{recipe} Easy Oven Barley “Risotto”

As much as I hate unnecessary quotation marks, I can’t think of any other term for this. The process is so simple, with a little time on the stovetop and the bulk of the time in the oven, and yet the texture comes out closer to risotto than anything else. More good news: it’s almost impossible to overcook it, too.

I also think barley is an unsung hero among better-known grains. While newer arrivals to the scene like quinoa and wheat berries are getting all the play, good ol’ barley has been around for ages, the workhorse of the whole grain world, just minding its business and keeping quiet in the background. This recipe is an old one that my Mom has been making for years, and it still wows guests as a savory, creamy, satisfying side dish.

Easy Oven Barley Risotto
serves 6 as a side dish


  • 4 Tblsp butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped finely
  • 2 large or 3 small cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 1/2 cups crimini or brown mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl barley
  • 4 cups chicken broth, mushroom broth, or vegetable broth


  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • On the stovetop, heat an oven-proof dish or pot over medium heat. Add the butter and add onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until onions are soft and translucent and mushrooms are browned. Add barley and saute to toast, stirring, about 3-5 minutes more.
  • Add broth and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and put a lid on the pot.
  • Put the pot in the oven and cook for about 1 hour, until barley is soft and cooked through.
  • Stir the barley and remove to a serving dish. Serve immediately.

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4 Responses

  1. sarah says:

    Haha, wheat berries are only new if you didn’t have hippy parents, I remember them from fifteen, maybe twenty years ago.

    This looks easy and tasty, definitely making it for supper some time this weekend. Thanks 🙂

  2. sweet road says:

    this sounds so interesting, i recently made my first… variation… of risotto and it was so great, i am excited to find more recipes!