Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese has to be one of my favorite side dishes at the Panera Bread Bakery. It is rich, creamy, and irresistible. You can make some yourself with this recipe.
If you are lucky, like me, you live near a Panera Bread. If you don't live near one, you have to drive far, or you can recreate this recipe at home. I can help you make a bowl of their delicious macaroni and cheese. What makes this recipe unique is that is it so creamy. A lot of macaroni and cheese seems to barely have enough cheese. Here the pasta is enrobed in white cheddar cheese. You might wonder what makes this so creamy.
This recipe is made by using a combination of white American cheese, and sharp white Cheddar cheese. This combination works well. As there is no cheese like American cheese that melts into a rich creamy sauce, but the sharp American cheese is what makes this delicious.
You can buy white American cheese at the deli section of your local grocery store. Walk up to the deli counter and ask them for about a pound of the cheese. You can let them slice it any way you like. You are going to melt the cheese so sliced or not it doesn't matter. I like to use about a pound of the American white cheddar and about 1 cup of sharp white Cheddar. That isn't the real secret to the recipe; it is the Dijon mustard.
Mustard has a way of enhancing the flavor of the sharp cheese. Mustard gives it a little extra punch. I like to use a good two teaspoons for this recipe. I also thin the cheese sauce a bit with whole milk. So all of the ingredients are common and easy to find.
I cook up a whole box of pasta shells. If you can't find pasta shells you can use any other type of pasta that you like. Macaroni tastes just like the shells. I hope you give this recipe a try. If you like Panera Bread recipes, be sure to check out these copycat favorite recipes.
More Panera Bread Copycat Recipes
Copycat Panera Bread Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 pound shell pasta
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups of milk
- 3/4 pound white American cheese
- 1/4 pound shredded white sharp cheese
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Prepare pasta according to the package directions. Make the sauce while the pasta is cooking. Make a basic white sauce by melting the 3 tablespoons of butter, add the flour, and cook over medium heat for about 1 minute. Then slowly add in the cold milk, and stir the sauce until it is thickened. Make the sauce while the pasta is cooking. If the white American cheese is not sliced, cut it into cubes. In a medium sized pot add the American cheese and as it begins to melt, slowly stir in the milk. Once the American cheese has fully melted, begin to stir in the white sharp cheese. Stir in the Dijon mustard. The cheese sauce should be ready the same time the pasta is done. Combine the cheese and the pasta together. Serve immediately.