Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese
Creamy white cheddar macaroni and cheese just like Panera. Give this copycat version a try. Oh and it’s quick and easy on the stove top too!!
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My kids are so predictable sometimes when it comes to ordering from restaurants. I like to order something different every time I go out, it’s fun to try new things.
But at Panera, we all seem to be creatures of habit. We all get the same soup, sandwich or salad..EVERY TIME.
And of course, the macaroni and cheese. Obsessed.
It’s creamy. Wait…I should say it’s THICK and CREAMY. Capital letters help emphasize, right?
I thought it would be fun to try to recreate this recipe at home. I’m good at making the main dish for dinner, but it’s the side dishes that always get forgotten.
We usually end up having a fruit salad and a steamed veggie because I can’t seem to wrap my head around making side dishes.
I used Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar for this recipe. But a good quality white cheddar would work if you can’t find the Cabot. One of the many perks of my job (besides working in my pajamas and eating all day) is trying products from some of my favorite brands. I’m fortunate to be on the Cabot Cheese Board. Which basically means I get to try new products, delicious cheese, and let you all know what’s good. If you haven’t tried Cabot cheese, check out their website and find a store near you that sells their cheese. It gets devoured in our house!!
How to make Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese:
- Use a good cheddar. Don’t use the packaged shredded cheese, as it usually has cornstarch or some other thickeners already on it. Buy a block of cheddar and shred it yourself. Trust me, it’s going to melt so much creamier!
- While your noodles are cooking, you can whip up the roux (flour and butter mixture). Then add remaining ingredients. By the time your noodles are done, your sauce should be ready. Easy!
- When ready to reheat your leftovers, you may need to add about 1/2 cup milk. Warm it up on low on the stovetop. This recipe is about two meals for us as a side dish, for our family of 4.
- Use the video tutorial to follow along!
I’m a little obsessed with Macaroni and Cheese….
Gouda and Bacon Mac and Cheese….it’s so goood-a (cheesy right?, hehehehe)
Classic, best ever, Macaroni and Cheese
Beef Enchilada Mac and Cheese...a delicious, hearty meal!
A few favorite Macaroni and Cheese recipes from my favorite blogs:
- Jack Daniels Smoky Bacon Mac and Cheese from The Slow Roasted Italian
- Avocado Mac and Cheese from Two Peas and Their Pod
- Potato Skin Mac and Cheese from A Spicy Perspective
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Copycat Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese recipe and video:
Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese
Yield: serves 8
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk (I used skim)
- 2 cup heavy cream
- 2 cup shredded white cheddar (I used Cabot seriously sharp cheddar)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1lb, pasta, cooked (cavatapppi, shells, or elbow)
- Cook pasta according to package directions while making the sauce. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
- In a large pot on medium high heat, add butter until melted. Whisk in the flour and cook for about one minute. Reduce heat to medium and add milk, heavy cream, salt, dry mustard and pepper. Continue whisking until it begins to bubble. Reduce to low and add white cheddar. Stir until melted.
- Add cooked pasta, stirring until combined. Remove from heat and allow to sit about 5 minutes to thicken. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. ENJOY.
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*This Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese recipe was originally published on Shugary Sweets on March 21, 2014. A new video and text was added and republished April 2018.
**I am part of the Cabot Cheese Board community. I received free product, but no other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own**
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