Southwestern Barley Chili

Southwestern Barley Chili

I was never a barley eater.  I had bad memories from back when I was a child being forced to sit at the dinner table and eat my bowl of chicken barley soup…..which I don’t think I ever did eat.  Since that time, I have never liked barley.  Recently, I discovered that I enjoy farro, which has a similar texture to barley and thought it was time to give the grain another try.  With all of the cold weather we have been having I’ve been trying to make lots of soups and chili and am always on the lookout for new and interesting recipes. This recipe inspired me to try barley again.  I figured the southwest flavors would appeal to the kids, while introducing them to barley for the first time.  I ended up discovering that although barley is still not my favorite grain, I can now eat and enjoy it!  Put some sour cream and cheese on anything and the kids will most likely eat it, including this!  This was a great chili variation and was a perfect dinner for a cold night.

Southwestern Barley Chili
Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Café, adapted from the back of the Quaker Medium Barley box


  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup medium barley (not quick cooking)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • dash cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 12 ounce bag frozen corn kernels
  • Optional Garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, scallions, tortilla chips  (we used only shredded cheese and sour cream)


  1. In a large stock pot combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, barley, water, chili powder, cumin, dried oregano and cayenne. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and add the chicken, stirring to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer the mixture for approximately 40 minutes.  Stir the chili occasionally to prevent sticking.  The barley should be tender and chewy and the chicken no longer pink.  After 40 minutes, add the beans and the corn, stirring to combine.  Simmer the chili for five more minutes, then serve with the garnishes of your choice.** Mel noted that the chili will thicken considerably upon cooling.  If reheating leftovers, you can add chicken broth or water as needed to achieve a desirable consistency.



  1. What a great pot of Chili, can’t wait to taste it! Thanks so much for sharing this awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you have a great weekend and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  2. This recipe looks awesome! I love soups with Barley in them. You win my favorite recipe find of the day! 🙂

  3. Thanks for linking up to Creative K Kids’ Tasty Tuesdays Linky Party. I have pinned your post to the Tasty Tuesdays Pinterest Board.

Comments are closed.