Whenever I ask hubbs if he wants to go to lunch, he always says he wants Panera.
Every. Single. Time.
& it seems like every time we eat there, we both end up ordering their mac and cheese (and our little one loves to steal bites, too). It’s just so darn good.
This recipe is really nice to have on hand when you don’t feel like spending $40 at Panera. Making and eating this at home never disappoints. You spend way less to make it and it tastes just as good! & who could argue with that?
This recipe makes 6-8 servings. But I like to make a double batch and freeze half in smaller portions to make for lunches throughout the week.
The recipe calls for Dijon mustard, and if I were you, I wouldn’t skip those adding it. It really gives the dish an extra kick of tangy, sharp, yumminess.
Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese
Prep Time: 10 min Total Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 15 min Servings: 6-8
1 16 oz box of pasta shells
¼ cup butter or oil
1/3 cup of flour
2 ½ cups of milk (I use 2%, but you can probably use any kind)
½ of a 1 lb block of Monterrey jack cheese
½ of a 1 lb block of Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Prepare the pasta using the directions on the box.
Drain the noodles in a strainer and melt butter in the pan (low heat). Add your flour and mix until it clumps and makes a roux. Slowly add in the milk, whisking constantly until all of the clumps are out and the sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
Add in Dijon mustard, hot sauce, and half of the cheese. Mix until the cheese is melted. Add the other half of the cheese and mix until it is melted and smooth.
Add pasta and stir until sauce evenly coats the noodles.
Serve immediately or freeze.
Serving Size 1/2 cup
Servings Per Container 8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 487 Calories from Fat 235.8
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26.2g 40%
Saturated Fat 15.6g 78%
Trans Fat g
Cholesterol 81mg 27%
Sodium 459mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 39.6g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1.7g 7%
Protein 22.4g 45%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.