Mushroom Barley Soup is a rustic, comforting soup packed with mushrooms, veggies and hearty pearl barley.  Includes Instant Pot instructions! 

overhead shot of mushroom barley soup in white bowl with spoon

**This post was originally published in July 2013.  The photos, text and recipe have been updated to include more recipe information as well as instant pot instructions.

My love for Mushroom Barley Soup started in a Whole Foods Market years ago.  I’d done my shopping and picked up some soup at the soup bar to eat when I got home.

I absolutely loved it, and to this day I always check the soup bar for it when I’m in the store.  

It’s that good.

My favorite soup wasn’t available all the time, so I took it upon myself to create my own mushroom barley soup recipe, which can be made in both the Instant Pot and on the stove top.

It’s nice to have options right? 🙂

mushroom barley soup in bowl with spoon alongside

Why you’ll love this hearty soup too:

  • It’s rustic, hearty and flavorful, and filled with good for you ingredients
  • It’s easy to make with a few simple ingredients
  • It can be made on the stove top or in the Instant Pot
  • This soup is perfect for meal prep meals and it’s freezer friendly

What is barley?

Barley is a whole grain that’s chewy and nutritious.  It’s a good source of protein, fiber and potassium.

The most commonly used form of barley is pearl barley, which is a bit less nutritious as the outer husk and bran layers have been removed. 

Is barley gluten free?

Barley contains 5-8% gluten, so it’s not safe for people with celiac’s or gluten intolerance. 

Brown rice is a great gluten free substitute for the barley in this recipe.

overhead shot of mushroom barley soup with spoon alongside and sprig of thyme on top

How long does barley take to cook?

The cooking times for barley is as follows:

Stove top:  30-40 minutes

Instant Pot:  20 minutes

Slow Cooker:  About 8 hours

Does barley thicken soup?

Barley not only thickens soup, but it adds a nice creaminess as well.  It also adds flavor and texture to your soup.

Mushroom Barley Soup ingredients 

  • Barley
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Mushrooms
  • Bay leaf
  • Thyme
  • Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • Vegetable or beef stock
  • Tomato Paste

How to make barley soup

I’ve included stove top and Instant Pot instructions for this mushroom barley soup.  

Note:  the stove top version requires that you pre-cook the barley, and the Instant Pot version does not.

mushroom barley soup process collage

Stove top instructions:

  • Pre-cook the barley according to package instructions.
  • Cook the onion, carrots, celery and garlic until tender.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook until the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add the stock, bay leaf, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste and stir well to combine.  Bring to a boil.
  • Lower the heat to medium low and add the barley.  Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Instant Pot instructions:

  • Cook the onion, carrots, celery and garlic in the Instant Pot until tender.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook until the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add the barley, stock, bay leaf, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste and stir well to combine. 
  • Secure the lid and close the venting valve. Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 20 minutes. Note: It will take the Instant Pot 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before the cooking process begins. When the cooking process has completed, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then release the pressure.
  • Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf, and stir well. 

ladle full of mushroom barley soup over Instant Pot

Can I freeze mushroom barley soup?

This soup is freezer friendly.  Store in an air tight container for up to 3 months.

Recipe notes and substitutions

  • Make your mushroom barley soup vegetarian by using vegetable stock.
  • Beef up your soup with this Beef Barley Soup recipe! 
  • Dried mushrooms may be used in this recipe for even more flavor.  Use 1-2 ounces of dried porcini mushrooms or your favorite, and soak until softened.  Strain out the grit, chop the mushrooms and be sure to add the liquid to your soup!
  • Worcestershire sauce adds a nice savory flavor, but may be omitted altogether.
  • Store soup in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

front shot of mushroom barley soup in white bowl with sprig of thyme on top

Love soup?  See all of my Soup recipes.

More hearty soups you’ll love:

Avgolemono soup

Chicken tortilla soup

Instant pot vegetable soup

White bean kale soup

 

overhead shot of mushroom barley soup in white bowl with spoon

Mushroom Barley Soup

Mushroom Barley Soup is a rustic, comforting soup packed with mushrooms, veggies and hearty pearl barley.  Includes Instant Pot instructions! 
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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 small carrots chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb. cremini mushrooms sliced
  • 6 cups low sodium vegetable or beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce*
  • 2 sprigs thyme or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

Stove top instructions:

  • Cook the barley according to package instructions. This takes 30-40 minutes, and may be done in advance.
  • In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, and sauté 5-8 minutes until the onion is translucent and the vegetables have softened. Add the mushrooms and cook 5 more minutes or until their liquid has evaporated.
  • Add the broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Add the barley, salt and pepper to taste, and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs, then serve and enjoy!

Instant Pot instructions:

  • Do not pre-cook the barley in this method!
  • Press the Sauté button and add the olive oil to the Instant Pot. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic, and cook 5-8 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook 5 more minutes until the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add the broth, barley, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste and stir well.
  • Secure the lid and close the venting valve. Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 20 minutes. Note: It will take the Instant Pot 10-15 minutes to come to pressure before the cooking process begins. When the cooking process has completed, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then release the pressure.
  • Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaf, and stir well. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Beef up your soup with this Beef Barley Soup recipe! 
  • Dried mushrooms may be used in this recipe for even more flavor.  Use 1-2 ounces of dried porcini mushrooms or your favorite, and soak until softened.  Strain out the grit, chop the mushrooms and be sure to add the liquid to your soup!
  • Worcestershire sauce adds a nice savory flavor, but may be omitted altogether.
  • Store soup in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Brown rice would be a great replacement for the barley if gluten intolerant.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 121kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 52mg, Potassium: 404mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 2131IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 27mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

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