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Beef & Barley Stew : Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

A deep, dark confession: Mr Magpie hates barley and I made this beef & barley stew despite his protestations. I was convinced that this was similar to many other things that he had eaten before and hated – the problem was simply that it wasn’t MY beef and barley stew. That sounds like my ego talking but it’s true in a lot of cases when it comes to Mike trying out food that he’s disliked since childhood.

Thick, hearty and delicious beef and barley stew. Perfect comfort food!

I swore that if he only would try MY Beef & Barley Stew that he’d love barley.

Since I started this blog and started really learning how to cook I have won Mike over to the dark side of many foods. He hated Brussels Sprouts – until I make him crispy, oven baked ones like my Roasted Garlic Parmesan Brussels Sprouts. He hated turnip and loves my Roasted Olive Oil Turnips.   I have a pretty solid track record when it comes to changing Mike’s mind about certain foods that he swears he doesn’t like.

Not this time my friends, not this time.


Beef & Barley Stew

What Exactly IS barley?

Barley is a cereal grain that belongs in the family of grasses. It is one of the most cultivated crops in the world, along with flour, corn and rice of course. To learn more you can head to GoBarley for more information and recipes!

Is Barley Good For Me?

Heck yes! Barley is full of heart healthy goodness such as fiber, protein, magnesium, potassium, folate, and vitamin B6.  The high fiber help to lower cholesterol as well. When coupled with iron rich beef and vegetables it’s a power meal for people like me that can’t get enough iron and magnesium in their diets. (I am always very low in iron and supplements make me sick, so I try to couple red meat with healthy grains and vegetables to balance it out.)

It’s something that I just can’t comprehend, this not liking barley thing. That just sounds made up to me. Barley is amazing in soups and stews, it’s my favourite thing to add- and I’ve missed it for many years. You all know that now I have a half bag of barley sitting in my cupboard to use up – and I will be using it up. I’m planning on making an oxtail soup soon and it has barley written allllll over it. I guess that my son and I will eat it as my daughter has also inherited this crazy non-barley loving gene.

Hearty and delicious beef and barley stew, perfect for a comforting dinner at the end of the day.

Beef & Barley Stew Tips & Tricks

  • Since barley takes quite a while to cook make sure that you chop your vegetables quite large, otherwise they can get too soft.
  • You can omit the red wine and replace with a splash of red wine vinegar – which should be a staple in your pantry if you don’t always have red wine on hand for recipes. Basically if you are like me and drink the wine instead of cooking with it. Red wine vinegar is very good for you as well.
  • You can add celery to this recipe but make sure to chop it large!
  • To make this more of a soup, add 2-3 cups of additional beef broth.

So here’s a recipe for the barley lovers. I chose to make a beef and barley stew instead of soup because I wanted this to be a real winter meal, the full meal deal for supper in the middle of this cold weather. We didn’t even really need the biscuits with the stew as a bowl of this was seriously hearty enough to be dinner.

So who’s a fellow barley lover? Anyone else have a spouse like mine?

Happy cooking!



Pin This To Your Soups/Stews or Supper Ideas Board!Hearty and delicious beef and barley stew, perfect for a comforting dinner at the end of the day. Make it in your Instant Pot or your slow cooker. #instantpot #slowcooker #stew #soups #recipes

3.85 from 13 votes
Beef & Barley Stew : Slow Cooker or Instant Pot
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr

Hearty and delicious beef and barley stew, perfect for a comforting dinner at the end of the day. Make it in your Instant Pot or your slow cooker.

Servings: 6
Calories: 314 kcal
Author: Karlynn Johnston
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 lbs of stewing beef cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
Remaining Ingredients
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion diced
  • 3-4 carrots washed and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 large russet potatoes cubed
  • 1 7 oz. package white mushrooms sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 4 cups of beef broth
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • fresh parsley to garnish if desired
Slow Cooker Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flour, salt and pepper. In a large frying pan heat the oil. Add in the beef and fry until it's browned.

    Place in the bottom of the slow cooker.

  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Serve with biscuits or garlic bread.

Instant Pot Directions
  1. Whisk together the flour, salt and pepper. Place the beef in the flour mixture and toss until the beef is coated. Shake off the excess. In the bottom of your Instant Pot, heat the oil using the saute button. Add in the beef and cook until browned.

  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and then stir until combined. Use the soup button and cook for 30 minutes. You can either release the steam manually or let it naturally release, the choice is up to you.  Stir and serve. 

You can also simmer this on the stove top until the barley is cooked and the vegetables are soft.
    Recipe Notes

    All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods etc.

    Nutrition Facts
    Beef & Barley Stew : Slow Cooker or Instant Pot
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 314 Calories from Fat 81
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 9g 14%
    Saturated Fat 3g 15%
    Cholesterol 39mg 13%
    Sodium 692mg 29%
    Potassium 809mg 23%
    Total Carbohydrates 40g 13%
    Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
    Sugars 2g
    Protein 17g 34%
    Vitamin A 77.8%
    Vitamin C 10.2%
    Calcium 5.3%
    Iron 18.9%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



  1. Reply
    Sandra | A Dash of Sanity
    February 13, 2018 at 4:26 am

    This looks really comforting! It deserves a spot on our regular dinner rotation for winter!

  2. Reply
    February 9, 2018 at 6:56 am

    This comes together so easily in an IP. Such a hearty meal for when it’s cold outside!

  3. Reply
    Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert
    February 8, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    This stew is so fantastic! My family would love this for sure!

  4. Reply
    February 8, 2018 at 8:00 pm

    I need to try this in my Instant Pot. It looks amazing!

  5. Reply
    February 8, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    This is warming me up just thinking about it!

  6. Reply
    Dorothy at Shockinglydelish
    February 8, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    There isn’t much more satisfying then a big bowl of stew! That barley is a great addition!

  7. Reply
    Patricia @ Grab a Plate
    February 8, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    What a fabulous stew! I’m a big barley fan, so I’m really in love with this! And I got an IP for Christmas, so this is on my to-make list!

  8. Reply
    eat good 4 life
    February 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Loving all about this recipe. The fact that you are using barley is genius. I can’t get enough of barley lately.

  9. Reply
    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet
    February 8, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    I love making stews in my IP! This beef and barley stew is going to be a huge hit here!

  10. Reply
    Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert
    February 8, 2018 at 9:05 am

    I will definitely try this stew! Perfect!

  11. Reply
    Allyson Zea
    February 8, 2018 at 5:12 am

    This stew looks so fabulous for dinner! I can’t wait to try it!

  12. Reply
    February 8, 2018 at 4:53 am

    This is my type of dinner! Perfect for this cold weather!

  13. Reply
    Katerina @ diethood .com
    February 8, 2018 at 1:44 am

    Such a hearty and delicious stew!! Perfect for the cold weather!

  14. Reply
    Dorothy at Shockinglydelish
    February 7, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    I got my first Instant Pot for Christmas! I am loving it so far, but need more good recipes! This looks like a winner!

  15. Leave a Reply