Skip to Content

30-Minute Easy Panera Mac & Cheese Recipe

19 Shares
The secret to making this 30-Minute Easy Panera Mac & Cheese is using white cheddar!
30-Minute Easy Panera Mac & Cheese Recipe

The secret to making this 30-Minute Easy Panera Mac & Cheese is using white cheddar. It is sharp and tasty and makes a smooth, velvety, and indulgent sauce. Mac and Cheese is the perfect comfort food and this recipe is quick and easy to make!

30-Minute Easy Panera Mac & Cheese Recipe

Ingredients For Panera Mac & Cheese

  • Elbow pasta
  • Butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • White cheddar
  • Heavy cream
  • Milk
  • Mustard powder
  • Cayenne
  • Salt and pepper

How To Make 30-Minute Easy Panera Mac & Cheese

  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and melt the butter. Add the butter and cook until slightly golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and heavy cream and cook until thick, about 3 minutes. Add the mustard powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.

Turn down the heat to low, and add the shredded cheddar, stirring until melted. Mix in the cooked pasta and serve hot.

30-Minute Easy Panera Mac & Cheese Recipe

How Can I Prevent The Cheese From Clumping?

Don’t use pre-shredded cheese. It has anti-caking ingredients that prevent it from melting properly. Buy a block, shred it yourself, and let it come to room temperature before adding it to the sauce.

What If I Don’t Have Heavy Cream?

You can use half and half or whole milk in equal amounts. A mix of milk and a tablespoon of butter is good too. It mimics the fat content of heavy cream.30-Minute Easy Panera Mac & Cheese Recipe

How Do I Store Leftovers?

Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Before reheating add a splash of milk and reheat in the microwave.

Can I Freeze This Mac And Cheese?

You can, but the texture of thawed mac and cheese will not be the same as that of freshly made.

30-Minute Easy Panera Mac & Cheese Recipe

30-Minute Easy Panera Mac & Cheese Recipe

The secret to making this 30-Minute Easy Panera Mac & Cheese is using white cheddar!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 SERVINGS
Calories: 546kcal
Author: Katherine - Yummfully

Equipment

  • Cheese shredder
  • Large pasta pot
  • Large Dutch oven
  • Measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients

  • 16 oz elbow macaroni pasta
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups freshly shredded white cheddar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and melt the butter. Add the butter and cook until slightly golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and heavy cream and cook until thick, about 3 minutes. Add the mustard powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
  • Turn down the heat to low, and add the shredded cheddar, stirring until melted. Mix in the cooked pasta and serve hot.

Nutrition

Calories: 546kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.25g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 562mg | Potassium: 11mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 7mg

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make This Recipe Without Cayenne Pepper?

Definitely! The cayenne pepper is optional. If you don’t like spicy food, don’t add it.

What Can I Do If The Sauce Is Too Thick?

Add a bit more milk until it reaches the desired consistency.

How Can I Get More Flavor To My Mac And Cheese?

You can add extra ingredients like cooked, crumbled bacon, caramelized onions, or sun-dried tomatoes, or try different cheeses like Gouda, Gruyere, or Monterey Jack.

What’s The Best Pasta To Use For This Recipe?

Elbow macaroni or medium pasta shells are the most recommended because their shapes hold the sauce well.

Can I Bake This Mac And Cheese Even If Not Mentioned?

Yes, you can. Top the prepared mac and cheese with a cup of crushed Ritz crackers or panko breadcrumbs, and bake at 325 F for 15 minutes.

How Do I Ensure The Pasta Is Perfectly Cooked?

Cook it for one minute less than the package says for al dente pasta if you plan to bake it, or cook it according to package instructions if you plan to serve it right away.

30-Minute Easy Panera Mac & Cheese Recipe

19 Shares
Recipe Rating