Panera Bread Macaroni & Cheese Recipe – YUM!!

My kids love Panera’s mac and cheese and I love to cook for them.  Therefore, it is a no brainer that I would try to find a recipe for this and do it myself. How lucky am I?  Panera posted their recipe online.  Since I know that companies often post a recipe for only a limited time, I want to put it on my site for my future use (and yours).

This came out very very good!  I am not sure if it is exactly the same as the one made in the restaurant but I am sure that it passed the test in my home!  The one very bad thing about being a willing caterer to your family is that they become super picky eaters.

When my son was about 8 years old, I told him, “I hope your wife is a really good cook since you are used to someone cooking for you.”
He innocently and insightfully responded, “Well, if she isn’t, it won’t matter because I will be able to cook.”
Boy did that put me in my place and remind me that while I like to think I am a bit of a modern day feminist, I still stick to old school roles in my brain.

Here’s to hoping all our sons (and daughters) will also be independent and self sufficient with their own culinary needs. Oh yeah, I must point out that one of the most surprisingly things I learned when I first started working in a popular culinary store is that I have almost as many male customers as female customers.  That should not have surprised me but it did.

Enough gabbing, here is your recipe for a delicious Macaroni & Cheese


the ultimate macaroni and cheese

Panera Bread’s Signature Macaroni & Cheese
Adapted by Head Chef Dan Kish


  • 1 (16-ounce) package of rigati pasta (or other small pasta shells)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2½ 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
  • ¼ teaspoon hot sauce


  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Set aside.
  2. In large sauce pan, melt butter over low heat.
  3. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  4. Gradually whisk in milk (or cream); cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat.
  5. Add cheeses, mustard, salt, and hot sauce, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.
  6. Stir in pasta and cook over medium heat for 1 minute (or until thoroughly heated).

Serves 4 to 6

Here is the completed decadent cheesiness before the pasta is added!
You can use any pasta you prefer for this recipe. Today my kids wanted bow-ties!



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