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Jan 04

Barley Beef Skillet

Barley Beef Skillet in a bowl

This Barley Beef Skillet is a hearty, flavorful one-pot meal that’s sure to be a family favorite! My husband told me this is one of the best dinners I make and my one-year old daughter gobbles it up too. I love how easily this comes together and the fact that it all cooks in one pan. The less dishes I have to do after dinner the better! Barley is such an underrated grain, in my opinion. I really enjoy the texture of barley, and it’s perfect in a rustic dish like this one. Plus, this recipe gives you your meat, grains, and vegetables all in one bowl! My daughter is an expert at picking around vegetables right now, but she ate these without a fuss. A serving of this Barley Beef Skillet is so filling and satisfying, and it’s only 307 calories or 7 Green, 7 Blue or 3 Purple myWW SmartPoints each! To view your current WW Points and track it in the WW app or site, click here!

Barley Beef Skillet overhead in pan

I originally posted this recipe back in January 2011, but I spruced it up in June 2019. If this post looks a bit different, that’s because I added new photos, new text, and tweaked the serving size a bit. Other than that, this is still the same delicious recipe!

Looking for more tasty, lightened up one-pot meals like this Barley Beef Skillet? Check out my One-Pot Barbecue Chicken Mac and Cheese, One-Pot Mediterranean Chicken with Orzo, One-Pot Spicy Dirty Rice with Chicken and Sausage, Spanish Chicken and Rice Skillet, Beef Enchilada Pasta Skillet, Turkey Sloppy Joe Pasta, Chicken Pot Pasta, Mexican Chicken Cauliflower Rice Skillet, Thai Turkey with Carrot Noodles, Lemon Chicken Orzo with Tomatoes and Asparagus, Rustic Sausage and Potato Skillet, One-Pot Cincinnati Chili Spaghetti Bake, Beef Stroganoff, Beefy American Goulash, Cheesy Chicken Veggie Pasta Skillet and more in the One-Pot Meals category of my recipe index!

Barley Beef Skillet in a bowl
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5 from 4 votes
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Barley Beef Skillet

This Barley Beef Skillet is a hearty, flavorful one-pot meal that’s sure to be a family favorite!


  • 1 pound 95% lean ground beef
  • a small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can reduced sodium Beef Broth
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup medium pearl barley
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper


  • Bring a large skillet to medium heat and cook ground beef and onion together, breaking up meat until it is browned. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the broth, tomato sauce and water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir in the carrots, tomato, zucchini, barley, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  • Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45-50 minutes until barley is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.


To view your current WW Points and track it in the WW app or site, click here!
MyWW SmartPoints per (1 & 1/3 cups) serving: (SP calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Green: 7 SmartPoints/ Blue: 7 SmartPoints/ Purple: 3 SmartPoints
Weight Watchers Points Plus:
8 per (1 & 1/3 cups) serving (PP calculated using a WW PointsPlus calculator and the nutrition info below)
Nutrition Information per (1 & 1/3 cups) serving:
307 calories, 6 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 40 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 26 g protein, 8 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com)
Slightly adapted from Taste of Home

46 comments on “Barley Beef Skillet”

  1. super yummy! i had to add extra water and cook it longer before the barley i bought was not chewy, but that’s part of the variability with grains like this 🙂

  2. My DH, being a Campbell’s employee, insists this would be better with Swanson broth instead of Progresso. 😉

  3. This was really tasty! I subbed mushrooms and bell pepper for the zucchini and 93% ground turkey for the beef. My husband told me several times how much he liked it and my uber picky 2 year old ate it; both are rare occurrences! I also served along side a large salad so only 1 cup servings with my adjustments were 7 points+. Definitely will make again, thanks! 🙂

  4. I made this last night and it was great! I didnt have barley on hand, but I had a ton of pre-cooked brown rice so I did some math…1 cup uncooked barley=3 cups cooked=3 cups cooked brown rice. I added the rice a little after the veggies and didnt add the water. I just let the rice heat up and bit and it turned this into a quick 15 min meal for the same PP value!!!

  5. It looked tasty and easy so I gave it a try for dinner. Delicious!

  6. This is a great recipe! Made it tonight, added mushrooms (just because we like them) and wow. It is not just tasty, it is so filling too! Hubby (also doing WW) loved it too, especially the filling “stick-to-your-ribs” quality. Thanks so much! Going to try next time with Mexican-type seasonings instead, think that would be a good variation too.

    • I’m happy you loved this dish! Mushrooms sound like a great add-in. Let me know how it turns out with a Mexican twist! Great idea 🙂

    • I’ve now made this again and instead of using Italian seasoning I used some cumin and chili powder – it was delicious!

  7. this looks delicious — but do you know the fiber grams…. as I am doing the old point system… and need the fiber count to calculate my points. thanks!!

    • I started calculating the nutrition information for all my recipes at the beginning of the new year and have slowly but surely been working my way backward through my older recipes and adding it. It’s time consuming since I have so many recipes, so I haven’t gotten through all of them yet. I use the recipe calculator on myfitnesspal.com to figure out the nutrition information, so if you want it before I get to this recipe, feel free to plus in the ingredients there and figure it out!

  8. Hi Emily,

    I made this dish last night. It was the perfect stick to your ribs comfort food while eating healthy that I was looking for. Thank you very much, my whole family enjoyed it.


  9. Planning on making this this week – can’t wait! Wondering if you know the fiber grams per serving – it’s not listed above. TIA!

  10. I loved this recipe too!
    So far every recipe of yours I have tried have been home run hits.
    I did add a can of petite diced tomatoes instead of the fresh, just because I had no fresh and a few splashed of Worchestire sauce because it seemed to go with it and I always put it in my beef recipes.
    my son even ate some and he doesnt usually try anything 🙂
    thanks for the great recipe

  11. This was so good. My husband and my 1-year-old loved it!

  12. I made this last night, Amazing! I didn’t change anything!

  13. Ate this last night, Delightful!!! And totally filling! 🙂

  14. could i use rice instead and get the same result?

  15. I made this last night, not changing a thing. It was absolutely wonderful. The whole family liked it, which is rare! Thank you so much for posting!

  16. I found your site recently, hoping to start the New Year eating and cooking more healthy. Beef Barley is one of my favorite soups so I thought I would give this recipe a try. Love it, so easy and tasty. THANKS

  17. Hi there! Love all your recipes! Are you going to update this one with the Smart Points? I just found it in my cook book and had made it a while back and LOVED it and had forgotten about it.

    • I have been meaning to! I love this one too. There are still a few of my oldest posts I haven’t updated yet (oops). I just got back from vacation and am trying to get caught up on everything, but I will put this on my to do list to do next. Thank you!

  18. This is a family favourite of ours! Its so good. has anyone tried to adapt this for the Instant pot?

  19. Thank you for this great post. Your ketchup recipe is a staple in my kitchen! I just made another batch yesterday

  20. This is a keeper. Used 2 zucchini and one carrot because I goofed shopping. Picky eater husband loved it and said make again. Will be on regular rotation. Thanks for a great recipe!!

  21. Do you offer sodium content values? I cook for my 91 year old grandfather who has CHF and restricted sodium intake, thanks!

  22. How do you add this to the WW app for your daily food tracking?

  23. Under the recipe heading the serving says 1-1/2 cups but the nutritional info says 1-1/3 which one is it? Thanks

  24. I made this tonight; having to substitute some ingredients. We still really enjoyed it! Thanks so much! I didn’t make it because of WW. I just had most everything available. I had to use soy sauce and water for part of the broth. I used tomato paste instead of sauce. Dried minced onion instead of fresh and grape tomatoes.

  25. We love barley, and this recipe is delicious! Great flavors!5 stars

  26. Wow! This is so hearty, savory and delicious!! I added some leftover mushrooms, 1/2 a bell pepper and some spinach that needed to be used and it was amazing! Tastes like it should be “bad,” but wellllll worth the 7 points on weight watchers. Thanks Emily! 

  27. I enjoy this because I like barley. But I’m only cooking for one. Do you know if this can be frozen and how you would heat it back up.5 stars

    • I definitely think it can be frozen! I have never done it because I am obsessed with this recipe and always finish the leftovers, haha. I would just set out the frozen batch to defrost and then microwave the leftovers.

  28. I’m so impressed with how good this recipe is! I’ll be honest, I had some barley I needed to use up so that’s the main reason I decided to try it, I wasn’t expecting much. It’s sooo good and so flavorful, and you can really bulk it up with lots of vegetables. I added an extra zucchini, a package of mushrooms that I diced up, and at the end I added about 4 cups of spinach and let it wilt a bit. So good!5 stars

  29. This was completely delicious! Thank you for this easy and healthy recipe>Love your site!

  30. I know this looks like a main dish .., but,  would you serve as a side dish with this?

    • I usually don’t serve a side when we eat it since this one-pot dish has meat, grains, and veggies covered. If I was going to serve one I’d probably do a salad on the side.

  31. I have made this several times. It is great! It’s filling, also.5 stars

  32. Loved this. Will definitely be making it again!

  33. can i sub broccoli for the zucchini

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