This Pearl Barley Cranberry Pilaf in Instant Pot is a perfect side dish recipe to make during the holidays. Make it for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and serve it with turkey or ham for a wonderful meal that everyone will love.
What is barley?
Barley is one of the earliest known cereals to be cultivated, and it was used mainly to make bread and beer. It is a staple in many countries around the world, especially in regions where the weather is too cold for wheat to grow.
It is high in starch but low in gluten, which means that bread made with barley flour is heavier and flatter than bread made with regular wheat flour.
However, the grain's main modern use is used as a basic ingredient in malting and beer brewing.
Barley is sold in two forms. Hulled barley (also known as pot barley) and pearl barley.
Hulled barley is minimally processed to remove only the tough inedible outer hull. It is considered a whole grain, and it takes a long time to cook.
Pearl barley has been polished, or “pearled,” in order to remove some of the outer bran layers along with the hull. Most of the barley found in the supermarket is pearl barley.
It is a refined grain but much healthier than other refined grains because some of the bran may still be present. It also has a good amount of fiber. Pearl barley cooks faster than hulled barley.
Both types of barley are used in soups, broths, and stews. Pearl barley can be boiled and served as an alternative to rice.
It has a chewy, nutty texture, and it is absolutely delicious. The easiest way to cook pearl barley is either on the stove, the same way you would cook rice, or in the Instant Pot, as we will do today.
Why use the Instant Pot?
During the holidays, we all know that the kitchen gets really busy, and there is never enough space in the oven or stove to cook all the dishes we need/want to make.
An Instant Pot can save a lot of time and also space, as it cooks food way faster than your stove, slow cooker, or oven.
For example, in less than 30 minutes, this barley with cranberries is ready to serve.
- Uncooked Pearl Barley - Make sure that when you buy barley, you go for the pearled one. Otherwise, the cooking time will be very different, as the hulled barley cooks longer.
- Chicken or vegetable broth - You can choose what you like. There is no right or wrong here. If you do not have broth, just add water and some salt.
- Onions - I used regular onion here.
- Dried cranberries - These berries are festive, but craisins or raisins are good as well.
- Toasted slivered almonds - you can replace them with pecans, in case you don't have almonds.
How to make
Step 1. Rinse the barley thoroughly to get rid of the starches and prevent sticking. The better you rinse, the less sticky the barley will be.
Step 2. Place barley, chopped onion, and dried cranberries in the Instant Pot.
Step 3. Add chicken or vegetable stock. Seal the lid and make sure the steam valve is in a sealed position. Set the pot on high pressure (pressure cook ) for 20 minutes.
Step 4. Let Instant Pot naturally release for 15 minutes, then carefully turn the vent to quick release. Remove the lid, add the almonds and fluff the barley with a fork.
Serve warm as a side dish.
How to store leftovers
I really hope you do not have leftovers because it is a super delicious side dish. However, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to three days in an airtight container. Warm it up on the stove, by adding a tablespoon of water or in the microwave.
More recipes to love
Check out the web story for this recipe: Pearl Barley With Cranberry And Almonds Pilaf (Instant Pot)
Pearl Barley Cranberry Pilaf In Instant Pot
- 1 cup pearl barley uncooked
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 medium onion
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds toasted
- Rinse the barley thoroughly to get rid of the starches and prevent sticking.
- Place barley, onion, dried cranberries, and broth in the Instant Pot. Seal the lid and make sure the steam valve is in a sealed position. Set the pot on high pressure (pressure cook ) for 20 minutes.
- Let Instant Pot naturally release for 15 minutes, then carefully turn the vent to quick release. Remove the lid, add the almonds and fluff the barley with a fork.
- Serve warm.
- Uncooked Pearl Barley – Make sure that when you buy barley, you go for the pearled one. Otherwise, the cooking time will be very different, as the hulled barley cooks longer.
- Chicken or vegetable broth – You can choose what you like. If you do not have broth, just add water and some salt.
- Onions – I used regular yellow onions, but white or red are also OK.
- Dried cranberries – These berries are festive, but craisins or raisins are good as well.