Bünder Gerstensuppe – Swiss Mountain Barley Soup

Pin It


Bünder Gerstensuppe or Barley Soup is very popular in Swiss ski towns like Zermatt. Every restaurant and hotel has their own version. They are all hearty, guaranteed to warm you up and most of them are based on a combination of barley, veggies and smoky cured meat.


It’s the perfect warm-me-up after spending a day on the slopes.


And since the view out of my kitchen window still looks like this, a homemade version was in order.


I did switch out the heavy cream for some good old fashioned evaporated milk to lighten things up a touch…especially after my strict cheese diet of fondue and raclette in Switzerland.


A great pairing with some toasted cheese scones to sop things up! Post to come.


Bünder Gerstensuppe – Swiss Mountain Barley Soup



  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onions
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 celeriac
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 200 g salt beef, high quality corned beef or smoked bacon (trimmed of fat), cut finely
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 L chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk, plus more for serving
  • Grate of nutmeg
  • Parsley for garnish


Cut the onions, leek, carrots, celery and celeriac very finely.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the onions, leek and garlic and sauté until soft. Add the carrots, celeriac and tomato paste. Cook until warmed through.

Stir in the barley and stock. Bring the soup to a gentle simmer and add the salt beef. Skim off any accumulated foam and simmer covered until the vegetables are tender and the barley is soft, about 45 minutes to an hour.


Adjust the seasoning and add a few grates of nutmeg. Before eating, stir in the cream. Spoon into warmed bowls and and sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 6


  1. When I was a student in the university of Alberta, I worked part time in a restaurant named Beans and Barley. I felt in love with their barley soup. Couldn’t afford going to the restaurant for such delicious soup, so worked for them and I could have a bowl of barley soup before my shift started.
    Few years ago I was in Edmonton for a trade show and found that they no longer operate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *