Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup

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This Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup is a quick and easy way to enjoy hearty, flavorful, homemade soup in no time!

This soup is full of tender meat and vegetables like mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and onion! It is perfectly satisfying for lunch or dinner, any day of the week!

A bowl of comforting beef and barley soup garnished with fresh thyme.

As much as I love my slow cooker, the Instant Pot cooks this soup to perfection in a fraction of the time, and who doesn’t love having some spare extra time in the evening?

I actually love using my Instant Pot for many soup recipes. A few other delicious and easy soups I’ve been loving are: Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup, Hearty Beef Stew, and Easy Taco Soup.

REASONS WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS BEEF AND BARLEY SOUP:

  • This beef and barley soup is super hearty and packed with tender meat.
  • It’s done in no time! Thanks to the Instant Pot, you will be enjoying this rich and delicious soup in under an hour!
  • It’s the perfect meal for any day of the week and the whole family will absolutely love it!
  • This soup is delicious AND nutritious thanks to all of the vegetables!
  • If you crave a big bowl of comforting soup like I do in the winter, this is the perfect recipe for you.
  • You could store this soup in the freezer and enjoy it later! It stays good in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Top down view of beef and barley soup in a blue bowl with a spoon.

KEY INGREDIENTS:

  • Beef stew meat – typically beef stew meat is comprised of cuts with tough connective tissue and so when it is simmered the tissue breaks down and becomes deliciously tender and juicy!
  • Veggies – I went with mushrooms, potatoes, diced tomatoes, onion, celery and carrots but you could use any vegetables you love.
  • Low sodium beef broth/stock – use low sodium broth so you are able to control the level of sodium in your soup.
  • Pearl barley – the most common type of barley, as it has a chewy and tender texture when used in soup.
  • Better than Bouillon Beef Base – I prefer Better than Bouillon, as it gives the dish more flavor and less sodium than typical bouillon cubes.
  • Herbs and aromatics – I went with bay leaf, dried thyme and garlic. This is a great combination for this soup recipe and many others!

HOW TO MAKE THIS INSTANT POT SOUP:

  1. Set Instant Pot to saute setting. Add the stew meat, olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Brown the meat on all sides then remove and set aside for about 5 minutes.

  2. Throw the mushrooms in and saute until nicely browned.

  3. Add the onion, celery, carrot, more salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes.

  4. Then add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.

  5. Next, add some beef broth to deglaze the bottom of the pan and be sure to scrape up all the browned bits.

  6. Add the remaining broth, browned meat, tomatoes, barley, potatoes, beef base, bay leaf and thyme.

  7. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and turn to the locking position. Set vent to sealing and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.

  8. Let the Instant Pot do a natural release of pressure for 15 minutes, then turn vent to release remaining pressure before removing lid. 

Top down view of beef and barley soup in a blue bowl served with fresh biscuits.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

What is the best cut of beef for this soup recipe?

Stew meat works great for making soup but if it isn’t available you can replace it with a chuck roast. Just cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes and you’re good to go.

Can you freeze this soup?

Yes, and it freezes well. Let the soup cool completely then pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze for 4-6 months. Thaw and reheat as you wish.

Can I use rice rather than barley?

If you are going to substitute the barley for rice I recommend using arborio rice due to its higher starch content than regular white rice.

What if I don’t have Better than Bouillon Beef Base?

You could use regular bouillon cubes or just use the beef broth.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

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4.95 from 19 votes
This Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup is a quicker way to enjoy this hearty and flavorful soup! It's full of tender meat and vegetables and perfectly satisfying! #intsantpotsoup #beefandbarleysoup
Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Natural Release
15 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

This Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup is a quicker way to enjoy this hearty and flavorful soup! It's full of tender meat and vegetables and perfectly satisfying!

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef and barley soup, instant pot beef and barley soup, Pressure Cooker Beef and Barley Soup
Servings: 8
Calories: 334 kcal
Author: Malinda Linnebur
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds (1kg) beef stew meat
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces (225g) mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups (1.4 liter) low sodium beef broth/stock
  • 1 (14.5oz) (411g) can diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup (140g) pearl barley, rinsed
  • 2 small potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons better than bullion beef base (or use 2-4 cubes)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
Instructions
  1. Set Instant Pot to saute setting. When hot add in stew meat, olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Brown meat on all sides then remove and set aside. (about 5 minutes)

  2. Add mushrooms and saute until nicely browned. (May need to add a little more oil) Add onion, celery, and carrot. Season with salt and pepper if desired and cook for about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and stir for 30 seconds.

  3. Add a little beef broth to deglaze the bottom of the pan and be sure to scrape up all the browned bits to avoid the burn error. Add remaining broth, browned meat, tomatoes, barley, potatoes, beef base, bay leaf, and thyme.

  4. Place lid on Instant Pot and turn to the locking position. Set vent to sealing and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Let the Instant Pot do a natural release of pressure for 15 minutes then turn vent to release remaining pressure before removing lid. 

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes
  1. A natural release is a must to avoid plugging the vent. 
  2. Freezer Friendly: If you want to freeze the soup let it cool completely and pour into a freezer safe container. Freeze for 4-6 months. Thaw completely and reheat.
  3. Nutrition facts: Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.

What to serve with Beef and Barley Soup

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 334 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 70mg23%
Sodium 718mg31%
Potassium 1232mg35%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 2595IU52%
Vitamin C 8.7mg11%
Calcium 61mg6%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.

66 thoughts on “Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup”

  1. 5 stars
    I made this last night and had made a few changes. I deglazed with red wine, used 1 teaspoon Knorr Tomato Bouillon with Chicken flavor per cup for the broth, didn’t add any extra. Also skipped the diced canned tomatos, and added cabbage. It turned out delicious.

    Reply
    • I am sorry at this time I don’t know how much is in one serving. When I make this again I will try to remember to measure it out.

      Reply
  2. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was fantastic! I didn’t add the potatoes or the canned tomatoes but I added a splash of red wine. I was trying to make it a little less calories lol. I will definitely be making this again!

    Reply
  3. 5 stars
    It has cooled down here considerably so today I made your soup. So easy to make and it smells wonderful too. Can’t wait to eat it at dinner time with fresh bakery french bread!

    Reply
  4. It sounds great and will make it. It says do 15 min natural release but the says don’t do a natural release that it blocks the vent? So what should I do?

    Reply
    • It says to do a 15 minute natural (slow) release as this will prevent the vent from becoming blocked. When you do a MANUAL (fast) release, the air is forced out at a much greater capacity and may cause food particles to enter and then become lodged inside the vent.

      Reply
    • I haven’t cooked with hulled barley but I do know it takes longer to cook. I can’t tell you for sure how much longer but I would start with an extra 10 minutes. Let me know how ou like it!

      Reply
  5. 5 stars
    I didn’t have stewing beef defrosted so I substituted ground beef. It worked out amazingly! I added crushed red pepper flakes (a generous pinch). It was amazing served with nice crusty french bread. Thank you for this pre-snowfall belly warming soup!

    Reply
  6. This is a nice beef barley soup recipe I’ve only modified it a little bit I added a half cup of lentils.
    When I prep for an instant pot soup I cut everything as best I can so it it’s nearly 1/ half inch by half inch cube including the meat which I cut into cubes while it’s still semi frozen it’s easier to control the size.Then after browning the meat and clarifying the onions I just throw everything in the pot and stir it up real good and cook it on the manual setting for 30 minutes

    Reply
    • Hi! So sorry I didn’t respond to your comment sooner!! Yes, you can make it in the slow cooker. Do as the recipe says only add to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. The barley will be very soft so if you prefer you can add it half way through.

      Reply

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