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!!
Copycat Panera Recipe
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.
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. And peanut butter fudge is the perfect ending to any meal, right?
Step by Step Instructions
STEP 1: Cook pasta according to package directions while making the sauce. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
PRO TIP: Use your favorite noodle. Cavatappi is a great choice, or shells or elbows work great too!
STEP 2: In a large saucepan 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.
STEP 3: 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.
I prefer a white cheddar, like Cabot’s. Don’t use the packaged shredded cheese, as it usually has thickeners on it. Buy a block and shred it yourself for the creamiest results.
1/2-1 tsp of dijon mustard would work well with today’s mac and cheese recipe. It doesn’t make the recipe taste like mustard, but instead enhances the cheese flavor!
Absolutely! Start with about 1/4 teaspoon. This will give the pasta great flavor without making it spicy. Add more if you want spice!
Tips and Tricks
- 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 below to follow along!
What to serve with Mac and Cheese:
- Buffalo Chicken Sliders
- Meatball Subs
- Instant Pot Hamburgers
- French Dip Sandwiches
- Mississippi Pot Roast
Copycat Panera White Cheddar Mac and Cheese recipe is perfect for an easy weeknight side dish!