Beef, Barley, and Mushroom soup is a very simple soup for a cold day.

I love to make beef and barley soup in the Instant Pot. This is an “I forgot to make dinner” meal or for one of those days when I’ve been doing my thing (I’m the vegetarian) and I really don’t care what carnivores want. But, they need dinner, too.

Beef, Barley, & Mushroom Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • olive oil
  • Stew beef, cut in squares, 1-3 pounds
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1-2 diced carrots
  • 1-2 diced celery ribs
  • 1 T tomato paste or one chopped tomato
  • 1 cup barley (you can skip the barley and go with any grain, pasta, or rice)
  • salt and pepper
  • mushrooms, sautéd separately in butter and seasoned.
  1. Brown the beef and remove from the pan or Instant Pot.
  2. Sauté the onion, carrots, and celery in olive oil. Salt them a bit.  (Lazy way: sauté and brown everything at once.)
  3. Add 4-8 cups of water. The amount of water I add depends on how thick I want the soup to be, and how much stew beef I used. About 4 cups for a pound of beef.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
  5. Add the barley, tomato paste, and sautéd mushrooms.
  6. Simmer 40 minutes or more until the barley is cooked, or if using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, cook under pressure for 18 minutes, then let the pressure release.

COST: $$  The cost depends on the cut and cost of the beef. This soup is a great soup for using up a less-than-steak cut of beef because it’ll be pressure cooked, which makes most tougher cuts really tender.

GLUTEN FREE: Yes–if you attend to your grain source. You’ll have to omit the barley and use a gluten-free pasta or rice instead.

VEGETARIAN: Never. Make the tomato soup instead.

VEGAN: This cannot be vegan or vegetarian ever.

KETO:  Yes. Leave out the barley.


COOK AHEAD:  Double or triple this, but leave out the grains. Then, you can freeze it. Add grains in while cooking. I will cook up a separate pot of barley when freezing soups, and package it in one-cup portions to thaw and dump in when serving.