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Beef Barley Soup – Instant Pot or Slow Cooker

Beef Barley Soup – Instant Pot:  It was 47 degrees when I woke up this morning here in early September. Brrr, the feel of fall is in the air with shorter days and cooler night — one of my favorite seasons. My lunch menus start to change along with the leaves. Hot, hearty soups are back in style, and I am kicking off the fall soup season with one of my favorite recipes — Beef Barley Soup. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I am. It just so happens that I am eating that bowl of soup you see in the first picture. Oh, it is sooo delicious!!!

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Spoon of beef barley soup

Pearled vs. Hulled barley. Here is a quick Doctor Jo’s nutrition lesson for today. Pearled barley is processed or polished barley. This means the hull, the outer layer (bran) and part of the inner layer (endosperm) have been removed. By contrast, hulled barley is a whole grain, which means it’s better for you because it has more nutrition and fiber. Hulled barley still has all the layers except the outermost inedible hull.

This bowl of Beef Barley Soup is loaded with nutrition and packed with organic vegetables. The base is my homemade beef broth and homemade stewed tomatoes. Start by cutting the beef into small pieces and brown it in the instant pot in small batches. Remove the browned beef and add in organic onions, and celery. Saute until the browned bits on the bottom of the pot mix with the onions. Toss in a few fresh herbs and add the carrots, broth and tomatoes. If you don’t make your own beef stock and canned tomatoes you can use some you purchased from the store. However, homemade stock adds a richness to your soups and stews that is unparalleled. Click on the highlighted words above for my home-canned, stewed and whole tomatoes recipe.

jars of stewed tomatoes

Instant Pot: Mix all together in the instant pot. Pressure cook – high pressure – for 30 minutes. Slow-release the steam for 15 minutes. Enjoy a hearty bowl for lunch today.

Slow Cooker:  Mix all together and cook in the slow cooker on high for 6 to 8 hours or until barley and beef are tender. 


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Beef barley soup in a bowl

Beef Barley Soup - Instant Pot or Slow Cooker

This hearty Beef Barley Soup is packed with nutrition, quick and easy to make in the instant pot, and perfect for a fall lunch. Don't have an instant pot. Make it in a slow cooker.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
steam release on slow: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Beef Barley Soup
Servings: 8
Calories: 290kcal


  • This page contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click a link, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you
  • Instant Pot


  • 1 lb Beef London broil or flank steak
  • 1 cup barley pearled. If you use hulled barley add 10 minutes to cooking time.
  • 1 cup onions chopped
  • ½ cup celery chopped
  • ½ cup carrots chopped
  • 6 cups beef broth or stock. Homemade or purchased low sodium
  • 3 cups canned tomatoes diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt no salt if you use regular both
  • 1 tsp pepper black ground
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke optional
  • 1 Tbsp fresh herbs Optional: minced sage, thyme, marjoram, and parsley any mixture to make a Tbsp. Should use a least 2 of the 4.
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil


  • To adjust the portions, click on the number of serving and a slider will pop up. Adjusting the slider up or down will automatically recalculate the amount needed for each ingredient.
  • Set the instant pot to saute and once it is hot add the oil to the pot and saute the beef in small batches until beef is browned. If you don't have an instant pot Saute the beef in a skillet.
    browned beef in instant pot
  • Remove the beef from the pot and add the onions and celery, Saute until the browned bits on the bottom of the pot are loosened and the onions are translucent.
    sauteed onions in instant pot
  • Add the rest of the ingredients including the broth, seasonings, and tomatoes. Stir to mix.
    beef barley soup in instant pot before cooking
  • Put the lid on instant pot and set instant pot to pressure cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Slow-release the steam for 14 minutes and then can finish releasing any pressure by rapid release.
    Slow cooker: Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on high for 6 to 8 hours or until the barley and beef are soft. If the soup is too thick add extra broth.
    Spoon of beef barley soup



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Serving: 2cups | Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 1133mg | Potassium: 696mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1600IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    5 stars

  2. Anonymous

    5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe!! Made this tonight and it was very delicious. Was a little more peppery than we usually eat, but after a while, we didn’t notice. Used 2 cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes from Aldi, but otherwise followed recipe pretty closely without the liquid smoke.

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