Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (2024)

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A simple yet comforting beef barley soup made in the instant pot or slow cooker! The beef chunks are tender, and the veggies and barley are perfectly cooked. It’s seriously the simplest, most flavorful stick-to-your-ribs kinda soup!

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (1)

Feelin’ all the cozy feels with this hearty beef barley soup.

Warm soups make me want to bust out my fuzzy socks, oversized sweaters and drink warmearl grey tea lattesall day long. Needless to say,soupsare some of my favorite types of food.

And my instant pot beef barley soup isn’t just some boring old soup. I’m talking about the kind of soup that hits all the perfect warm and cozy notes with spoonfuls of flavorful broth, melt-in-your-mouth tender chunks of beef, veggies, and al dente barley. It’ll stick to your ribs, pack on the protein, give your insides a big hug, and leave your belly extra happy!

What makes this soup recipe 1000x times better is that we’re making it from start to finish in the instant pot. With around 60 minutes of total time, you’ll have a soup that tastes like you’ve been slow-simmering it all day long. And yes, you sure can cook this recipe all day long and make beef barley soup in the slow cooker if that’s more your jam.

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (2)
Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (3)

Ingredients for beef barley soup recipe:

  • Beef:you’ll need stewing beef, or a beef chuck roast cut into 1-inch pieces. My grocery store sells pieces that are about 1–1½ inch pieces. Keep in mind that the smaller your pieces are, the less time this soup will take in the instant pot. If the beef cubes are too large, feel free to chop them down a bit. This helps ensure all the ingredients require the same cook time in the instant pot.
  • Mushrooms:I like to use baby Bella mushrooms for this recipe. However, button mushrooms would also work here.
  • Mirepoix:Mirepoix is the base of the soup. It’s a combination of onions, celery, and carrots.
  • Garlic:You can use as little or as much garlic as you like for this recipe. I typically go a bit heavier than most, and we love a good flavorful broth. I use about 6-8 cloves garlic!
  • Beef broth:I suggest using low-sodium beef broth for this recipe. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have beef broth on hand, you can substitute it with low-sodium chicken broth (or stock) and add a tablespoon of low-sodium soy sauce. I’ve done this plenty of times with great results!
  • Seasonings and sauces:I recently started adding a dash of tomato paste to my soup, and I love the flavor profile it adds to this soup. Along with that, you’ll need bay leaves, dried thyme, and mushroom powder. Themushroom powderis optional, but it’s an umami flavor bomb if you have it on hand! Just ½ teaspoon takes this soup to new heights!
  • Pearl barley:is a grain that has had the tough fibrous outer hull removed from it. Barley is a fiber-rich food that is great to include in your diet.
  • Potato:Just a big old russet is what you need here! Remove the peel and shred the potato in your food processor.
  • Fresh parsley:adds a bit of color and freshness to the soup recipe.

* Up until recently, I’ve always used diced potatoes in my beef barley soup but the shredded potatoes is a little trick I picked up fromThe Food Charlatanand it’s seriously the best thing in this soup!

@littlespicejar Beef ans Barley Soup plus tips! Full recipe linked in my profile and on littlespicejar.com 3 things to make a better pot of soup – Chop your veggies into bite-sized pieces so you get a bit in each bite – Sear the meat , Saute your veggies, and aromatics to create layers of flavor – Allow it to simmer for longer periods of time so everything melds together #beefandbarleysoup #beefsoup #beefsouprecipe #soup #soupseason #souptok #souprecipes #goodsoup #goodsoup👌🏼 ♬ Natural Emotions – Muspace Lofi
Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (4)
Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (5)

How to make instant pot beef barley soup:

  1. Generously season the stew meatwith salt and black pepper. Heat a splash of oil in the instant pot on the saute setting on medium-high heat. When hot, add abatch of the meat and brownit evenly on all sides for a couple of mins. The browning process develops a layer of fond on the bottom of the pan. Which will ultimately aid in providing more flavor for our soup. Remove the meat to a plate when it’s done. You’ll treat the mushrooms the same way; brown them, and remove them to the same plate.
  2. Add another splash of oil to the instant pot andsaute your onions, carrots, and celery. When the vegetables have softened, add the garlic and tomato paste. You want to allow thetomato paste time to bloom in the oilbefore adding the remaining ingredients. Then, add everything but the potatoes, cover the instant pot, and let it come up to a simmer before it starts the pressure cooking.
  3. When the instant pot timer goes off,allow a natural pressure release. You can do a manual quick release, but because it was a hot liquid, you might end up getting splatter. For this reason, I suggest natural pressure release. Then, place the instant pot on the saute setting,stir in the shredded potatoes, place the IP lid on top(not locked, just placed on top) let the soup continue to cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the potato has cooked through. Taste and adjust with additional seasonings. If the soup is too thick, you can thin it with additional broth until it reaches your desired consistency.
  4. Serve it up.Ladle the soup into your favorite bowl and serve this with a slice of the best garlic bread.
Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (6)

Additional tips and tricks

Make it faster.

Use store-bought mirepoix to cu todwn on prep time. If you look in the prepared foods section, they often sell a 3-cup container of prepared mirepoix, so it’s ready to cook.

No need to shred your own potatoes, unless you want to!

Use store-bought shredded potatoes.You can usually find these in the breakfast refrigerated section of your grocery store. Thawed shredded hash browns would also work for this recipe.

Swapping the barley for farro or brown rice.

Since this recipe is made in the instant pot it’s difficult to suggest substitutes for the pearl barley as the cooking time on these ingedients varies from the beef stew meat.

Serving suggestions:

I like a good salad, maybe a shaved brussels, apple and manchego situation, or a kale crunch salad. Garlic bread is always a welcome side! My no knead focaccia or jalapeno cheddar bread would be delicious dipped in this!

Stovetop directions:

I like to use a dutch oven. Follow directions 1 and 2. Then add everything but the barley and potatoes and let the soup simmer, covered, on low heat for 1 hour. Test the meat for doneness, it should be almost there. Then add the rinsed barley and shredded ptoatoes and continue to simmer the soup, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (7)

If you like this recipe, you might also like:

  • Honey Lemon Chicken with Green Beans
  • ​Rustic Shepherd’s Pie with Cheesy Mashed Potatoes and Peas
  • Hungarian Mushroom Soup
  • Mini Moroccan Meatball Soup
  • Homemade Minestrone Soup
Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (8)

Yield: 6-8 servings

Comforting Beef Barley Soup (Instant Pot)

Prep Time20 minutes

Cook Time40 minutes

Total Time1 hour

A simple beef barley soup made in the instant pot (pressure cooker). The beef is tender, veggies are perfectly cooked, and the barley is al-dente. It's seriously the simplest, most delicious soup. And it's healthy too!

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (9)

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds stew meat, cut into 1¼ inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 10 baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 cups mirepoix (just a combination of chopped onion, celery, and carrots)
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 7 cups low sodium beef broth (or vegetable)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon EACH: dried thyme AND mushroom powder (opt.)
  • ⅔ cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • 1 large potato, peeled + shredded (using a food processor or grater)

Instructions

  1. SAUTE: Season the stew meat with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pot or in the instant pot over medium-high heat. Add ½ the stew meat and brown on all sides for about 2-3 minutes total. Remove meat to a plate and repeat with the second batch and the second tablespoon of oil. Add the mushroom to the pot and brown the mushrooms for 1-2 minutes or until they start picking up the brown bits left behind by the meat. Remove the mushrooms to the same plate as the stew meat.
  2. VEGGIES: If needed, add a little more oil to the pot and the mirepoix mix. Cook the veggies for 4-5 minutes or until the onions soften and become translucent. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds before adding the tomato paste and letting it brown for an additional 30 seconds.
  3. INSTANT POT: Add the stew meat, mushrooms, bay leaves, dried thyme, mushroom powder, water, beef broth, and barley to sautéed veggies in the instant pot, cover and hit the manual button (high pressure), and cook for 16 minutes. Allow the pressure to release before removing the lid. Hit the saute setting on the instant pot, covered (use the IP lid and just place it on top, don't lock.) Add the shredded potatoes allow the soup to cook for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Season with additional seasonings to taste and thin soup with additional water or stock if it gets too thick. Serve warm with chopped parsley on top and a loaf of crusty bread or crackers.
  4. SLOW COOKER: to make the soup in the slow cooker, add the softened veggies, stew meat, mushrooms, bay leaves, dried thyme, mushroom powder, water, beef broth, and barley to the slow cooker and allow the soup to cook on the high setting for 3 hours or on the low setting for 6 hours. Add the shredded potatoes to the slow cooker during the last 1 hour of cooking. Season with additional seasonings to taste and thin soup with additional water or stock if it gets too thick. Season with additional seasonings as desired. Serve warm!

Notes

UPDATE: As of 01/2021 this recipe has been updated to include the tomato paste and mushroom powder as well as minor recipe adjustments to make this soup faster. These ingredients are optional, however, I do find that the soup tastes better with them. If you’ve made the previously shared IP version and prefer that recipe, you can make it by omitting the mushroom powder and tomato paste and adding the barley and shredded potato at the end (after pressure cooking) using the slow cooker function for 1 hour.

  • Sometimes I like to spice things up by adding a little pinch of red pepper flakes along with the dried thyme too but this is purely optional.

Have you made this recipe?

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below. You can also share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #LITTLESPICEJAR, I'd love to see what you made!

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Beef Dinner Fall Instant Pot Lunch Winterbarley beef carrots celery comfort food fall fall comfort food instant pot mirepoix onions parsley pearl barley potatoes pressure cooker shredded potatoes slow cooker soup stew stew meat thyme

originally published on Jan 11, 2021 (last updated Dec 5, 2023)

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127 comments on “Homemade Beef Barley Soup (Instant Pot + Slow Cooker)”

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  1. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (16)

    Jennifer Lynne Frisk Reply

    I’m new to pressure cookers, so bear with my probably obvious question. What is the reason for not adding the barley and potatoes in with everything else?

    • Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (17)

      Marzia Reply

      I like to add the barley and potatoes in afterwards so I can let the soup simmer and really develop the flavors a bit more and so I can cook the barley to preference. Big on texture here so for me, the barley has to be just done. If you don’t mind it being a little on the softer side, you can certainly add it all in at once! Hope that answers your question Jennifer 🙂

      • Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (18)

        Jennifer Lynne Frisk Reply

        Thanks for the reply! That definitely helps! Hubby is going to be so excited to have this soup this week! 🙂

  2. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (19)

    Tara Monday Santilli Reply

    My Instant Pot arrived yesterday and I christened it with this delicious recipe! I made a few, small changes: 1. I cubed the potatoes instead of shredding them. 2. I added the barley and potatoes into the mix right away instead of breaking it up into two parts. 3. I only used the “Meat/Stew” button which had the soup ready in 35 minutes (plus the prep and sautéing time).

    The barley was cooked to our liking (not too squishy, not too firm) and the meat was incredibly tender!

    This recipe is definitely one of my “go-to” recipes! Thanks for sharing!

    • Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (20)

      Wayne Anstey Reply

      I assume after the 35 minutes, you did a full natural release?

  3. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (21)

    Dori Reply

    Excellent! Very flavorful. I skipped the potato (didn’t want the extra carbs) and accidentally threw in the barley with everything else and it was still fantastic!!

    5

  4. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (22)

    Kelly Hockaday Reply

    I got my Instant Pot before the holidays and have been trying out new recipes. This was my first soup and it was awesome! Very tasty and the family loved it. Loved serving them a healthy meal not full of preservatives and sodium that canned soups have. This is definitely a keeper for the cold winter coming!

    5

  5. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (23)

    Jujy Reply

    Looking forward to trying this recipe on my instant pot. How long do you keep it on slow cook once you add the barley and potatoes in the instant pot?

    • Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (24)

      Marzia Reply

      See step #6.

  6. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (25)

    Valérie Reply

    Excellent soup especially in the dead of winter with -24 c . The only change I made was the 1 hr wait for the barley , when you have kids it has to be instant , so all I did is added the barley and push soup 5 min and tested it out it was still al dente so I did and other 5 min soup button . It was Perfect !!

    Keep the recipes coming
    Valérie

    • Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (26)

      Stephanie Reply

      I appreciated this recommendation, Valerie, because I also needed a quicker cooking time. (I had already had to increase step one’s time to 25 minutes to ensure my grass fed beef shank would be tender) I used the soup button for 10 minutes and the barley was cooked perfectly.

    • Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (27)

      Brita Reply

      Great suggestion. I also tried cooking the barley and potatoes on the soup setting for 10 minutes instead of slow cooking for an hour and it tasted great. The whole family loved it. Next time, I am going to try adding the barley and potatoes from the start and use the Meat/Stew setting.

  7. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (28)

    Elizabeth Faber Reply

    Hi – what a fantastic recipe!! I made this soup for our lunches – it’s going to be a very tasty work week 🙂

    5

  8. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (29)

    Allene Reply

    Do you cover in step 6? I have glass lid too

    • Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (30)

      Marzia Reply

      Yes, you’ll need to cover it.

  9. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (31)

    Linda Sheehy Reply

    This was my 1st time ever both eating & making Beef & Barley Soup! It turned out FANTASTIC!!! My question for today’s dinner is:
    I am literally turning Last Night’s Pot Roast Dinner into tonight’s B & B Soup. I just have to add the Mirepoix & the Barley. Can I PRESSURE COOK these add-ins, and if so, for how long? I am a bit of a Newbie to Pressure Cooking, but my guesstimate would be 8 minutes, then Natural Release? Thanks for any input!! Can’t wait for Dinner!~~~

    5

    • Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (32)

      Marzia Reply

      Hi Linda! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Hmmm, to tell you the truth, i’m also still figuring my way with the pressure cooker. But I do think it would be in the ball park of 8 minutes. If you find the veggies are still a little crunchy, you can always cook them a little further. 🙂

  10. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (33)

    Christina Reply

    This was the first recipe we tried in our new IP. It turned out wonderful! We added extra beef. We’ll definitely this make again. It cooked so nicely in the IP without getting mushy.

    5

  11. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (34)

    pi Reply

    The setting for step number 5 is “manual”?

    • Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (35)

      Marzia Reply

      I just hit the meat/stew button and dialed it down to 15 minutes but I guess manual should work too.

  12. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (36)

    Sonia Lambajian Reply

    Is it possible to add quick-cooking barley?

    • Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (37)

      Marzia Reply

      You probably could but you’ll need to monitor for doneness. I’ve only tested the recipe with the regular stuff so it’s hard for me to say how long it’ll take.

  13. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (38)

    Vernon Chisng Reply

    Made this this evening and it turned out terrific! I didn’t have beef broth, instead used Campbell’s chicken broth. This recipe is a keeper. This was my first time making beef barley soup. The shredded potato was a nice trick.

    5

  14. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (39)

    Anna Reply

    I made this today and my husband and dogs loved it! I don’t eat beef, but the smell was amazing even for me. I will be trying more of your recipes soon.

    5

  15. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (40)

    Christina Reply

    This stew has amazing flavors!! Even my 2 year old loved this!! Thanks for sharing!!

  16. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (41)

    Candy Radford Reply

    I’ve made the recipe twice. Everything is delicious except my beautiful grass fed stew meat was undercooked. I’m wondering about the final step. Would 2 hours slow cooking be better or maybe the stew/meat setting?

    5

    • Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (42)

      Marzia Reply

      I’m glad to hear you thought it was delicious! I think if you’ve made it twice (and the meat was undercooked both times) your best bet would be to up the pressure cooking time. Rather than 13-16, maybe more like 18-25 minutes. I don’t know if you’re using an Instant Pot or a different brand of an electric pressure cooker, but I’ve learned that sometimes the cook time varies a bit between brands. Two hours of slow cooking may do the trick too just depends on how undercooked the beef was and how well done you like your barley! Hope that helps!

  17. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (43)

    Emily Reply

    When you say in step 5 to pressure cook for 13-15 minutes, do you mean press the “Manuel” button to do it? I’m new to the Instant Pot, so I need lots of details 🙂

    • Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (44)

      Emily Reply

      Sorry I see someone else had the same question that you already answered!

  18. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (45)

    Stefanie Argudo Mackenzie Reply

    Made this today. Its middle of August and 95+ degrees, but no accounting for when this craving hits. It’s delicious and was easy to make. I omitted the potato, but will add it in the future. Thank you for doing the hard work.

    4.5

  19. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (46)

    Joana Reply

    The beauty of the pressure cooker is that the temp get high enough to bloom and Mary spices which is why soups and other foods taste so much better. For this reason there is no need to simmer for taste. The IP does it for you. I have an article that explains the science behind this and will try to locate. Blessings. Joana

  20. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (47)

    Kandy Reply

    Most beautiful beef and barley soup I have ever seen! Will definitely be making this in my IP!!!!

  21. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (48)

    Rob Allan Reply

    Just made this in my instapot I just bought last week and it is terrific. Very flavourful and yummy. Will be making this again and again.

    5

  22. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (49)

    Terri Holland Reply

    Does this freeze well?

  23. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (50)

    Rene Reply

    Hubby and I made this as our 1st recipe in the Instant pot. Not knowing what to expect it took 6 months to get it out of the box!
    This was a bit complicated but I have to say it was well worth it! This was fantastic! Thank you for sharing, this will be a regular fall and winter comfort food.

  24. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (51)

    Stephanie Reply

    I just made a big batch of beef stock last week and this was the perfect use for some of it! I used a grass fed beef bone shank and cooked it for 25 minutes before chopping it up and returning it to the pot. Because of the longer cooking time, I waited to add the mirepoix. I added it, the mushrooms, and the barley (skipped the potato because I had none) to the pot and set the soup button to 10 minutes. The beef was tender and the barley was cooked perfectly. Great meal for the first chilly evening of fall!

    5

  25. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (52)

    kathy costantino Reply

    This is my favorite soup which I freeze and is my go to lunch. I really do not change anything except I try to use home made stock and I do up the meat.

    5

  26. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (53)

    Megan Reply

    Can you 1.5 or double this recipe in the instant pot? Making it tonight! Looks delicious.

    • Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (54)

      Marzia Reply

      Hi Megan! Yes, I think a 1.5 batch should fit in the instant pot (if you’ve got a 6 qt or larger). I don’t think a 6 quart would be able to hold a double batch though. Hope you enjoy the soup!

  27. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (55)

    Anissa Reply

    can this recipe be doubled? And does the meat need to be defrosted first? Thank you! Excited to try

    • Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (56)

      Marzia Reply

      Yes, the recipe can be doubled but it’ll depend on the size of your pressure cooker. If you’ve got the 6 qt. IP, like I do, I don’t think it’ll be able to hold a double batch. And yes, I suggest defrosting the meat beforehand for it to cook and become tender in the time specified. You could probably add frozen meat but I’m uncertain how much it’ll change the cooking time. If you decide to try it with frozen beef, I’d love to hear how it went!

  28. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (57)

    Linda Reply

    This is an excellent recipe. Thanks for the clear instructions! It’s a keeper!

    5

  29. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (58)

    Beth Reply

    Is the depressurization before the potatoes and barley natural or quick?

    • Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (59)

      Marzia Reply

      Either works! I’m impatient so I usually do the quick release!

  30. Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (60)

    Carolyn Reply

    I ran across this recipe today and I am going to make it very soon. It looks and sounds delish. I am a soup lover, so no matter what time of year it is… For me it is always SOUP time!!

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe | Little Spice Jar (2024)
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