A white plate next to a fork containing barley, corn, and cranberry salad.

All About Barley

Studies have shown that eating barley may reduce blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol ("bad cholesterol"), help control blood sugar, and help people feel full longer.

Buying and Storing

BUYING: Varieties of barley

Hulled Barley has only the tough outer hulls removed , making it the most nutritious variety and very high in fiber. One 1/2 cup of hulled barley provides 15 grams of fiber which is about half of the recommended daily intake for an adult. This form takes 90 minutes to cook.

Pearl Barley is the most common form. Pearl barley is stripped of the hull and bran layer leaving just the "pearl" inside. Despite this, it is still fairly nutritious. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to cook.

Quick Cooking Barley is similiar to pearl barley in taste and nutrients, but it only takes about ten minutes to cook since it has been pre-steamed. It generally costs more.

STORING: Store barely in a cool, dry place in a closed package or air-tight container for up to 1 year. For longer storage, refrigerate or freeze.

Preparing and Cooking

  • Rinse barley thoroughly.
  • Place 3 cups water in saucepan. Add 1 cup barley.
  • Bring to boil. Cover and turn heat to low.
  • Cook for 45 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed.
  • Barley swells when it cooks. 1 cup uncooked barley = 3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked
  • To add flavor, cook barley in beef, chicken, or vegetable broth instead of water.
  • Cook a double batch of barley and freeze in individual or family-sized amounts.

Ways to Enjoy Barley

Try cooked barley instead of rice in stuffed green peppers, fried rice, and wraps. Barley also makes a great addition to any soup. Check out our recipes Create Your Own Soup or Vegetable Barley Soup on our website.

Featured Recipes

Barley Pilaf

Place a medium pan over medium heat; add vegetable oil, onion, celery, and Italian seasoning (if using). Cook, stirring often until onion is soft. Add bell pepper (if using), mushrooms, and pearl barley. Stir well.Add water and bouillon and stir to dissolve bouillon. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and cover pan.Cook for 50 to 60 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed.


Barley Pilaf