Barley Soup – Gerstensuppe

Source:  Beerli Family cir. 1970

barley soup - Gerstensuppe
barley soup – Gerstensuppe

Barley Soup – Gerstensuppe

This Barley Soup, or Gerstensuppe is a traditional soup from the canton of Graubuenden. If you ever visit Switzerland, Graubuenden is a worthwhile stop. I’d have to say Graubunden displays pure beauty. It’s known for the richness of mountain town culture, as well as old architecture. Additionally, the region is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Hosting a backdrop not only for climbing, biking, hiking, ski touring. But it’s perfect for the nature lover who needs to be impressed. Graubuenden is filled with peaks and valleys, over 150 valleys in fact. While the hills and road ways just seem to inter-twine within themselves and seem to go on forever. Graubunden is hugely rich on tradition, and culture.

Gerstensuppe is one of those traditions which has stuck around for a few hundred years. It’s an amazing soup. I’d say this soup is more of a denser soup, finding it quite filling and satisfying. The key ingredient here is barley. Sadly, it’s an ingredient I seldom use, yet it’s a powerhouse grain. If you don’t hail from Switzerland, finding some of the traditional items from the region will not be possible. So I’m presenting a International version of this recipe. Thus allowing you to locate all the necessary items to make this warm, winter soup.

Graubunden Barley Soup or Gerstensuppe

A traditional Swiss soup that warms you up from the inside out.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Swiss
Keyword Soup
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 8 people


  • 100 grams barley Rollgerste (grain)
  • 3 to 4 stocks celery finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium leek sliced and washed
  • 2 TBS oil
  • 1.5 liters bouillon/water vegetable or meat (chicken or beef)
  • 300 grams pork sliced or diced
  • 1 cup heavy cream optional, or you can put a few tablespoons in, the effect is the same
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 pinch nutmeg for flavor and color
  • 1 to 2 sprigs parsley for garnish
  • 100-200 grams Buntnerfleish or a high quality dried meat, diced.


  • gather ingredients together
    Ingredients for soup
  • dice onions and saute with butter and olive oil
    sauteed onions with butter
  • peal and dice vegetables
    cut up vegetables for soup
  • add diced vegetables to sauteed onions.  Add the stock, along with the diced meat and barley grain.  Cover until boils, then lower to simmer  and cook with lid on for 1 hour. 
    barley pack
  • have your Buentner Fleisch cut ready to add along with your cream after the 1 hour of cooking.  Add, then simmer again for about 10 min. 
  • serve and enjoy this delicious soup.
    Closeup of cooked barley soup
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Permanent link to this article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.