Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup Recipe

Beef and Barley Soup is hearty, savory, and totally comforting. And now, with this Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup recipe, it’s so much quicker to make!

  • By Taylor Isaac
  • March 31, 2018

Our original Beef and Barley Soup recipe was the highest rated recipe in 2017! With the help of our member-run Cook Smarts Instant Pot Facebook community, we’ve converted this popular recipe for use in the Instant Pot, which means you get the same great meal in much less time.

Our Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup is full of classic flavors that hit the spot as the weather cools. The aromatic base is built with a combination of onions, carrots, and celery – plus a bit of tomato paste to enrich the savory flavors!

Ahh, we can almost smell the amazing aromas now . . .

“Absolutely delicious! Not a drop left in the pot!”

— Veronica W.

When you cook this soup in the Instant pot using high pressure for 30 minutes, the result is perfectly cooked pearl barley, tender stew meat, and a ton of flavor. That’s a win all around. But if you want to save even more time, vegetable prep can be done a few days in advance. We’ll walk you through the prep steps below.

Serve this Beef and Barley Soup with a tangy dollop of yogurt on top and a fresh baguette on the side for dipping. Leftovers will still taste delicious the next day, or you can freeze extras for a quick dinner later in the week!

Want more Instant Pot recipes? Get Free access to our 10 Best Instant Pot Recipes in our brand new guide. You’ll learn how to cook quick and healthy Instant Pot meals like Mushroom Risotto, Carnitas Tacos, Hot and Sour Soup, and so much more! Get the recipe book here:

Instant Pot Tip:

Vegetables like onions, carrots and celery stand up to the high heat of the Instant Pot without becoming overly mushy.

(For more Instant Pot tips, check out our article here.)

Prepping Smarts

  • Chopping aromatics (carrots, celery, onions) ahead of time can really help you save time in the kitchen on the actual day of cooking. Watch the videos below to see how to chop these veggies efficiently. (You can also store all of these ingredients in the same container to reduce the number of dishes you clean later!)
  • Seasoning and tenderizing beef ahead of time helps maximize flavor. All you need is a fork! See how we do it with the video below:

How to Chop Carrots

Watch this video to learn our tips on how to best peel, chop, and dice carrots easily.


How to Dice Celery

Learn how to chop celery for use in stir-fries, soups, sautes, and salads.


How to Chop & Dice an Onion

Learning how to dice an onion correctly will save you so much time in the kitchen.


How to Season & Tenderize Proteins with a Fork

Maximize flavor and tenderize proteins with this little trick.

Equipment Smarts

  • Instant Pot – a quick-cooking equipment that yields tender meat and lots of flavor in very little time

For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools

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Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup

This hearty Beef and Barley Soup is classic comfort food with a speedy twist thanks to the Instant Pot.

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 40 min

Total time: 55 min

Serves: 4


  • Carrots - 6 oz, chopped
  • Celery - 3 stalks, chopped
  • Onions, medium - 1, chopped
  • Beef stew meat - 1 lb
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Thyme, dried - 1/2 tsp
  • Red pepper flakes - 1/4 tsp
  • Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
  • Butter - 2 Tbsp
  • Pearl barley - 1/3 cup (sub cooked white beans, using 3x the amount listed)
  • Tomato paste - 2 Tbsp
  • Flour, all-purpose - 2 Tbsp
  • Stock, beef - 5 cups
  • Bay leaves (opt) - 2
  • Lemon juice - 1/2 tsp
  • Yogurt, plain or Greek - 1/2 cup
  • Baguette, small (opt) - 1



  1. Carrots / Celery / Onions – Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Season beef – Toss beef with salt, garlic powder, thyme and red pepper flakes. Tenderize with a fork. (Can be done 1 day ahead)


  1. Heat Instant Pot on Sauté mode. Add beef and sauté until brown on the outside, 7 to 8 minutes (don’t worry if it’s not cooked through). Set beef aside.
  2. Add butter and then carrots, celery, onions and barley (if using beans as a sub for barley or using quick cooking barley, wait to add these) to melted butter. Sauté until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and flour and cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Pour stock and bay leaves over vegetables and add beef back to Instant Pot.
  4. Set Instant Pot to Manual for 30 minutes and then do a natural release.
  5. Stir in lemon juice (if using white beans as a barley sub, drain and rinse and then add to soup) into soup and season with some salt and pepper.
  6. Divide soup between bowls. Enjoy with yogurt on top and baguette on the side.

A little note: Some of the above links are Amazon affiliate links, which means we earn a small percentage from those sales. We use this affiliate revenue to support the continued growth of Cook Smarts. Thank you!

If you love this recipe and want more ways to use your Instant Pot, get our Instant Pot Cheat Sheet eBook for all the IP cooking times, as well as how to convert your favorite recipes for the Instant Pot – all for just $9.99. Also, consider joining our meal plan members who love getting exciting, healthy, and smart menus delivered to their inbox every week!

Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup Recipe | Cook SmartsInstant Pot Beef and Barley Soup Recipe | Cook SmartsInstant Pot Beef and Barley Soup Recipe | Cook SmartsInstant Pot Beef and Barley Soup Recipe | Cook SmartsInstant Pot Beef and Barley Soup Recipe | Cook Smarts


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