Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese

A super simple gourmet Mac & Cheese recipe just like the one from Panera Bread. This one is especially cheesy using only White Cheddar Cheese.

Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese

My love affair with Mac & Cheese will never fade. And this Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese hits the mark.

I think my obsession comes from the fact that boxed Mac & Cheese was introduced to my brother and me at a really early age.

As a kid, how can you not like noodles in a bunch of cheese sauce? Even though it wasn’t real cheese – but we didn’t know that at the time.

Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese

While I may have this particular Mac & Cheese recipe listed under Gourmet Mac & Cheeses, this is probably the easiest Mac & Cheese recipe you will ever make.

It’s actually a copycat recipe from Panera Bread. But I do have several Gourmet Mac & Cheese recipes available. All you need to do is check out my Gourmet Mac and Cheese section which includes the delicious Copycat Hard Rock Cafe Mac and Cheese recipe.

Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese

What I really love about this mac & cheese recipe is its simplicity. This recipe only needs one type of cheese.

Unlike my other Gourmet Mac & Cheese recipes that require 3, 4 and sometimes 5 different kinds of cheese. Plus how can you resist a delicious white cheddar cheese?

Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese

The wife and I have been going to Panera for several years now. I like a little variety so always order something different but almost always get Panera’s Mac & Cheese.

I often get asked why add ground mustard to cheese sauce. Basically the ground mustard makes the cheese “cheesier”.

When making Mac and Cheese, it’s important to cook the pasta al dente to ensure to best texture possible. If you are not familiar with the term “al dente”, it means cooking the pasta so it’s still chewy and form and that it will hold its shape when the sauce is added to it.

The wife, on the other hand, loves their tomato soup. Since I love making copycat recipes, I am going to add Panera’s tomato soup recipe to my shortlist of things to make.

Since the goal of a Copycat Recipe is for it to taste exactly like the original, it’s only natural to rate this recipe against the original. This Copycat recipe rates a solid 10 out of 10 in my opinion.

You will need the following ingredients to make this Copycat Mac & Cheese recipe from Panera Bread (see recipe card for quantities): Unsalted Butter, all purpose flour, milk, heavy cream, White Cheddar Cheese, kosher salt, Ground Black Pepper, Ground Dry Mustard, pasta.

  1. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  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.
  3. Reduce to low and add white cheddar. Stir until melted.
  4. 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.

Printable Recipe Card

Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese

Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese

A super simple gourmet Mac & Cheese recipe just like the one from Panera Bread. This one is especially cheesy using only White Cheddar Cheese.
4.63 from 8 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 1229 kcal

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Large Pot

Ingredients
 

  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 cups White Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • ½ tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Ground Dry Mustard
  • 1 lb Pasta

Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 1229kcalCarbohydrates: 97gProtein: 34gFat: 78gSaturated Fat: 48gCholesterol: 258mgSodium: 721mgPotassium: 478mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 2770IUVitamin C: 0.7mgCalcium: 581mgIron: 2.3mg

Nutritional information provided for this recipe is based on 1 serving. This information is an estimate and may vary based on several factors. If nutritional information is important to you and your diet, please verify this recipe with a Registered Dietitian.

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One Comment

  1. Mary says:

    OMG this recipe is to die for. So tasty and if you are a cheese lover this recipe is for you.
    Thanks Chef Rod for posting this recipe.

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