Split Pea Barley Soup Redux – For The Instant Pot

I’m going to work my way through some of my old recipes with my Instant Pot — which, by the way, I’m loving! Here’s one I made the other day: Split Pea Soup with Barley. Hearty and delicious.


I am using a 6 quart Instant Pot. This recipe makes about three quarts.

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Garlic, 2 cloves minced (1 TB)
  • Spanish onion, 1/2 large, petite diced
  • Carrots, 2 large, petite diced
  • Celery stalks, 2 large, petite diced
  • Salt, 2 tsp.
  • Cumin, 2 tsp.
  • Turmeric, 2 tsp.
  • Hot paprika, 1/2 tsp.
  • Water, 7 cups (for the lentils) + 2 more cups (for the barley)
  • Vinegar, 3 TB
  • Green split peas, 1 lb.
  • Barley, 1/2 cup
  • Cilantro, 1 bunch, chopped (sometimes I also use, or use instead, chopped kale or spinach or chard)


  1. Wash and prepare all the veggies and the garlic.
  2. Set the Instant Pot on Saute, and add the olive oil.
  3. Add the garlic and onion and saute briefly. Add the carrots and celery and continue to saute for a few moments.
  4. “Cancel” the Saute.
  5. Add the split peas to the Instant Pot, 7 cups of water, salt, cumin, turmeric, hot paprika and vinegar. Stir to mix all well.
  6. Close the lid of the Instant Pot and the vent. Set it to Pressure, High, for 20 minutes. I like to still see peas a bit, not have them totally disintegrated.
  7. Measure two cups of water. Rinse the barley, and add it to the 2 cups of water and set aside.
  8. Hit “Cancel” on the Instant Pot when finished. I usually do a QPR (Quick Pressure Release) so I can check on the state of the pot contents, not overcook. I can always Pressure more as needed. In this case, the split peas will not be finished because they’re going to cook more with the barley.
  9. Add the barley and water mixture to the soup, stirring it in. Set the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 10 minutes.
  10. This time when finished, don’t hit “Cancel.” You can do a regular pressure release (until you’re in a hurry to taste), letting the pot contents cook a little more as the pressure subsides. The pot will go to holding Warm.
  11. Stir, and check the liquid content and seasoning. Add more water if you need it and adjust seasonings as needed.
  12. I like my split peas and barley to retain some texture, but if you like everything softer and have a glass lid, you can put on the lid and let the Instant Pot continue to keep the soup warm, or you can Cancel and set the Pot to Saute with the lid on while you watch. With the latter, you need to stir fairly frequently to avoid browning on the bottom.  You can also set the Pot to Pressure on High for another 2-5 minutes (remember, there is cooking time before and after the Pressure time as pressure builds, then subsides).
  13. When the soup is finished, stir in the chopped cilantro.

I gave detailed instructions here, but this is soooooo easy. Basically it’s a matter of five minutes veggie prep time, five minutes Saute time, adding the split peas and their water along with the vinegar and seasonings and Pressuring for 20 minutes, then adding the barley and its water and Pressuring for another 10 minutes, checking it out and adjusting and adding the cilantro.

“Give peas a chance.”

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12 thoughts on “Split Pea Barley Soup Redux – For The Instant Pot

  • March 14, 2018 at 11:58 am

    Leslie, I loved this the first time you posted it. SO flavorful and easy to make! I will love it even more now with my Instant Pot! Thank you, thank you!

    • March 14, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      You’re so welcome! My Instant Pot has become indispensable. Best of all, I’ll be able to take it camping this summer. Hope all is well.

  • May 28, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    What kind of vinegar. Looks good and want to try it!

    • May 29, 2018 at 6:05 am

      Hi Michelle – I use plain old white vinegar, but apple cider vinegar would be fine too. Hope you enjoy it!

  • November 30, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    Love this soup, delicious. Thank you for a great recipe

    • December 1, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      Glad you like it, Lynda! I’m just making the Red Lentil. You might like that one too — also super easy and similar to the Split Pea in terms of process. I haven’t written it up for the Instant Pot yet, but I think you could pretty much prepare and sauté the veggies, then dump everything else into the pot with them and Pressure Cook on High for 30 minutes or so.

  • January 27, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Does adding vinegar to the recipe make it taste sour and tangy?

    • January 27, 2019 at 11:45 pm

      Hi Vivian — I would say no, not sour, not that small amount. It gives it a fuller, more interesting flavor. Without it, it seems bland to my tastebuds, missing something.

  • June 17, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    I made this delicious soup tonight. Came out great. I added a bit of fresh lemon juice at the end. Happy I found this recipe.

    • June 17, 2019 at 6:23 pm

      Glad you liked it, Janie! It’s the soup my sister always requests when I ask what soup I should make. 😉

  • October 2, 2019 at 7:25 am

    Is there a recipe for this soup without an instant pot/pressure cooker?


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