Cooking Pearl Barley in a Pressure Cooker: A Time-Saving Guide

Pearl barley, a nutritious and versatile grain, can be effortlessly cooked in a pressure cooker, significantly reducing cooking time compared to traditional methods. This guide will provide detailed instructions and answer the common question: “How long does pearl barley take to cook in a pressure cooker?”

Ingredients and Equipment

To cook pearl barley in a pressure cooker, you will need the following:

  • 1 cup of pearl barley
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (optional)
  • Pressure cooker

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Prepare the Barley: Rinse the pearl barley thoroughly in a fine-mesh sieve under cold running water. This step removes any impurities or debris.

  2. Add Ingredients to Pressure Cooker: Combine the rinsed pearl barley, water, salt (if using), and olive oil (if using) in the pressure cooker’s inner pot. Stir well to ensure even distribution.

  3. Secure and Cook: Close the lid of the pressure cooker and lock it securely. Set the pressure release valve to the “sealing” position. Select the “manual” or “pressure cook” setting and set the cooking time to 20 minutes on high pressure.

  4. Natural Pressure Release: Once the cooking time is complete, allow the pressure cooker to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. This gradual release prevents the barley from becoming mushy.

  5. Quick Pressure Release: After 10 minutes of natural pressure release, carefully move the pressure release valve to the “venting” position to release any remaining pressure.

  6. Fluff and Serve: Open the lid of the pressure cooker and fluff the cooked barley with a fork. The barley should be tender and slightly chewy. Serve immediately or use in your desired recipes.

Cooking Time

The cooking time for pearl barley in a pressure cooker is typically 20 minutes on high pressure. This time may vary slightly depending on the type of pressure cooker used and the amount of barley being cooked.


  • For a firmer texture, reduce the cooking time to 18 minutes.
  • For a softer texture, increase the cooking time to 22 minutes.
  • If using hulled barley, which has a tougher outer layer, increase the cooking time to 25 minutes.
  • Add additional seasonings, such as herbs, spices, or bouillon cubes, to enhance the flavor of the barley.
  • Cooked pearl barley can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Cooking pearl barley in a pressure cooker is a quick and convenient method that yields perfectly cooked barley in just 20 minutes. By following these simple steps and adjusting the cooking time as needed, you can enjoy this nutritious and versatile grain in a variety of dishes.

Step by Step Method

Combine all ingredients in pressure cooker.

Cover and lock lid. Bring to pressure over high heat. Lower heat to stabilize pressure.

Cook for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and let pressure drop using quick-release method.

Unlock and remove lid. The barley should be slightly chewy. If it’s too tough, bring it to a simmer and cook, stirring, until it’s done.

Drain in a colander and use in your recipes.



How long does it take to cook 1 cup of pearl barley?

Combine one cup barley with three cups water and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. (Alternatively, use chicken stock or vegan broth.) Bring to a boil over high heat and lower to a simmer. Cook until barley is tender yet chewy, about 25–30 minutes for pearl barley, 40–50 for hulled barley.

Can you overcook pearled barley?

After you’ve measured it out, simply allow the barley to cook under a soft boil until the water is absorbed. This takes around 40 minutes. Once the barley has cooked fully, it will be soft yet chewy. Overcooked barley will become mushy, while undercooked may have a thicker and chewier texture.

Do I need to soak pearl barley before cooking?

Do you have to soak barley before cooking? Pearl barley does not need to be soaked prior to cooking because it cooks quickly. Hulled barley benefits from soaking in water for a few hours before cooking. However, you should still budget more time for the hulled grain to cook (about 35 to 40 minutes).

Does pearl barley double in size when cooked?

Add 1 cup of pearled barley to a pot with 2.5 cups of water or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook, covered, for 40-60 minutes. The barley is cooked when it’s nearly doubled in size and has a wonderful soft, chewy texture. Once cooked, fluff the grains, and set aside to cool.

How long does it take to cook barley in a pressure cooker?

Barley can take up to an hour to cook on the stovetop. But if you use a pressure cooker, it will only take 20-25 minutes of completely hands-off time (plus the time it takes to come to pressure). No stirring, just the instant pot working its magic while you live your life.

What is the nutrition value of pearl barley?

Barley is an excellent source of fiber. It also features a good amount of B vitamins, mineral salts such as phosphorus, copper, calcium and magnesium, proteins and even antioxidants. With all these nutrients, food helps prevent premature aging of cells, provides good doses of energy for the body and still keeps intestinal transit up to date.

Can you cook pearl barley in a pressure cooker?

Soaking No need if using an instant pot. You could soak it for 3-4 hours if using a normal pressure cooker. Stovetop – I recommend soaking barley grains overnight. Follow the same procedure by adding 4 cups of water to 1 cup of pearl barley and cook on a medium flame for over 40 minutes.

How do you cook pearl barley?

There are several different ways to cook pearl barley. I have found that the easiest way is to cook it on the stovetop (just like cooking rice) or in the Instant Pot (especially in the case of hulled barley). Bring three cups of water and one cup of rinsed and drained pearl barley to a boil in a pot.

Leave a Comment