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Beef and barley pilaf (beef plov) is a deliciously hearty dish cooked in Instant Pot in less than 1 hour! The barley comes out bursting with flavor thanks to the beef and vegetables. Not to mention the melt in your mouth tender beef!! Satisfying, yet healthy this hearty barley pilaf is a pure comfort!

Beef and barley pilaf (beef plov) is a delicious and hearty dish cooked in Instant Pot in less than 1 hour! #InstantPotDinner #hulledbarley #barleypilaf

Let’s cook some hearty barley pilaf together!

You know, we LOVE barley around here! It’s healthy and delicious alternative to white rice. And I’m so excited to share with you one of our favorite barley dishes! It’s a spin off of my childhood favorite, beef plov, but instead of rice, we’re using barley! 

Beef and barley are simply perfect together, and this dish is no exception!

Beginner Instant Pot users, start here ->> Beginners guide to your Instant Pot. I have some great tips to help you with your Instant Pot journey.

Barley Pilaf Ingredients

This beef and barley pilaf comes together with some basic pantry staples and stewing meat of your choice. Here’re some pointers for some of the ingredients:

Simple ingredients for beef and barley pilaf cooked in Instant Pot. #InstantPotDinner #hulledbarley #barleypilaf


  • I prefer hulled barley for couple of reasons. First of all, it’s less processed and more nutritious due to the outer hull still being intact. And hulled barley requires slightly longer cooking time, and it works perfectly in this recipe to ensure melt-in-your-mouth tender meat. You can learn more about barley and other grains, in my Grains 101 guide. 
  • You can replace barley with brown rice too. No need to change cooking time or anything!


  • I would recommend fattier meat like beef chuck, but you can also try tri-tip or stew meat. It all depends on how tender you prefer your meat.

How to Make this Pilaf:

  • Step 1. Season the beef and sear in Instant Pot until nice and brown. Transfer onto a clean plate.
  • Step 2. Add onions and carrots and sauté for a little bit. Deglaze the pan as well.
  • Step 3. Add beef, barley and place sliced garlic head into the barley.
  • Step 4. Pour in the broth and set the pot for 25 minutes on high.
  • Step 5. Allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes. And then serve!
Step by step photos for Instant Pot beef and barley pilaf (beef plov). #InstantPotDinner #hulledbarley #barleypilaf

What else can I add to this recipe?

Though this barley pilaf is perfect as is, you can always change things up by incorporating different vegetables. For example,

  • Use different vegetables. For example, broccoli and cauliflower are great in this recipe.
  • Swap out barley for brown rice without changing anything else. It’s just as delicious!
  • Spice it up with curry powder or sriracha. 

Beef and barley pilaf (beef plov) is a delicious and hearty dish cooked in Instant Pot in less than 1 hour! #InstantPotDinner #hulledbarley #barleypilaf

Can I meal prep this pilaf?

  • Definitely! You’ll save precious minutes if you chop the vegetables on a weekend. Then, all you need to do is start cooking right away!

Can I store and freeze beef plov?

This dish stores and reheats beautifully, so make up an extra batch or two (it freezes well too!) for those extra busy evenings.


  • Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat the beef plov in the microwave with a tablespoon of water, covered, with a small opening for venting, for 2 minutes.


  • If you want to freeze this dish, allow it to cool in the fridge in an airtight container. Then transfer it into freezer for no longer than 3 months.

If you love barley as much as we do, you should definitely try these following recipes!

Beef and barley pilaf (beef plov) is a delicious and hearty dish cooked in Instant Pot in less than 1 hour! #InstantPotDinner #hulledbarley #barleypilaf

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! Let me know once you’ve tried it by leaving a comment below or sharing a photo and tagging @busy_cooks on Instagram!

Beef and barley pilaf (beef plov) is a delicious and hearty dish cooked in Instant Pot in less than 1 hour! #InstantPotDinner #hulledbarley #barleypilaf

Beef and Barley Pilaf

Beef and barley pilaf is a delicious and hearty dish cooked in Instant Pot in less than 1 hour! Step by step photos and meal prep tips are included.


  • 1 ½ cups hulled barley, Note 1
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 lb stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes (Note 2)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ onion, diced, optional
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 ½ cups water, or beef broth
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional


  • Instant Pot


  • Set Instant Pot to “sauté” on high heat.
  • Meanwhile, rinse the barley by placing it in a mesh sieve and rinse under running cold water. Drain well.
  • Once the Instant Pot display reads “HOT”, add oil and heat it for a minute.
  • Meanwhile, season the meat with all salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and paprika.
  • Add beef in a single layer and brown on all sides, 3-4 minutes. Remove the meat onto a clean plate.
  • Add onion and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. (If the pan is too dry and vegetables are sticking on the bottom, add ¼ cup of water to deglaze the pan.)
  • Hit the “cancel” button to turn off the “Sauté” function.
  • Add beef back in and mix with vegetables. Make sure there’s nothing stuck on the bottom. Deglaze the pot by adding ¼ cup of water and scraping the bottom well, if needed.
  • Add barley over the meat and vegetables. Do NOT stir, just smooth the top evenly.
  • Place the garlic head cut side down and push it slightly into the barley.
  • Gently pour in beef broth.
  • Cover the pot, make sure the valve is set to “sealing” and set the Instant Pot for Manual/Pressure Cook for 25 minutes on high. (Note: It took about 11 minutes for my Instant Pot to come to pressure.)
  • Once the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes, and then carefully turn the valve to venting. Once the pin drops, carefully open the lid.
  • Using a pair of kitchen tongs, remove the garlic head, squeeze the soft garlic meat into the pilaf.
  • Fluff the barley pilaf with a wooden spoon, or fork. Don’t worry if you see some liquid, it’ll be soaked up.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired, and serve.


Note 1: I don’t recommend pearl barley, as it cooks faster and therefore meat won’t have sufficient cook time. You may substitute brown rice for barley though.
Note 2: Chuck roast is also a great alternative to stew meat.
This recipe has been tested in my favorite Instant Pot DUO 6qt.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 325kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 47mg, Sodium: 1231mg, Potassium: 544mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 3489IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 41mg, Iron: 3mg
All images and text ©. Disclaimer: Nutritional information is estimate only. Read full disclosure here.

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