Panera's Positively Amazing Mac & Cheese

Yum! 33

mac and cheeseWhen it comes to food, my children and I don't always agree. They think ketchup goes on everything; I prefer to leave it off of at least a few items, especially those involving chocolate. They consider chicken nuggets a divine dish; I consider them punishment. There's one thing we all agree on though: Panera has the best macaroni and cheese ever.

This recipe comes straight from Panera, and it's amazing. I'm not going tell you it tastes exactly like it does in the restaurant, but it's pretty darn close. It calls for white American cheese, but the orange-ish kind works fine too, though it won't look quite the same. Either way, it's way better than anything out of a box.

Panera Bread’s Signature Macaroni & Cheese

1 (16-ounce) package of rigati pasta (or other small pasta shells)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups 2% reduced fat milk (or cream)
6 slices white American cheese, chopped
1 cup (8 ounces) shredded extra-sharp white Vermont cheddar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.

Gradually whisk in milk (or cream); cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat.

Add cheeses, mustard, salt, and hot sauce, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.

Stir in pasta and cook over medium heat for 1 minute (or until thoroughly heated).


Image via ellevalentine/Flickr

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jessi... jessicasmom1

Thanks DD likes mac. and cheese 

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

Any recipe that calls for slices of American 'cheese' needs to be ignored. How can a restaurant claim to be serving real food if they're using processed crap like that?

Hi_Rae Hi_Rae

I have a serious Panera mac n cheese addiction.

LoveM... LoveMyViolet

There are a lot of ways to make Mac & Cheese not from a box and I will have to say no to this one. I agree with Rhonda on this, thee is no way you should be putting slices of American processed cheese in this. Try using real cheese

Miche... Michelephant

If it tastes like the one from panera then I must try. And most MAC and cheese recipies include some kind of processed cheese like velveeta to make a smoother consistency since it melts evenly.

mompam mompam

I have to try this. My kids love their mac and cheese. 

nonmember avatar Liz

I always scramble an egg into my mac & cheese for extra protein for the kiddies.

Miche... Michelephant

I just made this today because of this article.  I happen to have all of the ingredients on hand already (even the vermont cheddar, My family loves cheese).  It came out fantastic!

momav... momavanessa

I love Panera!!! My boys always order the Mac and I sneak a bite or 2 and it is fantastic!!

momav... momavanessa

Ehonda and lovemyViolet Lighten up!

eye rolling

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