Do you have a go-to food/meal that you consistently prep for the week ahead? Mine is a whole chicken. And the runner-up is, soup.

On Sunday nights, I’ve started the habit of preparing one of these options for dinner–making two chickens or a big pot of soup– and then reserving the leftovers for lunches over the next 2-3 days. Knowing that lunch is taken care for a couple of days (at least for me) eases the stress that comes from entering a new week. This, to me, is exactly what simplifying real food looks like.

Instant Pot Mushroom Barley Soup. SO good! So easy. Takes less than 30 minutes total to make.

Want to Save This Recipe?

Enter your email & I’ll send it straight to your inbox. And you’ll get new recipes & tips each week.

Save Recipe

If you’re lacking a dedicated time to prep food on the weekend, may I suggest adding these two meals to your weekly dinner rotation: a whole chicken (or two, depending on your family size) and soup. Both meals keep on giving.

The whole chicken(s) may be roasted, slow-cooked, or Instant Potted (let’s just go with that word ?). Some of the meat may be served for dinner (maybe roast a tray of veggies or make a simple salad, too), and some may be stored in the fridge to make sandwiches, quesadillas, tacos or tossed on salads throughout the week. The bones may be turned into broth (technically, stock), which may be used to make soup that week or frozen for later. And the soup? Well, soup is the original one-pot wonder meal. And it easily stretches over two meals, or more.

Instant Pot Vegetable Barely Soup. SO good! So easy. Takes less than 30 minutes total to make.

Both meals help to simplify prep time, provide some serious ROI (Return Of Investment) for your time spent in the kitchen, and may help to keep the food budget in check.

Soup, in particular, is a budget-friendly meal, particularly when meat isn’t used (pasture-raised meat isn’t cheap so it’s nice to have some meat-free meals on the favorite list). And when you think about how many meals a big pot of soup can provide a family, the budget-friendly nature of this meal is even more appealing.

Instant Pot Vegetable Barely Soup. SO good! So easy. Takes less than 30 minutes total to make.

Today’s soup is, in millennial talk, “all the things.” It’s easy to make, budget-friendly, make-ahead friendly, family-friendly, meat-free (would that be considered animal-friendly?), and has an impressive return of investment. See, all the things!

To simplify things even further, the soup is made in the Instant Pot. Now, since you clicked over to this recipe, I’m guessing that you probably know what the Instant Pot is, and you might even own one. If not, let’s talk about it for a minute. Because, Girlfriend, you need to know about this appliance.

Instant Pot Vegetable Barely Soup. SO good! So easy. Takes less than 30 minutes total to make.

The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker. Now, I get it. Pressure cookers are scary. Old-fashioned pressure cookers have been known to explode–usually due to user error. And honestly, it’s probably just a couple of bad stories compared to thousands of success stories. Isn’t that the case with most things? Anyway, back to the topic at hand…

The Instant Pot company made pressure cooking cool again just a few years ago thanks to their electric pressure cooker. The pressure cooker has safety features in place (you can’t open the lid without all the pressure being released), it’s incredibly easy to use, and–as with any pressure cooker–significantly reduces the amount of time needed to cook a meal without compromising the flavor or texture of the food. Over the years, there’s been a number of companies release their own electric pressure cookers. I’ve remained an Instant Pot fan, along with Helen who perfects Instant Pot recipes for Live Simply, so the recipes here on the blog are labeled as such. I’m sure any electric pressure cooker will work, along with an old-fashioned pressure cooker.

Instant Pot Vegetable Barely Soup. SO good! So easy. Takes less than 30 minutes total to make.

For many meals, the Instant Pot isn’t necessarily a faster way to cook (when you factor in the time it takes for the pot to come to pressure and then naturally release that pressure, if needed). The appeal of the Instant Pot for these meals is the hands-off time it provides the cook. With that said, there are a number of recipes that shorten the overall cooking time when you make them in the Instant Pot.

Soup is one meal that takes less time to make in the Instant Pot than on the stove-top or in the slow-cooker. This chicken and rice soup is the perfect example. Raw chicken, uncooked rice, and veggies are fully cooked into a creamed soup in under 30 minutes. Dry beans are another game-changing example.

For this reason, today’s soup is made in the Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker). Thanks to the pot, the soup takes less than 30 minutes to make. And that’s total time. That’s not too shabby for a meal that keeps on giving throughout the week.

Instant Pot Mushroom Barley Soup
4.70 from 10 votes

Instant Pot Mushroom Barley Vegetable Soup (Vegan, Pressure Cooker Recipe)

A vegetable barley soup made in the electric pressure cooker in less than 30 minutes. 
Kristin Marr
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time47 minutes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 8 cups
Calories 149 kcal


  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 16 ounces sliced mushrooms such as: baby bella, cremini, or white mushrooms
  • 4 medium carrots diced (1 ¾ cups once diced)
  • 2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 1-2 medium zucchini sliced in ½” rounds (2 cups once sliced)
  • 1/2 medium red onion diced (1 cup once diced)
  • 3 medium garlic cloves minced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup pearled barley
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups vegetable broth may also use chicken broth/stock

Special Equipment:


  • Set the Instant Pot to Saute, Normal Temperature. Once the pot is hot, add the olive oil.
  • Add the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms so they release water and begin to brown.
  • Add the carrots through the garlic (this includes: carrots, squash, zucchini, onion, and garlic), and saute the veggies to soften slightly.
  • Press the Cancel button, and add the can of tomatoes (undrained--you want the juices in the can). Make sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, or it won’t come to pressure.
  • Stir in the barley and all the seasonings. Add the broth. 
  • Lock the lid and set to Sealing. Set to Manual, High Pressure, for 7 minutes. 
  • Carefully perform a quick release (use a hot pad holder or towel) when the time is up and before opening the lid. 
  • Remove the bay leaves. Taste the soup and add more salt, if needed. Serve warm. 


Calories: 149kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 4gFat: 4gSodium: 790mgPotassium: 524mgFiber: 5gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 9255IUVitamin C: 14.9mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 1.4mg
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

Instant Pot Vegetable Barely Soup. SO good! So easy. Takes less than 30 minutes total to make.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 5 stars
    My husband said this was the best soup he has ever had! I’ve been making it ever since we’ve had to shelter in place. I don’t always have all the ingredients, but so far, it always comes out fantastic! Very easy to make, healthy and scrumptious. What more can anyone ask for? Thank you so much! I should note that I use 1 cup of barley and manual pressure at 9 minutes, rather than 3/4 cup and 7 minutes, since we are obsessed with barley. 😉

    1. That sounds good, Irene! So happy you loved it. Thanks for commenting and rating. It means a lot to LS.

      LS Team.

  2. This looks so delicious! I love barley… I’m putting this on my to-make-this-week list! We’re talking quick cooking pearled barley, right? Like the 10 min stuff in the box? I think regular pearled barley (the kind you might buy in bulk) takes quite a bit longer to cook, even in the instant pot… Like 23 minutes. ? Thanks for the recipe!!

  3. 4 stars
    Thanks for sharing, we just make this but the barely seems way under cooked. What did we miss? All of the other recipes we have with barley seem to cook for 20-30 min or at least use a Natural Pressure release? It still has a great taste just wondering what we missed.

      1. 4 stars
        Thanks for the reply, its odd, its like half of them are cooked but the other half aren’t. We mixed everything when we put the tomatoes in but did not mix when we put the broth in.

      2. 5 stars
        I have looked for a long time for a mushroom and barley soup with a tomato base. This soup was excellent. I followed the recipe and it cooked perfectly. I will probably add a little more barley the next time and a little more broth. Thank you so much for this fabulous recipe.

  4. 5 stars
    Yummy soup, but it DEFINITELY took longer than 27 minutes total.

    I probably spend 30 minutes chopping veggies, 10 minutes sautéing, 10 plus minutes for my pressure cooker to come to pressure, and then the 7 minute cook time. So about an hour total.

    I’m not vegan, so if making this again, I would add some chicken sausage and some parm 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe is now on my “best off” list. On today’s beautiful winter day in Montréal, Québec, Canada I prepared this earthy soup in my IP. It looks, tastes and feels good! I did it with strained tomatoes to which I added little water+a variety of rehydrated wild mushrooms+little Chardonnay. The only thing was that after 7 minutes the barley was still too crunchy. I added 2 extra minutes. Results: smooth barley and very soft veggies. Next time I’ll try 8 minutes in one stroke. Merci !

  6. 5 stars
    The soup was wonderful, a nice hearty mix of flavors. It’s definitely a keeper.
    Thank you for publishing.

  7. 4 stars
    I just made this last night as my first meal in my new multi-cooker. I thought it was good, and will likely try it again. I was a little lazy and bought pre-sliced mushrooms and pre-diced butternut squash. I should have gone back and cut those down a little further because they were way too large. Next time I will probably use only one zucchini and drop a carrot or two so I can have a higher broth to vegetable ratio. I also thought the barley might have been a little under cooked, so I will try a natural pressure release to allow it to cook a little bit more. I’m using a different brand of multi-cooker, so there’s likely some variability there. Looking forward to having a healthy and filling lunch all week!

    1. Hey Vivian, I don’t have any experience with the 3 quart Instant Pot, so I can’t say for sure. My initial thought is to try cutting the recipe in half.

  8. Hello Kristin, I would love to try this new recipe , but I do not have a Pressure cooker. Can I still make it using a regular pot?

  9. You know how when some people go to church and leave saying, “I feel like the sermon was written specifically for me today!”? Well, that’s how I feel about that “Girlfriend” line. LOL! I think you (and Helen!) have finally worn me down. My hesitation hasn’t been fear of explosions, but fear if I’d use it enough to justify the cost of it. I also have a very small kitchen, like no counter space. From what I’m reading just the making of broth and beans alone would be justification enough. However, I do think I’m leaning towards the 8 qt because there’s 5 of us and I have the kind of kids that are skinny but each can eat the equivalent of 2 adults and we’re starting to enter those teen years.

    Anyway, thanks for the vegan post. It will certainly come in handy for lent and the budget.

    Apologies for the lengthy post.

    1. Lol, that’s awesome, Katie. It’s such an amazing appliance! And I don’t have many appliances because of the small kitchen thing, too. My sister-n-law has 6 people in her family and has the 6-quart. She said it’s been great for her. I think you may need to adjust the liquid amount a bit for the 8-quart (increase it).

      1. OK, so let me ask you this if I wanted to increase this recipe by 50% (so make 1 1/2 batches at once) would the 6 qt be big enough to handle it?

      2. The “10 cup” line is about your max fill for pressure cooking. If I remember right, this was pushing the limit as is so I don’t think you’d be be able to do that in a 6 qt.

      3. Yes, I agree with Helen. You’d definitely need the 8 quart to do something like that. I’m not sure how much (or if) you’d need to adjust the cooking time, too.

      4. Hey Chris, Where is the typo? In step 3, you’ll add all the veggies, from the carrot through the garlic. So everything listed beginning with the carrots and ending with the garlic on the ingredient list. This includes the onions and squash. I’ve updated #3 so this is clear.

    2. 5 stars
      Awesome! Definitely get you one. I have two kids who are picky right now, but the 6 qt is still making tons of leftovers for us! I justified my use of it so much I have two 😉