The BEST Instant Pot Vegetable Soup {Freezer Meal}

This Instant Pot Vegetable Soup is filled to the brim with hearty vegetables, black beans, and barley. It provides the nutrition you need this winter to boost your immune system and fight off sickness plus amazing taste that will make you want to lick the bowl clean.

Why is this the very best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup, you ask?

For starters, you’ll slurp up the very best healthy, vegetable-based foods that are filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and more PLUS enjoy incredible taste in one bowl. I have a hard time stopping eating this soup…but, hey, that’s not a bad problem to have when it’s this good for you! I love that it’s filling and will satisfy even the meat-lover in your life. (I’m looking at you, hubs).

The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

You’ll begin building flavor with the classic combination of sautéed onions, celery, carrots, and garlic, which you’ll season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. The red pepper adds a hint of heat in the background that helps to clear the sinuses. (At the end, you’ll stir in kale, which melts into the soup adding the nutritional powerhouse of greens but not adversely affecting the taste.)

The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

Then, you’ll throw in vegetable broth (I prefer organic) and fire-roasted tomatoes into the Instant Pot. Fire-roasted tomatoes are my go-to type in soups, because they have a notably more complex flavor than just regular ole diced tomatoes. They add in Vitamin C, fiber, and are an excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene, which is shown to help lower the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and macular degeneration (poor eyesight as you get older). Whoop-whoop!

The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

Heartiness and fiber comes from the black beans and barley in this vegetable soup. At the store, look for pearl barley, which is one of the cheapest whole grains you can find. I found it in the bulk bin in the health food section. The barley holds its texture well in the soup, which surprised me the first time I tested this. It’s does much better than pasta or orzo, which can get mushy pretty quickly. I am officially a pearl barley fan.

The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

Lastly, bay leaves and the coveted Parmesan rind (the outside edge of a Parmesan wedge) take this brothy soup to new horizons. Vegans can omit the optional Parmesan rind, but it sure adds depth to the soup that’s hard to replicate. Just ask the cheese counter to cut you off a piece of rind, if you don’t want to invest in a wedge. Mine was less than $2.

The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

Time to fill your pot and get cooking the BEST Instant Pot vegetable soup, in my humble opinion. Bonus: you can freeze this soup in small quantities after it’s done to warm up for quick, healthy lunches in the future, too.

The Best Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

The BEST Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 19 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 minutes
  • Yield: 68 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American


This Instant Pot Vegetable Soup is filled to the brim with hearty vegetables, black beans, and barley. It provides the nutrition you need this winter to boost your immune system and fight off sickness plus amazing taste that will make you want to lick the bowl clean.


  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 34 celery ribs, sliced
  • 34 medium carrots, sliced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 quart (32 ounces) all-natural vegetable broth (sub: chicken broth)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ⅓ cup pearl barley (sub: 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 1 (2-3 inch) Parmesan rind*
  • 23 cups chopped kale, packed (sub: chopped baby spinach)
  • Optional Toppings: grated Parmesan cheese*, fresh chopped parsley

*omit if making a Dairy-Free version


  1. Turn on the Saute function and heat the oil. Saute the onions, celery, and carrots, stirring frequently, until the vegetables softened, about 5-7 minutes. Season with kosher salt and black pepper, to taste, as they cook. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes the last 30-60 seconds.
  2. Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, barley, bay, and Parm rind, and stir to combine.(Option 1 freezing instructions begin here.) 
  3. Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 7 minutes at high pressure and use a quick release when done. Remove the bay leaves and Parm rind (or leave the rind to add more flavor as it sits, if you want). 
  4. Stir in the kale and let it sit for about 3-5 minutes, until softened. Taste and adjust salt and pepper amounts, to taste. 
  5. Serve warm in individual bowls, and top with Parmesan cheese and parsley as desired.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-2. Transfer the uncooked soup to a gallon-sized freezer bag or round container. Seal and freeze. Tip: Place freezer bag in a bowl until frozen to freeze in the shape of the Instant Pot.

Prepare From Frozen: Turn on the Sauté function. Sauté the frozen soup for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press Cancel. Lock and seal the lid. Cook for 12-15 minutes at high pressure and use a quick release. Follow Steps 4-5.

Fully Cook and Freeze Instructions: You can also fully cook this soup, freeze in small portions for individual meals, and rewarm in the microwave or stove top. Or you can fully cook it, freeze the whole recipe in a round container or freezer bag, and then rewarm in the Instant Pot from frozen by sautéing for 5 minutes and then cooking at high pressure for 5 minutes with a quick release. Tip: Place the freezer bag in a round container in the freezer until it freezes in the shape of the Instant Pot.

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  1. Mireille says

    does the parmesan rind do something different than regular parmesan would do? I wouldn’t know where to get just rind here in Canada…

    • Rachel says

      It’s an optional flavor add-in. If you have a cheese or deli meats counter at your grocery store, you could ask them to cut you off a piece. Or just buy a small wedge of fresh parmesan and cut the end/rind off. But, if you can’t find it, it would still be delicious to sprinkle Parmesan on top at the end.

  2. Christine says

    How long do I cook everything if I don’t have an instant pot? Looks delicious and will be nice to have something that isn’t a heavy holiday meal!

    • Rachel says

      You can cook this on the stove for 15-20 minutes, or until the pearl barley is tender, and stir in the kale at the end. I hope that helps!

      • Christine says

        It does! Thank you