Experiments in Cooking

Barley Risotto in IP

My whole family likes barley risotto way more than regular risotto. I was happy to be able to make it in the Instant Pot!

This recipe leaves you with a few tbsp of liquid remaining in the pot. I like it that way, but feel free to simmer after releasing pressure if you want it all gone. Cooking risotto in the IP removes the need to constantly stir it. It comes out perfectly al dente.


  • 3/4 cup pearl barley – soaked for 4-6 hours.
  • 1 – 1.5 cup beef stock [vegetable broth if making vegetarian/vegan]
  • 3 oz white wine or sake [if not available, increase beef stock by 3 oz]
  • 1/2 yellow onion or 1 shallot – finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic – sliced thin
  • two handfuls of baby spinach leaves – coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, or other wild mushroom), reconstituted in 1/2 cup water,
    • – or –  1/2 cup fresh shiitake, sliced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 stems scallions- thinly sliced whites & greens
  • fresh herbs- 2 sage leaves, 6 parsley leaves, 2” stem oregano
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil [if vegan] or butter


  1. With the IP in Saute mode, add oil/butter to the insert.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, stir well, then add the onions.
  3. Stir only as needed to keep from burning.
  4. When the onions start turning brown, add the mushrooms (see following notes). Turn off the IP.
    • If using dehydrated mushrooms, soak them in 1/2 cup hot water for 10 minutes, squeeze (save the water), and add to pot.
    • If using fresh mushrooms, add straight to pot.
  5. Add either 1.5 cups of beef broth, or the remaining (less than 1/2 cup) mushroom water, and enough beef broth to bring the volume to 1.5 cups.
  6. Add salt & the wine/sake to the pot. Add the herbs. Mix well.
  7. Coarsely chop the spinach and add on top. Do not mix.
  8. Close the IP and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Natural release.
  9. Add the balsamic vinegar & scallion. Mix well. Adjust salt to taste.

We ate our risotto with grilled pork tenderloin, and it made an amazing meal!