Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe

So you only have a half hour to whip up a meal hearty enough to satisfy a good eight or 10 hungry folks? Well then you are looking in exactly the right place with this Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup. "This recipe is very easy," says chef and recipe developer Christina Musgrave of Tasting with Tina, adding: "If you know how to use an Instant Pot, this should be very easy for you."

Not that those enjoying the soup will have any clue how quick and easy it was; indeed it will taste like it simmered away for hours thanks to the magic of that Instant Pot. ("Magic" also known as pressure cooking.) And don't worry if you're thinking soup along does not a meal make. "I would probably serve this as a main meal with fresh bread on the side," says Musgrave, adding: "[While] it's definitely a complete meal, a salad or additional veggies can be added to the side." 

But that all in all, she says: "It's a very filling soup." It's nutritious and nourishing too, and while a fine meal for any time of year, it's just perfect for those long, cold nights during winter when a warm, hearty soup is just what we all need.

Gather your ingredients for the Instant Pot beef barley soup

To whip up (or pressure cook, rather) this hearty meal in a bowl, you'll need a white onion, chopped, sliced  baby carrots, minced garlic cloves, diced celery stalks, sliced mushrooms, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, salt and black pepper, a good two pounds of beef stew meat cut in one-to two-inch chunks (think tri-tip or London broil here), a cup of pearl barley, plenty of beef broth (or a different stock if need be, or a bone broth), and a can of diced tomatoes.

If you want to add some additional veggies, go for it, but this dish really will satisfy as-is.

Prep and then sauté the veggies in the Instant Pot

Start off by gathering all your prepped veggies (meaning the sliced mushrooms and baby carrots, the diced celery, the chopped onion, and the minced garlic), measuring out the oil, sauce, and salt and pepper, and go ahead and prep the beef, open the can of tomatoes, and measure out the broth while you're at it, as you'll need them all within mere minutes.

Now add the white onion, baby carrots, garlic, celery stalks, mushrooms, and olive oil to the Instant Pot and set it to the sauté function, then sauté these veggies for five minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients, and then set to pressure cooking

Once you have sautéd those vegetables for five minutes, add the Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, beef stew meat, pearl barley, beef stock, and diced tomatoes to the Instant Pot. Next close the Instant Pot lid and then set the pot to the pressure cooking function. Now cook the soup for 15 minutes.

After the cooking time has elapsed, quick release the remaining steam, then serve out portions of the soup and enjoy!

And if you made a bit too much, no problem there. "It will last up to five days [in the fridge] and is best reheated on the stove or in the microwave," says Musgrave.

How does an Instant Pot cook so quickly?

An Instant Pot is really nothing more than a more advanced pressure cooker — one with more settings, such as that sauté option you'll use here. But when it comes to the rapid cooking, it's all about heat and pressure. According to Fine Cooking, pressure cookers work "by raising the temperature of boiling water, thereby speeding up the time it takes to [cook foods].... Once the lid is locked in place and the cooker is set on high heat, steam develops in the pot and can't escape."

The elevated temperature and trapped steam within the Instant Pot can cook foods that usually must simmer for quite a long time in much less time as they are infused with moisture (and flavor) given the conditions the appliance creates. And contrary to common misconception, pressure cookers do not reduce the quantity or quality of nutrients within the food being cooked.

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup Recipe
5 from 23 ratings
So you only have a half hour to whip up a hearty meal? Well then, you are looking in the right place with Christina Musgrave's Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup served in a bowl
Total time: 25 minutes
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 cups baby carrots, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut in 1-to-2-inch chunks
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 6 cups beef broth/stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  1. Add the white onion, baby carrots, garlic, celery stalks, mushrooms, and olive oil to the Instant Pot on the sauté function and sauté for 5 minutes
  2. Add the Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, beef stew meat, pearl barley, beef stock, and diced tomatoes to the Instant Pot
  3. Close the Instant Pot and cook for 15 minutes on pressure function
  4. After cooking, quick release remaining steam. It's ready to serve and enjoy.
Calories per Serving 270
Total Fat 7.2 g
Saturated Fat 2.5 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 61.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 24.9 g
Dietary Fiber 5.1 g
Total Sugars 5.8 g
Sodium 559.0 mg
Protein 27.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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