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Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup Recipe

Soup is a delicious dinner option on a cold winter evening. But preparing soup from scratch can be a time-consuming process – unless you have a pressure cooker at home. With the help of your Instant Pot, you can prepare a hearty chicken barley soup with just a few minutes of prep time. And while you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen to make this filling recipe, it will taste like it’s spent hours simmering on the stovetop.
Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup in a white bowl.

Soup is a delicious dinner option on a cold winter evening. But preparing soup from scratch can be a time-consuming process – unless you have a pressure cooker at home. With the help of your Instant Pot, you can prepare a hearty chicken barley soup with just a few minutes of prep time. And while you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen to make this filling recipe, it will taste like it’s spent hours simmering on the stovetop.

Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup

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What Do I Need to Chicken Barley Soup?

Making your own chicken barley soup at home couldn’t be easier with the help of your Instant Pot! This delicious recipe is perfect for a cold winter night thanks to its mix of hearty ingredients. Prepare this homemade soup recipe for dinner tonight with these ingredients:

  • Onion
  • Oil
  • Boneless chicken breast
  • Minced garlic
  • Sea salt
  • Dried thyme
  • Ground white pepper
  • Chicken broth or stock
  • Quick pearled barley
  • Dried parsley flakes
  • Sliced carrots
  • Cornstarch and water slurry

Instant Pot Soup Ingredients

Looking for more delicious Instant Pot Recipes? Give these reader favorites a try!

Parmesan Garlic Instant Pot Chicken Pasta | Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe | Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken | Easy Instant Pot Korean Beef

How Do I Make Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup?

Thanks to your Instant Pot, you can whip up this delicious and filling soup with just a few minutes of prep work. To make chicken barley soup in your pressure cooker, just follow these five simple ingredients:

Step One: Sauté the Onions

Before adding your soup ingredients to the pressure cooker, it’s a good idea to first sauté your onions. This simple step will bring out the flavor of the onions as the soup cooks. First, set your Instant Pot to sauté mode and add the oil. When the pot is hot, add the chopped onions and cook until they’re soft and tender, usually around five minutes.

Step Two: Add the Soup Ingredients

When the onions are finished cooking, turn off the Instant Pot and add the whole chicken breasts, minced garlic, salt, thyme, white pepper, and chicken broth. Stir to mix the ingredients.

Chicken broth and onions in an Instant Pot.Step Three: Pressure Cook the Soup

Place the lid on the Instant Pot and close the sealing vent by pushing the valve away from you until it’s tightened. Set the Instapot to pressure cook on high for seven minutes. When the cook time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. When the silver pin on top of the lid has dropped, you can safely remove the lid.

Step Four: Shred the Chicken

After removing the lid from the Instant Pot, use kitchen tongs to carefully remove the cooked chicken breasts from the pot. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow it to cool for a few minutes. When it’s safe to touch, cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes. 

Chicken cut up into bite-sized pieces.

Step Five: Add the Barley

Return the chopped chicken to the pot, along with the barley, parsley, and carrots. Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode again and bring the soup to a boil to cook the barley and carrots. When the soup begins to boil, place the lid back on the pot and close the sealing valve to help lock in the heat. Allow the soup to cook for an additional 15 minutes with the lid on. When the cook time is up, thicken your soup by adding the cornstarch and water mixture, if needed. Mix the cornstarch into the soup thoroughly before serving.

Overhead view of chicken soup with barley in a white bowl.

Should I Cook Barley Before Adding It to Soup?

Pearl barley is a great way to add some fiber to your favorite soup. And since you can add it directly into the soup, it’s a simple addition to any recipe. The key to preparing barley soup is knowing when to add the barley to the rest of the ingredients. Since barley only takes 15 to 20 minutes to cook, it’s best to leave this ingredient out until shortly before you plan to serve the soup. Waiting until the rest of the ingredients are fully cooked will ensure your barley doesn’t get overcooked.

Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup

Does Barley Get Mushy in Soup?

Barley can get mushy in your soup if it’s not prepared properly. The key to getting the right texture in your soup is waiting until the soup is almost finished cooking to add the pearl barley. Since the barley will cook in just a few minutes, it shouldn’t be added at the beginning of the cooking process with the rest of your ingredients. If you add the barley with your chicken and broth, you’ll risk overcooking the barley, causing it to turn into mush.

If you’re worried about the barley overcooking and becoming mushy in your Instant Pot soup, try cooking the barley separately. While your soup is cooking in the pressure cooker, cook the barley on the stovetop. Follow the package instructions to see how long to boil your barley. After the cook time is up on your Instant Pot, simply stir in the cooked barley, along with the carrots. Once the carrots are heated through, you can serve your chicken soup without the need for additional boiling.

Head-on view of Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup

Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup in a white bowl.

Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup Recipe

Soup is a delicious dinner option on a cold winter evening. But preparing soup from scratch can be a time-consuming process – unless you have a pressure cooker at home. With the help of your Instant Pot, you can prepare a hearty chicken barley soup with just a few minutes of prep time. And while you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen to make this filling recipe, it will taste like it’s spent hours simmering on the stovetop.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Instant Pot
Keyword: Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 282kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup onion diced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1.5 lbs boneless chicken breast or thighs
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 64 oz. chicken broth or stock 16 cups
  • 1 cup quick-cook pearled barley
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 cup carrots sliced
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water this is called a slurry, optional for a thicker soup

Instructions

  • Turn your Instant Pot on to sauté mode and add in the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté for about 3-5 minutes until softened.
  • Turn the Instant Pot off by selecting cancel. Then, add in chicken breasts or thighs, minced garlic, salt, thyme, white pepper, and chicken broth. Stir together.
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot and close the sealing valve by pushing it away from you. Select manual pressure cook for 7 minutes.
  • When the cooking time has completed, do a natural release by not opening the sealing valve. Once the silver pin has dropped, open the lid.
  • Remove the chicken from the instant pot with tongs and transfer it to a cutting board. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and return it back to the Instant Pot.
  • Then, add in the barley, parsley and carrots.
  • Select sauté mode and bring ingredients to a boil to cook the barley. Place the lid back on the Instant Pot and close the sealing valve to lock in the heat. Allow it to cook on sauté mode for about 15 minutes with the lid on.
  • While soup is cooking, prepare the slurry by mixing 2 tablespoons corn starch with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Stir this into the soup when it is done cooking.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 1646mg | Potassium: 868mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 3625IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg
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