Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese

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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 Mac and Cheese: easy stove top recipe, so creamy and thick just like the real thing! #macandcheese #panera #copycat

Click HERE to save recipe to Pinterest!

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.

Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese: easy stove top recipe, so creamy and thick just like the real thing!

But with today’s recipe, it’s the side dish that takes the show! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this photo. A side of sloppy joes with our Mac and Cheese.

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!

Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese: easy stove top recipe, so creamy and thick just like the real thing!

I’m a little obsessed with Macaroni and Cheese….

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Gouda and Bacon Mac and Cheese….it’s so goood-a (cheesy right?, hehehehe)

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Classic, best ever, Macaroni and Cheese

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Beef Enchilada Mac and Cheese...a delicious, hearty meal!

If you love Panera, here are a few of my favorite copycat recipes

Dinner in under 30 minutes! Loaded with vegetables and cheese, you’ll love this easy, creamy Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe! It’s the BEST!

This Strawberry Pecan Salad is loaded with fresh berries and candied Pecan Halves. It’s also topped with a sweet, homemade lemon poppy seed dressing.

You’ve stumbled on THE BEST Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe! Super creamy and ready in ten minutes using your pressure cooker!

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Copycat Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese recipe and video:

Yield: serves 8

Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese

Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

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!!

Ingredients

  • 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 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1lb, pasta, cooked (cavatapppi, shells, or elbow)

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions while making the sauce. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
  2. 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.
  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.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 519 Total Fat: 39g Saturated Fat: 24g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 115mg Sodium: 379mg Carbohydrates: 29g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 2g Protein: 14g
*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.
Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese: easy stove top recipe, so creamy and thick just like the real thing! #macandcheese #panera #copycat

*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**

See the recipe Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese on YouTube