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Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup made with tender chunks of beef, pearl barley and fresh vegetables in flavorful beef broth is the perfect meal to warm up a cold day. This homemade soup is Grandma’s recipe made easy in the pressure cooker!

bowl of grandma's instant pot beef barley soup with crusty bread on the table

This easy Instant Pot beef barley soup recipe is one of my grandma’s old recipes that I adapted for the pressure cooker. What used to take hours on the stove top now takes time — usually less than an hour in the Instant Pot!

Instant Pot recipes are good like that!

This hearty soup is chock-full of tender beef, chewy barley and plenty of fresh veggies. It’s pretty much a one pot meal that will warm you up on a chilly fall night or cold winter’s day.

My husband says it’s the best beef barley soup he’s ever tasted! If you like hearty Instant pot soup recipes, try Instant Pot Cabbage Roll Soup, Rotisserie chicken soup or Instant Pot Beef Stew.


You only need a few simple ingredients to make this delicious beef and barley soup recipe. If you don’t have them at home, you can find what you need in the grocery store:

  • Olive oil or vegetable oil
  • Beef stew meat — packaged or cut up a chuck roast
  • Small onion 
  • Celery stalks 
  • Medium carrots — use baby carrots if you want
  • Garlic cloves
  • Low sodium beef broth
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Pearled barley (pearl barley)
  • Diced tomatoes, canned
  • Dried parsley or Italian seasoning
  • Sea salt
  • Ground black pepper

How to Make Beef Barley Soup in Instant Pot

First, you’ll need to rinse the barley under cold running water.

Do you need to rinse barley?

Well, you should. This helps to remove excess starch, dust and any other debris that may have accumulated on the grains.

Just pour the barley into a mesh strainer. Then, rinse it under the water, and fluff with your hands.

pearl barley in mesh strainer to rinse before making soup

Next, set the barley aside while you chop up your veggies. Aim for about 1 cup of chopped carrots, celery and onions.

No need to cut them up too fine. Otherwise, they’ll get really soft when pressure cooking.

Then, cut your stew meat into bite sized pieces. If you can’t find stew meat already cut up, buy a small chuck roast, and cut that up into smaller beef cubes.

Season the meat with some salt and pepper. Then, brown your meat in a little bit of olive oil or vegetable oil on the saute setting.

brown chunks of beef stew meat in pressure cooker on saute with kitchen tongs

It’s easier to brown beef in batches. So, for 2 pound of meat, brown about half, then transfer to a plate and keep warm while you do the second batch.

Use kitchen tongs to turn the meat. No need to cook it all the way through — you just want to brown the outside.

Next, add your chopped veggies to the bottom of the pot. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook them for a minute or two, or until just slightly tender.

Add a little bit of beef broth to deglaze the pot. The veggies release liquid as they cook, but you want to release any browned bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the pot.

saute cut up onions, carrots, celery in instant pot

Turn the saute feature off. Then, add your stew meat and any drippings back into the pot.

Pour in the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce.

Then, add the rinsed barley. Give it a quick stir to make sure it’s covered with broth. Add the tomatoes, remaining ingredients, and place the lid on the pressure cooker.

Cooking Time

Cook the beef barley soup for 25 minutes on high pressure. The pot does take about 10 to 15 minutes to reach pressure.

When it’s done pressure cooking, allow a 10 minute natural release, followed by a quick release. Total cook time will vary.

When you remove the lid, give the soup a good stir. I like to add fresh parsley at this time to brighten up the soup and add some freshness.

You can leave the soup on the keep warm setting or serve this flavorful soup immediately. It’s the perfect comfort food, along with crusty bread, on a cold winter day!

beef and barley soup with carrots and tomatoes on ladle in pressure cooker


We think this old fashioned beef barley soup recipe is perfect as it is. But, you can easily change it up to suit your own tastes.

To thicken beef barley soup, add a tablespoon of tomato paste. Or, stir in a cornstarch slurry after pressure cooking.

The barley acts as a thickener, but if you want more of a beef barley stew, add the slurry. Keep in mind, the soup thickens as it cools.

You can also add chopped potatoes or fresh mushrooms for extra flavor. Or add a splash of red wine for richness.

grandma's old fashioned beef barley soup in bowls on the table next to instant pot

How to Store and Reheat

Store leftover beef barley soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This hearty beef barley soup tastes even better the next day! It should last for 4 to 5 days in the fridge.

For longer storage, you can freeze this delicious soup. Pour smaller portions of cooled soup into freezer bags or freezer safe containers.

Reheat beef barley soup in the Instant Pot on the saute function or on the stove top or in your slow cooker.

You may need to add more beef broth when reheating, as the soup gets thicker when refrigerated or frozen.

5 from 7 votes

Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup

By: Dee
Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup made with tender chunks of beef, pearl barley and fresh vegetables in flavorful beef broth is the perfect meal to warm up a cold day. This homemade soup is Grandma's recipe made easy in the pressure cooker!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
pressure time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 small onion chopped, about 1 cup
  • 2 celery stalks chopped, about 1 cup
  • 2 medium carrots peeled, chopped, about 1 cup
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 6 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup pearl barley rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes undrained
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley or Italian seasoning
  • teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
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  • Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté setting. Season the meat with a pinch of the salt and pepper. When it reads Hot, add the oil, then brown the meat in batches. Remove to a clean plate, and cover to keep warm
  • Add the chopped onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and stir until slightly soft. Deglaze pot with a little beef broth to remove any browned bits
  • Hit Cancel, to turn pot off. Add the browned beef back to the pot.
  • Pour in the remaining beef broth and Worcestershire sauce
  • Add the rinsed barley, and give it a quick stir to make sure it's covered with liquid
  • Add the diced tomatoes, but do not stir. Add the remaining salt and pepper, plus the dried parsley or Italian seasoning, if using
  • Place lid on pot, make sure vent is set to sealing (on some models), and hit PRESSURE COOK for 25 minutes
  • Pot will take a few minutes to reach pressure, then will count down and cook. Allow a 10 minute natural release, then turn valve to quick release remaining pressure
  • When pot beeps, carefully remove lid, and stir. Add fresh parsley, if desired, and serve


Recipe was tested in an 8 quart Instant Pot but can be made in a 6 quart or 10 quart without changing ingredient amounts.
Instead of gradually adding salt and pepper, you can add them at the end before cooking, if you want.
Reduce barley to 3/4 cup or 1/2 cup for thinner soup. It will thicken as it cools down.


Calories: 229kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 56mg, Sodium: 692mg, Potassium: 724mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 2049IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main, Soup
Cuisine: American
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I hope your whole family enjoys this updated version of Grandma’s old fashioned beef barley soup as much as we do!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Edna says:

    Flavors of the good old days! Used to have this often growing up I remembered the flavors and the aroma that filled the kitchen. Easy to make now with the Instant Pot. Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

  2. kris says:

    Such a warm and comforting soup! Perfect for fall!5 stars

  3. Sandra says:

    Totally comforting! Everyone at my house enjoyed this meal!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks, Sandra. So glad you enjoyed the soup!

  4. Krystle says:

    Delicoius and filling too. Really came in handy on this chilly day.5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks, Krystle! I’m glad you liked it!

  5. Beth says:

    Such a delicious fall meal. My family and I really enjoyed this. We will be making it again. Thank you!

  6. Bekki says:

    I love the flavors in this!! Just like Gramma used to make!5 stars

  7. Juliane says:

    I super love this! Thank you for sharing!5 stars

  8. Greta says:

    Remember this from when I was a kid. My grandma made it often! Great for this cold wet day!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      I completely agree, Greta. Thanks so much!