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A bowl of beef and barley soup

Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 3 quarts of soup 1x


Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup recipe. Pressure cooker soup made from scratch, starting with a beef bone broth. Perfect for warming up on a cold winter night.



Browned Beef Broth

  • 2 pounds beef bones
  • pounds meaty beef shanks (or oxtail, or short ribs - you want cheap and on the bone)
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and halved
  • 1 head garlic, top 1/3rd trimmed off
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 2 stalks celery, trimmed
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Water to cover (8 to 12 cups)

Beef and Barley Soup

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 pound boneless beef chuck steak, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ⅔ cup pearl barley
  • 2 quarts of Browned Beef Broth from above (freeze the rest for use later)
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


  1. Pressure Cooker Beef Broth: Heat an oven to 425°F. In a large roasting pan, rub the tomato paste over the beef bones and beef shanks. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery to the pan, and spread everything out in a single layer. Put the pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the beef and aromatics and roast for another 15 to 30 minutes, until the beef and aromatics are browned. Scrape everything from the roasting pan into the Instant Pot. Add the thyme and peppercorns, and cover the bones with water - 8 to 12 cups of water, or whatever reaches your pot’s max fill line. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 75 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric PC, or for 1 hour in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 30 more minutes. (The water holds a lot of heat, so it takes a while for the pressure to drop. If you get impatient, you can quick release the pressure after 15 minutes.) Scoop the solids out of the pot with a slotted spoon. Skim the fat from the top of the broth as best you can. (This is easy if you refrigerate the broth overnight; the fat rises to the top and solidifies, so you can scrape it off in big chunks). Use 2 quarts of the broth in this recipe, and freeze the rest of the broth in 2 cup containers.
  2. Saute the aromatics: Wipe out the Instant Pot, add the butter, and set it to Sauté mode adjusted to High. When the butter melts, add the onion, celery, carrot, thyme, and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Everything in the pot: Stir the beef cubes and the barley into the pot. Pour in the 2 quarts of beef broth we saved, and then the can of diced tomatoes.
  4. Pressure Cook for 15 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the pressure cooker lid. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes in an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker (Use Manual, Pressure Cook, or Pressure Cook - Custom mode in an Instant Pot), or for 12 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 more minutes; you can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes if you are in a hurry.
  5. Season and serve: There is very little salt in this homemade broth, so you will need to add a lot of salt to season the soup. Stir in 1½ teaspoons of fine sea salt and the fresh ground black pepper. Serve and enjoy!


Here’s the full version of my beef broth recipe: Pressure Cooker Browned Beef Stock

  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Sunday Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Instant Pot Beef and Barley Soup, Pressure Cooker Beef and Barley Soup