If I did nothing else with my instant pot besides this smoky honey cilantro chicken and this carnitas, it would be just fine and totally worth every dollar.  This is one of my favorite easy, macro-friendly proteins to have lying around for quick meals.  That don’t taste quick! That’s the key.

Instant Pot Honey Cilantro Chicken www.lillieeatsandtells.com

We probably do something Mexican like 2 or three times a week in our house. It can always be so customizable to fit even my pickiest eaters.  AND that means I can pile everything high with cilantro.  And from the very beginning of macros, it always seemed like the one fool-proof kind of meal to feed my family that was normal for them, but could always work for me too.

Instant Pot Honey Cilantro Chicken www.lillieeatsandtells.com

I learned quickly that things could taste surprisingly good, even when they weren’t slathered in cheese, sour cream, and guac.  But I also learned that when the protein is high in fat, it kind of controls the rest of the meal and even the day for me.  As much as I’d loved pork butt, and beef and other fatty meats, it quickly lost it’s value to me when I realized it would knock out any room for yummy toppings or even for a third or fourth taco. And of course the aftermath of eating a reasonable portion of fattier mean–being stuck with a bunch of protein and no fat at the end of the night–  is never that exciting. #eggwhites

Can we hashtag over here in blogging land? You get it.

Anyway this is the PERFECT meat for pretty much anything Mexican… the other night we just did the obvious, piled in tacos…

Instant Pot Honey Cilantro Chicken www.lillieeatsandtells.com

But it’s great for tostadas like these ones... in place of the carnitas…

Salsa Verde Carnitas on Tostadas- macro friendly and so delicious! www.lillieeatsandtells.com

OH and especially good on these SHOCKINGLY macro friendly lavash wrap nachos. 

A totally macro-friendly personal 9x13 of Nachos for 575 calories!

I even like to keep it on hand so that if I do make carne asada or tri tip for my family… or even ground turkey (we like the normal lean instead of super lean which means it’s definitely got more fat than chicken!)… I can supplement with this if I’m running low on fats, but still eat with my family. It’s like my secret weapon. But it’s not a secret anymore…  EnJOY!

Instant Pot Honey Cilantro Chicken
Instant Pot Honey Cilantro Chicken www.lillieeatsandtells.com

Instant Pot Smoky Honey Cilantro Chicken in 12 minutes

One of my favorite instant pot recipes yet. Adapted from Mels Kitchen Cafe.  So easy and delicious, ready to build a number of meals in just twelve minutes!
5 from 4 votes
Author Lillie
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings 11
Calories 115 kcal


  • 1 cup salsa verde
  • ½ a large white onion diced (I used 170 g)
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs liquid smoke sold at grocery stores near barbecue sauce.
  • 5 cloves garlic I always use the frozen dorot cubes.
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2.5 pounds thawed or fresh chicken breasts or tenderloins I always prefer tenderloins.


  • Mix together everything but the chicken.
  • Combine sauce and chicken in instant pot. Close and set to manual for 12 minutes.  I let the steam release naturally for ten minutes or so and then open it (if it doesn’t open easily, wait a few more minutes).
  • Shred, toss in juices, and stir in ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro.
  • OR cook in slow cooker on low ’till tender about 6-7 hours.


Serving: 113grams (4 oz)Calories: 115kcalCarbohydrates: 5.7gProtein: 20.7gFat: 1.4g

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About the Author

Hello. My name is Lillie. I’m not a registered dietitian, or a macro coach, or a public figure or culinary genius. I’m a mommy of four who FOUND macro-counting and fell in love with this balanced approach to food...

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I have made a ton of lillie’s recipes, but just tried this one for the first time and loved it! It’s the perfect chicken to make one night and eat leftovers throughout the week – or would be great for meal prep. It has lots of flavor, but can go with just about anything i throw into a bowl. Really enjoyed this and will be making again soon! thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    One of the best and oh so simple insta pot recipes. I served the chicken on rice. Yummy and we had a small salad as well.
    You could easily serve this to guests and be confident they will enjoy it.

  3. Hi Lillie, Can you make this with frozen chicken? I have a ton I’m hoping to batch cook today but won’t have time to thaw it.

  4. I’ve made this a few times successfully (very yummy and excellent leftovers) but for some reason today I got the dreadful burn notice. The only thing I did differently was use a different brand of salsa verde…..wondering if that could be the culprit, perhaps not as much liquid/water in that jar. Who knows! Most of the time I love my instant pot but it’s so irritating when that happens! Any tips for how you assemble it all in the pot?

  5. So delicious, Lillie! Is this recipe in MFP?

    P.S. you are absolutely amazing for creating these recipes and sharing with us all! Your blog is my go-to place for “macro friendly” recipes that NEVER disappoint OR skimp on flavor😁 I’ve asked my husband to buy me your cookbook for my birthday! I can’t wait to get my hands on it! Keep up the great work, and thank you!

    1. Oh thank you for the comment! (Even though I’m painfully behind in seeing it.) And yes it should be in there! Did you find it??

  6. Fantastic! So simple with tons of flavor and versatility! So far, we have used this mixture in the enchilada recipe and over rice. The entire cookbook is awesome and has such a smart layout that makes it very reader/family friendly! 🙂

  7. This was amazing! We were blown away by this recipe! So much so I had to leave my first ever review! I made this thinking that there would be leftovers but my husband and teenage kids wolfed it down! Thank you so much! I love your recipes!

  8. I never comment on stuff like this but this is SO good and so macro friendly. I made tacos with this and topped it with your cilantro lime ranch and a side of refried beans. SO good!! You’re my new favorite go to site!

  9. Thank you so much for this recipe. I made it last night for my family and my kids scarfed it down, which never happens. We had it on a salad with your creamy tomatillo dressing. Oh my word, so amazing.

  10. Just made this in the slow cooker! I strained mine because it was so liquidy it was basically soup. Tastes absolutely amazing though! I took a bite to taste it and couldn’t stop eating it. Can’t wait to use this in my tacos for lunch this week!