If you’re craving a comforting and nourishing soup that’s packed with flavor, look no further than this Instant Pot beef barley soup.

Made with tender beef, wholesome vegetables, and hearty barley, this recipe for beef barley soup is sure to become a family favorite.

The best part? It’s made in the Instant Pot, which means you can enjoy a delicious homemade soup in a fraction of the time.

plated Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Super Simple Soup!

The Instant Pot makes preparing soups, such as this creamy Italian sausage soup, quick, convenient, and delicious, delivering a flavorful and nourishing meal that brings joy and satisfaction to those who indulge in it.

  • Quick Cooking! Using the Instant Pot ensures a flavorful and hearty soup in a fraction of the time it would take using traditional cooking methods. And it tenderizes the beef, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth meat that is packed with rich flavors.
  • One-Pot Convenience! Sauté, cook, and simmer the soup all in one pot, minimizing cleanup and making it an ideal option for a convenient and fuss-free meal.
  • Versatility: This recipe for beef barley soup allows for easy customization and experimentation with different variations. Try a vegetarian or chicken version, and incorporate additional spices or ingredients according to personal preferences.
  • Nourishment: This Instant Pot beef barley soup recipe has hearty ingredients and satisfying flavors, for a cozy or cold weather meal that is loaded with ingredients that are healthy and delicious.
beef , potatoes , carrots , onion , garlic , bay leaf , pearl barley. and seasoning with labels to make Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Simple Soup Ingredients

Beef: Choose cuts that are suitable for slow cooking and become tender and flavorful when cooked. Good options are sliced chuck roast, stew meat, or brisket. Use leftover steak, or even ground beef if that is easier. As an alternative, swap the beef with boneless, skinless chicken thighs for a lighter take on this hearty soup. Or replace beef with a mix of mushrooms, such as cremini and shiitake, for a hearty vegetarian version.

Barley: Barley is a versatile cereal grain known for its high fiber content, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The most common type of barley used in soups, including beef barley soup, is pearl barley. Pearl barley has had the outer husk and bran layers removed, which shortens the cooking time and results in a softer texture compared to other types of barley.

Vegetables: The vegetables in beef barley soup not only add vibrant colors and textures but also contribute to its overall flavor and nutritional value.

  • Onion and garlic: Diced onion and minced garlic are often base ingredients in many soups, including this Instant Pot beef barley soup. They provide a savory and aromatic foundation, adding depth and flavor to the broth.
  • Carrots: Carrots lend a touch of natural sweetness to the soup and offer a satisfying crunch when cooked to a tender consistency. They are also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a nutritious addition.
  • Potatoes: These tasty morsels add a hearty and comforting element that contributes to the soup’s thickness and provides additional texture and substance.
  • Additional Vegetables: You can customize the recipe by incorporating celery, peas, green beans, tomatoes, peppers, and leafy greens like spinach or kale. These additions introduce different textures, flavors, and nutritional benefits to the soup. Add a touch of heat with some diced jalapeños!

Broth: The flavorful beef broth serves as the base for this beef barley soup recipe, infusing the dish with savory notes and complementing the other ingredients. A vegetable, chicken or turkey broth can be used if that is on hand. Stir in a splash of heavy cream or coconut milk for a rich and creamy variation.

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup in the crockpot

How to Make Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

  1. Set your Instant Pot to sauté. Brown beef in hot oil, then remove and set aside.
  2. To the hot pot, add butter, diced onion, carrots, and potatoes. Sauté for a few minutes until the vegetables are slightly softened. Add garlic and stir. Cancel saute setting.
  3. Add a bit of beef broth and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of pot. Add remaining broth, bay leaves, seasoning and the browned beef back into the Instant Pot. Stir well to combine.
  4. Sprinkle the pearl barley over the top, and be sure it is immersed in liquid, but don’t stir.
  5. Secure the Instant Pot lid and cook on high pressure (as directed in the recipe)
  6. Remove the bay leaf and add the tomato paste. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and sugar if needed.
bowl of Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Recipe Tips

  • Be sure to brown the beef, with a nice sear on all sides of the meat, for added depth of flavor. For even more intense flavor, deglaze the Instant Pot with a splash of red wine after browning the beef!
  • Trim excess fat from the beef before cooking, as this can help prevent the soup from becoming greasy.
  • Cut the beef and the vegetables into bite-sized pieces to ensure even cooking and easy eating in the finished soup.
  • Feel free to add other vegetables like peas, mushrooms or green beans to tailor the soup to your preference. Even leftover roasted vegetables will work!
  • Soak the pearl barley for an hour or overnight before cooking. This will reduce the cooking time and help the barley cook evenly.


Barley tends to absorb liquid over time, so you might notice the soup thicken while waiting to serve or when stored. Simply add a bit of water or broth to adjust the consistency to your liking.

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup on a spoon

Serving And Storing Beef Barley Soup

  1. Cool soup completely before storing it in airtight containers or resealable bags. Place the containers in the refrigerator and consume within 3-4 days.
  2. For batch cooking, or just saving leftovers for later, freeze beef barley soup! Cool it completely, then transfer to freezer-safe containers or freezer bags, and leave a bit of room for expansion. Be sure to label with the date, and freeze for up to 3 months.
  3. Divide soup into individual portions before storing for convenient reheating.
  4. To reheat refrigerated beef barley soup, gently reheat it on the stovetop, or in the Instant Pot, over medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. If reheating from frozen, either thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or use the defrost function on your microwave before reheating on the stovetop or the Instant Pot. Or simply reheat using the microwave.

Other Hearty Soups!

Did you make this Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

plated Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup
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Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Make this Instant Pot beef barley soup for a hearty, comforting and flavorful dish perfect for cool days.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Instant Pot Pressure Build, And Natural Release, Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings
Author Donnalea Ferguson



  • 1 pound beef trimmed of fat and cut into small pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • ½ medium onion diced
  • 2 carrots diced, about 1 cup
  • 2 cups potatoes diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 cups beef broth or 6 cups water with beef boullion
  • ½ cup pearl barley rinsed
  • 2 Tablespoons beef base or 2-4 bouillon cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ cup tomato paste or more to taste
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon sugar optional, or more to taste
  • freshly chopped parsley optional garnish


  • Using the saute setting on the instant pot, brown beef in batches. Season with salt and pepper. Remove beef.
  • Add butter to pot and saute onion. Add carrot and potatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Cancel saute setting.
  • Pour a bit of beef broth to pot and scrap the bottom to release the brown bits. Add remaining broth, beef, bay leaf and seasonings, then stir. Sprinkle barley so that it is immersed in liquid, but stays above the other ingredients.
  • Set lid on instant pot and lock. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes, then natural release the pressure for another 15 minutes. Release remaining pressure before removing lid.
  • Add tomato paste, add sugar if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and serve.


  • Be sure to sear the beef on all sides for added flavor.
  • Optional, deglaze the Instant Pot with a splash of red wine.
  • Trim meat of excess fat so the soup will not be so greasy.
  • Cut beef and vegetables into bite-sized pieces for even cooking.
  • Add vegetables of choice to the soup.
  • Soak the pearl barley for an hour or overnight to reduce cook time and help it cook more evenly.
  • If the soup becomes thick, add a bit of water or broth to adjust the consistency to your liking.
5 from 2 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 271 | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 1090mg | Potassium: 596mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2697IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.

Course Soup
Cuisine American

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About the author

I am a wife, mother of two, and professional accountant. I love fantastic food, and it is so often the center of our lives, from everyday dinner, to family gatherings, and special evenings at fabulous restaurants. I have always loved cooking and baking, with my mom and grandma, and now, with my daughter and son. I love trying new recipes while enjoying my favorites too. I’m so happy to share them with you.
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