by Olena

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Olena Osipov
5 from 2 votes

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup with tender chunks of beef, carrots, and pearls of barley cooked in a deliciously seasoned broth. It is an easy pressure cooker soup with a comforting homestyle feel.

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup

Instant Pot beef barley soup is full of delicious wholesome ingredients which makes this a complete meal 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. All of this is rounded out by a perfectly seasoned broth. This soup recipe is brimming with bold flavour and pleasing textures. Oh, and almost no work!

I grew up in Ukraine eating beef and barley soup. Although 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.

So, this soup is budget friendly, easy weeknight dinner or serve a weekend crowd. Get ready to witness just how tender and melt in your mouth the meat gets when pressure cooked!

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup in white bowl garnished with parsley

Ingredients for Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

  • Stewing beef: I usually cut store-bought stew meat even into smaller 1-inch cubes.
  • Garlic and onion: Minced garlic. Finely chopped onion.
  • Carrots and celery: Both are diced.
  • Beef broth: Low sodium.
  • 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.
  • Herbs: Dried thyme. Bay leaf. Finely chopped parsley.
  • Salt and pepper: Added to taste, amount depends whether your broth is low sodium or not.

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 just 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. browned beef in Instant Pot
  • 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.barley, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves in Instant Potpouring beef broth in instant pot
  • 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! Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup
  • Add parsley and serve: Open the lid, toss in your chopped parsley and give it a stir. Serve hot! If you’ve made a pot of soup but no one is home to eat it yet, keep it on the warm setting until you’re ready to serve.

Tips and Variations

  • 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. 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.
  • 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. 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. Where as, hulled barley is minimally processed, removing only the inedible outer shell. It is a whole grain.

Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup garnished with parsley

Storing, Freezing, and Reheating

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 {Ukrainian Recipe}

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup with tender chunks of beef, carrots, and pearls of barley cooked in a deliciously seasoned broth. It is an easy pressure cooker soup with a comforting homestyle feel.
5 from 2 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. Which makes sense because walls of the pot are so high. So, do not spend a lot of time waiting for perfectly seared 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.
      • 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. 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. Where as, hulled barley is minimally processed, removing only the inedible outer shell. It is a whole grain.

      Nutrition

      Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 562mg | Potassium: 960mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2751IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 3mg
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      olena osipov in the studio

      Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

      My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

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      1. 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.

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