Can You Freeze Barley?

Barley is a fairly old grain and is rich in fibre with a little bit of a nutty flavour that tastes great in soups, salads and even as a side dish. But, can you freeze barley? Wouldn’t it be great if you could! You could cook it up in bulk and freeze in portions to add to a meal whenever you needed.

The Quick Answer

Can You Freeze Barley?

You can freeze barley for around 1 month. Barley can be frozen either as a cooked grain or as part of meals like soups, stews and casseroles

You can use the links below to jump through this article if you need help with how to go about freezing barley, how to defrost it or whether it’s actually worth doing in the first place:

How to Freeze Barley

The best way to freeze barley is once it has been cooked. As a grain, it stores well without freezing in a dry, cool place for a year, so there is no need to freeze. However, if you want to batch cook up some barley to add to meals then you can do so using this method:

  1. Cook
    Cook up your barley using your favourite method. This isn’t always a quick process, and cook take up to 90 minutes.
  2. Cool
    Once it has been cooked, drain the barley and allow it to cool completely.
  3. Portion
    Grab some airtight containers. You need one container per portion of barley. If you have containers with airtight lids, this is fantastic. If you don’t, you can use freezer bags, make sure you squeeze out any excess air and seal tightly to keep the barley protected. Divide the barley into portions and spoon a portion into each container.
  4. Label
    Pop the lid on and seal the containers tightly. Label with the date and the contents. You don’t want it to go to waste because you forgot when it needed using by.
  5. Freeze
    Pop the containers into the freezer and freeze.

How to Freeze Barley Dishes

Having cooked parley is already an advantage as it can be used directly in dishes without waiting for it to cook. However, one of the advantages of a freezer is having ready-prepared meals for the week. Here are a few common dishes you can freeze using barley:

How to Freeze Barley Soup

Barley soup is a fantastic soup for the colder months. It’s hearty and warming, and with the added barley grains, it will really fill you up. Perfect for a healthy lunch that will keep you going all afternoon until dinner.

The great news is that you can freeze barley soup too! Just follow this method:

  1. Make Soup
    Make up a big batch of your favourite barley soup. Let the soup cool completely.
  2. Portion
    Find your freezer-safe containers with lids that are suitable for soups. Ladle a portion of barley soup into each container. Pop the lid onto the containers.
  3. Protect
    If you want to make double sure that there are no spills in the freezer, you can add a freezer bag around each container.
  4. Freeze
    Label with the name of the contents and the date and pop the containers into the freezer. Just don’t forget to keep them upright until the soup has frozen fully.

How to Freeze Barley Risotto

Barley risotto is an alternative take on the classic risotto. Instead of using rice, you use barley. The good news is that you can also freeze barley risotto. The method is also incredible straight forward:

  1. Make and Cool
    Make your barley risotto using your favourite recipe (try this one if you’re new to it) and then allow it to cool.
  2. Bag Up
    As soon as the risotto has cooled, portion it out into freezer bags. Try to place a portion into each bag to make it easier to defrost in future.
  3. Seal and Label
    Seal the bags up, trying to remove as much air as possible. This helps with freezing the barley risotto and ensures you don’t take up too much room in your freezer. Label the bags with the contents.
  4. Freeze
    Finally, place the bags into the freezer.

Can You Freeze Barley Risotto

3 Tips for Freezing Barley

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing barley to have the best results:

  • Don’t Leave at Room Temperature – Much like rice, barley can become dangerous if left at room temperature for too long. As soon as it has cooled, act fast to get it frozen.
  • Freeze into Meals – Having ready-to-go meals in the freezer is a huge time-saver during the busy working week. Instead of freezing barley on its own, try freezing it as complete meals to save on even more time.
  • Freeze in Portions – Refreezing barley can be both bad for the texture and dangerous because bacteria is given time to form on it. Instead, try to freeze it in portions to make it easier to defrost the amount you need at a time.

How Long Can You Freeze Barley?

Cooked barley can be frozen for up to a month. Some sources do say that you can freeze for a little longer, for up to three months, but to be safe, it is best to use your barley within a month if you can.

Luckily, this is plenty of time to cook up a whole batch, so you have enough barley to pop into your meals or to have for a healthy lunch every day for the whole month if you wanted!

You Can Freeze Barley for up to 1 Month

How Do You Defrost Barley?

If you are eating the barley as part of a salad or as a grain side dish, then the best way to defrost the barley is in the fridge.

By taking a portion of barley out of the freezer and popping it into a bowl into the fridge, you are allowing it to thaw out fully without allowing it to spoil or for bacteria to grow.

If you plan to throw your cooked barley straight into a cooking recipe such as a casserole or a soup, you don’t need to worry too much about thawing. Just grab it out of the freezer and pop it into the recipe as you cook it.

Can You Refreeze Barley?

No, you shouldn’t refreeze your barley once you have thawed it out completely. If possible, you should try and eat any defrosted barley within a day or two of it being thawed out. This ensures you are eating your barley while it is still at its best quality.

Does Barley Freeze Well?

Barley does freeze well! Cooked barley shouldn’t taste or be too different from freshly cooked barley. It is one of those beautiful foods that store well and tastes delicious while being versatile.

One thing to watch out for is moisture, barley keeps absorbing moisture, even after it has cooked so you may find that your barley absorbs even more moisture when it reheats or is added to a recipe.

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing barley or barley in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Pearl Barley?

Pearl barley is very similar to hulled barley. The only difference is pearl barley has had the bran layer removed, making it slightly less nutritious. You can freeze it in much the same way, however, including in ready-prepared dinners.

Can You Freeze Malted Barley?

Again, you can freeze all barley types, including malted barley, using the same techniques on this page. As always, you must store it in airtight containers in the freezer.