Creamy Chicken Barley Stew with Lemon & Fresh Dill

Creamy Chicken and Barley Stew | simplywhisked.com

This recipe is not dairy free. It was published before Simply Whisked went dairy free, but I have chosen not to remove it as a reference for incoming traffic. Feel free to swap dairy free substitutes for the ingredients to make it dairy free.

Maybe it’s the cold weather. Maybe it’s the overwhelming feeling that I won’t be able to make much of anything while I’m here. But, I’ve been on a crazy long soup/stew kick lately. It’s something you can make with basic ingredients plus whatever you can find, and this creamy chicken barley stew is the perfect example of that. It’s a basic chicken barley stew – except I swapped out the onions for leeks and added lemon and fresh dill to create a really refreshing flavor. For some reason, the only fresh herbs I can find here are parsley and dill – lots and lots of dill. I mean it. It’s in everything at the restaurants and Marc says they have dill a lot at the rink.

More dairy free stews: red wine beef stew / Italian beef stew with couscous / chicken and dumplings

Creamy Chicken and Barley Stew | simplywhisked.com


Creamy Chicken and Barley Stew | simplywhisked.com

I know there are lots of kinds of quick-cooking barley available, but for this recipe I used regular barley because that’s all I’ve been able to find. I don’t actually know that much about barley so I’m not sure how the quick-cooking version would change the recipe. If you have any insight into the different varieties of barley, please leave your advice in the comments section. I would love to know more.

Creamy Chicken and Barley Stew | simplywhisked.com


Creamy Chicken Barley Stew with Lemon & Fresh Dill

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 8


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 carrots, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 6 cups chicken stock*
  • 1 cup barley
  • 1/4 cup fat-free half-and-half*
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour*
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon


  1. In a large stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add chicken pieces and cook until golden brown.
  3. Remove from pot and set aside.
  4. Add remaining oil, celery and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add leeks and garlic, cooking for about 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add barley and chicken stock.
  7. Cover pot and bring to a rolling boil.
  8. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 35-40 minutes or until barley is tender.
  9. In a small bowl, whisk together flour fat-free half-and-half.
  10. Add the chicken and the milk mixture to pot and cook until flour has thickened the stew and chicken – about 5 minutes.
  11. Stir in the lemon juice and dill just before serving.


*To make this dairy free substitute the following:

  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup alt milk (for half and half)
  • 1/4 cup flour


  • Calories: 0
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Reply
    December 18, 2013 at 9:26 am

    That’s too funny about the dill! I wouldn’t have expected it. Is it a cold weather herb?! I didn’t think so.. but I always kill off my dill unfortunately. Oddly, my chives are the only herb I haven’t killed.. and they’re thriving throughout the ice and hail and everything! Anyway, this looks wonderful! I love that you freshened it up with lemon and dill, so it’s not so super heavy. I’m a huge fan of dill so I’m definitely putting this on our meal plan!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      December 18, 2013 at 11:46 pm

      I’m not sure about it being a cold weather herb. I’ve never tried to grow it before. I’ve done basil, mint, thyme, cilantro, and chives. The chives never die. I literally didn’t water them all winter last year because I thought they were dead. I was too lazy to clean out the pot so I just left it out on the balcony and come springtime they grew back! I would shocked. I think chives may be the easiest herb to grow – ever. They must either import the dill or grow it in greenhouses here though because there’s no way it would grow here naturally. It’s way to cold.

      • Reply
        December 19, 2013 at 10:40 am

        That makes sense, since it’s the only herb I can keep alive! Ha!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Looks yummy, but one question: when do you add the chicken back in? I suspect when the barley and chicken stock goes in but wanted to be sure because the recipe doesn’t say. 🙂

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      December 18, 2013 at 11:54 am

      Sorry. Thanks for pointing that out! I actually add it back in when you add the half-and-half 🙂

      • Reply
        December 18, 2013 at 11:39 pm

        Oh, alright! Cool – thanks! I’ve got this on my list to make in the coming weeks!

  • Reply
    January 5, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Came across this recipe on Pinterest & tried it today…loved it!!! I actually used the meat off of a rotisserie chicken to make it even easier. So good! Thanks so much!!

  • Reply
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