This copycat recipe for Panera Mac and Cheese is made in one pot and ready in 30 minutes! It's creamy, delicious and perfect side dish to serve with any of my family favorite chicken recipes. Your family is going to love this recipe as much as mine does.
Raise your hand if you love mac and cheese as much as I do? Now, raise your hand if you love Panera Mac and Cheese as much as I do?
If you raised your hand for both questions, then you're visiting my blog at the right time today. Today's recipe is a copy cat version of the very famous Panera Bread Mac and Cheese recipe.
To make this recipe even better is that it's ready to eat in 30 minutes. You really can't beat that, right?
Helpful Kitchen Tools
This post contains affiliate links. Your cost is the same, but I earn a commission when you shop through them. For more information, click here.
More InformationMore InformationMore InformationMore Information
Copycat Mac and Cheese
These are a few of my family's favorite recipes to serve alongside this copycat mac and cheese:
- When my kids were younger, I served Chicken Cutlets Italian Style with this copycat recipe for mac and cheese at least once a week. If we had any leftovers of the mac and cheese, I would heat it up the next day to serve my daughter as an after school snack.
- Hasselback Chicken Stuffed with Mozzarella, Tomatoes and Basil
- Crock Pot Brisket Recipe - Beth's Brisket Recipe is one of my son's favorite recipes that I make for him. Mac and cheese always tastes great with this delicious brisket recipe.
Main Ingredients Needed
Make sure you print out the recipe below and save it for later!
- Half and Half - you could use whole milk, but you'll miss out on some of the creaminess.
- White Cheddar Cheese
- Monterrey Jack Cheese
- Prepared Mustard - just a teaspoon, but it adds so much flavor! Choose your favorite kind. For this recipe I like to use a brown mustard. I've never tried Dijon mustard though. However, yellow mustard works great too.
- 1 Knorr Chicken Bouillon cube - again, this adds flavor!
- Pasta shells - or your favorite shape.
- Salt and Pepper to taste.
Step 1 | Prepare the Cheese Sauce
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Then add the flour and quickly whisk to incorporate the flour into the melted butter being careful not to let the butter burn.
- Next, cook the flour and butter together for about a minute.
- Add the milk and half and half. Whisk until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken.
- Finally, reduce the heat to low and add the salt, pepper, mustard and chicken bouillon cube followed by the cheese.
Step 2 | repare the Pasta
- Keep the cheese sauce warm. In the meantime, bring a pot of water to boil, cook and drain the pasta.
- Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Then serve immediately.
- It's best to serve this mac and cheese recipe immediately after mixing the pasta with the cheese sauce.
- You can prepare the cheese sauce earlier in the day and then warm it up while the pasta is cooking.
- Before you're ready to use the sauce, it may thicken and you may need to thin it out. Just add a little more milk.
- For instance, I made this recipe to serve for my mother's 80th birthday party years ago. I quadrupled the recipe and made the cheese sauce the day before. The next day, all I had to do was warm the sauce up on the stove and toss with the pasta right before serving the dinner to 50 people!
- By the way, this cheese sauce freezes well. Sometimes I'll make a double recipe of the sauce just to freeze and have on hand for busy nights.
⭐Before You Begin! If you make this recipe, please leave a review and star rating. This helps my business thrive and continue providing FREE recipes.
Panera Mac and Cheese Copycat Recipe
This copycat recipe for Panera Mac and Cheese is made in one pot and ready in 30 minutes!
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups half and half
- ½ cup milk
- 8 ounces white cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese
- 1 teaspoon prepared mustard; yellow or brown mustard.
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 16 ounce package pasta shells or your favorite shaped pasta
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Once the butter is melted add the flour and quickly whisk to incorporate the flour into the melted butter being careful not to let the butter burn.
- Cook the flour and butter together for about a minute.
- Add the milk and half and half.
- Whisk until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the salt, pepper, mustard and chicken bouillon cube.
- Add the cheeses and stir until they are melted.
- Keep the cheese sauce warm while you cook and drain the pasta.
- Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine.
- Serve immediately.
I like to use either French's mustard or Gulden's brown mustard for this recipe.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 492Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 819mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 20g
The nutrition information is calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you, please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator.
Brenda E. Kennon says
Is the mustard in this recipe, the yellow mustard or dried mustard?
I use prepared mustard, not dried.
Donna @ Modern on Monticello says
I love Panera's Mac and Cheese and I can't wait to try out your recipe. Thanks for sharing it at #HomeMattersParty
I cannot wait to try this! It looks amazing!
Jasmine | Midsummer Life Dream says
OMG - I love love love Panera's mac and cheese, and since moving to italy, can't buy mac and cheese anymore. I'm going to have to pin this recipe so I can make it myself! Thank you so much!
Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Marisa F. Stewart says
WOW!! It does look delicious. I could eat mac and cheese three times a day every day. It is so good and your looks especially appetizing. That creamy cheese over the pasta is mouthwatering.
Oh my word this looks so good!! So cheesy and creamy. And I love how it freezes well. Mac and cheese any time!
Gloria | Homemade & Yummy says
This looks creamy and delicious. Who doesn't love mac and cheese? I know this would be a hit in our family. They LOVE mac and cheese!!
Veena Azmanov says
My family favorite Dinner option. I love quick and easy cooking.
I think It looks better than Panera's! So creamy and delicious!