barley in a rice cooker

How to cook barley in a rice cooker?

Cooking rice using a rice cooker is a modern yet simple method. Once you turn it on, your rice starts to cook immediately, and when ready, it automatically shuts off. With this method, you don’t have to worry about your rice overcooking or burning. 
You can cook any type of rice, including hard brown rice, which takes hours to be ready. Without a doubt, this device is a vital piece of kitchen cutlery.
There are times you may want a change of menu and instead of rice, you’d wish to prepare a meal of barley. No problem since barley is rich in protein and fiber that’s useful for the body. It’s similar to brown rice since it has a rough texture, unlike rice.
It may take time to cook in an ordinary stove since it’s hard, fortunately, cooking with a rice cooker is pure bliss. Below here, we’ll look at how to cook barley in a rice cooker. Read on.

Get the ingredients…

barley in rice cooker

You’ll need the following things for cooking barley in a rice cooker
· Rice cooker
· Barley
· Water
· Wooden spoon
· Strainer
· clean bowl
· Salt
The quantity of barley will depend on your requirements. However, it’s important to note that there are many types of barley, which we shall highlight shortly. Some types have a tough cover and not suitable for consumption in their raw form. It’s essential to remove the cover before cooking.
Hulled barley or groats, as it’s popularly known as whole grain and doesn’t contain the hard shell. Hulled barley in a rice cooker may take longer to cook, up to one hour.
There is the type of barley where the shell is loose and falls quickly. The barley grits have the shell which you must remove.
Once the shell is out, now you can cut it into a tiny piece. The barley flakes are rolled and usually require some steam, then rolling and drying. These will just require a little steam since they cook pretty fast. 
Barley flour is useful in baking and thickening soups due to the gluten content. On the other hand, Pearl barley is fine since it doesn’t contain the hard shell. Cooking is faster when you compare to other types of barley.
There’s also the question of how to cook pearl barley in a rice cooker. The Quick pearl barley is cooked a little bit and dried. Cooking too is easier and faster although it’s not whole grain. Therefore, pearl barley in rice cooker will cook pretty fast.

Soaking the barley

Depending on the type of rice cooker barley, you may need to soak it before cooking to tenderize it. If you are using pearl barley, there’ll be no need to soak it before cooking. However, for pot barley, you may need to soak it in cold water overnight.

Rinse the barley

Before you cook barley in rice cooker, it’s important to clean the barley thoroughly in clean water. This step is important since it helps in getting rid of dirt from the barley. Next, using a strainer, drip the water completely from the barley.

Measure the ratio of water 

The ratio of water will depend on the type of barley. Remember, some barley types are pre-cooked such as Quick barley that will cook pretty fast. For this, you don’t need to use a lot of water. However, brown barley will take time to cook and thus will need more water.
For pearl barley, you’ll need two cups of water for every cup of barley. For brown barley, you’ll need 2.5 cups of water in the pot for every cup of barley.
If you’d like to soak the barley before cooking, the ratio of water will not change. A lot of water may cause the barley to become soggy and may stick on the pot. Subsequently, it can burn.

Add salt and any flavors

After adding water, add a pinch of salt to taste. Since barley substitutes rice in many dishes, you can add some flavor to taste. You can spice with some bit of cinnamon and complement wit berries and raisins. However, since barley takes time to cook as when you compare to rice, you may add the flavors later when almost ready,

Cooking barley in a rice cooker

For you to cook barley in rice cooker, place it in the cooking pot and add the water. Stir evenly and close the top lid. Turn on the cooker and allow it to cook. If you have soaked your barley overnight, then it’ll take less time to cook. It can take between 10 to 15 minutes.
To prevent any grains of barley from burning, ensure all the grains are in the water. If there is any spillover, wipe with a cloth before turning on the rice cooker. Push back the grain above water into the cooker using a plastic or wooden spoon. 
There may be no need to stir while cooking using a rice cooker since it’s not advisable to lift off the lid before the start button clicks.
Since the rice cooker is automatic, allow the barley to cook until the button turns to a warm mood. Next, open the top lid and using gloves, remove the pot. 
After that, allow the barley to stay still while in the pot for around 15 minutes. Allowing the barley to rest also helps in getting the best texture. Use a fork to fluff the cooked barley and serve in a bowl. You can also use a wooden spatula to fluff the barley before serving. Now the barley is ready to serve with your preferred reciper .


Can you cook barley in a rice cooker and it comes out fine? Cooking is not always perfect irrespective of whether you’re using a stove or a rice cooker. Today you may cook the barley, and the result is fantastic. Other times the barley may undercook, overcook or burn. It’s important to know how to address the problems that you may encounter while cooking the barley. These are known as troubleshoots, and this is how to address the problems.

Hard outer cover

Cooking barley in a rice cooker may get complicated of the cover is hard. Freshly harvested barley may contain a hardcover, which may cause it to cook slowly. The outer cover is hard, and therefore it’s essential to have it removed.  

Most people know how to cook barley rice since they will soak the barley overnight to soften it. In this case, ensure to observe the best ratio to prevent it from overcooking. Unlike pearled barley rice cooker, hulled barley may take some time to cook.


Cooking barley in rice cooker is easy however, your barley may undercook. Even after letting your cooked barley remain in the pot for 15 minutes after cooking, you may realize the texture is dry and chewy. 
In this case, transfer the cooked barley into an ordinary pot, add a little water, and cook it on the stovetop on low heat for a few minutes till it becomes soft. 
However, to prevent such an occurrence next time, increase the water ratio 30 – 60 ml per every cup.   


Some people may not have an idea of how to cook barley in a rice cooker. It can be rather disappointing for your barley to burning. It can change the taste, and if you have guests, it can be embarrassing serving them with burned barley. 
Burning of barley happens when you leave the rice cooker in the warming mode. Burning may occur on the sides and at the bottom. 
If you notice a burning smell and the warming light goes on after clicking remove the barley from the cooker. If you allow the barley to remain inside the cooker, the burning will exceed, and the smell may make the barley to be not edible.

Overcooked rice

Sometimes you may wonder how to cook pearled barley in a rice cooker to prevent overcooking. Your barley may overcook if the ratio of water to the quantity of barley didn’t balance. Broken and freshly harvested barley may also overcook. Throwing away barley for the simple reason it’s overcooked is not a better option. 
If mushy the barley, you can fry to hide the mushiness and reducing the moisture. You can also use it to make a sweet dessert or add to soup for thickening. Another option is to make your baby’s food, and due to high fiber content, it’ll be a nutritious meal. In how to cook pearled barley, you may add some bits of creativity; you can still use the barley to prepare delicious meatballs.


After cooking barley, rice cooker may come out wet with traces of residual water. When this happens, it’s an indicator your cooker is faulty and requires replacement. Alternatively, you can check if it needs some quick repairs, which will save you money.
In such a situation, prepare barley by draining the water and eat the barley in that texture if you so wish. However, if need be, you can dry turn it on the cooker or stove. Also, you continue cooking until you get your preferred texture so long as it won’t overcook. 


How to make barley cook fast in a rice cooker is an easy task. However, it requires patience since barley can take longer to cook. Soaking overnight helps in softening and shortens the cooking time. Before you start to cook, it’s essential to check on the status of your rice cooker to prevent the barley from burning. Also, using the right amount of water prevents the barley rice from undercooking or overcooking. It’s essential to understand the type of barley before cooking to get the best result.

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