Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup is a healthy and easy weeknight meal that everyone will love. This easy beef barley soup cooks in 15 minutes, has super tender beef, and is full of protein and vegetables!
Beef Barley Soup was a soup that I grew up eating regularly. I don't think I appreciated it much as a kid, but these days it is a nostalgic soup that I love to make every winter. It's such a hearty, filling, and healthy soup that, in the Instant Pot, can be made in a fraction of the time that it took my parents to make.
Beef Stew Meat - Beef stew meat is perfect for beef barley soup because it is already cut into pieces that are great for soup. Depending on the butcher I get my beef from, sometimes I will cut the pieces even smaller so they are better sized for my kids. It typically comes from chuck roast so it is best when cooked slowly, or as in this case, in the Instant Pot.
Vegetables - This Instant Pot Barley Soup recipe uses onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, canned diced tomatoes, and peas! It truly is packed with veggies so it is hearty and healthy.
Garlic - fresh garlic is in this soup for that delicious garlic flavor.
Spices - this beef barley soup recipe has dried oregano and dried thyme which complement the other flavors in this soup very well.
Cream of Tomato Soup - this might be an unexpected ingredient in this soup, but I think it is crucial for getting a creaminess to the broth. I used Annie's Cream of Tomato Soup, which has very basic ingredients - tomato puree, cream, cane sugar, onions, salt, and pepper. I highly recommend it!
Barley - you can't have barley soup without barley! Barley is a grain with a chewy texture and nutty flavor.
Beef Broth - beef broth is the base of this soup and lends great flavor to the broth.
This beef barley soup recipe has very basic ingredients, and I really think the cream of tomato soup makes it go from good to great. It added a creaminess to the soup that wouldn't have been there otherwise.
In this instant pot beef barley soup recipe, there are very few steps!
Prep the vegetables. Chop up all of the vegetables as indicated in the instructions so they are ready when you need them.
Brown the beef. Using the saute function of the Instant Pot, brown the beef stew meat in a little bit of oil.
Add the vegetables. Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the Instant Pot and cook them for a few minutes. They don't need to be completely softened. This helps deepen the flavors of the vegetables and gives the beef a nice browned coating.
Add the remaining ingredients. To the Instant Pot, add the garlic, spices, potatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato soup, and beef broth. After the ingredients are added and stirred in, simply close the lid, seal the pressure valve, and cook on HIGH for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes and then manually release it the rest of the way.
Add the peas. At the end you'll stir in those peas, season with additional salt and pepper to taste, and place the lid on the Instant Pot for a few minutes for the peas to warm all the way through.
Serve it up with some crusty bread, and dig in!
Use good beef broth or beef stock. Since this is the base of the soup, you want to use a good quality broth or stock. I actually love using jarred beef bouillon because it is super convenient and really delicious!
Freezer meal. This beef barley soup recipe can definitely be made into a freezer meal! Simply put all of the ingredients except for the beef broth into a large freezer bag. Thaw overnight and then cook according to instructions.
Make in the slow cooker. This recipe can definitely be adapted for the slow cooker. I would still brown the beef and saute the vegetables prior to adding them to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
This beef barley soup made in the Instant Pot was truly a family pleaser. While Lars isn't a huge fan of many meats, he ate everything else in the soup and exclaimed "I love this soup!" Winner, winner!