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Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

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This Instant Pot beef barley soup is the perfect winter soup. Filled with flavor, cooks in just 30 minutes, and filled with chunky vegetables and tender beef. You’ll love this easy classic soup!

instant pot beef barley soup in 2 bowls

If there is one thing I love on a cold winter night it’s hands down a big bowl of soup.

We are HUGE soup eaters in our house.

Especially when that soup is EXTRA hearty like this Instant Pot beef barley soup.

It’s packed with chunked veggies, extra tender beef stew meat, and lots of pearled barely.

I love to serve this soup with a wedge of bread so I can soak up any all of the leftover broth left in my bowl.

Don’t worry if you have never made beef barley soup before. With the Instant Pot or any other brand of an electric pressure cooker, you’ll be rewarded with the biggest pot of comfort and deliciousness!

instant pot beef barley soup in a bowl with a napkin

What is pearl barley?

There are 2 main types of barley you can find in the grocery store – pearl or hulled barley.

For this recipe you’ll want to get your hands on the quicker cooking pearl barley.

Pearl barley is barley that has had it’s outer hull and bran layers taken off so it’s results in slightly less nutrient version BUT cooks up much quicker.

Most recipes that call for barely will call for pearl barley as it cooks up MUCH faster than the hulled barley.

You may also see hulled barely called “barley groats.”

Where can I find pearl barley?

I have no issue finding pearl barely in all of the groceries I frequent – Publix, Walmart, Food Lion, and Harris Teeter.

You can typically find it in the same area you would find dried beans, grains, and rice.

If you cannot find it in the store you can also buy it from Amazon.

Instant pot beef barley soup in bowls sitting next to an Instant Pot

What type of beef should I use for beef barley soup?

I typically just use store bought beef stew meat.

While it’s not the most tender of cuts because I’m using it in my Instant Pot I know it will turn out tender.

If you cannot find store bought cut stew meat you can cube a chuck roast into 1-1/2 inch cubes.

Chuck roast is always my go to meat for soup and stews after stew meat.

Can I add other vegetables to this soup?

Of course!

The mix I use here just so happen to be my favorite.

I have also successfully added a 1/2 cup more pearl barley. It turned out fine because I make this soup heavy on the broth.

instant pot beef barley soup in a bowl with spoons

What is the difference between an Instant Pot and an electric pressure cooker?

Instant Pot is a brand name electric pressure cooker. Since most people recognize the name “Instant Pot” and think of an electric pressure cooker it’s often easier to just title a recipe with IP in the name.

I have also used the crockpot version electric pressure cooker with equally delicious results.

This is the same as most people calling a plastic bandage a Band-aid or a tissue a Kleenex. Over time the brand names become synonymous with a type of product.

What is the difference between natural release and quick release?

When a recipe calls to let your Instant Pot “natural release” it means your pressure cooker will naturally (and very slowly) release the pressure.

Many recipes call to let the pressure cooker natural release for a period of time because this help the recipe cook just a little longer.

Since the pressure cooker will be slowly losing pressure you do not have to do anything and it will eventually lose all its pressure and the lid will unlock.

When a recipe calls for quick release this means you will manually be letting the pressure out of the Instant Pot.

You will have to turn the vent to the “venting” position and a bunch of hot steam will come out of the vent. It is very important that you do not put your hand in the steam as it is VERY HOT.

This will then immediately unlock the lid and the food can be served.

instant pot beef barley soup in cream colored bowls

How do I store leftover Instant Pot beef barley soup?

After your soup has cooled I store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

As the soup sits the barley will soak up more of the stock and the leftover soup may appear much thicker.

I usually add a little more broth, or water, before reheating the soup.

What can I serve with beef barely soup?

I like to serve my soup plain but it pairs wonderfully with toasted bread, crackers, and even a warm grilled cheese.

Because this soup contains lots of vegetables and beef it’s very hearty and filling.

Love this Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup?

Why not try a few of my other hearty pressure cooker meals!

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This Instant Pot beef barley soup is the perfect winter soup. Filled with flavor, cooks in just 30 minutes, and filled with chunky vegetables and tender beef. You'll love this easy classic soup!


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cup beef stock


  1. Add olive to your electric pressure cooker and set on the "saute" setting.
  2. Season your beef stew meat with kosher salt and black pepper.
  3. When the oil is hot in 2 batches add your meat and brown the outside of the meat.
  4. When all the meat is browned turn off the heat and pour in the red wine.
  5. Scrape the bottom of the pot to release any bits of flavor.
  6. Mix in the tomato paste and stir to combine.
  7. Add in the pearl barley, onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, garlic, fresh thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and the beef stock.
  8. Stir to combine.
  9. Add the lid and lock it into place. Make sure the vent is turned to the sealing position.
  10. Cook on manual high pressure for 15 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for the pressure to build and start counting down the cooking time.
  11. After the 15 minutes of active cooking time has ended let the soup natural release for 15 minutes.
  12. After 15 minutes turn the vent to "release" and let the pressure cooker release the steam and unlock the lid.
  13. Remove the lid and stir the soup.
  14. Serve immediately with bread, crackers, or plain.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 476Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 965mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 56g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

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Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup - a fast and easy family friendly soup!

Tuesday 28th of September 2021

[…] Want a classic soup recipe? Try my Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup. […]

Megan G

Thursday 2nd of September 2021

I made this last night, subbing chopped cabbage for the mushrooms, and it was terrific.


Friday 26th of February 2021

If I were to make this in a crock pot I would use hulled barley right?

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