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Instant Pot Mushroom Barley Soup

This Instant Pot Mushroom Barley Soup recipe serves up a pot of vegan soup loaded with barley, vegetables, mushrooms, and fresh herbs. Made from scratch in under an hour, this easy recipe is perfect for winter weeknights! A bowl of this comforting soup will for sure keep you warm and cozy on a cold day.

Instant Pot Barley Mushroom Soup in a bowl standing on a tea towel.

This homemade soup is full of satisfying umami flavor without being too heavy. Made without dairy, this vegan alternative to mushroom barley soup is just as flavorful as traditional recipes, if not better.

Truthfully, this amazing recipe would have never come to life if I hadn’t overcome my fear of pressure cookers.

When I was little, I wasn’t allowed in the kitchen when my grandma was using her stove-top pressure cooker, so I’ve been hesitant ever since. Up until experimenting with this yummy soup, my Instant Pot was collecting dust.

If you’re anything like me and ready to face your pressure cooker fears. I highly recommend giving this healthy soup recipe a whirl.

This delicious homemade mushroom barley soup doesn’t take much effort, yet the results taste like a pot of mushroom barley soup that’s been simmering on the stove for hours.

Now that I’m no longer terrified of my pressure cooker, be on the lookout for more Instant Pot recipes by yours truly.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This recipe is super simple. It’s perfect if you’re new to cooking with an electric pressure cooker.
  • This hearty soup is loaded with filling and flavorful ingredients. Barley is packed with fiber, keeping you satisfied longer.
  • It’s quick and easy to make! This flavorful soup comes together in under an hour.
  • This mushroom soup is made without any dairy. It’s totally plant-based and vegan.

Instant Pot barley mushroom soup in a bowl shot from above.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Olive Oil: A small amount of oil is used to coat the bottom of the pressure cooker bowl to prevent sticking.
  • Carrot: Diced carrot builds on the soup’s rich flavor and adds texture and color.
  • Onion & Garlic: Thinly sliced onion and minced garlic deepen the delicious umami flavor.
  • Brown Mushrooms: Thinly sliced mushrooms will cook down in the soup adding great flavor to the broth. Be sure to clean the mushrooms well before slicing. You can also use white mushrooms instead of brown.
  • Vegetable Broth: Low sodium vegetable broth is the base of the soup. You can also use mushrooms broth if available.
  • Thyme Sprigs: Fresh thyme gives this soup subtle citrus and earthy flavor.
  • Soy Sauce: Low sodium soy sauce adds salty and savory flavor to the broth, enhancing the umami flavor. You can also use coconut aminos.
  • Pot Barley: This popular whole grain thickens the soup and adds satisfying fiber making the soup more filling. You could also use pearl barley.
  • Salt & Pepper: These seasonings enhance the flavor of the soup.
  • Garnish: Add chopped fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, thyme, etc, and a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice to add more flavor and nutrition to the soup.

How To Make Instant Pot Mushroom Barley Soup

  1. Preheat the olive oil: Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot. Make sure the temperature setting is set to NORMAL, and then select the SAUTE function. Preheat the oil until it is hot but not smoking (1 to 2 minutes).
  2. Saute the vegetables: To the pot, add the diced onion and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions become translucent (3 to 4 minutes). Next, add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  3. Saute the mushrooms: Add the mushrooms to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms soften, release their moisture and reduce down in volume (about 4 to 6 minutes).
  4. Add the liquids and the remaining ingredients: Next, pour the vegetable stock and water into the pot. Add the thyme sprigs, soy sauce, and barley. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pressure cook for 18 minutes: Secure the lid and seal the pressure valve. Select PRESSURE COOK for 18 minutes and program the Instant Pot to KEEP WARM.
  6. Finish and serve: When the pressure cooker timer goes off, allow the steam to release naturally while in KEEP WARM mode for 10 minutes. Then, select CANCEL and manually release any remaining steam. Once the pressure valve drops, you can open the lid. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with fresh herbs before serving.

Stove-Top Mushroom Barley Soup

But what to do if you don’t have an Instant Pot? No worries! You can make this delicious mushroom barley soup on the stove top.

  1. Preheat the olive oil: In a large heavy-bottomed pot, add olive oil and heat over medium heat until hot but not smoking.
  2. Saute the vegetables: To the pot, add the diced onion and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions become translucent (3 to 4 minutes). Next, add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  3. Saute the mushrooms: Add the mushrooms to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms soften, release their moisture and reduce down in volume (about 4 to 6 minutes).
  4. Add the liquids and the remaining ingredients: Next, pour the vegetable stock and water into the pot. Add the thyme sprigs, soy sauce, and barley. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Simmer: Increase the heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until barley is soft and chewy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  6. Serve: Garnish with fresh herbs before serving.

Mushroom barley soup in a bowl with the Instant Pot in the background.

Recipe Tips

I love how easy this soup is to throw together during the week. To make things even quicker, you can either purchase pre-chopped carrots, onions and mushrooms in advance or chop them yourself ahead of time.

Make mushroom barley soup a meal. This fiber-rich soup is filling as is but with a slice of crusty bread, the soup will keep you satisfied even longer.

Keep in mind that the pressure cooker will take 10 to 20 minutes to reach temperature before the timer starts.

Variations & Substitutions

Making a bigger batch? This recipe easily adapts to increase the servings. However, your Instant Pot can only hold so much. Do not fill the pot up past the fill line. If your Instant Pot isn’t large enough, simply follow the stove-top instructions above.

Want to add protein? For my non-veg friends, feel free to stir in pre-cooked protein to your soup once it’s finished, like shredded chicken or diced tender beef. This is also a great soup to add leftover holiday ham and turkey to.

Storing & Freezing

  • Storing: This dairy-free mushroom barley soup is best stored in an airtight glass container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Be sure to let it cool to room temperature before storing.
  • Freezing: This Instant Pot soup can also be frozen for later. To freeze, let the soup cool completely to room temperature and then freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.

Instant pot mushroom barley soup in a white bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I thicken mushroom barley soup?

Adding barley to soups naturally thickens them because the barley absorbs a lot of the liquid while it’s cooking. The soup will also continue to thicken as it cools.

If you prefer an even thicker soup broth, you can mix together 2 to 3 tablespoons of flour with a splash of the hot soup broth and then stir the mixture into the soup and continue to simmer until the broth thickens.

Should I cook barley before adding it to mushroom barley soup?

You can cook the barley separately and add it to the finished soup. This is a great way to use leftover cooked barley. However, the broth will be much thinner if the barley isn’t cooked directly in the soup broth.

Can I use dried mushrooms in mushroom barley soup?

Absolutely. To make mushroom barley soup with dried mushrooms, simply rehydrate the mushrooms in hot water before following the recipe as written. You can even add some of the water the mushrooms soaked into the soup for even more flavor.

Does barley need to be rinsed?

As with most grains, rinsing barley before cooking with it removes any dust and debris but doing so isn’t necessary and totally a matter of preference.

More Hearty Soup Recipes:

Instant Pot Mushroom Barley Soup

Instant Pot Mushroom Barley Soup

Yield: 4 to 6 portions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

This Instant Pot Mushroom Barley Soup is delicious and comforting. It's so easy to make that you can cook it from scratch on a weeknight. This healthy recipe is vegan and non-dairy

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup pot barley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh dill, parsley or thyme for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot and select Saute function. (Temperature setting is set to Normal). Preheat the oil.
  2. Add the onion and carrots and cook stirring occasionally until onions are translucent, for about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook stirring occasionally until the mushrooms have released their liquid and reduced in volume, for about 4 minutes.
  5. Add the vegetable stock, water, thyme sprigs, soy sauce, and barley. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Make sure the steam release handle is in the Sealing position. Select Pressure Cook and set 18 minutes of pressure cooking time. Select Keep Warm function.
  7. To release pressure, let the Instant Pot go into Keep Warm mode and wait for 10 minutes. Then, press Cancel and carefully position the steam release valve on the lid to the Venting position.
  8. Garnish the soup with fresh herbs before serving.

Notes

You can also use pearl barley instead of pot barley to make this soup.

Nutrition Information
Yield 5 Serving Size 1/5 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 129.5Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 0.5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2.5gCholesterol 0mgSodium 241.6mgCarbohydrates 23gFiber 4.4gSugar 3.5gProtein 4.4g

Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.

Did you make this recipe?

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Iasimov

Saturday 25th of January 2020

To avoid waste, I’ve been using dried ingredients. How would I use my mushrooms, and can I use any type? I’m from the south, but barley, mushroom soup is my favorite from visiting up north.

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