Instant Pot Barley (Pearl, Hulled or Quick)

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This is the easy way to cook barley! You’ll love the fluffy, perfectly moist texture of this Instant Pot Barley.

fork holding pearl barley

Instant Pot Pearl Barley

Pearl Barley is the most common type of barley and it cooks up so well in the instant pot. Delicious as a side dish or when added to recipes like soups and salads. Barley is packed with vitamins and fiber, so it’s ideal for bulking up a meal and adding nutritional value to favorite dishes.

close-up of barley

To cook it up well, just use the right amount of water. The ratio is 1:2, barley to water. This ensures that the barley gets enough moisture to fluff up in texture, but not get soggy. You can also add salt to taste. And that’s it for this recipe! Super easy, right?

After cooking, you can add a pat of butter or some more flavorful seasonings. We love to switch it up, adding fresh dill, lemon juice, or even a drizzle of dijon mustard to the barley. If serving with a main dish, try adding some of those seasonings to the barley side dish to make a complete meal that has a nice depth of flavor.

cooked barley in instant pot

If you’re looking for more side dishes that cook up deliciously in the instant pot, try these Brussels Sprouts, Instant Pot Great Northern Beans, or Instant Pot Fresh Steamed Spinach. All are healthy, flavorful options that can cook while you prep the main dish for a meal.

How To Cook Instant Pot Barley

Simply add 1 cup barley and 2 cups water to an instant pot. Sprinkle in 1/4 tsp salt as well, if desired. Close lid to instant pot and switch sealing valve to the sealed position. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.

bag of uncooked barley next to instant pot

Quick release steam and open instant pot. Scoop out barley and serve as is or top with herbs and seasonings.

cooked barley in pressure cooker

Do You Need To Soak Barley Before Cooking?

Pearl barley (the most common type found in grocery stores) does not need to be pre-soaked. You can cook straight from the package into the instant pot, with a cup or two of water.

cooked pearl barley

How To Cook Hulled Barley

Place 1 cup hulled barley and 2.5 cups water into instant pot. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes, then do a quick release of steam.

barley in instant pot

How To Cook Quick Barley

Pour 1 cup quick barley and 2 cups water into an instant pot. Cook for 10 min at high pressure. Quick release the steam and done!

cooked barley in serving bowl

Cooking Tips

  • Using salt is optional. Add to taste.
  • Be sure to allow all steam to release and pin to drop before opening instant pot.
  • Most important is the ratio of barley to water. For pearl barley, cook 1 cup of barley to 2 cups of water.

cooked barley in bowl with fork

What To Serve With Instant Pot Barley

This side dish pairs beautifully with a hearty main dish, like Air Fryer Bone-In Chicken Thighs or Baked Whole Whitefish.

You can also add the cooked barley to soups such as Instant Pot Lentil Quinoa Soup or Instant Pot Mushroom Sweet Potato Soup.

barley in instant pot

More Instant Pot Side Dishes

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Instant Pot Barley (Pearl, Hulled or Quick)

This is the easy way to cook barley! You'll love the fluffy, perfectly moist texture of this Instant Pot Barley.
Prep Time2 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
quick pressure release2 minutes
Total Time24 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: Instant Pot Barley
Cooking Method: Instant Pot
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 176kcal

Recipe Video

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp salt optional

Recommended Kitchen Tools (click the links below to see the items used to make this recipe)

Instructions

  • Add 1 cup barley and 2 cups water to an instant pot. Sprinkle in 1/4 tsp salt, if desired.
  • Close lid to instant pot and switch sealing valve to the sealed position. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
  • Quick release steam and open instant pot.
  • Scoop out barley and serve.

Notes

  • Using salt is optional. Add to taste.
  • Be sure to allow all steam to release and pin to drop before opening instant pot.
  • Most important is the ratio of barley to water. For pearl barley, cook 1 cup of barley to 2 cups of water.
Check out more easy Instant Pot recipes here!
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Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 156mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 0.4g | Vitamin A: 11IU | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
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