Panera Mac and Cheese Copycat Recipe – homemade macaroni and cheese that tastes just like what you can buy at Panera. Made on the stove top in just minutes!
What do you think of when you think of comfort food? For me, it is some of those classic dishes like the Best Meatloaf or homemade macaroni and cheese. When I was a kid there were a couple staple comfort food dishes in our house and they seemed to stem around pasta. Old Fashioned Goulash was top of the list.
Today things haven’t changed too much, but Crock Pot Chili is always on the menu when you have a snow day for help warm us up. . Plus you have to have corn bread, right? These Corn Muffins are a staple with chili in our house. So I have branched out a little with my comforts.
I love to go out to eat, but we don’t do it very often. A big part of the reason is, it is just so bad for you. Super giant portions, and pretty high calorie food. Because, let’s face it. If I am going out for dinner, I am not going to pay $18 for a salad. I can make a salad at home. I want real food.
But, I can make some of our restaurant favorites at home.
If you have ever been to Panera, you know they are pretty popular for their macaroni and cheese. It is a staple on the kids menu, but the adults go crazy for it as well. So I had to find a way to make a copycat Panera mac and cheese.
It is done on the stove top, and is super quick and easy to do. The results are super creamy, comforting and perfect for when you just want to hide away and stay warm. Or if you are just busy and want a quick and easy dinner you know the whole family will eat!
How to Make Panera Macaroni and Cheese
It all comes together on the stove top, so you can make it in minutes with no oven required!
- Start by boiling your water for the pasta. You can use traditional elbow noodles or small shells or whatever short cut pasta you like.
- In a saucepan you start by melting the butter and mixing in the flour. This is the start of a roux. You want to mix in the flour enough that it starts to turn golden and there are no white spots left.
- Whisk in the milk and cream until it is smooth and no longer lumpy.
- Next it is time for the cheese! We are using American and White Cheddar here. You can find American cheese at the deli where they will weigh it for you, don’t buy the fake stuff that is wrapped in plastic.
- After the cheese is all melted and smooth season your sauce with salt, pepper and dried mustard.
- Now mix in your cooked pasta until everything is nice and cheesy.
- That is it, super easy and oh so delicious!
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- 1 pound small cut pasta, (I used shells)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups skim milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup white cheddar cheese
- 1 cup American cheese
- 2 tsp dry mustard
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Cook pasta according to the package directions
- Meanwhile in a saucepan melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in milk and heavy cream.
- Slowly add cheese, stirring until smooth and completely melted. Season with dry mustard, salt and pepper.
- Add cooked pasta and mix until well combined.
- Serve immediately
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Amount Per ServingCalories 574 Total Fat 39g Saturated Fat 23g Trans Fat 1g Unsaturated Fat 12g Cholesterol 116mg Sodium 1510mg Carbohydrates 37g Fiber 2g Sugar 8g Protein 20g
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