by Olena

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
5 from 8 votes

This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

Hearty Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup with tender chunks of beef, carrots, and pearl barley cooked in a savory broth and ready in under an hour. Low-calorie, comforting and packed with nutrition!

Love healthy beef recipes? Try Instant Pot beef stew, Instant Pot corned beef and cabbage or Instant Pot pot roast recipe.

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Instant Pot beef barley soup is full of delicious wholesome ingredients sure to satisfy the hungriest of crowds. It’s a rustic soup loaded with chunks of juicy fall apart beef, tender carrots, and pearls of barley and then rounded out by a perfectly seasoned broth.

This pressure cooker soup recipe is budget friendly, brimming with bold flavour, and has pleasing textures just like chicken wild rice soup and stuffed pepper soup. This homestyle stew is easy to make and the perfect comfort food on a wintry day!

Why Make Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup?

  • Tender beef: Pressure cooker beef and barley stew practically melts in your mouth!
  • Cooked all day flavor: But ready in just under an hour – magic of the Instant Pot.
  • Healthy: Whole grain, fiber rich barley and vegetables make this the perfect healthy comforting soup.
  • Simple ingredients: Nothing complicated here, a few pantry staples and a handful of fresh ingredients come together for a delicious hearty stew! 
  • Freeze friendly: Make a big batch now then save some for lunch or dinner later.

 

Do you prefer ground beef? Then try Instant Pot taco soup, Instant Pot chili or Instant Pot goulash.

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup in white bowl garnished with parsley

Ingredients for Beef Barley Soup Instant Pot

Ingredients for this pressure cooker beef and barley stew recipe couldn’t be easier!

  • Stewing beef: I usually cut store-bought stew meat into even smaller 1-inch cubes, it cooks faster and becomes even more fall apart tender.
  • Garlic and onion: Minced garlic and finely chopped onion add aromatic savory taste.
  • Carrots and celery: Both are diced and are common soup ingredients that add a lot of flavor.

The combination of diced onion, carrot and celery is also called mirepoix and is a French flavor base used to sweeten and add depth of flavor to dishes!

  • Beef broth: Low sodium or for even more of a nutrient loaded soup use bone broth.
  • Oil: Whatever you have on hand for frying the beef. Olive oil is a great option.
  • Barley: Uncooked, rinsed and drained, hulled or pearl barley.

I grew up in Ukraine eating beef and barley soup. Beef was expensive, so this soup was a treat. Grandma used pearl barley, which you can use as well. I always strive to find hulled barley when grocery shopping as it’s more nutritious.

  • Dried herbs: Dried thyme and bay leaf add another layer of flavor.
  • Salt and pepper: Added to taste, amount depends whether your broth is low sodium or not.
  • Fresh parsley: Added right before serving for a burst of fresh flavor.
instant pot beef barley soup ingredients with vegetables and stew meat

How to Make Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

  • Prep: Start by pressing the Saute button on your Instant Pot. Wait until it says Hot before you do anything else. You’ll notice that the Instant Pot isn’t meant for giving the meat a perfect sear and that’s OK.
  • Brown beef: Once it says Hot, add half of the oil and half of the beef cubes. Cook until brown. When your first batch is brown, transfer to a plate and do the same with the second batch. You want to do this in batches because adding all of the meat in at once won’t give all sides an equal opportunity to sear. Add in the thyme and press Cancel.

If there is a lot of browned bits from the beef, add a splash of your broth and loosen them at the bottom of the pot. This will prevent the dreaded Burn.

  • Add ingredients: Add the first batch of meat back into the pot along with broth, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, barley, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
  • Pressure cook: Close the lid, move your pressure vent to the Sealing position, and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 10 minutes. When pot has reached its full pressure the cooking time starts to count down.
  • Pressure release: Once Instant Pot beeps, allow it to naturally release for 15 minutes. This is to avoid a world of splatter that comes with quick releasing a pot full of liquid. Then, turn the valve to Venting to release the remaining pressure. You can also let it do a Natural Release on its own, but keep in mind that will just extend the time you’re waiting to eat!
  • Add parsley and serve: Open the lid, toss in your chopped parsley and give it a stir. Serve your pressure cooker beef and barley stew hot!

Keep warm: If you’ve made a pot of Instant Pot beef barley soup but no one is home to eat it yet, keep it on the warm setting until you’re ready to serve.

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

  • Tomato paste: Just a small amount for added taste.
  • Diced tomatoes: Adds a pop of color and taste.
  • Mushrooms: Sear some sliced mushrooms with beef.
  • Diced potato: I would only add this if you are not planning to freeze leftovers of your stew.
  • Worcestershire sauce: One tablespoon for added ‘beefy’ taste.
  • Seasonings: Instead of thyme, use dried oregano, rosemary or basil.
  • Parmesan cheese rind: Adds another layer of savory flavor.
  • Broth: While beef broth is preferred, you can use chicken or vegetable broth.
  • Vegan/vegetarian: Omit the meat, double your vegetables and use veggie broth. You could also add extra vegetables such as green beans, corn, frozen peas (added after) etc.
  • Chicken barley soup: Use whole chicken breasts, cook soup, remove chicken, shred and add them back in.
  • Low carb: You might be able to skip the barley and use cauliflower rice. Stir in after soup is done. I have not tried this, but should work.
  • Peas: Stir in frozen peas after cooking is done.

Fresh garlic added at the end is always a welcome and favorite addition.

Tips for Best Results

  • Instant Pot doesn’t brown well: I have tested Saute in 3 different sizes and models and neither does really brown the meat. Which makes sense because walls of the pot are so high. So, do not spend a lot of time waiting for perfectly seared meat. Five minutes per each half of beef is good enough for flavor.
  • 3 heat settings for Saute: Many people do not know but you can select how hot Saute gets. Press Saute, then press Adjust to select between Less, Normal and More. For hottest setting we want More.
  • Skip salt with regular broth: If you use regular beef broth or base from a jar, skip salt completely and adjust after to taste. Chances are you will not have to add any. Beef contains sodium as well.
  • 3 quart Instant Pot: Cut ingredients in half and keep same cooking time.
  • 6, 8 or 10 quart Instant Pot: Use recipe as written. I bet you could double it in 10 quart.
  • Pearl vs. hulled barley: Pearl barley is essentially like white flour. Whereas, hulled barley is minimally processed, removing only the inedible outer shell. It is a whole grain.

FAQs

Is Instant Pot beef and barley soup gluten free?

Barley is not gluten free, you may be able to use rice or quinoa and reduce cooking time by a few minutes, but I have not tested it this way. I recommend making quinoa stew with beef instead.

Can you use frozen beef for pressure cooker beef and barley stew?

This should work as long as your meat is cubed already. Skip sautéing and add additional 10 minutes to cooking time. Note that this has not been tested, so that time is estimated.

Can you skip sauteing the stew beef?

Yes, but it does add additional flavor.

What other beef can I use in this beef barley soup Instant Pot?

You can use 1 lb of ground beef, saute, add other recipe ingredients and proceed with cooking.

Can I make beef and barley soup Instant Pot in slow cooker?

Saute meat and veggies and then slow cook all ingredients together for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Pearl barley will be mushier, hulled barley chewier.

Can I make beef barley soup on stovetop?

Yes! I have a specific recipe for cooking beef barley soup on the stove top.

Does barley get soggy in soup?

Pearl barley will be mushier, hulled barley will have a chewy texture.

How do you thicken beef barley soup?

If you find your soup too brothy, make a roux to thicken it with water and cornstarch. Stir into pot after cooking, close lid for a few minutes and then stir before serving.

Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup garnished with parsley

How to Serve Beef and Barley Stew?

For a winter hearty meal that equates to a down home comfort meal serve with crusty bread or even homemade cornbread! Here are some more options to make a complete meal:

End the meal with a cup of healthy hot chocolate and one of these healthy Christmas cookies!

How to Store Beef and Barley Soup Instant Pot?

Store: Did you know you can transfer your inner Instant Pot right to the fridge? There are plenty of accessories available for the Instant Pot and a fitting silicone lid is one of them. Just one less thing to wash! But you can always use an airtight container as well. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Freeze: Cool the soup completely. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Reheat: Once you’re ready to reheat, whether from the fridge or from frozen, reheat on the stovetop. Cover and keep on low heat.

More Instant Pot Soup Recipes

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup on a ladle
Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Hearty Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup with tender chunks of beef, carrots, and pearl barley cooked in a savory broth and ready in under an hour. Low-calorie, comforting and packed with nutrition!
5 from 8 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Soup and Stew
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Pressure Up & Down: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 283kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef stew meat 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 2 large celery stalks diced
  • 1 tbsp oil for frying
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup hulled or pearl barley uncooked, rinsed & drained
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 cups beef broth low sodium
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley finely chopped

Instructions

  • On Instant Pot, press Saute and wait until display says Hot.
  • Add half oil and half beef cubes, cook until browned. For more seared meat, drain liquid from the pot sometime in the middle. Transfer browned beef to the plate and repeat with remaining beef and oil, also now is a good time to add thyme. I save liquid to add to soup later. Press Cancel.
  • Add broth, half of browned beef back, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, barley, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
  • Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 10 minutes.
  • After allow pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes to avoid splattering. Then turn valve to Venting to release remaining pressure. Or you can let pressure subside on its own which will take about 40 minutes depending on the size of your Instant Pot – Natural Release.
  • Open, add parsley and stir soup. Serve hot.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container or inner Instant Pot pot with a fitting glass lid for up to 5 days.

    Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on a stovetop covered on low.

      Notes

      • Stewing beef: I usually cut store-bought stew meat even into smaller 1-inch cubes.
      • Instant Pot doesn’t brown well: I have tested Saute in 3 different sizes and models and neither does really brown the meat. 5 minutes per each half of beef is good enough for flavor.
      • 3 heat settings for Saute: Many people do not know but you can select how hot Saute gets. Press Saute, then press Adjust to select between Less, Normal and More. For hottest setting we want More.
      • 3 quart Instant Pot: Cut ingredients in half and keep same cooking time.
      • 6, 8 or 10 quart Instant Pot: Use recipe as written. I bet you could double it in 10 quart.
      • Pearl vs. hulled barley: Pearl barley is essentially like white flour. Where as, hulled barley is minimally processed, removing only the inedible outer shell. It is a whole grain.
      See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

      Nutrition

      Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 562mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g

      Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com. It is against the law to republish recipes without permission. Nutritional info is approximate.

      Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

      20 comments on “Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

      Our “happiness" software automatically deletes any rude or inappropriate comments, so we can keep on happily cooking delicious recipes for you.

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published.

      Recipe Rating




      This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

      1. 5 stars
        Made it for the first time tonight. So easy — and it tastes great! Thank you for the recipe. Your recipes are always delicious and healthy!

      2. 5 stars
        We loved this soup. We would probably double the carrots. Made lots. We had enough leftover to freeze and enjoy later. 😊

      3. Question: Why does the Soup setting on the Instant Pot cook for 30 minutes when most recipes use the manual setting for 15 minutes?
        Why have all these settings if only manual is used? lol

        1. This would be a good question for Instant Pot company. I personally think it’s a marketing trick to make you think you just press the button. I laugh at those preset times. No way they would work, many of them.

          1. 5 stars
            I made this soup for lunch today and used the Soup setting just to see what would happen. It turned out great! I wonder if the setting works with a different pressure? Nothing was over cooked. Anyway, the soup is delicious! Lunches have never been easier! Another fantastic recipe!

            1. Awesome! So, it’s hard to ruin the soup unless it has pasta or rice because once you overcook those they become a mush. Beef is fine and barley is fine too. I don’t get where Instant Pot company got the presets for other things like chicken breast or dried beans or even white rice etc. If I use their buttons, things will not come out good. Anyways, glad you liked the soup. 🙂

      4. 5 stars
        I made the Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup on the weekend! It was yummy, one of my husband’s favourites.

        I’am going to try your Beef Barley Soup with ground beef next…. as noted in one of your recent adaptation recipes.

        I don’t always remember to comment, but I love your recipes, the dialogue in your videos, and your focus on taste and good nutrition. You are a delight!!

      5. 5 stars
        This is one of hubby’s favorite soups, will be making it again for him but I think I will be seasoning the meat with some salt and pepper before cooking it, the soup was great but the meat didn’t have much flavor. Will be making this one again for sure.

      6. The problem I always have with beef barley soup is that the barley soaks up all the liquid of the soup as it sits. How do you prevent this?

        1. You know mine doesn’t because I always use hulled barley and the right amount of liquid. So even if it thickens a bit, and it does, it’s just right. But hulled barley instead of pearl barley is the key to success I believe.

      The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. You assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.

      This page may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy. ifoodreal.com is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps keep iFOODreal recipes free. Thanks for your support!