How Long does Barley Take to Cook?

Barley is a delicious grain that is underrated, barely receiving the attention and praise it deserves. It has a desirable chewy texture and a nutty flavor that can be incorporated into various dishes. It’s also a nutrient-dense and healthy meal option, containing plenty of fiber and trace minerals.

How Long Does Barley Take To Cook

We recommend trying a barley recipe, and in case you have no idea how to cook it, we have provided a guide for several cooking methods. Also, please pay attention to our timing guidelines to guarantee the best possible results with your recipe.

What is Barley?

Pearl barley, the most common type in the U.S., is not technically a whole grain because the bran layer on the outside has been polished off. It’s cheap, easy to find, and quick to cook, and it can be used in many dishes in place of rice. Barley groats, made from the whole grain, take longer to cook.

Barley might be one of the more well-known grains because it is in Grandma’s beef and barley soup or an important part of making beer. But it is much more useful on the menu than that. It is the oldest cereal that has been grown on a large scale, and it grows in many different climates around the world. This makes it an important part of many cuisines.

How Long does Barley Take to Cook?

Pearl barley can be cooked the same way you cook rice. Cover 1 cup of barley with 2 cups of water, chicken stock, or vegetable broth, and let it simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Before serving, fluff it with a fork. A rice cooker can also be used. For every cup of barley, add 2 1/2 cups of liquid. If you soak barley in a lot of water first, it takes less time to cook. Barley can be soaked for as little as an hour or as long as a whole night, and it only takes about 15 minutes to cook when you soak the food first. You can also cook barley in a pressure cooker.

Even though barley soup, like this one with lentils, is probably the most common and well-known way to eat barley, it can be used just like any other grain, like couscous, quinoa, or rice. Serve a vegetarian curry or vegetable stir-fry over barley instead of rice, make a barley pilaf or a barley salad (just like you would make a quinoa salad or a rice pilaf), or add a handful to your favorite soup or salad.

For hulled barley only, soak the dry grains. Put 1 cup of dry hulled barley grains and 3 cups of water in a large bowl. Please don’t touch it for a few hours or the whole night. This step isn’t necessary, but it does help the water get into the grains better. (If you’re using pearl barley, skip this step.)

Cook the grains. Add 1 cup of barley to 3 cups of boiling water or broth. Season to your liking. For me, all it takes is a pinch of kosher salt. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let the barley simmer until most (or all) of the liquid is absorbed and the barley is soft but still a little chewy. Cooking pearl barley takes 25 to 30 minutes while cooking hulled barley takes 45 to 60 minutes.

Drain and garnish. Put the cooked barley in a colander to get rid of any extra liquid. Add chopped parsley, and then serve.


  • 1 cup barley. I used this pearl barley (hulled barley will also work in this recipe)
  • 3 cups water (or broth)
  • kosher salt
  • Parsley, for garnish (optional)


Pearled barley doesn’t need to be soaked (skip to the next step). If you are using hulled barley, you can soak the grains for a while in the water before cooking them. Pour 1 cup of dry barley grains and 3 cups of water into a large bowl to soak the hulled barley. Let soak for a few hours or up to a whole night.

Add 1 cup of barley to 3 cups of boiling water or broth. Add a lot of kosher salt to taste.

Cover the pot and turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer until the liquid has been absorbed (or most of it has been absorbed) and the barley is soft and chewy (about 25 to 30 minutes for pearl barley and up to 1 hour for hulled barley). Drain.

Use a fork to fluff the cooked pearl barley. If you want to decorate with parsley, add it.

What does it Taste Like?

Dry barley should be kept in a container with a tight lid, away from moisture and light. If you keep it this way, it will last forever, making it a good choice for a food supply in case of an emergency. Barley that has been cooked should be kept in the fridge and eaten within three or four days. Plain-cooked barley can be frozen for six months, making it easy to add to a quick-cook meal or drink.

Where to Buy Barley?

Look for pearl barley near the dried beans and lentils in most grocery stores. It is also usually in the bulk bins. Barley groats, which only have the outer hull taken off, may be sold as hull-less barley, but they aren’t as easy to find. You might have to go to a health food store or look them up online. You can easily switch from one to the other by changing the cooking time.

Storage Tip

Dry barley should be kept in a container with a tight lid, away from moisture and light. If you keep it this way, it will last forever, making it a good choice for a food supply in case of an emergency. Barley that has been cooked should be kept in the fridge and eaten within three or four days. Plain-cooked barley can be frozen for six months, making it easy to add to a quick-cook meal or drink.

What are the Types of Barley?

There are many ways to change barley into something else. But there are only a few basic types of barley that are grown.

Barley that grows on grass grain plants is called covered barley or hulled barley. This type of barley comes from the fact that it has a shell that you can’t eat. It has to be picked, and then the hulls are taken off before the grain can be eaten. Naked barley is the other barley that isn’t grown as often.

Dehulled barley, also called hulless barley or unhulled barley, hasn’t been processed, so it takes longer to cook than pearl barley, which has been polished to get rid of some or all of the bran on the outside. Quick-cooking barley, also called “instant barley,” comes in flakes that have already been cooked, so it only takes 10 minutes. Add a handful of quick-cooking barley to a simmering pot of soup. The sprouted grain is used to make malted barley used to make beer, and malted barley syrup can be used as a sweetener at home.

Hulled Barley

It’s the real thing. The bran layer stays whole because most of the hull is left on. It is also called whole wheat barley. This kind of barley is very healthy because it has a lot of protein and fiber. In this form, it is called whole grain. It does take longer to cook and is very chewy. It also has a unique taste.

Hulless Barley

This kind of barley still has its bran, and only its outer shell, or hull, has been taken off. Even so, it’s still a whole grain.

Barley Grits

This kind of barley is made from kernels that have been toasted and then broken up. They are similar to grits made from hominy, buckwheat, or oats, and they can be a side dish or a breakfast cereal. If the grits are made from either hulled or hulless barley, they are whole grain, not whole grain if made from pearl barley. This barley takes less time to cook than other kinds because the pieces are smaller.

Barley Flakes

This kind of barley looks like oats that have been rolled. The barley kernels have been cut, steamed, rolled into flakes, and dried. They cook in about the same amount of time as quick-cooking oats. They have different nutrients and fiber depending on whether they came from whole grain barley or pearl barley.

Barley Flour

It’s also known as barley meal. It has little gluten, so it takes a long time to rise. When used in something that needs to rise, it’s usually mixed with other flours like whole wheat flour. You can also use it to make things thicker. Again, the flour is whole grain if made from hulled or hulless barley, but it is not whole grain if made from pearl barley.

Pearl Barley

This is the most common type of barley in the United States. It has also been changed the most. It has changed a lot. If you can choose between white and tan pearl barley, tan barley has been “less” processed than white barley. These kinds of barley have been refined to the point where they are no longer considered whole grains.

This barley cooks more quickly and is great in soups and stews. It can also be used to make dishes with barley, but most of the healthy parts have been refined. By making it into pearl barley, about two-thirds of its nutritional value is lost. Pearl barley is a refined grain because of this. Keep in mind that using pearl barley is like using white rice—it may taste great, but it doesn’t offer much in the way of nutrition.

Quick Barley

This pearl barley has been improved to be cooked in 10–15 minutes. The barley has been refined as much as possible, so it doesn’t have much nutritional value left.

What are the Benefits of Barley?

1. Benefits of Barley for sleep:  Barley grass powder has a lot of tryptophan, calcium, and potassium. It also has a lot of gamma-aminobutyric acids, which are chemicals in the brain (amino acids). It’s a very good functional food, making it a great way to help you sleep. The amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid, calcium, and potassium in barley grass powder is higher than in polished rice. People can get better sleep with foods like polished rice, wheat flour, barley, and their products.

2. Benefits of Barley for diabetes: Researchers have found that barley and its extract can get rid of oxygen-free radicals and help people with diabetes stay healthy. Its dietary fiber makes a big difference in lowering fasting blood sugar and blood glucose levels. Flavonoids in barley can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels after a meal. Barley grass powder lowers fasting blood sugar and glycated hemoglobin. Under stress, polyamines can build up in barley cells and act like insulin.

3. Benefits of Barley for blood lipids: Literature shows that barley and other whole grains that are high in viscous soluble fiber are better at lowering blood lipids than other grains. One of the ways that eating barley might lower cholesterol is by making it take longer for the body to absorb fats, and also, both the absorption and reabsorption of cholesterol are stopped. It is thought that barley’s ability to make the gut’s contents thicker makes it work to lower lipids.

Barley grass powder lowers total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, but it raises the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels by a lot. Hexacosanol in barley leaf can help with cholesterol metabolism by stopping the body from making cholesterol. Barley sprouts have fat, polysaccharides, protein, vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols, lowering lipids.

4. Benefits of Barley for gout: Barley grass lowers the amount of uric acid in the blood and is good for people’s feces metabolism, lipid metabolism, liver function, and antioxidant system, among other things. Gout can be helped by a fermented barley extract that lowers the amount of uric acid in the body (a form of arthritis). A fermented barley extract makes you pee more and lowers the amount of uric acid in your blood.

5. Benefits of Barley for the brain: Young barley leaf has been studied to see if it can help with depression. It controlled the amount of nerve growth factors in the brain (insulin-like protein, which regulates the growth and development of neurons).

Barley has vitamins and minerals to help prevent depression and other mental health problems caused by stress. Barley green leaves, which are full of vitamins and minerals, help improve memory.


When taken by mouth, barley is very Likely safe for most people. Some people might get gas, feel full, or get bloated. This usually gets better as you use it more. Some people can also have an allergic reaction to barley. There isn’t enough good information to know if barley is safe to put on the skin. When barley is put on some people’s skin, it can cause them to have an allergic reaction. Some of the signs are rashes on the skin and trouble breathing.