Instant Pot Mushroom-Barley Stew

This easy Instant Pot stew calls for hulled barley, which provides more of the whole grain than pearled barley. Apart from its nutritional benefits, hulled barley also delivers a meatier texture and satisfying mouthfeel that will satiate even the most staunch carnivore. Savory mushrooms and starchy sweet potatoes add extra heft while tender pearl onions provide pops of pleasant sweetness throughout this hearty beef-like stew. The broth bursts with notes of paprika, thyme, and sage to create a mouthwatering bouquet of aromas that will infuse your kitchen with tantalizing smells as you cook. Top everything off with crunchy walnuts and fresh parsley for a recipe that would get a 10/10 in a comfort-food competition.

For more hearty winter soup recipes, check out these tasty ideas:

By Ellen Boeke,


  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 cups halved or quartered fresh cremini mushrooms
  • 3 cups chopped sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen pearl onions
  • 1½ cups ½-inch pieces celery
  • 1 cup dry hulled barley
  • 1 cup frozen lima beans
  • ¼ cup no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage, crushed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or fresh thyme leaves


  • In a 6-quart electric multicooker combine the first 13 ingredients (through sage). Lock lid in place; set pressure valve to sealing. Set cooker on high pressure to cook 20 minutes. Let stand to release pressure naturally (about 15 minutes). Carefully release any remaining pressure. Open lid carefully.
  • Season stew with pepper. Top servings with walnuts and parsley.

Comments (23)

(5 from 10 votes)

Recipe Rating

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I cooked this on the stove in a Dutch oven today. I put all the ingredients in the Dutch oven and brought the broth to a boil. I turned down the heat and cooked at a below boiling simmer for 40 minutes. It turned out perfect. Due to diet restrictions, I used turnups and carrots instead of sweet potatoes. I was not able to find frozen pearl onions so I bought a bag of frozen peas and pearl onions. I put in all the pearl onions and 3/4 of the peas. I really enjoyed the stew and am looking forward to eating it again tomorrow after the flavors have come together more.


Your recipes sound fabulous; however, not all of us have instant pots. Can you include conventional stovetop or oven directions for instant pot recipes?


I do not have an insta pot. Can this be done in a crockpot?


Smokey flavor way overpowering


Really good! I used zucchini instead of beans and added spinach, and if you keep the barley separate, then it won’t soak up all the broth. Makes for better left overs.

Susan Winning

It was delicious but I added 1 & 1/2 tsp salt.


This was so good! I had my doubts about the quantity of broth. It didn’t look like it was going to be enough and I almost added more, but I didn’t. I am glad I refrained. The stew turned out perfect! The whole family loved it, including meat eaters. It’s going into the rotation. Perfect for a cold rainy day.


Very tasty! Glad I tried it. Could have definitely added more mushrooms.


Great, flavorful recipe! The walnut-parsley topping was a nice addition. I adjusted the recipe a bit for my taste (and convenience). I subbed 2 cans of black beans for the frozen lima beans (I wanted more beans, and this amount was exactly right.) I didn't have cremini mushroom, and used the white ones I had. I used 1 T soy sauce plus 1 T white miso paste. I doubled the sage leaves, and will double the thyme as well when I make this again (and I will!) I like a little kick in my dishes, so added 1/2 tsp. of extra hot red chili powder (found in Indian markets).

Paul W

Used pinto beans the specified time left the beans with a slight crunch. Very tasty dish which will be made again for sure!

Shawn D.

This is delicious! I hope it will be available on the FOK app so that I can make it again soon.


This looks delicious! One of the wonderful things about soup recipes is that you can make them your own. I also do not have an instant pot so will do it the old fashioned way. Stove top. Since my barley takes a while to cook I will probably precook it. I will use my homemade veggie stock no salt added. Can’t use tomato paste as my husband has acid reflux. Might top it with fresh diced Tom’s as he can have those. Thank you for this hearty recipe


I just made this dish and it’s outstanding. Substituted beans for kidney beans and Cannellini beans. Couldn’t find frozen lima beans. Added some chili powder. Outstanding I’m impressed!


I’m not a fan of sweet potatoes so I used baby white potatoes. I’ll let you know how it comes out! Lol


Please, as others have asked, list nutritional values for your recipes, including potassium for those of us who are needing to watch potassium due to kidney disease. Thank you.

Krista Kiger

What is the nutritional breakdown of this dish?

Kim Byrnes

Jill I'm with you, not everyone has an instant pot, I'm sure it can be done on a stove top or oven ?


What if I don’t have an Instant Pot?


I've successfully used an electric pressure cooker to make Instant Pot recipes. (Mine also has a high pressure setting.)

Diane Tullman

What would the cooking directions be if I used a slow-cooker (I don't have an Instant Pot)? Could this delicious-sounding stew also be cooked on the stove in a Dutch oven pot? Thank you!


I also would like to try it in on the stove.


Could you put ingredients in grams as well as cups please

Jena Steiner

This was a very good recipe for vegetable barley soup. I cut the sweet potatoes into half inch cubes which I think were too small. You can cut into two inch cubes or bigger.

About the Author

Ellen Boeke headshot

About the Author

Ellen Boeke

Ellen Boeke has more than 25 years of experience as a recipe developer and food editor. She holds Bachelor's of Science degrees in consumer food science and journalism from Iowa State University and attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France. Find her on LinkedIn.
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