How to Make Panera Mac and Cheese

Joel Mason

Mac, Tutorials

If you’re a fan of Panera Bread’s delicious Mac and Cheese, you’re in luck! In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to make your own mouth-watering version of this popular dish. Get ready to enjoy the creamy and cheesy goodness right in the comfort of your own home!

Ingredients:
– 2 cups elbow macaroni
– 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
– 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
– 2 1/2 cups milk
– 1/4 cup unsalted butter
– 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Step 1: Cook the Macaroni

Start by cooking the elbow macaroni according to the package instructions. Make sure to cook it until it’s al dente, as it will continue to cook when we bake it later. Once cooked, drain the macaroni and set it aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Cheese Mixture

In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk until smooth. This creates a roux that will help thicken our cheese sauce.

Note: A roux is a mixture of equal parts fat (butter in this case) and flour used as a thickening agent for sauces.

Step 3: Add Milk

Gradually add the milk to the roux, whisking constantly to avoid any lumps from forming. Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and begins to thicken.

Step 4: Add Cheeses

Once the sauce has thickened slightly, reduce the heat to low. Add the shredded cheddar cheese and grated Parmesan cheese to the saucepan. Stir until the cheese has melted completely and the sauce is smooth and creamy.

Step 5: Combine Macaroni and Cheese Sauce

Now it’s time to bring it all together! Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce, stirring until every piece of pasta is coated in the creamy goodness.

Step 6: Bake

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the mac and cheese mixture into a greased baking dish. Spread it evenly and sprinkle some extra shredded cheddar cheese on top for an irresistible golden crust.

  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the top is bubbly and golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving.

Note: If you prefer a crispier top, you can broil it for an additional minute or two, but keep a close eye on it to avoid burning.

Step 7: Serve and Enjoy!

Once cooled slightly, dish out generous portions of this cheesy delight onto plates or bowls. You can serve it as a main course or as a side dish alongside your favorite proteins.

Tips:
– Feel free to add some cooked bacon bits, sautéed onions, or even some chopped green chilies for an extra flavor boost. – For a healthier version, you can use whole wheat macaroni and reduced-fat cheeses.

– Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Simply reheat in the microwave or oven before enjoying again!

Now that you know how to make Panera Mac and Cheese at home, you can satisfy your cravings anytime. This creamy classic is sure to become a family favorite!

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