Panera Mac and Cheese Copycat

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Make Panera-style White Cheddar Mac & Cheese right in your own kitchen, and it’s even better than the original! Remember those after-school cravings for something delicious? Let’s bring that joy home. Here’s how to whip up this creamy, cheesy delight in just 30 minutes. It’s the ultimate comfort food, perfect for family dinners paired with grilled chicken and garlic bread.

Panera Mac and Cheese Copycat

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer


  • 16 ounces of your favorite pasta shape
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • A dash of optional cayenne powder
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese


  • Boil a large pot of salted water. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in flour and cook until golden and bubbling.
  • Pour in the half and half, whisking continuously until smooth. Add mustard powder, garlic powder, black pepper, nutmeg, cayenne (if using), and salt. Mix well.
  • Reduce heat, add all cheeses, and whisk until smooth.
  • Drain cooked pasta and add it to the sauce. Stir well and serve warm! Enjoy your homemade Panera-style Mac & Cheese!

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