Persian Barley Soup (Soup Jo) is So Soothing

Persian barley soup (soup jo)
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1h 45 min
4-6 servings

We all have that one meal we remember eating when we were kids — the one that would instantly make you feel better on a cloudy day. For me it’s this Persian Barley Soup. It’s made with minimal ingredients but somehow ends up being full of flavour and so creamy.

This was one of those recipes my sister and both agreed on (a rare occurrence in my childhood!), so it was a permanent fixture in the fall and winter months. Like many cultures, Persians view soup as medicine so my mom would make this the instant someone had the sniffles! The key is to let the barley cook for a long period of time. First in seasoned water and then in chicken broth. We then add carrots, a simple white sauce and some fresh herbs. Simple ingredients that feel like a hug in a bowl!

Related: Persian Kotlet Beef Patties



cup pearl barley, rinsed
cups water
cups chicken broth
cup grated carrots, roughly 1 large carrot
Tbsp butter
Tbsp flour
cups milk (whole or 2%)
chopped parsley
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Tbsp fresh lemon juice, to serve



While this makes excellent leftovers, it’s best to add ½ cup boiling water or broth when reheating.

Persian barley soup ingredients
Step 1

Boil water in a medium pot. Season with salt and pepper. Once boiling, add rinsed barley and let simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring often. Most of the water will evaporate.

Cooked barley in a Dutch oven
Step 2

Warm up chicken broth and add into the barley. Cook, covered for 45 minutes on low heat. It should still be slightly bubbling.

Chicken broth added to Dutch oven
Step 3

Add grated carrots and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Grated carrots added to Dutch oven
Step 4

In a small saucepan on low to medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour until there are no clumps. Slowly add in milk, continuously whisking.

Milk mixture in a saucepan
Step 5

Once milk has thickened slightly, pour into soup mixture.

Milk mixture added to Dutch oven
Step 6

Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for 15 minutes on medium heat so soup reduces slightly. Adjust seasoning as desired. Continue to stir every so often so barley doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Soup Jo in Dutch oven
Step 7

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add fresh parsley to soup. Serve with fresh lemon juice

Persian barley soup (soup jo)

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