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Easy Instant Pot Barley Soup

This Instant Pot barley soup with ham is a tasty healthy dinner idea we all loved. Using uncooked barley and leftover ham we packed it with vegetables too.

Instant Pot Barley Soup 3I am back adding this easy Instant Pot barley soup to my long list of 101+ easy Instant Pot recipes page today! I love using my pressure cooker to cook dry beans and grains because there is no soaking required. They come out so tender in no time at all! Honestly, I had never cooked barley before but I had it in soups at restaurants and it was delicious. So I thought I’d give it a whirl with the ham hock I had. (originally published 10/18, affiliate links present)

  • If it’s around the holidays you are probably looking for some leftover ham recipes and this is a great one, though we have a bunch because I hate wasting food!
  • I have bought a ham hock and used that year round too though!

If you just have a ham hock you can use that too like I did here, either way just throw it in and go really with easy Instant Pot soup recipes like this one.

leftover ham recipe

Is barley soup good for you? If you’ve never made anything with this overlooked grain, it’s actually really yummy and very versatile! Rich in vitamins and minerals, it’s also high in fiber which we all need.

  • To describe it once it’s cooked I would say it is a bit like a cross between oatmeal and rice. It absorbs whatever flavors it is cooked in so using broth and salty/sweet ham bits is an incredibly delicious pairing.

Should you cook barley before adding it to soup? It is not necessary, which I love. Just like cooking rice, it is a good idea to rinse pearl barley before before adding it straight into a soup or stew recipe.

Take note: it will expand and somewhat thicken whatever it is added to. I love this but if you don’t want the barley to thicken your creation, then by all means cook it separately.

pressure cooker soup recipes

Since I used a ham hock for our Instant Pot barley soup and not leftover ham I removed it when the time was up.

I separated the bones and fat from the meat, then chopped it up and put it back into the soup before serving.

  • If your ham was already off the bone you could dice it up and throw it in initially avoiding the separating process later.
  • However….I will say using a ham hock gave this Instant Pot barley soup a lot more flavor than if I had just used diced ham in my opinion.

This piece of the ham tends to have tons of flavor and seeps out into the soup when it is under pressure cooking, but it is up to you.

Why pressure cooker soups are better than on the stovetop?

  • The pressure lends soup a lot more flavor
  • Soup cooks fast without having to watch a pot on the stove
  • You do not have to soak dry beans or grains


pressure cooker barley soup

This is what you’ll need to make this easy Instant Pot barley soup recipe

  1. Ham hock
    1. or diced leftover ham, turkey, beef
  2. Pearl barley
    1. Should barley be soaked before cooking?
      1. No. This hulled type of barley does not need to be soaked before you use it or add it into a recipe. It will become tender while cooking. 
    2. How do you cook barley if you’re making it separately?
      1. Bring a pot of water to boiling.
      2. Season if you’d like at this time.
      3. Add barley, cooking on low heat.
      4. Cover and cook tender which will take approx. 55 to 60 minutes
      5. Drain with a colander and enjoy
  3. Carrots
    1. The smaller the pieces the more tender they will be
    2. I suggest large chunks so they don’t fall apart
    3. You could add celery too if you’d like
  4. Onion
  5. Broth – I used vegetable broth, you could opt for beef broth for a richer flavor
  6. Salt and pepper to taste

pearl barley

How to make Instant Pot beef barley soup

  1. If you’re using ham, put your ham hock in the center
    1. if you’re using diced precooked beef, throw that in with everything else
    2. for raw pressure cooker beef pieces you’ll want to cut it into bite size pieces
      1. set pot to saute, add some olive oil, saute until they’re no longer pink
      2. turn pot off and scrape browned bits off bottom with some broth
  2. Sprinkled my uncooked pearled barley around it
  3. Added a sliced onion
  4. Chopped baby carrots in half and threw those in (you could cut regular carrots into large chunks too but that is what I had on hand)
  5. Poured my broth in
  6. Closed the lid and walked away!

Instant Pot Barley Soup 2

If you don’t have a pressure cooker yet but looking for homemade soups this lentil soup on the stove top is a winner.

  • I do highly recommend you get one though because the cooking time is cut at least in half! This one takes just 30 minutes with a quick release to be SO soft and tender vs. in a slow cooker which would take all day for sure.

I will say this turned out great and I cook it year round. BUT when it’s cold it’s the bomb! Also using leftover ham is the best. You could turn this into beef and barley soup too using stew meat diced.

How do you save soup for later? If you’re not going to eat it within a few hours of it being done you should cool and store in airtight containers in the refrigerator. 3-4 days is about max. If you’re not going to eat it before then, store in freezer bags for up to 3 months.

What is the most effective way to cook a frozen soup?

To reheat soups do the following:

    • On the stovetop over low heat is best
    • Alternatively reheat in the microwave in 30 second intervals stirring in between 

Easy Instant Pot Minestrone Soup 2

If you love pressure cooker soups here are a few others you might enjoy

You can make this in a Crockpot Express or as a Ninja Foodi recipe as well.

Make note it will take time, pressure for 15 minutes or so before it starts the countdown to cooking for 30 minutes. You don’t want much of a natural release of pressure when it’s done or the veggies will get quite soft in my opinion.


Instant Pot Barley Soup

This Instant Pot barley soup with ham is a tasty healthy dinner idea we all loved. Using uncooked barley and leftover ham we packed it with vegetables too. 
Course Appetizer, Entree, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword barley, ham hock, healthy, instant pot, pressure cooker, soup, vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 223kcal
Author The Typical Mom


  • 1 ham hock omit if making vegetarian barley soup
  • 1 c pearled barley uncooked
  • 2 c carrots I sliced baby carrots in half
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 40 oz broth I used vegetable broth, could use beef
  • salt and pepper


  • Place your ham hock in the middle of your Instant Pot. (you could add diced leftover ham too but a ham hock is delicious)
  • Add all vegetables and cup of uncooked pearled barley around ham hock, then pour broth in.
  • Close your lid and steam valve and set to high pressure for 30 minutes. Then do a quick release when done.
  • Lift lid and remove ham hock. On a cutting board remove all bones and fat, discard those. Dice your meat up into bite size pieces or shred. Put meat back into your Instant Pot and stir.
  • Serve!
    I did not add any salt or seasonings because the flavors in the ham hock permeated the soup and gave it a wonderful flavor, it didn't need anything else at all as far as we were concerned but you could add salt and pepper to taste.
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Barley Soup
Amount Per Serving (3 oz)
Calories 223 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 23mg8%
Sodium 843mg37%
Potassium 336mg10%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 7530IU151%
Vitamin C 3.9mg5%
Calcium 32mg3%
Iron 1.4mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

instant pot barley

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Wednesday 4th of December 2019

If I’m just using leftover ham without the bone, do I cook it for less time?


Friday 23rd of August 2019

Can I use the slow cooker function .do I have to skim it

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