Chicken, Barley, & Wild Rice Soup

Lisa Crum


I get a whole lot of requests for this one, especially at church functions...although it seems I can't ever seem to make it the same way twice! It's one of those "everything but the kitchen sink" soups, so I make it with whichever of the ingredients I already have on hand. Sometimes with the beans, sometimes without, for instance. After a lot of trial and error, here's perhaps my best variation. I'm pretty sure you'll like it and so will your family. Even my hubby who is the "I'm not the soup type" kind of guy likes this one...


★★★★★ 2 votes

Makes about 7-8 quarts
45 Min
30 Min
Stove Top


  • 1
    chicken, cooked and de-boned, or 4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (save the broth! it goes in here too!)
  • 1
    large red onion, diced
  • 4
    ribs celery, diced
  • 1/2
    bag matchstick carrots, or 2 carrots thinly sliced (or more if you want ‘em!)
  • 1/2 c
    frozen collard greens (or 1 cup fresh)...or you could use spinach
  • 1
    garlic clove, minced
  • 1
    red potato, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/4
    c. minced parsley or 3 t. dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp
    extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp
    “better than bouillon” chicken base (i use it instead of regular bouillon because it has no msg)
  • 1
    15-oz. can chicken broth or the defatted/strained broth from the cooked chicken
  • 1/2
    of a 14-oz can diced tomatoes (just enough to add a touch of color)
  • 1 qt
  • 1/2 tsp
    red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp
    mrs. dash
  • 1 Tbsp
    onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp
    thyme, dried
  • 1/2 tsp
    crushed rosemary
  • ·
    salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 c
    pearl barley, uncooked
  • 1/2 c
    wild rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 c
    frozen peas
  • 1/2
    of a 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • 1/2
    of a 15-oz. can great northern or white kidney (cannelini) beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • 1/2
    of a 15-oz. can red beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • 1 bunch
    green onions w/tops, chopped
  • 1 pkg
    real bacon pieces (the salad topping type)
  • ·
    (note: i usually dump the other half of the tomatoes and the beans into a freezer bag and save for a future batch)

How to Make Chicken, Barley, & Wild Rice Soup


  1. Add red onion, celery, garlic, parsley, and carrots to olive oil and sauté until onion is tender. You can also add the barley and wild rice at this point to let it get a little browning action and flavor going.
  2. Transfer to stock pot and add remainder of ingredients except for the peas, beans, green onions and bacon.
  3. Bring to a slight boil, then reduce to med-low heat. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until rice and barley are tender. Add additional water and seasoning if needed...barley and rice soak up a lot of liquid, so you'll probably have to. You can make this as "soupy" as you wish, or you can leave it on the thicker side.
  4. Add frozen peas, beans, bacon pieces and green onion tops about 5 minutes before serving and heat through.
  5. Variation – Substitute ½ ring of diced smoked sausage for the bacon pieces and throw in some macaroni at the last minute.
  6. Serve! Great with oyster crackers or a grilled cheese sandwich. Bet you can't eat just one bowl!

Printable Recipe Card

About Chicken, Barley, & Wild Rice Soup

Course/Dish: Chicken Soups
Main Ingredient: Chicken
Regional Style: American
Dietary Needs: Dairy Free Wheat Free
Other Tag: Healthy

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