Instant Pot Beef & Barley Soup

The Instant Pot cooks meats and grains beautifully and to tender perfection. Therefore, it only makes sense to combine the two and churn out a big pot of the most outrageous Beef & Barley Soup you’ve ever known. This is a very popular recipe from my first (orange) cookbook 😉

Beef & Barley Soup
Onion, carrot and celery
Start with an onion, a big fat carrot (or 2 medium ones) and 2 ribs from a stalk of celery…
Onion, carrot and celery chopped
…and chop ’em up.
Fingerling or baby potatoes
Then take some baby or fingerling potatoes…
Fingerling or baby potatoes chopped up
…and do the same.
Adding olive oil to pot
Now let’s get cooking. Add some olive oil to the Instant Pot and heat it up.
Adding veggies to pot
Once the oil’s hot, add in the onion, carrot and celery.
Sauteing veggies
Sauté the veggies for a few minutes.
Adding beef to pot
Next, add in the co-star of this dish: beef! A chuck roast thats cut into chunks is definitely the best cut for this soup.
Sautéing beef
Sauté the beef for a few minutes until it becomes just lightly browned on the edges.
Adding broth to pot
Pour in some beef broth…
Adding barley to pot
…and the other star of our soup: barley! Rinse it for a minute under some cold water before adding it to the pot.
Adding Worcestershire sauce to pot.
Finish it off with some Worcestershire sauce…
Adding spices to pot.
…and a few basic spices.
Stirring pot
Give everything a final stir.
Adding potatoes to pot
Top with the potatoes…
Adding bay leaves to pot
…and bay leaves. Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
Finished soup
When the soup’s ready, you’re gonna be very, VERY happy (and your kitchen is going to smell very, VERY good).
Ladle some into a nice, big bowl (bonus if it has pretty handles on the sides to make it look all rustic and stuff).
Man trying soup
And just look at all that beef, barley and veggies! Get as much on one spoonful as you can…
…sample the goods…
…and savor the flavor! This is a Beef & Barley Soup for the ages – simple and spectacular! The slightly lighter version of a rich beef stew 😉
Instant Pot Beef & Barley Soup
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Beef & Barley Soup

Instant Pot Beef & Barley Soup

The Instant Pot cooks meats and grains beautifully and to tender perfection. Therefore, it only makes sense to combine the two and churn out a big pot of the most outrageous Beef & Barley Soup you've ever known. This is a very popular recipe from my first (orange) cookbook 😉

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 6 minutes
Total Time 51 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large (or 2 medium) carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 pounds chuck meat, cut into chunky (yet bite-size) cubes
  • 6 cloves (2 tablespoons) garlic, minced
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons seasoned salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound baby or fingerling potatoes, skins-on and quartered/roughly chopped
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot, hit Sauté and Adjust so it's on the More or High setting. After 3 minutes of the oil heating, add the onion, carrot and celery. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until it softens just a bit.
  2. Add the beef and garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes, until the beef is lightly browned on the edges.
  3. Add the broth, barley, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, thyme and black pepper. Use a wooden spoon to give it a good stir, scraping any browned bits up from the bottom of the pot. Top with the potatoes and bay leaves.
  4. Secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position, hit Cancel and then hit Manual or Pressure Cook for 20 minutes. When done, allow a 15-minute natural release (meaning you do nothing for 15 minutes) followed by a quick release.
  5. Ladle into bowls and serve with some bread (be it crusty French/Italian or garlic knots)!

Jeffrey's Tips

The more this soup sits after cooking, the more the barley will absorb the broth, making the barley very soft. You'll also have a thicker, very hearty soup. If you re-heat any leftovers and desire more broth, feel free to simply add some more to your liking.

Reader Interactions


  1. Ed Jadoski

    Just want to let you know you’re delivery is perfect. I really enjoy your presentation and can’t wait to try it myself. Thanks for sharing.

  2. MaryAnn Baumgarden

    This looks delicious. Is there anyway to include Nutrition info? My husband has an insulin pump & needs to know serving size/carb amounts. Thank you.

  3. Karen

    Hi!!! I love your recipies and you’ve the reason I can still enjoy chicken and broccoli since I was diagnosed with celiac disease… your resipies really are THE BEST!!!

    For a gluten free option, can rice be used instead of barley?

  4. Katie

    This soup was beautiful and all the ingredients cooked up nicely, the beef was tender, however it was way too salty for me. I would only add 1.5 teaspoons (not tablespoons) or less of the seasoning salt. Especially with all the bouillon.

    • Becky

      I just made this recipe with an eye of round and it turned our fine. Unfortunately I did not have seasoned salt so just used a teaspoon of sea salt. Also, the 2 teaspoons of thyme was too strong for our family — maybe because we didn’t have seasoned salt — so next time I would use just 1 teaspoon.

  5. Janet

    Love your recipes. Perfect meal for temperatures in the teens here in NJ. tonight. We didn’t have the barley but made it anyway as per your instructions. Soooo delicious!! We used the better than beef bouillon and not too salty at all. Next time we will be sure to have the barley to soak up all the soup, but we managed ok!
    Love it and will be making it often this winter.
    Thank you!

  6. Melissa

    If I use ground beef instead of chuck meat how long to pressure cook? Thank you so much. Your recipes are AMAZING!!!!

  7. Shari

    My husband and I love this soup! The meat was very tender, practically melted in our mouths. I used 4 cups of beef stock and 2 cups of vegetable stock and added a tsp of Beef Better than Bouillon. Can’t wait to have leftovers, as I’ve read it will have a better taste. It’s gonna be hard to beat fresh from the pot though! Thanks for another great recipe!

  8. Lei

    All I could find was quick cooking Barley. Would I need to change anything in the recipe to use it? I am concerned it will be over cooked.

      • Stephen

        Hi Jeffrey. FYI as folks were asking—I tried quick cook barley set to 15min (cause it cooks faster) and got a burn notice. I think it is because quick cook is the stickiest of the types. I also did not rinse them first which might have helped. Since it didn’t come to pressure, I scraped the bottom and I am trying again. I have the Pro model, so if it doesn’t work this time, I’m just going to move the pot to the stove and finish it to save the food. 🙂

        • Augusta

          I used Quick Cook barley tonight and set time for 20 minutes with 15 minutes natural release. It worked just fine. There was no burn notice and the barley was cooked appropriately.

  9. Jim

    My IP sucks at sauteing and browning beef. Have to use a skillet for that part. Just sealed the lid and am looking forward to eating it. Are u sure about the measurement for seasoned salt? 1.5 tbsp? Seemed like a lot. Cut it back and will adjust when it’s cooked.

  10. Heather

    Love, love, love your recipes Jeffrey. I’ve got both your orange and blue recipe books. Would I be able to use a sirloin tip roast instead? I’m trying to use up what I have in my freezer.

  11. Joe

    Love this recipe, but each time I have made it, I’m always late serving dinner. I always say…I should have started 30 mins sooner.

    Your prep time is more than 10 mins, especially if it’s a chuck roast. Trimming all that fat off is not fun! 🙂 I’ve found that chuck top works well.

    Also, cook time of 35 mins doesn’t include pressurization time.

    Finally, if it’s quick barley (all we have locally) instead of regular pearl barley, we have to add it and cook for 10 mins in a boil after pressure cooking is done.

  12. Sally

    This was perfect exactly as writ! I bought stew meat, already cut into pieces which was easy peasy and it turned out really tender. The amount of seasoned salt (I use Johnny’s) was just right for our tastes. Yum!

  13. Katiya

    I’ve tried about 10 of your recipes so far and they all have been amazing! Got this one in right now and the house smells awesome. Can’t wait to try it.

  14. Niall Shaw

    I would say that this was a perfect soup and it was. To avoid the high salty content and taste, just use reduced salt beef broth readily made. That does the trick. The flavor was a total surprise. Delicious and hearty. Trouble is, there is enough soup to fill the entire instant pot and there are only two of us. Well, it looks like we will have to store some for a while. Great recipe

  15. Dorothy Lin

    This recipe is so good. A cup serving fills me up, so with three people eating it, it’s taking a while to eat all of it. I’ll definitely put this in my rotation to make again.

  16. Kelley

    I made this last night for supper!! Delicious!! My husband and son loved it!! I was wary of the 1 1/2 tbsp. of salt but I used it anyway. Still delicious but I might try a bit less salt the next time!!

  17. Bonnie Ser

    Jeffrey, I made this last night and added mushrooms to it. It was wonderful and easy to make. The beef was fork tender. Thank you for all your recipes.

  18. Christina

    The meat was tender and flavors just right. I added an extra pound of meat and wound probably try low sodium beef broth next time but it was so good. I don’t usually enjoy leftovers and was afraid the meat would be tough when reheated but it was just as tender and delicious as the first day. Great recipe and great way to add healthy barley to meals.

  19. Sharon D

    I used stew meat (on sale!) and cut each piece into smaller pieces and meat was tender and perfect.
    I omitted the seasoning salt and substituted “Better than Bullion” beef, also subbed straight water for beef broth to cut the salt and it was just the right saltiness for my family and flavor was still great.

    Thanks for this recipe, it is going into my regular winter rotation.

  20. Carol

    I made this yesterday and we loved it! I will use low sodium broth the next time to balance the saltiness. Leftovers this evening!!

  21. Jacquie

    I made this for a friend who just got out of the hospital and we all thought it was delicious but I didn’t add the thyme as none of us like thyme and I used just a teaspoon of Kosher salt and as you mentioned it did thicken up so I added more broth and if fed 8 of us with still some left over. Will definitely make it again!

  22. Catherine Bridges

    Question-I love chuck riast in stews but it upsets my stomach. Is there a meat that is close in flavor but not quite so fatty? I’ve used various lean meats in stews but they aren’t as flavorful.

    • Tricia

      I think a nice lamb shank is very flavorful, and it has a TON of good collagen protein. I get about 2lbs of shank for every lb of meat, cook it on high pressure for 1-2 hours, and take the meat off and make bone broth with the same water. Then I chill it in the fridge overnight so I can just scoop off all the fat and make the actual soup. It’s a whole 2-day-long process, but really less than half an hour of work. The rest is just waiting.

      You might get the same results with beef shank, but I wouldn’t know since lamb is waaay easier to find in my area.

  23. Stephen

    Making this today 1/20/24. Cant wait to try it.I wanna a mushroom barely soup too.Think you can whip that one up too?

  24. Lynne

    This is a great recipe. I’ve made it about four times. Because of Jeffrey’s creative recipes, I use my Instant Pot more often and make up my own multi-function recipes. I really feel like I get the most out of my IP. Thanks, Jeffrey.

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