice.

4. CORN- substitute for pearl barley in a stew

Corn is a grain that can be substituted for pearl barley in a stew. This grain is similar in its nutritional content, but it offers a slightly different flavor. The type of corn used for making stew would be field corn. This corn can be found at most grocery stores and on farms that sell fresh produce.

A lot of people like to use pearl barley in their stews because it gives the dish a heartier flavor. However, corn can be used as a replacement for pearl barley if you want to try something different. This grain is just as nutritious as pearl barley, but it has a slightly sweeter flavor.

When choosing corn for your stew, make sure to select field corn. This type of corn is typically sold at grocery stores and on farms that sell fresh produce.

5. Substitute brown rice for Barley in Soup

Replace barley with brown rice in the soup recipe. Brown rice is actually healthier than barley and contains more fiber, which can help regulate your digestive system. Start by adding a cup of low-sodium chicken stock to a saucepan over medium heat.

Next, add ½ cup of brown rice and cook until it becomes tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in 1 pound of cooked chicken and season with salt, pepper, and dried herbs of your choosing.

Finally, stir in 2 chopped carrots, 2 chopped celery stalks, and a few cloves of minced garlic. Again cook for 10 minutes or so until the vegetables are tender. Serve hot.

Best Substitutes for Rice Flour

6. ORZO PASTA- substitute for barley in beef barley soup

Beef barley soup is classic comfort food, but it can be time-consuming and expensive to make.

Barley is the traditional grain used in beef barley soup, but orzo pasta makes a delicious and affordable substitution.

Try this easy beef barley soup recipe that uses orzo pasta instead of barley. It’s just as comforting and delicious but much faster and more affordable to make.

Orzo is a small, round pasta that can be found in most supermarkets. It’s versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and salads to main courses.

Make sure to not overcook the orzo pasta, as it can become mushy.


  • 1 pound beef stew meat
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


1. Flame the olive oil in a big pot over medium heat. Add the beef stew meat, onion, carrots, and celery, and cook for 5-7 minutes until the meat is browned.

2. Add the beef broth and orzo pasta, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the pasta is cooked.

3. Serve hot with some crusty bread for dipping.

7. Millet similar to barley

Millet is the best substitute for barley in soup and porridge. It is rich in dietary fiber, which has the function of quenching thirst and satisfying hunger.

Millet is also versatile, and you can use it in baking and making sweet treats. Some popular millet recipes include millet-mango bars, millet breakfast porridge, and millet bread pudding. If you’re searching for a healthy snack or something delicious to warm you up on a cold day, millet is a perfect choice!

8. Quinoa – A good substitute for barley in soup, Gluten-free

Quinoa is a good substitute for barley in the soup if you are looking for a gluten-free option. If you are not gluten-free, then feel free to use whichever grain you prefer. This soup is hearty and filling and makes a great winter meal. Finally, Serve it with some crusty bread, and you’re good to go!

9. Seeds – Suitable Barley Substitution for making soup

Seeds like pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds are the best alternative to pearl barley in the soup. All of these seeds are notoriously dense and have a similar chewy texture when cooked. You can also use rice, quinoa, and pasta as your thickener of choice. Just ensure to cook them until they’re nice and tender before adding them to the soup.

10. Couscous

Couscous is a versatile food that can be used in a variety of dishes. It can be served as a side dish or as an ingredient in salads, soups, and main dishes.

Couscous is an excellent source of fiber and protein and is low in fat and calories. It’s not an ideal option for gluten-sensitive or intolerant persons, as it is made from semolina flour, which has gluten.

Couscous can be seen in most supermarkets and specialty food stores. It is typically sold in small plastic packets or in larger cardboard boxes. When preparing couscous, make sure to follow the instructions carefully as it can be prepared using different cooking methods, including boiling and steaming.

If you’re searching for a quick and delicious side dish or ingredient to add to your soups or salads, try making couscous at home. This simple recipe can be produced in just a few minutes and only requires a few ingredients.


  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt


1. Pour the water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add the couscous and stir to combine.

2. Cover the pan and release it from the heat. Let the couscous sit for 5 minutes or until it is tender.

3. Next, fluff the couscous with a fork, then stir in the olive oil and salt. Serve immediately.

11. Buckwheat 

Despite its name, buckwheat is actually a type of grain that is rich in nutrients and can be used to make delicious porridges, pancakes, and other baked goods.

Substituting buckwheat for barley in your favorite soup recipes is a great way to add some extra flavor and nutrition to your meals.

Start by replacing about one-third of the barley with an equal amount of buckwheat flour or groats. Then, adjust the amount of liquid in your recipe as needed since buckwheat absorbs more water than barley does.

You may require to test a bit at first, but once you find the right balance, you’ll be enjoying delicious dishes made with this healthy whole grain!

12. Amaranth- Healthy Replacement for Barley in soup

Amaranth can be substituted for barley in soup and other many recipes. It has a nutty, earthy flavor that pairs well with both sweet and savory dishes, including soups, stews, casseroles, or used in granola bars and other baked goods.

amaranth can be substituted for barley in soup and other many recipes

Amaranth is a good source of fiber and protein, and it is also gluten-free. When substituting amaranth for barley, use a 1:1 ratio.

Pearl Barley Substitute in Ragu

You could try using a different grain like quinoa or farro.

Ragu is traditionally a meat-based sauce, but you could try using a vegetarian protein like tofu or tempeh.

You could also count some additional vegetables to the sauce to bulk it up.

Zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms would all be good choices.

Whether you want a creamier sauce, you could try adding some dairy at the end in the form of Greek yogurt or cream cheese.

Whatever you do, just be sure to keep tasting and adjusting the seasonings until you find a balance that you love!

What is Barley VS Wheat?

There are a few key differences between barley and wheat. For one, wheat is a grass that has annual growth cycles, while barley is a grain that belongs to the family of grasses.

This means that wheat grows more quickly than barley and can be harvested more frequently. Wheat also typically has a higher protein content than barley. The growing conditions for wheat and barley differ.

For example, because of their long root systems, barley can thrive in drier and more temperate climates than wheat.

Overall, though there are many differences between barley and wheat, they also share some similarities. Both grains can be used to make foods like bread, cereals, and pasta. 

They are both a good source of nutrients like fiber and B vitamins. And they can both be used in brewing beer. So, whether you prefer the taste of barley or wheat, you can enjoy the benefits of these two grains.

Taste- barley has a sweeter, nuttier taste while wheat tastes more.

Substitute for barley malt syrup in bagels, bread, etc

· If you want to use a substitute for barley malt syrup in your baking, you can try using honey or molasses instead. These sweeteners will add a similar flavor and sweetness to your recipes. Just ensure to modify the amount you use, as they are both more potent than barley malt syrup.

Substitute for barley flour

Substitute the barley flour, amaranth flour, and teff flour for a more nutritious version of this recipe.

Substitute for barley wine

Barley wine is a type of beer that is quite potent, unlike regular beers and ales, which are relatively mild. Barley wine has a flavor profile and alcohol content similar to that of cognac, brandy, or port. It can be sweet or dry depending on the brewer’s preference, though it often tends to have a sweet taste.

Substitute for barley malt extract

Malted milk powder is one of the most popular substitutes for barley malt extract. It imparts a rich, malty flavor to baked goods and other recipes and can be used in place of barley malt extract in a 1:1 ratio. Malted milk powder is readily available in most supermarkets.

Another substitute for barley malt extract is molasses. This sweet, sticky syrup can be used in a 1:1 ratio in place of the extract and will impart a deep, rich flavor to your recipe. Molasses is available in most supermarkets and can be found in the baking aisle.

If you need a substitute for barley malt extract but don’t have either of these options available, you can use maple syrup or honey instead.

These sweeteners will help to add body and flavor to your recipe. Still, their strong flavors may overpower the subtler notes of barley malt extract. You should start with a 1:1 ratio and adjust as needed.

Read More- substitute for barley malt powder. 

 My Final Thought on substitute for barley in soup

There are many different options for substituting barley in soup, such as other types of grains, vegetables, and legumes. Some good choices include brown rice, quinoa, cauliflower or squash puree, lentils, or chickpeas. Each of these options has its own excellent nutritional benefits and can be used to create a hearty and delicious soup.

Ultimately, the best substitute for barley in the soup will depend on your individual preferences and nutritional needs.

To find the right combination of ingredients for you, experiment with different recipes until you find one that you love. With a short time and effort, you can create both nutritious and delicious, hearty soups!

FAQs Related to Barley & Its Alternatives

Q1. Is barley rice?

Barley is not a rice, but it is more closely related to other grains such as wheat and rye. Unlike these other grains, though, barley is used primarily in animal feed or beer production. 

It can also be utilized as an option to rice in recipes that call for cooking the grain in liquid. Barley is an important source of fiber and selenium, as well as several vitamins, including B1 and B3.

Barley is also used to produce malt for alcoholic beverages, animal feed, and breakfast cereals.

Q2. What does barley taste like?

Barley has a nutty, earthy flavor that is somewhat similar to wheat. It is often used in beer and other malt beverages, as well as in soups and stews.

Barley can also be eaten as a whole grain, either cooked or sprouted. When cooked, it has a chewy texture and a slightly sweet taste.

When sprouted, it has a crispy texture and a milder flavor. Barley is a good source of fiber and contains several vitamins and minerals. It also has fewer calories and fat.

Q3. Can I substitute rice for barley?

It will rely on the specific recipe you are operating. Regardless, in general, you should be able to substitute rice for barley without any major issues. Just remember that the cooking time for the rice may be different than what is required for the barley, so you may need to adjust accordingly.

Additionally, rice is much lighter in flavor than barley, so you may need to add some additional seasonings or spices to make up for this difference. As long as you are willing to do a little experimenting, you should be able to find suitable substitutions that work well in your recipe.

Q4. Can I substitute orzo for barley?

Yes, you can substitute orzo for barley in many recipes. Barley is a bit heartier than orzo, so you may want to cook the orzo a bit longer if you’re using it as a replacement.

You can also add a bit more liquid to the dish if you’re using orzo in place of barley. Orzo can also be utilized as a replacement for other types of grains, such as rice or quinoa.

If you’re searching for new ways to use orzo in your cooking, try incorporating it into soups, stews, casseroles, and stir-fries. Many people also enjoy using orzo in salads or as a side dish.

Q5. Can I substitute lentils for barley in soup?

Yes, you can substitute lentils for barley in soup. Just make sure to cook the lentils before adding them to the soup.

Q6. Can I substitute couscous for barley in soup?

Yes, you can substitute couscous for barley in soup. Just make sure to cook the couscous according to package instructions before adding it to the soup. This will ensure that the couscous is cooked all the way through before serving.

Additionally, make sure to add any seasonings or spices to the soup at the same time as the couscous so that they have time to fully combine and flavor the soup.

Q7. Can I substitute bulgur for barley in soup?

While barley is commonly used in soups, you can also substitute it with bulgur if you prefer. Bulgur is a kind of wheat that has been precooked, so it cooks much faster than regular barley.

Additionally, while both barley and bulgur are rich in fiber, bulgur also contains more protein and vitamins than its grain counterpart. Therefore, if you’re searching for a healthy and hearty soup option, bulgur is a great choice.

Q8. Is barley the same thing as bulgur?

No, barley and bulgur are not the same things. Barley is a kind of grain often used in soups and stews, while bulgur is wheat often used in salads and pilafs.

Both grains are nutritious and have their own unique flavor. Which one you choose will likely rely on your personal taste preferences and what types of dishes you enjoy the most.

So, are barley and bulgur the same thing? No, they are not, but both can be used in a number of different ways to create delicious meals.

Q9. Can you substitute oatmeal for barley?

Yes, you can substitute oatmeal for barley in most recipes. The flavor of the dish might be slightly different, but the texture and nutritional benefits should remain the same.

Oatmeal is a fantastic source of fiber and other nutrients, making it an ideal substitute for barley. You may require to modify cooking times or amounts slightly to ensure that your dish turns out just the way you want it to.

Q10. Substitute for barley flakes.

There are a few substitutes for barley flakes that can be used in recipes. These include rolled oats, rye flakes, and wheat flakes. Each of these options will provide a similar texture and flavor to the dish.

Barley flakes can also be substituted for other types of grains, such as rice or quinoa. When substituting barley flakes, it is important to keep the ratio of liquid to grain the same so that the dish does not become too dry or mushy.

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