Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese

Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese – A quick and easy copycat recipe that tastes just like Panera’s mac and cheese! Pasta covered in a creamy white cheddar cheese sauce!

Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese

Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese

Panera was one of my favorite restaurants to go to all through high school and the mac and cheese there was always my go-to food to get there.  Panera Bread mac and cheese is seriously the best mac and cheese ever.  It’s so creamy and delicious, I haven’t found any other mac and cheese that is so perfect! This copycat panera bread mac and cheese recipe is such a great easy weeknight meal, it takes just minutes to whip up and makes 4-6 servings.  Trust me, this mac and cheese will be a new favorite dinner recipe!

Panera Mac and Cheese Recipe

Looking for more pasta recipes? Check out my Creamy Brie Mac and Cheese, Roasted Garlic Penne Pasta, and Broccoli Cheddar Orzo Pasta!

Tips and tricks on this copycat panera mac and cheese recipe

If you have leftovers, heating it up over medium heat in a pan turns out so much better than microwaving the mac and cheese!

Make sure you get extra sharp cheddar! It makes such a huge difference to the flavor.

If you aren’t a huge fan of dijon mustard, you can skip it or use less.

Some more pasta recipes to try!

Brie Mac and Cheese – Elbow macaroni topped with creamy cheese sauce made with brie, parmesan, and gruyere and baked. This easy baked mac and cheese is the perfect meal for cheese lovers!

Roasted Garlic Pasta – A creamy roasted garlic sauce over penne pasta! Perfect with chicken and parmesan on top!

Broccoli Cheddar Orzo – A quick and easy meal made with just a few simple ingredients! Orzo, broccoli, and a delicious cheddar cheese sauce. Perfect for lunch or an easy weeknight dinner!

Panera Bread Mac and Cheese

5 from 6 votes

Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese

Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese - A quick and easy copycat recipe that tastes just like Panera's mac and cheese! Pasta covered in a creamy white cheddar cheese sauce!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4


  • 16 oz shell or elbow pasta
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 8 oz extra-sharp white cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/2 cup white american cheese shredded
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce
  • Pinch of pepper optional


  1. Cook pasta according to instructions on box and drain.

  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add in flour and whisk until well combined and thickened.

  3. Reduce heat and add in milk and whisk for about one minute before adding in dijon mustard, hot sauce, salt, cheddar cheese, and american cheese.  Continue stirring until cheese has completely melted.  Pour sauce over pasta and serve.  Top with a little pepper.  (optional)

Panera Bread Mac and Cheese Recipe

Looking for more mac and cheese recipes?

Make sure to check out these recipes from other bloggers:

Roasted Garlic and Bacon Mac and Cheese from Who Needs a Cape?

Tortellini Mac and Cheese from The Foodie Affair

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese from Life Currents

This post may contain affiliate links which means that I will make a tiny bit with no extra cost to you.

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  • Reply
    February 19, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    I don’t know if I’ve ever had Panera’s mac and cheese, but this is making my stomach grumble, so I feel like I need to just use your recipe and make it myself!

  • Reply
    February 19, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    I can’t believe I’ve never had Panera’s mac and cheese! I always get a salad. Mac and cheese is my favorite, so I am definitely adding this to my list to make!

  • Reply
    February 19, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Ok I’m always up for adding a mac and cheese recipe to my collection. This looks easy and delicious! Pinning and sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    Molly Kumar
    February 19, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    The mac n cheese looks so yummm!! We love Panera n their mac-n-cheese + soup is our fav combo. I’ve to try your recipe soon now.

  • Reply
    February 19, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    That is some good looking Mac and cheese. We always add Dijon in to ours too.

  • Reply
    Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen
    February 19, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Their mac and cheese is so creamy, gonna have to try this!

  • Reply
    February 19, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    I need to try this. My kids LOVE Panera’s mac and cheese and I’m sure a homemade version is much cheaper 🙂

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