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Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup

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Are you looking for a hearty soup recipe that is easy to make, full of nourishment and utterly delicious? Look no further than Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup! Whether you’re an experienced cook or a novice in the kitchen, this dish will give you amazing results – every single time.

What’s more, if you’ve got a large family or simply want some leftovers to enjoy later on in the week, this recipe serves up plenty of servings too!

With wholesome barley grains and succulent chicken as its base ingredients, your taste buds are sure to be delighted with the intense flavor that comes from making this delectable soup.

So get creative and bring authentic home cooking back into your kitchen today with this chicken barley soup Instant Pot recipe!

Chicken barley soup

What Is Chicken Barley Soup?

Chicken barley soup is a comforting, hearty dish that is perfect for any time of the year. Made with chicken, barley grains, and a variety of vegetables and herbs, this soup is both flavorful and healthy.

Whether you’re looking for something to warm you up on a chilly day or need a nourishing meal that is packed with nutrients, chicken barley soup is a perfect choice.

Is Barley Good For You?

Barley is a nutritious grain that is packed with fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients.

Barley can help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, making it an ideal choice for anyone looking to improve their overall health.

Is Barley Healthy?

Barley also contains important antioxidants that have been shown to fight off certain types of cancer, so adding barley to your diet can be an effective way to protect your health.

Why We Love Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup

Don’t settle for the canned soups…homemade is so much better! I love a good soup especially when the weather gets colder, but this Instant Pot chicken barley soup is one of my favorite healthy Instant Pot recipes. Here’s why we love this tasty dinner:

Delicious ingredients. With fresh veggies, moist tender chicken, perfectly cooked barley, and seasoned broth, you have the makings of a delicious comfort soup.

It’s quick. Unlike using your crock pot or stove top, this recipe is quick! By pressure-cooking your soup you can have dinner on the table in less than an hour.

Simple. You don’t have to be a great cook to whip up a great meal! This soup recipe is warm and comforting just like grandma used to make, but without any of the hard stuff.

Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup

Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup Ingredients

You can use frozen or canned ingredients for this recipe, but I think it tastes so much better with fresh ingredients. So, get out your shopping list and head to the grocery store!

  • 1.5 Lbs Chicken– I use about 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you can use any boneless skinless chicken that you prefer.
  • 1/2 Onion– I use a fresh yellow onion diced up. You’ll only need half an onion.
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil– I use olive oil, but you can use vegetable oil, canola oil, or even butter to sauté your onion.
  • 1 Cup Sliced Carrots– You can use fresh, frozen or canned carrots sliced into thin circles.
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley Flakes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground White Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 2 Sprigs Dried Thyme – leaves removed from stem
  • 1 Cup Pearl Barley– For this soup, you’ll want quick pearled barley. It’s a barley flake that cooks in about 10 minutes.
  • 8 Cups Chicken broth– Use chicken broth or chicken stock to give your soup a delicious flavor. If you don’t have any, you can make it by dissolving 1 bouillon cube for every cup of water.
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch – If you wish to thicken your soup, you will need 2 Tbsp cornstarch and 2 Tbsp of water to make a slurry.
Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup Ingredients

How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup

You haven’t seen easy until you’ve made this delicious chicken and barley Instant Pot soup! Just let the Instant Pot do all the work. it’s a one-pot wonder!

Step 1: Sauté The Onion

Hit the sauté function or sear button on your Instant Pot, add olive oil and let it get hot.

Next, add your diced onion and sauté it for about 3-5 minutes or until softened.

Step 2: Add Chicken and Spices

Hit the cancel button to turn your sauté function off.

Next, add your chicken breast, minced garlic, salt, thyme and white pepper into the inner pot.

Pour the chicken broth into the inner pot and stir to combine.

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Step 3: Pressure Cook Chicken Barley Soup

Seal the lid on your Instant Pot, move the venting valve to the sealing position, select pressure cook and set the pressure cooking time to 7 minutes on high pressure.

Step 4: Natural Release Chicken Barley Soup

When the Instant Pot beeps, allow the soup to sit in there until your Instant Pot has fully released all the pressure.

When performing a natural pressure release, the silver pin will drop and the lid will unlock once all the steam is released.

It is important to pressure release naturally to prevent any liquid from spewing out of the top of the pressure release valve.

A natural release will also allow the cooked chicken to become even more tender.

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Step 5: Shred the Chicken

Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and cut it into cubes or shred it with two forks. Place the cubed or shredded chicken back into the inner pot along with the barley, parsley and carrots.

Step 6: Simmer The Soup

Hit cancel on your Instant Pot then hit the sauté button, again. Bring the soup to a boil to cook the barley. Then, put the lid back on to lock in the heat allowing your Instant Pot chicken barley soup to simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on.

Step 7: Make The Slurry

If you want a thicker soup, make your cornstarch slurry. Mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water together. Then, add it to the soup.

Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup

Step 8: Garnish And Serve

Garnish your Instant Pot chicken barley soup with some fresh parsley fresh thyme or chopped chives. Enjoy this tasty and easy Instant Pot soup cuisine!

Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup Recipe Tips

Here atre some tips to make the most of this chicken barley soup Instant Pot recipe:

Shred The Chicken

If you don’t want to spend time cutting the chicken into cubes, you can easily shred it with a hand mixer.

After cooking this meal several times I prefer shredded chicken to cubed.

Get Baby Carrots

To cut down on the prep work, get thick baby carrots, instead. Then, you can just toss them in the Instant Pot.

Use Leftover Chicken

If you have leftover rotisserie chicken, you can use it in this recipe. Simply add the cooked chicken to all the other ingredients and pressure cook it all the same.

Add A Bay Leaf Or Two

This Instant Pot chicken barley soup recipe is delicious on its own, but you can add some extra flavor by adding in a bay leaf or two.

Can I Use Chicken Thighs Instead Of Chicken Breast?

Yes, you can use chicken thighs in this Instant Pot soup recipe. Be sure to use skinless chicken thighs for best results. Skinless is always healthier!

Can I Use Frozen Chicken Breast?

Yes. If you don’t have any raw chicken breasts or raw chicken thighs to hand, you can use frozen chicken breasts or thighs as a substitute.

Simply add an extra 4 minutes of cook time to the pressure cooking time if using frozen chicken.

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Can You Overcook the Barley?

Yes, you can overcook the barley. This is why you will add the barley after the chicken has pressure cooked. It needs less time to cook, typically just 15-20 minutes.

Does Barley Get Mushy in Soup?

Barley is a grain, so it continues to absorb water, broth or any liquid. This means that it can get mushy the longer it is in the liquid.

What To Serve With Chicken Barley Soup?

Chicken barley soup pairs perfectly with a salad or a side of breadsticks. Here are a few of my favorite side recipes to try with this chicken barley soup:

How to Store Leftover Chicken Barley Soup

As stated above, the barley does continue to absorb the liquid in the soup. So, you should only store it for about 2-3 days.

You can place it in a container with a lid and store it in the refrigerator.

Can I Freeze Chicken Barley Soup

While you can freeze chicken barley soup, it’s not a good idea. The barley will become very mushy and overcooked when thawed.

If you want to batch cook and store some soup for a future date, cook all the ingredients except the barley and simply add that when reheating the soup.

Chicken Barley Soup V’s Chicken Barley Stew

While Instant Pot chicken barley soup and Instant Pot chicken barley stew might sound similar, they are very different.

This Instant Pot chicken barley soup is a brothier dish but still has plenty of chunks of tender shredded chicken. An Instant Pot stew will typically be more hearty and thickened with potatoes or other starchy vegetables.

A Few Facts About Barley

Here are a few questions and answers about barley, one of the main ingredients in this pressure cooker recipe.

What Does Barley Look Like?

Barley is a small, round grain.

What Color Is Barley?

Barley is a tan color If it’s heavily pearled then the barley will likely be lighter in color.

Is Barley Gluten Free?

No, barley is not gluten-free. Barley is a grain and as such, contains gluten.

Is Barley Good For Diabetics?

Yes, barley is good for people with diabetes. Barley contains a type of fiber called beta-glucan that can help regulate blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol levels.

Is Barley Good For Weight Loss?

Barley may also be good for weight loss as it has been shown to reduce food cravings and keep you feeling fuller for longer.

How Many Carbs Are In Barley?

The carbs in barley can vary depending on the type of barley used, but they typically range from 15-30 grams per serving. This makes barley a great option for people following low-carb diets or those looking to lose weight.

Is Barley Low Fodmap?

Barley is not low fodmap, as it contains the oligosaccharides raffinose and stachyose. These are sugars that can be difficult for people with irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive conditions to digest.

Is Barley High In Fiber?

Yes, barley is very high in fiber. Not only does it contain beta-glucan, but it also contains a type of soluble fiber called arabinoxylan that can help lower cholesterol levels and keep you feeling full for longer.

Yield: 6

Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup

Chicken Barley Soup

instant pot chicken barley soup is a fantastic wholesome soup recipe cooked right in the pressure cooker

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1.5 lbs. boneless breast, boneless (about 2 breasts)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 sprigs dried thyme, leaves removed from stem
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 64 oz. chicken broth or stock
  • 1 cup quick pearled barley
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 cup sliced carrots, frozen or canned
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water (this is called a slurry), optional for a thicker soup


  1. Turn your Instant Pot on to Sauté mode. Add to your Instant Pot your oil and allow it to get hot. Add your onions and sauté for about 3-5 minutes until softened. 
  2. Turn your Instant Pot off by selecting cancel. Add in your chicken breasts (whole), minced garlic, salt, thyme, white pepper, and chicken broth. Stir together. 
  3. Place the lid on your Instant Pot and close the sealing valve by pushing it away from you. Selected pressure cooks for 7 minutes. 
  4. Once the time has completed, do a natural release by not opening the sealing valve. Once the silver pin has dropped, you may open the lid. 
  5. With tongs, remove the chicken breast from the instant pot, and transfer to a cutting board. Cut the chicken into cubes.  
  6. Add your chicken back to the Instant Pot including the barley, parsley, and carrots. 
  7. Select sauté mode to bring it to a boil to cook the barley. Place the lid on and close the sealing valve to lock in the heat. Allow it to cook for about 15 minutes with the lid on. 
  8. Add in your slurry now if you want to thicken your soup. Mix well. 
  9. Transfer to your soup bowl and enjoy! 

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 146Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 1798mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 5g

Did you make this recipe?

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Is Barley Healthier Than Rice?

Both rice and barley have their benefits, however Barley tends to be higher in fiber and protein than white or brown rice, which can help keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup

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