Barley is a whole grain you can add to soups, stews, casseroles, salads, and other dishes. This healthy cereal grain contains a long list of vitamins and minerals. Barley also adds fiber, which is necessary for digestive health.
You can buy barley in two forms: whole barley, usually called hulled barley, and pearled.
Hulled barley is minimally processed and contains more nutrients. Pearled barley is the more common ingredient, with the hull and bran removed for faster cooking.
Barley isn’t as popular as other grains like oats, so you might not know where to buy barley in the grocery store.
Where is barley in the grocery store? You can find barley in the rice and grains aisle of the grocery store. This aisle usually contains foods like canned and dried beans, too.
If you can’t find barley in this aisle, you might be able to find it in the cereal aisle near the oatmeal and cream of wheat.
If you can’t find barley there, check in the baking aisle near the flour made from other grains, like gluten-free and nut flours. Look in the pasta aisle if you can’t find barley in these places.
Most grocery stores carry pearled barley. The smallest stores might not have hulled barley, but some small and independent grocers stock quick, pearled barley, usually in the cereal aisle.
Larger groceries stores are more likely to carry it in the aisle with the canned and dried beans, rice, and other grains.
If you’re asking, “Where is barley in the grocery store?” you might be surprised where some small stores keep it. Ask a staff member to make it easy.
You probably have your choice of where to buy barley, including:
- Kroger carries pearled barley in its grains, beans, and rice section. They sell a Kroger store brand in bags alongside name-brand barley.
- Wegmans sells whole barley in one-pound bags in the Mexican food aisle alongside other Goya products. You’ll find pearled barley in the pasta aisle.
- Publix carries store-brand and name-brand pearled barley in the aisle with the rice and dry beans.
- Safeway sells store and name-brand barley next to other grains and pasta.
- Meijer sells pearled barley in the beans and grains aisle.
- Albertson’s categorizes barley as a grain and offers a generic alongside name brands.
- Walmart carries Quaker pearled barley in the bean, rice, and grains aisle.
- Whole Foods also sells pearled barley in the grains aisle.
Both national and regional grocery stores should sell barley in the grain, cereal, or pasta aisle. You might not be able to find hulled barley at most of these places, but pearled barley is readily available.
Any stores that have a bulk section may sell it in bulk. You can fill a bag or other container they usually provide from large bulk bins in these stores. The price is calculated based on the weight.
Bulk barley lets you only buy what you need at one time.
Barley is as shelf-stable as other grains like rice and oats, so if you can’t get it in small amounts from a bulk section, what’s leftover will keep in your pantry for several months.
Pearled barley is available in most grocery stores you can walk into, so you can find it at most stores online.
If you’re wondering where to buy barley in its hulled form, you might have to order it online or substitute it with pearled barley instead.
You can buy barley online at the following stores:
- Amazon can help you find hulled barley if you need it, and you have a choice between over a dozen brands of pearled barley.
- Walmart carries items sellers offer through their marketplace, so you can usually find hulled barley and a choice of other products.
- Grain Place Foods offers organic hulled barley. You can also buy a rolled barley equivalent to rolled oats for porridge and similar dishes.
- Shiloh Farms sells bags of organic, non-GMO hulled barley, too.
Most stores that sell pearled barley in their aisles that ship products across the county will sell it by mail-order, too.
Since barley is an ingredient that’s usually one of many additions to a dish like a soup or stew, you’re not limited in your choice of substitutes.
If your recipe calls for hulled barley, but you only find pearled barley, use that before looking for a substitute. You can use hulled and pearled barley interchangeably.
You’ll need to adjust the cooking time, and you may need to change the liquid amount in the recipe, but the dish will be very similar.
If you use hulled barley instead of pearled barley, you’ll add a nutty, richer flavor and a lot of fiber and nutrition to the dish. You should increase the cooking time by 30 to 40 minutes because whole barley takes longer to cook.
If you don’t want to cook the dish that long, you can cook the barley separately and add it near the end of the cooking time. Hulled barley will also absorb more liquid, so you may need to add more liquid to account for that in a soup or stew or use a little less barley.
If the recipe calls for hulled barley and you only have pearled, use the same amount but cook the dish less. Pearled barley cooks faster, so if the recipe must cook for a long time for other ingredients, add the barley during the last 25 to 40 minutes of cooking time.
Quinoa is a seed that’s considered an ancient grain. Like barley, quinoa is gluten-free and packed with nutrients.
You can put quinoa in the dish when you would add pearled barley. You won’t need to add liquid because quinoa doesn’t absorb as much liquid from dishes as barley and most other grains.
Farro is a grain with a chewy texture and shape similar to barley. You can buy whole or pearled farro and use either as a substitute for barley. Most stores that carry it carry pearled farro.
Pearled farro cooks fast, so you won’t need to adjust the cooking time. If you have whole farro, soak it overnight. Then you can put it in a dish that cooks for about 15 to 20 minutes.