Today’s Instant Pot beef barley soup recipe requires a total of 45 minutes to prepare, with very few dishes to clean. However, the final result will taste just like you’ve spent the whole day cooking. With the hearty beef chunks, tender vegetables, and al-dente barley, this dish easily hits all the cozy notes. You’ll be left with a content belly and soul!
What Is Barley?
Barley is a cereal grain with a mild, nutty flavor. It was one of the first grains to have been harvested by human beings and is now the fourth largest grain crop in the world.
Barley is mostly used in bread, soups, and stews, as well as in beer brewing and liquor making. It’s grown in temperate climates and gets ready for harvest around March and April.
Barley usually comes in two types: hulled barley and pearled barley.
Hulled barley is the whole grain form of barley that has been processed to remove only the inedible outer shell, keeping its bran and germ intact. This type of barley is richer in fiber than its pearled counterpart and also takes longer to cook.
Pearled barley is processed to remove both the fibrous outer hull and the bran layer. These polished grains are slightly less rich than hulled barley, but in exchange, are softer and cook faster.
Is This Soup Healthy?
Yes, it is.
Calling for chuck roast, pearled barley, and fresh vegetables, this beef barley soup can keep you satiated and nurtured with its hearty flavor and amazing nutritional profile.
Barley provides fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It comes with various health benefits and is effective for:
Reducing the risk for heart disease. Barley products are rich in soluble fiber and can be incorporated into diets that aim at lowering cholesterol levels.
Beef chuck usually produces tough, fat, and very flavorful cuts of meat. This explains why it’s a common choice in many beef stew and pot roast recipes, as well as in today’s recipe.
With that being said, either chuck roast, sirloin beef, or stew meat can work in a beef barley soup.
For lean beef chuck roast, you can consider getting a whole cut and cube it yourself or buy pre-cut meat at the store. Make sure the chuck is cut no larger than 1–1 ½ inch pieces, or it will take longer to cook through.
Barley: Pearl barley is cooked in the spice-infused broth on high pressure to come to al-dente with a nutty flavor.
Carrots, potatoes, celery, and green bell peppers: Potatoes and carrots should be cut larger than the remaining two to avoid getting mushy.
Seasonings: A basic spice blend of thyme, Worcestershire sauce, brown gravy mix, salt, bay leaf, ground black pepper, and paprika is added to create an aromatic and hearty soup base.
Garlic and onion: For a well-flavored broth.
Tomato paste: Gives the soup another layer of flavor.
Flour: To thicken.
Red wine and chicken broth: Together, they add another dimension of flavor to our beef soup. An extra chicken broth can also be added at the end of the cooking process to thin out the soup if it’s thicker than you expected.
How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat
Leftover beef barley soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. It’s also freezer-friendly and can last up to 3 months in the freezer.
To freeze, first, let the soup cool down completely. Next, put it in freezer-safe containers. One day prior to serving, thaw it in the refrigerator.
When reheating, add a few spoons of stock to the leftover portions before doing a quick simmer on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot. After a long period of freezing, you will want to thin the soup out a bit and reawaken its flavors.
What to Serve With
1. Garlic Bread
This quick and tasty garlic bread complements our hearty beef barley soup wonderfully with its toasty, garlicky flavor. Nothing soothes the soul better than dipping these crisp slices in the hot bubbly beef soup in the chilly weather!
2. Carrot Juice
This classic carrot juice calls for just pantry ingredients, but the flavor is beyond simplicity. It takes just a few whisks to make a healthy, refreshing drink that’s packed with nutrients and vitamins to freshen your plate.
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Today's Instant Pot beef barley soup recipe requires a total of 45 minutes to prepare, with very few dishes to clean. However, the final result will taste just like you've spent the whole day cooking. With the hearty beef chunks, tender vegetables, and al-dente barley, this dish easily hits all the cozy notes. You'll be left with a content belly and soul!
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.