Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

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This Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup is a quick and easy way to enjoy hearty, flavorful, homemade soup in no time. Full of tender meat and vegetables like mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and onion… my beef barley soup in the Instant Pot is perfectly satisfying for lunch or dinner, any day of the week!

closeup: a bowl of comforting instant pot beef barley soup garnished with fresh thyme

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

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

This Instant Pot beef barley soup is super hearty and packed with tender meat, vegetables, and a wonderfully flavorful broth. It’s done in no time thanks to the IP and is ready to serve in under 1 hour. It’s the perfect meal for busy weeknights or leisurely weekends, and the whole family will absolutely love it!

If you crave a big bowl of comforting soup like I do in the winter, this is the perfect recipe for you.

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

Why You’ll Love My Beef Barley Soup Instant Pot Recipe

  • Hearty, comforting, and satisfying
  • It’s done in no time!
  • Family and kid-friendly
  • Delicious AND nutritious thanks to all of the vegetables!
  • Freezes beautifully!
overhead: beef barley soup instant pot in a blue bowl with a spoon

Key Ingredients to Make Instapot Beef Barley Soup

  • BEEF STEW MEAT – Typically comprised of cuts with tough connective tissue, so when it’s simmered, the tissue breaks down and becomes deliciously tender and juicy!
  • VEGETABLES – I went with mushrooms, potatoes, diced tomatoes, onion, celery, and carrots, but you could use any vegetables you love.
  • BEEF BROTH/STOCK – Use low-sodium broth so you can control the level of sodium in your soup.
  • PEARL BARLEY – The most common type of barley, pearl barley has a chewy and tender texture when used in recipes like beef and barley soup in the Instant Pot.
  • BETTER THAN BOUILLON BEEF BASE – I prefer Better than Bouillon over regular bouillon cubes, as it gives the dish more flavor and contains less sodium.
  • HERBS AND AROMATICS – I went with bay leaf, dried thyme, and garlic. This is a great combination for this beef barley soup in the Instant Pot recipe and many others!

How to Make Beef and Barley Soup in Instant Pot

BROWN THE MEAT: Set your Instant Pot to the Sauté setting. Add the stew meat, olive oil, and a little salt and pepper. Brown the meat on all sides, then remove and set aside.

ADD THE VEGETABLES & AROMATICS: Throw the mushrooms in and saute until nicely browned, then add the onion, celery, carrot, and more salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.

DEGLAZE THE IP: Add some beef broth to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Be sure to scrape up all the browned bits!

INCORPORATE THE OTHER INGREDIENTS: Add the remaining broth, browned meat, tomatoes, barley, potatoes, beef base, bay leaf, and thyme.

COOK: Place the lid on the Instant Pot and turn to the locking position. Set the vent to sealing and cook on High for 15 minutes.

NATURAL RELEASE: Let the Instant Pot do a natural release of pressure for 15 minutes, then turn the vent to release the remaining pressure before removing the lid. Serve immediately and enjoy!

What to Serve with Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Instapot beef barley soup is a full meal on its own, but if you’re craving a more substantial meal, pair it with:

overhead: instapot beef barley soup in a blue bowl served with fresh biscuits

FAQ

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

Stew meat works great for making Instant Pot beef barley 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 Instapot beef barley 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 in beef barley soup in Instant Pot, 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 for beef and barley soup in the Instant Pot, or just add more beef broth.

Tips for Making Beef Barley Soup in Instant Pot

  • Take the time to sear the beef first. Before you sauté the vegetables and aromatics, use your IP to sear the beef. This helps to caramelize the surface of the meat, which will enhance its flavor and add depth to your Instapot beef barley soup!
  • Layer the flavors. The key to creating a super flavorful soup is to carefully layer the ingredients. After you sear the beef, sauté the veggies along with the garlic directly in the Instant Pot. This forms the flavor base of your soup and adds complexity to the broth. Don’t forget to season with salt, pepper, and any extra herbs or spices too.
  • Add the barley at the right time. Now, you may be tempted to throw everything in the IP to let it work its pressure-cooking magic, but it’s important to follow the recipe instructions carefully. Barley absorbs a lot of liquid as it cooks, so add it to the IP after the beef and veggies are done cooking. That way, it won’t turn into a mushy mess!

More Soup Recipes To Try

Thanks so much for reading! Let me know what you think about this beef barley soup Instant Pot recipe!

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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 Barley Soup

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef and barley soup, instant pot beef and barley soup, Pressure Cooker Beef and Barley Soup
This Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup is a quick and easy way to enjoy hearty, flavorful, homemade soup in no time. Full of tender meat and vegetables like mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and onion… my beef barley soup in the Instant Pot is perfectly satisfying for lunch or dinner, any day of the week!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Natural Release: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 334kcal
Author: Malinda Linnebur
Print Recipe Save Recipe

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

  • 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)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 

Video

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

Calories: 334kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 718mg | Potassium: 1232mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2595IU | Vitamin C: 8.7mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 5mg

76 thoughts on “Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup”

  1. 5 stars
    I love beef barley soup. This is one of the best recipes I’ve found. Used smaller diced sirloin roast instead of stew meat. I like the idea of cooking the mushrooms before adding liquids, more flavor that way.

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe, I’m a chef and a newbie to instant pot cooking. Needed soup in a hurry for a sick neighbor and presto. Super delicious. I tweaked the recipe slightly but the bones of the recipe and techniques are solid ! Success many thanks!

    Reply
  3. 4 stars
    Thought I would add that I like my Instant Pot over my slow cooker or oven simply because it seems to retain more moisture in my roasts and stews. Not just the time saved (though it is noticeable). A pressure cooker makes a difference since I am about 4000 feet above sea level. Not quite Denver height but close. I also like the one-pot cleanup.

    Reply
    • I am learning to like my instant pot more and more and I find myself reaching for it more! And yes, the one pot cleanup is nice!!

      Reply
  4. 5 stars
    Perfect for a cold January day. Fast and delicious. Proportions and timing were just right. I’ll be making this again and again.

    Reply
  5. 5 stars
    Excellent! Barley was perfectly cooked. I did diced fresh roma tomatoes instead of canned, skipped the potatoes and added more mushrooms instead! Did not have cubed stock on hand so just added more salt to taste. Added a splash of red wine – overall so tasty! Would definitely make again. Thanks for the easy and delicious recipe!

    Reply
  6. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe-added small amount of red pepper flakes for some heat. Everyone enjoyed it, perfect PNW recipe for this cold week! Any idea how many cups each serving is?

    Reply
    • I will try to remember to measure how many cups this makes next time I make it. So glad you liked it!! And my husband loves adding red pepper flakes too! Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  7. 5 stars
    Used golden beets for both the potato & carrot quantity. Used 6 cloves of garlic. Small can of fire roasted cubed tomtoes. 1/4 T of red pepper flakes.
    Changed it up alot…. But it twas Fab!!

    Reply
  8. This sounds good I’m going to give it a try . minus the mushrooms & celery because I don’t like them . Hoping it will still be good . One suggestion I have for you is if you get a Foodsaver system ,you could save the soup even longer in the freezer . Freeze in your containers then pop out into bags vacuum & seal then your good .

    Reply
  9. Best beef barley soup ever, with the weather turning cold and windy here in the PNW this was just what the doctor ordered! Full of flavor and oh so comforting!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much!! It is supposed to start cooling off here next week!! I can’t wait for soup weather and a break from the heat!

      Reply
  10. 5 stars
    This was soo good! I sized the measurements down to 4 servings & accidentally used an entire can of diced tomatoes instead of 1/2 cup but it still turned out amazing!!

    Reply

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