Mushroom Barley Risotto [Instant Pot]

Meet the newest member of our clan, Toby! His first day at home has been filled with romps around the snow-filled yard, naps in various parts of the house, and an excessive amount of snuggles. We are in HEAVEN!  For those who read the blog, Toby has not yet met Truffles and Cheese (our two cats), as they are currently taking a secluded vacation on our second floor for a few days while he adjusts and settles in.

toby golden doodle puppy

Now that we have this adorable puppy I anticipate he will find his way into posts more often. Hope that’s OK!

The recipe below is one that we made to serve with the chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. The flavors in this risotto didn’t quite stand up to that of the chicken, but then again, it’s hard to compete with freshly roasted garlic.  

mushroom barley risotto instant pot 2

One thing that has been challenging for me with Instant Pots is that the lid must remain firmly sealed throughout the cooking process so as to not disturb the pressure. That means no mid-meal tasting, stirring, or adjusting. Torture!  Also, it’s important to note that the cooking times listed below are a bit off, as the Instant Pot first needs to pre-heat before cooking on the multigrain setting for 18 minutes. So, the time in the instant pot ended up closer to 25 minutes or so.  I did adjust for that in the overall cook time estimate below.

Lastly, this dish truly takes on the flavor of the stock that you use.  The original recipe called for veggie stock but I personally don’t love the flavor of it. Next time I’ll definitely go with chicken stock. 

Mushroom Barley Risotto

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Print

Creamy barley based risotto filled with mushrooms and of course some cheese!


  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup pearled barley, rinsed
  • 2 heaping cups mushrooms, chopped [Note: white are fine, but shiitake or cremini would be delicious as well]
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2.5 cups stock (I prefer chicken)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Steps & Notes:

  1. Using the ‘Saute’ mode, cook the onions and garlic in 1 tablespoon of butter for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sprinkle them with salt then cook for 1-2 more minutes. Then, add the celery and barley and stir until coated.
  2. Next, add the stock, and some salt and pepper. Adjust the Instant Pot to ‘Pressure Cook’ mode setting it to 16 minutes.
  3. Once done, release the pressure and open the lid.
  4. Bring it back to the ‘saute’ mode on low and add the cheese, parsley, and a bit more fresh black pepper to taste. 
    1. Note: there will be some liquid when you first open the lid but after mixing in the cheese and sauteing for 2 minutes it will come together
  5. Serve warm!

Possible Modifications:

  • Swap the onions for leeks.
  • Experiment with the cook time – I found that 16 minutes made a nice ‘al dante’ barley, but I could see this being nice for longer as well.




  1. mistimaan · · Reply

    Nice recipe


  2. Toby is adorable, and I hope to see him more often, as well as the kitties. Love the recipe!


  3. What a cutie pie 🙂 Toby is so precious and so adorable. I am sure Truffles and Cheese will love him.
    Great recipe ! sounds amazing. Those instant pot’s certainly seem like a pleasure. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lynne! We are loving him SO much. The cats are still a bit hesitant but I think they will come around with time. He is also so gentle. Also, do you have an instant pot? I’ve had to learn a lot but overall enjoy it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your cats definitely will come around. The more they are all together, the better, so everyone can get used to one another.
        I actually do not have an Instant Pot, but honestly have heard so much about them. All good things of course. 🙂


  4. When I followed this recipe it looked nothing like the outcome here. The barley was swimming in liquid and it was nothing like risotto– more like boiled barley. With risotto in the Instant Pot, I use 2.5 or 2.66 times the arborio rice to get a texture and creaminess I like. Can you help me troubleshoot this recipe? I love barley and want to try to get the amounts close. Should I try the same proportion of liquid to grain with barley as I do with arborio rice? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the note! I will try it out again and get back to you. I am using an instant pot ultra. What kind is yours?


      1. I’m using a 6-qt Instant Pot Ultra as well. I got great results using a 2.5:1 ratio of broth to barley– much more like risotto with creaminess and just a little loose broth between the grains. I’m thinking the the type of barley is the issue– the stuff I got was the Bob’s Red Mill Pearl Barley ( and it looks different than other types of pearl barley; more whole and less polished/pearled/cut down. I think that may have been part of the problem. I found another recipe that suggested 25 minutes cooking time for pearl barley, and that worked as well. So I did 25 minutes at high pressure at a 2.50:1 ratio to get a result that looks like yours.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you again for the feedback. I have continued to play around with this recipe and you are right that the original had a typo and was too watery! I have revised the notes here to include 2 cups of mushrooms, 1 cup of barley, and 2.5 cups of stock cooked on the pressure cook feature for 16 minutes. The barley was still somewhat ‘al dante’ so I will continue to play around with cook time.


      3. I tried this recipe using the Bob’s Red Mill Barley and a 6 quart Instant Pot, and it came out way too watery and undercooked at first too. After I found this comment, I added another 9 minutes under high pressure, and it came out much better. The barley still had some firmness to it, but it was still a little runny. I think I’ll try 25 minutes next time and be a little more diligent in straining/cooking off any extra liquid from the mushrooms, onions, and rinsed barley.


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  6. Joye Newman · · Reply

    If I want to double the recipe, what do I need to alter from th original recipe?


  7. Joye Newman · · Reply

    Also, can I make ahead and refrigerate?


  8. Patty Lewinski · · Reply

    I’ve made this many times. I use white button and shittake mushrooms, mushroom broth, a little beef “better than bouilon” ,leeks, olive oil /16 min. Once I do open it, if there’s too much liquid left I’ll turn the saute on until it thickens then I add canned full fat coconut milk to taste/ consistency. No cheese needed. It’s amazing!


  9. Katie Blackwell · · Reply

    I just made this recipe and it turned out great. I’m curious though – the ingredient list calls for 3tbsp of butter, but only 1 tbsp is called for in the directions. Am I missing something?


    1. Thank you for this observation! I will review the recipe and adjust. Did you use 1 tablespoon or 3? And I’m so glad you enjoyed it.


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  14. I made this today with dried oyster mushrooms and avocado oil instead of butter, and it did not even need the parmesan. It was perfect! I cooked 18 minutes high pressure. I live at 7000 feet which does need more time than lower elevation. A definite keeper recipe.
    Served with cast iron grilled halibut – a great meal.

    Liked by 1 person

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