Instant Pot Barley Soup is sweet, savory, healthy and delicious! This hearty soup is made with only 10 ingredients but is packed with flavor. Use a rotisserie chicken and precooked barley to save lots of time and get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes!
Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup is a quick and easy healthy soup that you can have ready to serve in less than 30 minutes. It's made with rotisserie chicken to keep things real simple (but I have an option for fresh chicken below) and to add extra flavor. Use leftover pressure cooked barley to make it even easier or uncooked barley- whichever you have on hand.
This rich and savory soup is incredibly healthy and hearty. It's thick and creamy, a texture given to the soup from the barley rather than thickeners like heavy cream or cream cheese.
Instant Pot barley soup makes a fantastic lunch or dinner soup any time of the year. It's a lovely, lighter alternative to my Instant Pot beef barley soup. The refreshing spritz of lemon juice and sweet parsley make it great during the warm spring and summer months just as much as during cool fall and winter evenings.
It's low in calories and fat, with 1 cup of barley soup being only 170 calories, and exceptionally high in protein at 15 grams per cup. Instant Pot chicken barley soup will keep you feeling full and satisfied all while consuming wholesome nutrient-packed foods. It can be made vegan or vegetarian, so if you're looking for one of these variations check out my suggestions below.
You need only your pressure cooker to make barley soup, no other special tools. Plus, a wooden spoon for stirring. Any size pressure cooker works with this recipe except for a 3 quart. If using a 3 quart, you'll need to reduce the servings.
- Rotisserie chicken
- Barley: pearl or hulled, uncooked or cooked. Farro makes a good substitution.
- Chicken broth: or vegetable broth.
- Seasonings: bay leaf, fresh parsley, dried or fresh thyme, salt and black pepper.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon juice: a splash of lemon juice in each bowl gives barley soup a little kick.
- Make it with uncooked or cooked barley. Cooked barley is added at the end just to warm it through. Uncooked barley is pressure cooked in the broth with extra liquid.
- Use a 6, 8 or 10 quart pressure cooker. For smaller Instant Pots, reduce the servings made.
- Make Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup
- Use fresh chicken breasts: to use fresh raw chicken breasts instead of rotisserie chicken, dice them into ½ inch pieces and add to the pot with the seasonings in step 2. Use enough chicken to equal 2 cups when diced.
- Use uncooked barley: to use uncooked pearl barley, change the amount to 1 cup. Rinse under cool running water and add to the pot with the seasonings before pressure cooking. Add 2 additional cups of water/broth and change the pressure cook time to 22 minutes. To use uncooked hulled barley, change the pressure cooking time to 35 minutes and add 2 ½ additional cups of water/broth.
- Make it vegetarian: skip the chicken and add a few more cups of vegetables to make a vegetable barley soup. Corn, green beans, chickpeas and green peas taste great in barley soup.
- Make it vegan: use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and extra vegetables instead of chicken.
Commonly Asked Questions About Barley Soup
Farro makes a great substitution for barley. For cooked farro, simply add it to the soup like you would barley. If using uncooked farro, pressure cook it in the broth in the same ratio of 1 cup of farro to 2 extra cups of broth. Pressure cooking time is reduced to 8 minutes when using farro.
Pearled or hulled barley are interchangeable in this recipe.
STEP 1: Add olive oil to the inner pot of the pressure cooker. Set to saute on HIGH for 3 minutes. Add carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently until timer beeps.
STEP 2: Pour the chicken broth into the pot and deglaze, scraping any stuck piece of food off the bottom. Add the bay leaf, fresh parsley, dried thyme, salt and black pepper. If using uncooked barley, add it now with an additional 2 cups of broth.
STEP 3: Close and seal the pressure cooker lid. Set to pressure cook/manual on HIGH for 5 minutes. Complete a controlled quick release of the pressure when done. Remove the lid and discard the bay leaf. Stir in shredded rotisserie chicken and cooked barley. Let warm through for 5 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with more fresh parsley and a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice in each bowl. Enjoy!
Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup carrots chopped
- 2 cups celery ribs chopped
- ½ cup onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken shredded
- 3 cups cooked barley *see notes for using uncooked barley
- lemon juice optional for serving
- Add olive oil to the inner pot of the pressure cooker. Set to saute on high for 3 minutes. Add carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently.
- Pour the chicken broth into the inner pot and deglaze, scraping stuck pieces off the bottom of the pot. Add the bay leaf, fresh parsley, dried thyme, salt and black pepper. If using uncooked barley, add it now with an additional 2 cups of broth.
- Close and seal the pressure cooker lid. Set to pressure cook/manual on high for 5 minutes. Complete a controlled quick release of the pressure when done. Remove the lid and discard the bay leaf. Stir in shredded chicken and barley. Let warm through for 5 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve with additional fresh parsley and a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice in each bowl.