Panera’s Mac & Cheese Recipe

Alright folks, this is **THE** recipe for Panera's Mac & Cheese. I got it from their website a while back when they posted it for a short time! You MUST try this Panera's Mac & Cheese Recipe.


As I've mentioned to you all recently, I am pregnant and due in September. While I was going through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy there were only two foods that I could stomach: bagels and Panera's Mac & Cheese. I would have their mac & cheese weekly. Okay, okay, if I'm going to be honest maybe it was more than once a week... For me this is the pinnacle of mac & cheese dishes; its rich, smooth, creamy and chock-full of calcium from all that yummy cheese and milk. Not only is this recipe amazingly delicious, its also quick and easy to make; on the table in 30 minutes or less.

If you love Copycat Recipes like I do, you'l want to check out my entire collection! {Click on the picture to be taken to the collection!}

If you love Copycat Recipes like I do, you'l want to check out my entire collection! {Click on the picture to be taken to the collection!}

Cook's Note for Panera's Mac & Cheese Recipe:

*If you're serving this as a main dish it serves 4-6. If you're making this as a side dish it serves 8-10.

*Some people find the Dijon mustard in the recipe to be a bit overwhelming, so feel free to cut back on it or omit it all together.

*I find that in order to get optimal results you *must* use extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar and sliced white American cheese from the deli, not the fake stuff you find in the box.

Panera's Mac & Cheese Copycat Recipe

Panera Mac & Cheese
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

This is *THE* recipe for Panera's rich and creamy Mac & Cheese. Not only is it delicious, it comes together in a snap!
  • 1 16-ounce Package package of rigati pasta
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cup milk
  • 6 Slices white American cheese
  • 8 oz extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon hot sauce
  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  2. Melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  3. Gradually whisk in milk; cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat.
  4. Add cheeses, mustard, salt, and hot sauce, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.
  5. Stir in pasta and cook over medium heat for 1 minute (or until thoroughly heated). Serve immediately.

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  1. says

    OK folks I think i’ve discovered the missing ingredient for the Panera Mac and Cheese; I used 11/2 cup of Evaporated milk (12 oz) and 1 cup reg milk to equal the 21/2 cups. I also used Morton salt instead of Kosher salt and used just a SQUiRTof the Dijon mustard. Try this and see what you think!

  2. Mimi says

    I was wondering if I could make it and put it in a crockpot to keep it warm for a picnic we’re going to, or do you think that it would get gummy? Mimi

  3. Emmie says

    I haven’t tried this yet and I’m excited to see what I think considering Panera mac and cheese is my favorite thing ever. That being said..there’s no way this came off their website at one time and if it was a lie! They get their mac and cheese in bags and it’s full of preservatives and all kinds of stuff. The ingredients are now on the website under the nutritional information. I’m just putting that out there. They do use vermont white cheddar though. I know that.

  4. Carma says

    If you let the milk sit out to get to room temperature before adding it to the recipe, it will create a sweeter product.

    • says

      Hi Adrienne,
      Unfortunately, this recipe will not freeze well because of the nature of the cheese sauce. It will turn grainy once frozen and then thawed/re-heated.

      • adrienne says

        Thanks, and rats! Think I could get away with making a couple days before thanksgiving and reheating from refrigerated? And thanks for posting this!

        • says

          This one I’m not sure about. Every time I make it I serve it right away and never have leftovers. My gut is telling me probably not because of the way the cheese sets up, sorry. This recipe is a little different from other Mac & Cheese recipes, it’s best served right away.

  5. Bec says

    Just tried making this (am in Australia so needed to substitute a few things) but i found the cheddar to be WAY to overpowering… my dad liked it but i couldn’t finish… probably going to have to throw most of it out

  6. Maggie says

    For people complaining its not creamy enough & has a flour taste the crucial element is a good Roux. To prepare sauce, melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Continue whisking and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. People may be making the Roux to quickly making the macaroni runny & flour tasting. It also helps give it a toasted flavor when you spend the extra time. Thanks for this recipe my son thanks you!

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