Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup is a hearty, satisfying soup that is incredibly easy to make. Filled with tender beef and perfectly cooked barley in a rich, flavorful broth, this Beef and Barley Soup hits the spot with minimal effort required.
There is nothing more comforting than a rich and hearty soup on a cold day. However, for soups like typically takes hours to develop a flavorful soup. And that is just not something most of us have time for, especially on busy weeknights.
Not so with this Instant Pot! You can develop incredible flavor in a short amount of time. Recipes like Instant Pot Stuffed Pepper Soup, Instant Pot Beef Stew, Instant Pot Cabbage Soup, and Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup prove you can have a hearty and healthy soup in record time.
Reasons to Love Instant Pot Beef and Barley
- Minimal Effort. Beef and Barley Soup comes together in under an hour and with minimal hands-on work.
- Maximum Flavor. The beef and barley are tender and the broth is insanely flavorful. It is rich, hearty, and guaranteed to warm you to the core.
Notes on Ingredients
- Beef: Sirloin beef, chuck roast, or stew meat are all great options for this Beef and Barley Soup. Either purchase a whole sirloin steak or chuck roast and cut yourself into approximately 2-inch cubes, or purchase stew meat that has already been cubed for you.
- Aromatics: Yellow onions, carrots, celery, and garlic are the building blocks for any great soup, and beef and barley soup is no different.
- Diced Tomatoes: If you have issues with the texture of diced tomatoes, feel free to use crushed tomatoes in their place.
- Beef Broth/Beef Stock: Use a high-quality low-sodium beef broth or stock for the best flavor, while still controlling the level of sodium in the soup.
- Barley: Be sure to use pearl barley, not quick-cook barley for best results.
- Seasonings: Fresh thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce give this soup so much flavor.
How to Make Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup
The following tips are provided to help you achieve perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step One: Saute Beef with Aromatics. To add a deep flavor to this soup, it is best to saute the beef with the onions, celery, and carrots until the beef is browned and the onions are softened. Add the garlic right at that the end of the saute process, to prevent the garlic from being burned.
Step Two: Delgaze the Inner Pot. Any time we use the saute function, it is crucial to deglaze the inner pot to remove any browned bits off the inner pot, which will prevent a burn notice. To do so, add in 1 cup of the broth and then use a spoon or spatula to scrape up all those browned bits off the bottom of the inner pot.
Step Three: Layer Ingredients. Add in the remaining broth, diced tomatoes, barley, bay, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. And give it all a stir to combine.
Step Four: Pressure Cook. Place lid on Instant Pot and close valve to sealed. Set to cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. This will ensure the beef becomes tender, the broth rich, and the barley to be just perfectly cooked. Once the cooking time has elapsed, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes. To try to do a quick release of pressure would cause hot liquid to spew all over the kitchen and the beef to potentially seize up and become tough. It is crucial to be patient.
What to Serve with Beef and Barley Soup
Beef and Barley Soup is hearty and delicious and can stand alone as a meal. However, I love to serve it with crusty homemade Dutch Oven bread or Italian Breadto soak up the rich broth. I also love to round the meal out with a side salad, such as a caesar salad or Copycat Panera Greek Salad.
Slow Cooker Directions
Don't have an Instant Pot? You can make Crockpot Beef and Barley Soup easily!
- In a large stockpan or cast-iron skillet, heat 1-2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is heated, add the seasoned beef, carrots, onions, and celery to the pan and saute until the beef is evenly browned on all sides. Remove from the heat.
- Add the meat and vegetables to the slow cooker, along with the garlic, beef broth, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, barley, and Worcestershire sauce. Give everything a good stir to combine.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 6 hours.
- Remove the bay leaves and stems of thyme and serve as desired.
Beef and barley soup both reheats and freezes well, making it a great soup to make in large batches and keep on hand in the freezer for a hearty bowl of comforting soup on a busy night.
- To Refrigerate: Allow the soup to cool slightly and then store the soup in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Freeze: Allow the soup to cool slightly and then transfer the cooled soup to freezer-safe containers or bags, being sure to allow 1 to 2 inches of excess space to allow for expansion. Store the Beef and Barley soup in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- To Reheat: If needed, defrost the soup in the refrigerator overnight. Transfer the leftover soup to a heat-safe bowl or in a small stock pan and heat until warmed through. Keep in mind, that you may need to add a splash of stock or water when reheating, as the barley absorbs some of the liquid after being refrigerated or frozen.
It is NOT necessary to saute the beef and vegetables first, but it does add a deep flavor to the final soup.
Yes! As long as your frozen beef is cubed. To prepare this soup with frozen beef, do not saute the beef. Instead just saute the onions, carrots, and celery if desired, and then add the beef with the remaining ingredients. Adjust the cooking time to 30 minutes.
I am often asked if Barely is gluten-free. Barley contains gluten and therefore, this soup is NOT gluten-free.
Instant Pot Soup Recipes
- Instant Pot Potato Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana
- Instant Pot Tomato Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Instant Pot Lasagna Soup
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If you enjoyed this Beef and Barley soup, I would love for you to take the time to leave a comment and a review.
Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 pound sirloin steak or chuck roast cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1-½ teaspoon pepper divided
- 1 small onion minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 large carrots peeled and sliced
- 2 stalks celery minced
- 4 cups low-sodium beef stock/broth low sodium
- 16 ounces diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon prepared Horseradish optional
- ½ cup pearl barley rinsed
- Turn the pressure cooker to saute function, add oil, and let heat for a minute. While the oil is heating, season the meat evenly with ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper.
- Once the oil is heated, add in the beef, carrots, celery, and onion. Saute until the beef is browned on all sides and the vegetables begin to soften. Add in garlic and saute for 1 minute longer. Turn Instant Pot OFF.
- Add in 1 cup of beef stock and scrape up the bottom of the pressure cooker to remove any browned bits using a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Add the remaining broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, ½ teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, Worcestershire Sauce, and prepared horseradish, if using.
- Rinse the barley using a fine mesh strainer and then stir into the remaining ingredients in the inner pot.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot and close the valve to seal. Set to cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
- Allow pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes. Then open the lid and remove the bay leaves and the sprig of thyme. Serve warm.
This recipe was originally published in 2018 but was updated in 2022 with new pictures and a video.