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Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup is the perfect meal for when you need an easy, and hearty dinner that the whole family will love. This cozy bowl of yum is a game-changer for flexitarian weeknight dinners, and slow cooker instructions are also included.

two bowls of Instant Pot Beef Barley soup on a board with sliced garlic bread

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If you’re looking for the ultimate “push button and walk away” style soup, you’ve come to the right place! In true flexitarian style, I used meat to flavor the soup but did not make it the focus of the dish.

This beef and barley soup is cozy, packed with veggies, and uses tons of pantry staples. Serve it with a side of Easy No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread or Cheesy Garlic Bread for a tasty and frugal at-home meal.

If you are new to pressure cooking and the Instant Pot, check out this post on recipes for Instant Pot beginners.

What’s in Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup?

Want to meal prep to make this a SUPER fast weeknight meal? You can use frozen veggies from your freezer essentials. Related: freezing carrots, freezing celery, freezing potatoes, freezing onions, and how to freeze garlic to make this a simple soup.

A bowl of beef, carrots, celery, broth, and other ingredients on a white board

WHAT CUT OF BEEF IS USED FOR BEEF and Barley Soup?

I used sirloin beef tips from Butcher Box in this recipe. You can also purchase your own sirloin/tenderloin and cut into bite-sized pieces. In most cases, meat sold as “beef tips” is sliced sirloin or tenderloin. I use the same cut for our Instant Pot Beef Tips.

You can also use stew meat or chunk/rump roast if you have some on hand. Cuts labeled as “stew meat” are generally a mixture that may be from various cuts (chuck, rump, top round, etc.). Related: Whole30 Beef Stew.

3 process photos showing how to make Instant Pot beef barley soup

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • If you want to increase the amount of meat used, the cook time will remain the same.
  • If you really want to sear the meat prior to cooking, use the Saute function on the Instant Pot. Add 2-3 tbsp of oil to the inner pot and add the seasoned meat. Allow it to sear for ~2 minutes before flipping the pieces.
  • If you’re pressed for time and perform a “quick release”, the meat will likely become tough. The quick-release option increases the temperature inside the Instant Pot to above boiling. As it can take ~12 minutes to depressurize the pot manually, you’re essentially boiling the meat for that time. Boiling = tough meat.
  • I used an 8 quart Instant Pot and it took 13 minutes for this to get up to pressure. This recipe calls for a 10-minute natural release and then a quick release. If you prefer a 100% natural release, my Instant Pot took 22 minutes to fully depressurize.a close up photo of a bowl of beef barley soup

Variations

Feel free to add mushrooms, canned or frozen corn, parsnips, green beans (related: how to freeze green beans), chopped kale/spinach (related: how to freeze spinach) or peas (related: how to freeze peas). I would add the corn, green beans, kale/spinach, or peas after the soup has finished cooking.

More Delicious Instant Pot Soups

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

The Best Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time21 mins
Pressurizing/Depressurizing20 mins
Total Time56 mins
Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup is the perfect meal for when you need an easy, and hearty dinner that the whole family will love.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup beef tips {cut into small pieces}
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup onion {diced}
  • 3 cups carrots {peeled, and chopped into coins}
  • 2 cups celery {chopped}
  • 4 cloves garlic {minced}
  • 2 cups potatoes {peeled and cut into 1/2 in cubes}
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup pearled barley

Equipment

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in the Instant Pot. Stir.
  • Lock the lid into place and set the steam release handle (valve on top) to “Sealing”. Press Manual>High Pressure>22 minutes. 
  • When the Instant Pot has finished cooking, it will beep and switch to ”keep warm". Allow it to sit with the lid on for 10 minutes and then do a manual release with the nozzle set to venting.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Slow Cooker Instructions

  • Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Allow the beef tips to sear for ~2 minutes on each side.
  • Add a splash of beef broth to the frying pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape any stuck-on bits off the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the beef and scrapings to the slow cooker.
  • Combine all other ingredients in the slow cooker. Stir.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4-6 hours.

Notes

If you want to increase the amount of meat used, the cook time will remain the same.
 
If you really want to sear the meat prior to cooking, use the Saute function on the Instant Pot. Add 2-3 tbsp of oil to the inner pot and add the seasoned meat. Allow it to sear for ~2 minutes before flipping the pieces.
Nutrition Facts
The Best Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 151 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 13mg4%
Sodium 278mg12%
Potassium 688mg20%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 6655IU133%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
Calcium 53mg5%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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2 comments on “Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup”

  1. Thanks for the info re fast release in the instant pot causing an increase in temperature and tougher meat. Makes a difference!