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Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes (plus 10 minute NPR)
  • Total Time: 38 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


For a healthy but filling meal try out this Instant Pot Chicken Barley Soup with some crusty bread. It’s pressure cooked quickly but tastes as though it’s been simmering all day. This is a forgiving soup that allows you to use cooked chicken or turkey or raw chicken breasts or thighs. 


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth (or 3 1/2 cups water and 3 1/2 tsp better than bouillon chicken base*)
  • 1 large carrot, diced or grated
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups cooked and shredded/cubed chicken or turkey OR 1 1/2 lbs uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes or petite diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Turn Instant Pot to the saute function (more). When it says HOT on the display add in the oil. Add in the onion and saute for about 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add in the chicken broth and deglaze the pan.
  2. Add in the carrot, celery, tomato paste, basil, barley, chicken, tomatoes, salt, pepper and bay leaf.
  3. Cover the pot and secure the lid. Make sure valve is set to sealing. Set the manual or pressure cook button to 18 minutes. When the cooking time has ended let the pot sit for 10 minutes and then release the rest of the pressure by moving the valve to “venting.”
  4. Remove the lid. Discard the bay leaf. If you used uncooked chicken remove the chicken and shred or cut into pieces. Stir back in.
  5. Ladle into bowls and top with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!


I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*.

Tomatoes–I had a can of crushed tomatoes and wanted to try them out. This made the soup more of a tomato-y base instead of a chicken broth base, which I like. However, you can also use a can of petite diced tomatoes and have more of the chunks of tomatoes in the soup if you prefer it that way. (You can see the difference in how the soups look here).

Barley–I buy pearl barley (or pot barley) in the bulk section of the grocery store. Don’t use the quick cooking kind (par-boiled) for this particular recipe or the barley will be overcooked and mushy.

Chicken/Turkey–we made a turkey on Sunday and had leftovers so that’s what I used this time around. In the past I’ve used this seasoned shredded chicken and I’ve also used raw chicken breasts or thighs. It doesn’t really matter too much.

  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Instant Pot


  • Serving Size: 1 cup serving
  • Calories: 141
  • Sugar: 2 grams
  • Sodium: 657 mg
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 17 grams
  • Protein: 9 grams