Copy Cat Panera Bread Mac & Cheese

This copy cat Panera Bread mac & cheese is just as creamy and delicious as the real thing. Better yet, this delicious mac & cheese recipe is easy to make, coming together in 20 minutes. Plus, it’s much more affordable than Panera’s version. 

Copy Cat Panera Bread Mac & Cheese

I just love Panera. Their soup, their salads, but most of all their mac & cheese. Anyone who has had it can attest that it’s so creamy and rich. Really it’s downright iconic with its blend of white cheddar cheese and pipette rigate pasta.

Copy Cat Panera Bread Mac & Cheese

Don’t you want to order it every time you go there? I know I do. But, that’s not really budget friendly. Especially since most of the time when I go to Panera, I have 4 growing, hungry boys with me. The Panera runs get expensive fast.

I decided I needed a way to get my Panera mac & cheese fix at home for much less money. This copy cat Panera Bread mac & cheese does just that.

Copy Cat Panera Bread Mac & Cheese

 It’s just as creamy and decadent as the mac & cheese from Panera, but it can feed my whole family for a fraction of the price of eating at Panera. Plus, it comes together with just a handful of ingredients in under 20 minutes. You only need butter, flour, pipette pasta, milk, cheddar and American cheese, dijon, and some seasoning. That’s it.

And making it? While you cook the pasta, you melt the butter and flour together to make a roux. Then you stir in milk, whisking so the roux incorporates well. Now, you just continue to cook the milk mixture over medium heat until it thickens. Then you stir in the cheese, mustard, hot sauce, and salt. 

Copy Cat Panera Bread Mac & Cheese

At this point, you just have to toss the cooked pasta with that luscious cheese sauce and a bowl of the best ever copy cat Panera Bread Mac & Cheese will be yours. 

Recipes Ideas To Round Out The Meal:

Copy Cat Panera Bread Mac & Cheese

This creamy white cheddar macaroni & cheese is a spot on copy cat of the famous Panera Bread side dish.
3.69 from 22 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Pasta, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 590kcal


  • 1 lb pipette pasta
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 6 slices white American cheese chopped
  • 1 cup shredded extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp hot sauce


  • Cook the pasta in a pot of salted water, according to the package directions.
  • In a large skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 60 seconds while whisking constantly. Gradually add in the milk, whisking until the mixture comes together and is smooth before adding more. Repeat until all the liquid's been incorporated.
  • Cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove the skillet from heat, and immediately stir in the cheeses, mustard, salt, & hot sauce. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is totally smooth.
  • Add the pasta to the skillet, tossing to coat. Serve immediately.


Calories: 590kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 1007mg | Potassium: 363mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 725IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 491mg | Iron: 1.8mg


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