Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
This Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup is richly flavored and filled with tender chunks of beef, vegetables and barley. This healthy soup will warm you up from the inside out.
When you’re looking for a comforting, hot meal to warm you up on a cold day, this Instant Pot beef barley soup is just the thing. Like my stovetop Beef Barley Soup recipe, this hearty soup is loaded with tender bites of beef, vegetables and barley in a rich, savory broth. Barley is a fiber-rich ancient grain that has a pleasant chewy texture and a slightly nutty flavor. The barley cooks right in the soup in the Instant Pot, and it makes this Instant Pot beef soup especially satisfying.
Instant Pot soup recipes are some of the most flavorful, easy to make soups around, and this Instant Pot beef barley soup is no exception. The pressure cooking process melds the flavors of the ingredients together and makes the meat so tender, in a fraction of the time that it would take to simmer the soup on the stove.
Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe Ingredients
- Olive Oil: For browning the beef.
- Beef Stew Meat: You can also use beef chuck roast and cube it yourself. I like to use stew beef because it saves time, since the meat is already cut into chunks.
- Salt and Pepper: For seasoning the meat.
- Onion, Celery and Carrots: This trio of vegetables, called a mirepoix, is a flavor base for soups.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic brings delicious flavor.
- Beef Broth: I recommend using a low sodium broth so that you can better control the amount of salt in the soup.
- Tomato Paste: Adds richness to the soup.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Brings umami flavor and enhances the beefy flavor of the soup.
- Dried Thyme and Bay Leaves: To season the soup. You may substitute a few sprigs of fresh thyme for the dried, if you have some on hand. The leaves will fall off during cooking and you can remove the stems after the soup cooks.
- Pearl Barley: Pearl barley is sold at most grocery stores. Be sure to buy pearled barley, not hulled barley, since they require different cooking times. Note that barley is not gluten free. If you need a gluten free soup recipe, try this Vegetable Beef Soup, which can also be made in the Instant Pot.
- Mushrooms are a delicious addition to this soup. Sauté them along with the onion, celery and carrots.
- To add frozen peas or frozen green beans, stir them in after the soup pressure cooks and simmer in the hot soup for 3-5 minutes using the sauté function.
- For a vegetarian soup, try this Vegetable Barley Soup. The recipe notes include Instant Pot instructions.
How to Make Beef Barley Soup in the Instant Pot
Here’s an overview of the recipe steps. Find the full recipe with ingredient amounts in the recipe card below. If you’re new to Instant Pot cooking, read my guide on How to Use an Instant Pot.
- Brown the beef in olive oil using the Instant Pot sauté function. Then transfer the beef to a clean plate.
- Add the onion, carrots and celery to the pot and sauté until softened.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute.
- Pour in about one cup of the beef broth and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. This is called deglazing the pot and it helps to make sure you won’t get the Instant Pot burn message.
- Stir in the rest of the broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, dried thyme, bay leaves, the rinsed barley and the browned beef.
- Pressure cook for 20 minutes at high pressure.
- Let the Instant Pot naturally release for 15 minutes. Then quick release any remaining pressure before opening the Instant Pot.
- Discard the bay leaves and add more salt and pepper to the soup, if needed, to taste.
Serve Instant Pot beef barley soup with a salad and bread for a complete meal. It pairs well with this Spinach Apple Salad and this Kale Salad. Our favorite breads to serve with soup include these fluffy Dinner Rolls, Garlic Bread and these easy Drop Biscuits.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
The leftovers of this soup reheat wonderfully for an easy lunch or dinner later on. The barley may soak up some of the broth over time, so you can add a little more broth when reheating the soup if needed.
- Refrigerator: Store soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezer: Let soup cool and then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. For best results, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- To Reheat: Reheat soup in a covered pot on the stove over medium heat until simmering, or reheat individual bowls of soup in the microwave. You can also reheat it in the Instant Pot on sauté.
Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound beef stew meat
- ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped into ½-inch thick rounds
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups low sodium beef broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- ¾ cup pearl barley, rinsed
- chopped fresh parsley, for serving
- Turn on the sauté function and add the olive oil to the pot. Once hot, add the stew beef cubes to the pot and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Cook until browned on all sides and then remove the beef to a clean plate.
- Add the onion, celery and carrots to the pot. Cook until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Pour in about 1 cup of the beef broth and stir, scraping up any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the remaining beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, dried thyme, bay leaves, barley and browned beef along with any juices from the plate. Stir well.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and set the steam release valve to the sealing position. Pressure cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 15 minutes to reach pressure and then the cook time will start counting down.
- When the cook time ends, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes by leaving the pot alone. Then quick release any remaining pressure by carefully moving the steam release valve to the venting position. Once all of the steam has escaped and the pin has dropped down, open the Instant Pot lid.
- Remove and discard bay leaves. Adjust the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed, to taste. Serve, garnished with fresh parsley.
- Leftover soup may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.