We studied somatic embryogenesis and morphogenetic potential in young embryos of 17 spring barley cultivars. A considerable effect of the genotype as well as of certain biologically active compounds in the growth medium on the frequency of embryogenic callus formation and regenerative capacity was observed. The Murashige and Skoog medium complemented with myoinositol and casein hydrolysate is suitable for embryogenic callus induction. The regeneration medium should be complemented by hormones, 2.5 mg/l auxin 2,4-D and 0.1–0.5 mg/l cytokinin 6-BAP, to increase the frequency of somatic embryo maturation. The presence of cefotaxime and high level of copper are desirable to increase the efficiency of callogenesis, regeneration, and callus quality. Three cultivars with economically valuable characters and high morphogenetic potential were recommended for development of efficient technology for barley transformation.