How to Cook Pot Barley

Pearl barley, found in most grocery stores, is put through a pearling machine that polishes off the outer bran layer, leaving a bland-tasting, tender grain. Pot -- or Scotch -- barley is minimally polished, leaving some outer bran, a nuttier flavor and a chewier texture. Pot barley, however, is harder to find in stores and takes a few more minutes to cook. Both types of grain provide fiber, vitamins and minerals, and can help lower cholesterol. Substitute pot barley for pearled in almost any recipe, except desserts.

    Rinse the barley thoroughly to remove dust and foreign matter.

    Boil water in a saucepan at a ratio of three parts water to one part barley. For example, for 1/2 cup of barley, use 1 1/2 cups boiling water. For additional flavor, use beef or vegetable broth instead of water.

    Add the barley and reduce the water or broth to a simmer. Cook for about one hour, or until the barley is completely tender and all the water is absorbed.

    Add seasonings, such as garlic pepper, salt and herbs, to taste.

    Add cooked barley to soups and stews for added nutrition and hearty flavor, and as a thickener.

    Things You'll Need

    • Large saucepan with lid
    • Vegetable or beef broth, optional
    • Seasonings


    • If you have a sensitivity to wheat gluten, consult your healthcare provider before incorporating barley into your diet, as some practitioners consider it a "gluten grain."

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