Barley is one of the cereal grains with high protein and fiber. It’s majorly used to make bread and frequently added to stews and soups. It’s delicious, budget-friendly, and readily in many groceries. Although it’s been there for long, barley is not as popular as rice or quinoa.

Therefore, don’t be worried if you don’t have an idea of how to cook barley. Many folks believe that it’s hard to cook as it takes longer to cook. But in the real sense, cooking barley is easier than you can think of since barley is a bit forgiving and cooks well when you follow the right procedure.


  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 cup of hulled or pearl barley

Here’s what to do:

  • Place the barley and water on a large-sized saucepan. Ensure the water covers the barley properly. Alternatively, you can substitute water for broth if you want then sprinkle some water to add taste. Neither option is vital.
  • Now place position the saucepan on top of the stove then allow water to heat at high temperature. As the boiling starts, use a lid to cover the saucepan.
  • While doing this, you must be careful since barley produces too much foam and may threaten to boil on top of the saucepan. Therefore, you must watch it closely to reduce any accidental spills.
  • Next, lower the heat then simmer the barley for half an hour. Hulled barley takes up to 45 minutes to be ready while pearl barley takes only 25 minutes to be ready. In case the water boils away quickly before the barley is ready, add about ½ cup of water at a time.
  • Having done that, cook the barley until all the water is absorbed. It should be soft, chewy, and triple in volume. For proper cooking, make sure you test the barley after every five minutes until the barley attains your desired level.
  • Switch off the heat then give the barley some time to sit without stirring to allow it to absorb excess water. When there’s still more water after giving the barley some time to sit, make sure you drain it away.
  • Finally, enjoy your cooked barley. You can add soup, salad, or toss it with oil and spices for a nice side dish.

 How to Cook Barley Water


  • Peppermint leaves
  • sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • 10 water cups
  • 100 grams Pearl barley
  • A sprig of oregano
  1. Start by placing 100 grams of barley on a strainer then rinse it below your faucet. Make sure you use only cold water to prevent the barley from cooking too early making it lose its taste. Be running the water on the barley to make it come out then stir it with your hands or with a spoon to make sure all the barley grains are properly rinsed.
  2. Next, transfer the rinsed barley on a clean pot accompanied with 2.4 liters of cold water. Use a fruit zester or a grater to scrape off the zest from the lemon to the pot.
  • You can remove the whole peel from the lemon then place in on the pot if you don’t have a fruit zester.
  1. Then place the pot on a stove then turn on the burner to high heat level. After that, allow the water to boil then give it time to bubble for about 1 minute.
  2. Set your burner to a low heat then allow the barley to simmer for about 30 minutes to make it infuse with the water. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture occasionally to prevent the barley from burning or sticking on the pot. Once you finish simmering your food, turn the heat off.
  • The barley taste in the water gets stronger as long as you give it time to simmer.
  1. Place a heat-safe pitcher on the sink to allow you safely pour water inside it. Place a strainer above the pitcher then pour the barley on it. Please be careful at this point so that you don’t spill the water. Gently shake the strainer to get rid of any water that might be stuck between the grains.
  • You can store the barley or throw it when you don’t want to eat it. If you decide to retain the cooked barley, keep it inside an airtight container then keep in your freezer for 5 days.
  1. After collecting the barley water, you can decide to make it sweeter. To do this, add 1 cup of sugar to the water when it’s still hot. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon while still warm to allow the sugar to dissolve completely in water.
  • You can use artificial sweeteners or honey as a substitute if you don’t want to use sugar.
  1. Add the lemon juice if you want a citrusy taste. Use either bottled lemon juice or squeeze juice from a fresh lemon fruit. Stir the mixture thoroughly until it’s properly mixed.
  2. As the barley water is still hot, add fresh peppermint leaves then stir them properly. Then leave the peppermint in the barley water for some time to make the flavor infuse in the warm water. After 30 minutes, you can remove the mint inside the barley water or rather strain them away.
  3. Also, if you need some slight spiciness to the barley water, add fresh oregano together with the peppermint.
  4. Now move the pitcher to the freezer to allow the barley water cool off. Ensure you cover the pitcher to prevent dirt from getting inside the water then leave it there for 3 hours until its cold.

How to Cook Barley in an Instant Pot


  • Hulled or pearled barley
  • Oil
  • Salt

Here’s how to do it.

  • Begin by adding barley to the instant pot. When cooking hulled barley, start by rinsing it off first under running water on a colander as this helps in removing the bitter flavor.
  • Next, add water, a little oil, and a pinch of salt.
  • Then close the lid of your pressure cooker. Ensure it’s properly sealed.
  • After that, set it to high manual pressure for about 20 minutes when cooking pearled barley and 25-30 minutes when cooking hulled barley.
  • Immediately it’s ready, release the sealing vent quickly. Use a spatula or a wooden spoon to do this as it’s loud and alarming. Relax for a while to give the float valve some time to depress before opening it.
  • Finally, fluff using a spoon or fork and your barley is ready to eat.

How to Cook Barley Flakes


  • 3 cups of water
  • Salt
  • Rolled barley flakes

The execution

  • Start by boiling 3 cups of water then add ½ teaspoon then mix.
  • After that, add the barley flakes on the boiling water then reduce the stove heat.
  • Cover your food then allow it to cook for ten minutes as your stir it occasionally.
  • Remove the flakes from the stove then allow it cool for around 2 minutes.
  • Finally, serve with honey and milk.

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