How to Cook Barley in a Rice Cooker Perfectly Every Time

Did you know that your rice cooker can do more than just cook rice? If you’re looking for an easy and convenient way to cook barley, look no further than your trusty rice cooker pot. Barley is a nutritious grain that can be cooked in many ways, but using a rice cooker is one of the simplest methods.

Cooking barley in a rice cooker is as easy as cooking brown rice. Whether you’re using pot barley or pearl barley, all you need are a few ingredients and some water. The cooking time may vary depending on whether or not you soak the grains beforehand, but with a little trial and error, you’ll find the perfect method for your taste buds.

So why not give it a try? With the rise of instant pot cooking and other time-saving kitchen hacks, cooking grains like wheat and barley has never been easier. Plus, with the bran still intact, cooked barley is packed with fiber and nutrients that will keep you feeling full and satisfied for hours.

Barley is a tasty, healthy grain that has been traditionally used in soups and stews. However, it can also be cooked in a rice cooker to make an excellent side dish for any meal. Barley cooks much faster than other grains because of how small the individual barley kernels are. This article will show you how to cook barley in a rice cooker, and get perfect results every time!

But, before we consider the best way to cook barley – which is, of course, in a rice cooker, let’s look at some other ways you can cook this tasty, nutritious food.

Great River Organic Milling, Whole Grain, Whole Hulled Barley, Organic, 25-Pounds (Pack of 1)

Different Ways To Cook Barley

Barley can be cooked in several different ways to achieve tasty results. You can cook it on the stovetop, or you can use your rice cooker’s steam function (sorry, I couldn’t help myself – rice cookers are just so good for this task) for perfectly steamed barley every time! You can also use an instant pot, as we shall see. The difference between how each method performs is how much water and how long the cooking process takes.

Stove top cooking

Stove top burner igniting

This is the most common way to cook barley. It takes around 30-45 minutes depending on how long you soak the grains before cooking, and how finely ground your barley is. Bring two cups of water or broth per cup of grain to boil on high heat. Once boiling, stir in one cup of dried barley kernels slowly so as not to create any foam. Cook for 30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the barley kernels are tender, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

Steam cooking

Using your rice cooker’s steam function takes about half an hour instead of 45-60 like stovetop cooking does; however it requires much less liquid – just one cup per cup of dried barley kernels. This method is more suitable for flavorless, slightly sweet barley side dishes such as breakfast cereal or cake filler. If you want to cook the chewy kind of barley that tastes great in soup and stew recipes, follow the stovetop cooking instructions above instead!

Instant Pot

Barley can also be cooked in an Instant Pot. It takes the same amount of time as cooking barley on your stovetop, and requires twice as much water to cook properly. The only difference is how long you soak it before adding it into the pot – one hour for instant pot barley vs 30 minutes when using a rice cooker’s steaming function or the stovetop method.

How To Cook Barley Using Your Rice Cooker

Soaking barley for 30 minutes before cooking is a great way to control how chewy the kernels are. If you have time, soaking it overnight will give you even softer results. Once soaking is finished and your broth or water has come to a boil, add in one cup of dried barley kernels slowly.

Your rice cooker will automatically switch to the warm setting when the barley is finished cooking, so you don’t need to worry about overcooking and burning it! Once all your broth or water has been completely absorbed by the kernels, your tasty side dish is ready. Serve hot with butter for a fat free yet delicious meal that will fill you up and keep you satisfied.

What’s the difference between pearl, hulled and hull-less barley?

There are many different kinds of barley available in the world! Pearl, hulled and hull-less barley all have slightly different characteristics that make each of them unique. For example: how a kernel looks on the outside has everything to do with how it cooks up on the inside. I will now discuss each type’s differences so you can make an informed decision when shopping for barley.

Pearl Barley

Dry pearl barley on rustic background
Dry pearl barley

Pearl barley is available as regular, quick, or instant varieties and how quickly it cooks depends on how finely ground the kernels are! Make sure it has been soaked and steamed until the bran layer around each kernel is tender enough to be rubbed off with your fingers like you would a grain of rice. This makes it easier to digest, but how chewy or flavorful pearl barley will taste depends on how long it’s been processed from how long it’s been grown.

Hulled Barley

This is a tasty yet more time-consuming alternative to pearl barley that’s just as easy to prepare in your rice cooker. This type of grain has had most of the tough outer bran layer rubbed off like how pearl barley is prepared, but it can’t be removed by rubbing your fingers on each kernel. To remove the rest of this outer skin it’s soaked in water until softened enough to rub or peel away with a sharp knife – then ground into flour and ready for cooking!

Hull-less Barley

This is is how barley was eaten by humans for thousands of years before the agricultural revolution. It has no outer bran layer at all, so it’s very high in fiber and protein – full of nutrients that are great to include in your diet! Hull-less barley takes much longer than pearl or hulled varieties to cook up because there is nothing to soften its tough, chewy texture. This grain is soaked overnight before cooking to give it an extra soft mouthfeel that’s similar to how farro cooks up – just chew twice as much!

Is barley gluten-free?

Barley is naturally gluten-free, but how much of its total protein content will be absorbed into your body as a result of how processed it becomes? For example: how fine or coarsely ground barley kernels are changes how easily they absorb water and soften up when cooking – this has a lot to do with whether you’ll digest each kernel.

How To Cook Ramen in a Rice Cooker

To make how much gluten barley contains easier to understand, here’s how it works: the more finely ground kernels are – even if they’re hulled or pearl instead of hull-less – the harder each kernel is to digest. This means how easily your body absorbs its nutrients will depend on how long you soak and cook it in liquid before eating it.

Does barley make you gassy or bloated?

The short answer is, that it can. But, cooking it in plenty of water that’s been boiled before soaking will help your body digest each kernel more easily. Most people who are sensitive to how much flatulence their bodies create when eating this grain find they can eat pearl barley without experiencing any problems!

Woman suffers from menstrual pain

The amount of air that gets trapped inside barley kernels can also be reduced by grinding or pounding them into flour before cooking! Since hull-less grains are how the ancient Egyptians used to eat, they’ve been soaked in water for hours before being sprouted and cooked.

How much does barley expand when cooked?

Pearl barley will expand to more than three times its size when cooked. Hull-less and hulled varieties of this grain also grow quite a lot once they’re soaked in water until soft enough to pierce with your fingernail – very similar to how farro cooks up! If you prefer how chewy how hard, or crunchy your grains are, cooking barley over the stove in plenty of boiling water is a great way to do this.

Should I cook barley before adding to soups or stews?

Yes, how much easier it is to cook barley in a rice cooker instead of the stove will depend on how you plan to use or serve it. If cooking this grain for a soup recipe, add how many cups of boiling hot water the broth calls for and allow about an hour extra soaking time so each kernel can soften how much it swells up.

How many cups of water to use when cooking and how long to soak your barley will depend on how you plan to serve or eat it too: if using this grain for a salad, dip your fingers into the boiling water and rub them against each kernel before draining and adding how much cold water is recommended in your recipe.

How to Cook Pearl Barley in a Rice Cooker: Step-by-Step Instructions

Proctor Silex Rice Cooker & Food Steamer, 8 Cups Cooked (4 Cups Uncooked), White (37534NR)

Cooking pearl barley might seem like a bit of a chore, but with a rice cooker, the process becomes more manageable. This step-by-step guide will help you cook pearl barley in your rice cooker with ease.


  • 1 cup of rinsed and drained pearl barley
  • 2 cups of water or broth


  1. Rinse the pearl barley under cold running water until the water runs clear.
  2. Drain the rinsed pearl barley and add it to the rice cooker pot.
  3. Add two cups of water or broth to the pot.
  4. Close the lid of the rice cooker and set it on “cook” mode.
  5. Let it run until it switches off automatically.

It is essential to let the cooked barley sit for ten minutes before fluffing it with a fork.

Cooking pearl barley in a rice cooker is easy and convenient, making it an ideal option for busy individuals who want healthy meals without spending too much time cooking.

Here are some tips that will help you achieve perfectly cooked pearl barley every time:

Use The Right Amount Of Liquid

The amount of liquid used when cooking different grains varies depending on their texture and size. When cooking pearl barley in a rice cooker, use two cups of liquid per cup of rinsed and drained pearl barley.

Customize Your Flavors

Pearl barley has a mild flavor that pairs well with many herbs, spices, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and meats. You can customize your dish by adding your favorite ingredients to make it more flavorful.

How To Cook Glutinous Rice In Rice Cooker

Here are some examples:

  • For an Asian-inspired dish, add soy sauce, ginger, garlic powder, sesame seeds, green onions, carrots or bell peppers.
  • For a Mediterranean-inspired dish; add olive oil lemon juice or zest oregano feta cheese olives tomatoes cucumber red onion.
  • For a Mexican-inspired dish, add cumin, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, black beans, corn kernels, diced tomatoes or salsa.

Serving Ideas:

how to cook barley in a rice cooker

Barley is versatile and tasty. Personally, I like to add it to soups or stews for more flavor and nutrients or, I also use it as a side dish with vegetables or meat on top for extra protein.

How to Cook Pearled Barley in a Rice Cooker

Pearled barley can be soaked overnight before adding how much water is recommended in your recipe how many cups of boiling hot water the broth calls for how long to soak it and allow about an hour extra time before cooking. The remaining ingredients should then be added how many cups of boiling hot water the recipe calls for how long to soak barley how chewy how hard how crunchy your grains are soft enough so they won’t taste chalky or tough!

Is Barley Better than Rice?

To be honest, it depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for grain with a hearty flavor and a chewy texture, then barley is a great option. It’s also a good source of fiber and essential nutrients like iron and magnesium. On the other hand, rice is lighter and fluffier, making it a good choice if you’re looking for something that’s easy to digest. Rice is also a good source of complex carbohydrates, which can give you lasting energy throughout the day. So, which grain is better? It really depends on your personal preferences.


Have you ever cooked barley in a rice cooker? It’s a surprisingly easy process that results in a delicious, fluffy side dish. I’ve included instructions in this post on how to cook this hearty grain in your trusty rice cooker. If you have any recipes or tales involving cooking barley in your rice cooker, be sure to share them with us in the comments section. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re looking for a healthy and affordable alternative to rice, barley is an excellent choice. It’s packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can help improve your overall health. But cooking barley can be tricky, especially if you don’t have the right equipment.

Can You Use Other Types of Grains Besides Pearl Barley?

Yes! While pearl barley is the most common type of barley used for cooking, you can use other types of grains as well. Hulled barley has more bran than pearl barley and takes longer to cook. If you’re using hulled barley in a rice cooker, you may need to add more water or increase the cooking time.

How Much Liquid Should You Use When Cooking Pearl Barley?

The amount of liquid you need depends on how much pearl barley you’re cooking and how moist or dry you like it. As a general rule, use twice as much liquid as pearl barley. For example, if you’re cooking one cup of pearl barley, use two cups of water or broth.

Can You Add Seasonings or Spices While Cooking?

Yes! Adding seasonings or spices can help enhance the flavor of your cooked pearl barley. Here are some options:

  • Salt: Add 1/4 teaspoon salt per cup of uncooked pearl barley.
  • Herbs: Try adding fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary for extra flavor.
  • Spices: Cumin, paprika, and chili powder are all great options for adding spice to your cooked pearl barley.
  • Broth: Instead of using plain water when cooking your pearl barley, try using chicken or vegetable broth for added flavor.

When adding seasonings or spices to your cooked pearl barley, start with small amounts and taste as you go. You can always add more later if needed.

You Might Also Like

Eat Healthy & Lose Weight!

No way, it can’t be done right? I mean, eat great tasting food that helps you lose weight?

If it sounds too good to be true!

For a limited time, I’ve teamed up with the authors of best selling guide to cooking amazing Keto Bread that helps you lose weight.

Check out this fantastic weight loss method – yes, you can make most of the recipes in your rice cooker – and start 2023 on the right foot.