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Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese Recipe to Try At Home

Blog, Food & Recipes

Like Panera, creamy white cheddar macaroni and cheese. Try out this knockoff version. Oh, and it’s also quick and easy to make on the stovetop!!

Panera Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

When it comes to restaurant ordering, my kids are a little too predictable at times. Every time I go out, I like to order something different; it’s fun to try new things. However, it appears that we are all creatures of habit at Panera. Every time, We get the same soup, Sandwich, or salad.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Orange Scones, and Mac and Cheese in a Big Bowl

It has a creamy texture. Wait… It’s thick and creamy, to be sure. Isn’t it true that capital letters help to emphasize?

I thought it would be fun to try my hand at making this macaroni and cheese at home. I’m good at making the main course for dinner, but I always forget about the side dishes. Isn’t peanut butter fudge the perfect way to end any meal?

Step by Step Instructions

What is the best cheeses for mac and cheese? A white cheddar, such as Cabot’s, is my favorite. Use fresh shredded cheese instead of packaged shredded cheese, which usually contains thickeners. For the creamiest results, buy a block and shred it yourself.

Is there anything I can use in place of dry mustard? Today’s mac and cheese recipe would benefit from 1/2-1 teaspoon of dijon mustard. It doesn’t make the dish taste like mustard, but rather enhances the flavor of the cheese!

Is it possible to add hot sauce to macaroni and cheese? Absolutely! Begin with a quarter teaspoon. This will add a lot of flavor to the pasta without making it spicy. If you want more heat, add more!

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.

How to Make Creamy White Cheddar makaroni 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!!


  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ 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)


  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.

Other Cheese Options, If you want to use a variety of cheeses to change up the flavor of this dish, the following cheese combinations are great in macaroni and cheese, use as many different cheeses as you want!

  • Gouda
  • Mozzarella
  • Mild Cheddar
  • Monterey Jack
  • Gruyere

Refrain from using extra sharp or aged cheeses as those won’t melt as well.


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