Panera Macaroni and Cheese recipe (copycat)


My kid's love the white cheddar macaroni and cheese at Panera (ok...I do too)!  Last time we ordered it, I knew I needed to try and replicate that recipe at home.  The end result is a delicious and easy homemade white cheddar cheese pasta dish.  It can be made in 30 minutes or less.

Ingredients:
1 (16-oz.) package small shell pasta
1/4 cup butter + 1 additional Tablespoon of butter reserved for the end
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2½ cups milk (whole or 2%) [microwaved approx. 1 minute so it is luke warm.]
12 oz. shredded extra-sharp white cheddar cheese (it is very important it is extra sharp)**
1/2 teaspoon of salt 
2 shakes of Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

** I use 1 1/2 bars of the Cabott Seriously Sharp Cheddar**


1. Boil the pasta in lightly salted water until it is well cooked and soft (not al dente).  Drain.
2. While the pasta is cooking, melt 1/4 cup of butter in a large non-stick pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute while whisking it continually.
3. Gradually whisk in the warmed milk a little bit at a time; cook it over medium heat while whisking (10 minutes or so) until the mixture thickens and is bubbly. Remove from heat.
4. Add cheese, salt, hot sauce and nutmeg and stir the sauce until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth.
5. Stir in drained pasta and mix in 1 tablespoon of butter.  
6.  Pour the Macaroni and Cheese into your serving dish.  Top with a little extra shredded cheese if desired.

To warm leftovers - add a little bit of water to rehydrate the sauce if needed, stir and then heat.

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Copyright 2012 christineiscooking.com You may repost this recipe and its directions only if it is accompanied by a direct link back to the article on my site. You must be given my express permission for any other use. You can contact me at admin@christineiscooking.com

5 comments:

  1. Just wanted to let you know that panera put the actual recipe on their website, if you want the real thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The actual recipe has double the amount of flour than butter and that should be a sign that something is odd about the recipe and would ruin any cheese sauce you were making (for mexican, italian, etc)

      Second- a quick search on the internet shows unhappy replies to the 'real thing' that is probably posted by those that haven't tried making it and may not have the cooking experience to notice an incorrect start to a cheese sauce.

      The 'real thing' comes in dried form in packets for the restaurant so the recipe listed can't be the real thing. We can't know exactly what is in the dry form.

      However, recipe above is closer and turns out well. To anonymous below : You will need to add white american cheese slices to get the cheese taste closest to panera. Cut about 4-6 oz of sharp cheddar out of recipe and put in the same amount of white american slices. Sometimes I omit it because it's not even cheese but it will add that missing flavor. :)

      Delete
  2. I made "their recipe" before and to me it didn't taste anything like the one at the restaurant. I have a friend who works at panera and she didn't think it did either. She thought mine was closer in taste. Perhaps they are trying to fool us...lol... I don't know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have tried the actual "Panera" mac and cheese recipe 5 times and still it does not taste the same. I hope this is it!

      Delete
  3. Can't wait to try this out. Noticed at my northern NJ branch that they have their mac and cheese in little plastic bags, so it is not even made on site. Or, like the ever elusive Starbucks espresso brownies, there may also be more than one recipe.

    ReplyDelete

I LOVE to hear from my readers! Because of spam comments, I have to review all comments before they are published. I check and respond to comments at least once daily. Thanks, Christine

Panera Macaroni and Cheese recipe (copycat)


My kid's love the white cheddar macaroni and cheese at Panera (ok...I do too)!  Last time we ordered it, I knew I needed to try and replicate that recipe at home.  The end result is a delicious and easy homemade white cheddar cheese pasta dish.  It can be made in 30 minutes or less.

Ingredients:
1 (16-oz.) package small shell pasta
1/4 cup butter + 1 additional Tablespoon of butter reserved for the end
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2½ cups milk (whole or 2%) [microwaved approx. 1 minute so it is luke warm.]
12 oz. shredded extra-sharp white cheddar cheese (it is very important it is extra sharp)**
1/2 teaspoon of salt 
2 shakes of Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

** I use 1 1/2 bars of the Cabott Seriously Sharp Cheddar**


1. Boil the pasta in lightly salted water until it is well cooked and soft (not al dente).  Drain.
2. While the pasta is cooking, melt 1/4 cup of butter in a large non-stick pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute while whisking it continually.
3. Gradually whisk in the warmed milk a little bit at a time; cook it over medium heat while whisking (10 minutes or so) until the mixture thickens and is bubbly. Remove from heat.
4. Add cheese, salt, hot sauce and nutmeg and stir the sauce until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth.
5. Stir in drained pasta and mix in 1 tablespoon of butter.  
6.  Pour the Macaroni and Cheese into your serving dish.  Top with a little extra shredded cheese if desired.

To warm leftovers - add a little bit of water to rehydrate the sauce if needed, stir and then heat.

"LIKE" our FACEBOOK page to get new recipes and additional tips at http://www.facebook.com/christineiscooking

Follow me on PINTEREST http://pinterest.com/christinecooks/

Copyright 2012 christineiscooking.com You may repost this recipe and its directions only if it is accompanied by a direct link back to the article on my site. You must be given my express permission for any other use. You can contact me at admin@christineiscooking.com

5 comments:

  1. Just wanted to let you know that panera put the actual recipe on their website, if you want the real thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The actual recipe has double the amount of flour than butter and that should be a sign that something is odd about the recipe and would ruin any cheese sauce you were making (for mexican, italian, etc)

      Second- a quick search on the internet shows unhappy replies to the 'real thing' that is probably posted by those that haven't tried making it and may not have the cooking experience to notice an incorrect start to a cheese sauce.

      The 'real thing' comes in dried form in packets for the restaurant so the recipe listed can't be the real thing. We can't know exactly what is in the dry form.

      However, recipe above is closer and turns out well. To anonymous below : You will need to add white american cheese slices to get the cheese taste closest to panera. Cut about 4-6 oz of sharp cheddar out of recipe and put in the same amount of white american slices. Sometimes I omit it because it's not even cheese but it will add that missing flavor. :)

      Delete
  2. I made "their recipe" before and to me it didn't taste anything like the one at the restaurant. I have a friend who works at panera and she didn't think it did either. She thought mine was closer in taste. Perhaps they are trying to fool us...lol... I don't know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have tried the actual "Panera" mac and cheese recipe 5 times and still it does not taste the same. I hope this is it!

      Delete
  3. Can't wait to try this out. Noticed at my northern NJ branch that they have their mac and cheese in little plastic bags, so it is not even made on site. Or, like the ever elusive Starbucks espresso brownies, there may also be more than one recipe.

    ReplyDelete

I LOVE to hear from my readers! Because of spam comments, I have to review all comments before they are published. I check and respond to comments at least once daily. Thanks, Christine