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


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


  • 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


  • 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. 



  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


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”

    • After you release the pressure at the end set the instant pot to saute. Bring soup to a boil and add the barley. Cook for 10 minutes or until the barley is tender. Hope you enjoy!

  1. 5 stars
    I just made this today to bring over to my Mom, as she loves this type of soup. I used my Ninja Foodi. Boy this is so good! I am barely letting it cool off before I have my own bowl. lol. I didn’t add the mushrooms (Mom doesn’t really like them) and didn’t add the tomatoes…same reason. the Better than Bouillon I had was the onion one. Literally…so yummy! thanks for the great recipe!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this today. I used vegetable broth. Misread the amount on the Better Than Boullion so used a bit too much; will adjust next time. I substituted a head of cauliflower for the potatoes since I am diabetic and added 1 large chopped zucchini. Doubled the onion, carrots & celery. It came out very hearty and robust. Will try freezing and hope mine does not turn mushy with the cauli & zucchini. Definitely a permanent recipe for me!

    • I am very sorry about that! Can I ask if you were on desktop, mobile, or tablet so I can let the ad company know. Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this last month and froze 2 servings. Heated 1 up tonight for dinner. Tasted even better than I remembered. The carrots and potatoes held their shape and were not mushy after freezing.. This dish is so flavorful and the beef is perfectly cooked. I can’t believe how quickly I had a meal from start to serving. I will be making this again this week. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  4. 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.

    • 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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?

    • 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.

    • 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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

    • 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.


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