Panera Macaroni And Cheese, easy as 1,2,3
Do you crave that delicious Panera Macaroni and Cheese? Who doesn’t? The good news? You can easily make it at home now anytime that you and want? And the even better news? You get to do so with the ease of your Instant Pot, too!
The next time you’re craving that crazy good and cheesy taste, this delicious homemade macaroni and cheese recipe has you covered. It just might be the best Copycat Mac N Cheese recipe that you’re going to make!
Why You’ll Love Instant Pot Panera Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Creamy and Comforting: This recipe nails the gooey, rich comfort food experience.
- Quick and Easy: With the Instant Pot, you’ll have dinner ready in minutes.
- Restaurant Quality at Home: Enjoy Panera-style mac and cheese without leaving your kitchen.
Panera Mac and Cheese Ingredients
Here are the Panera bread mac and cheese ingredients you will need:
- Pasta Shells: Provide a satisfying bite and absorb the cheese sauce well, making every mouthful creamy and delicious.
- Salt: Enhances the flavors of the pasta and cheese, making them more pronounced and savory.
- Margarine: Adds richness to the dish and helps create a smooth, creamy sauce when melted with the cheeses.
- White Cheddar Cheese: Brings sharpness and depth to the cheese sauce, giving it a distinctive, robust flavor.
- White American Cheese: Melts exceptionally well, lending a creamy, mild flavor that balances out the sharpness of the cheddar.
- Milk: Thins out the cheese sauce to the perfect consistency, making it smooth and pourable. Whole milk makes it creamier, while skim milk is a lighter option.
- Black Pepper: An optional ingredient, it adds a hint of heat and complexity to the mac and cheese, enhancing its savory qualities.
How to Make Panera Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot?
Here is a step-by-step guide for Instant Pot Panera mac and cheese.
Step One: Add Pasta to Instant Pot
1. Add your medium shells, butter, and kosher salt to the Instant Pot
Step Two: Add Water to Instant Pot
Add 4 cups of water, and then give the mixture a good stir making sure each pasta shell has been mixed with the water.
Step Three: Pressure Cook Pasta Shells
Close the lid on the Instant Pot, and turn the valve to sealed position. Pressure cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
It will take about 10 minutes for your Instant Pot to come to pressure.
Step Four: Quick Release Pressure
Once the time is up, manually release in the Instant Pot by pulling the valve to you and opening it. Be sure to open using a towel or hot pad.
Step Five: Remove Excess Water From Pasta
Remove some of the water from the pot. No need to make sure all is gone, just a bit.
Step Six: Add Cheese and Milk to Panera Mac and Cheese
Add the shredded white cheddar cheese, sliced white American cheese, and milk to the cooked pasta. Mix until fully incorporated.
The heat from the pasta will melt the cheese.
Step Seven: Serve Instant Pot Panera Mac and Cheese
Serve your copycat panera mac and cheese bowls with a little black pepper, if desired. Enjoy!
Enjoy your Panera Mac and Cheese made in the Instant Pot! It’s the perfect way to enjoy Panera’s classic mac and cheese without having to leave the house. Plus, it tastes just like Panera Bread’s version – creamy, cheesy, and delicious!
Instant Pot Panera Bread Mac and Cheese Servings
This fantastic Instant Pot Panera macaroni and cheese recipe serves between 6-8 people.
More Flavors to Add to Instant Pot Panera Mac and Cheese
If you want to make this Panera mac and cheese even more flavorful, feel free to add in some cooked bacon or sausage. You could also mix in some garlic powder or onion powder for an extra kick of flavor.
Adding Mustard to Panera Mac and Cheese
Some like to add ground mustard or dijon mustard for a mustard flavor. Just add one tablespoon at a time and taste to see if it’s at a level you want.
Adding Hot Sauce to This Dish
If you want to add hot sauce to your Panera mac and cheese to get a spicy dish then add one teaspoon of hot sauce at a time until you get your desired taste.
No matter how you serve it, Panera Mac and Cheese is always a crowd pleaser! Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does White Cheddar Cheese Taste Like?
White cheddar cheese has a milder, slightly sweeter taste than regular cheddar. It’s still sharp and tangy but with less of that strong flavor that comes with aged yellow cheddars. White cheddar can range from smooth and creamy to more crumbly depending on how it’s aged. It’s perfect
What Is Panera Macaroni and Cheese?
Panera Mac and Cheese is Panera Bread’s version of the classic macaroni and cheese recipe. Panera uses a blend of three cheeses – Cheddar, Gouda, and Parmesan – to make their delicious recipe.
They also use elbow pasta, which gives it that classic macaroni shape we all know and love.
What Cheese Is Used in Panera Mac and Cheese Sauce?
The cheese sauce in copycat panera mac and cheese is usually made form Cheddar, Gouda and Parmesan.
Panera also adds a touch of garlic, onion and a special blend of spices to give it that unique Panera flavor.
What Does Panera’s Mac and Cheese Taste Like?
Panera Mac and Cheese is creamy, cheesy and full of flavor. The cheese tastes rich while the spices give it that Panera Bread signature flavor.
It’s one of Panera’s most popular dishes for good reason – once you try it, you’ll be hooked! The sharp white cheddar cheese flavor adds a tangy flavor, while the gouda and parmesan give it a smooth texture.
Is Panera Mac and Cheese Vegetarian?
Yes! Panera Mac and Cheese is vegetarian-friendly. It does not contain any meat or fish products.
Is Panera Mac and Cheese Good?
Yes! Panera Mac and Cheese is incredibly delicious. The combination of three cheeses, creamy sauce, pasta shells, and a sprinkle of herbs make for an unforgettable flavor.
Plus, it’s easy to make in your own kitchen with this Instant Pot Panera Mac And Cheese Recipe. Try it out and see for yourself!
Is Panera Mac and Cheese Healthy?
Panera Mac and Cheese is definitely not a health food. It does contain cheese, pasta, and butter, which adds up to quite a few calories. However, Panera Mac and Cheese can be a part of an overall healthy diet when it’s consumed in moderation.
Does This Really Taste Like the Panera Bread Mac and Cheese Recipe?
Yes, it really does. It’s the perfect combination of the ingredients and the white cheeses that make it have that familiar taste.
Most other macaroni recipes use yellow cheese or a cheese blend with yellow cheese, but Panera does it right with the white cheese!
How Long Does It Take to Cook Instant Pot Panera Mac and Cheese?
This is what is awesome about this copycat macaroni and cheese recipe. Prep time and cook time are minimal. Only 20 minutes, total!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Can You Use Elbow Macaroni in Panera Mac and Cheese?
You can you elbow macaroni! I just like to use the shells since that is what they use at Panera.
The cheesy goodness gets caught up in that little pocket of noodles and makes such a flavorful bite!
Best Cheddar Cheese for Mac and Cheese?
Extra sharp white cheddar cheese is best for Panera Mac and Cheese. White cheddar will give you a creamy, cheesy dish with plenty of flavor.
You could also substitute these for cabot white cheddar or Vermont cheddar cheese. Just grate the block cheddar before use.
You can also use other types of cheese such as Colby or Monterey Jack cheese to mix it up. For the American cheese slices, I usually opt for the white variety but yellow works just fine.
Do I Have to Use Whole Milk for Panera Mac and Cheese?
No, you can use whatever type of milk you like. Whole milk is usually the preferred choice because it makes the Panera mac and cheese creamier.
You can also try using skim milk if that’s what you have on hand. Some also use heavy cream, but we prefer milk for our version of this copycat Panera mac and cheese recipe.
Can I Use Oat Milk in Macaroni and Cheese?
Yes, you can definitely use oat milk in Panera mac and cheese. Oat milk has a creamy texture that helps give the macaroni and cheese a rich flavor. Be sure to adjust the amount of salt and pepper if needed since oat milk is usually unsalted.
Can You Make Macaroni and Cheese Without Milk?
Yes, you can make Panera Mac and Cheese without milk but it will not be as creamy. Instead of using milk, you can use cream cheese or sour cream for a creamier texture.
However, some people prefer their mac and cheese without any dairy at all. If that’s the case, try adding more butter and extra cheese.
Can You Make Macaroni and Cheese Ahead of Time?
Yes, Panera macaroni and cheese can be made ahead of time. Just cook the pasta shells according to the instructions in the recipe, and then add all of the remaining ingredients.
Cover with plastic wrap or an airtight container and store in the fridge ready to rewarm before eating.
Can You Freeze Panera Mac and Cheese?
Yes, Panera Mac and Cheese can be frozen. Just make sure to place in a freezer bag or airtight container, and that it is completely cooled before freezing.
When ready to reheat, thaw overnight in your refrigerator.
How to Reheat Panera Mac and Cheese?
To reheat Panera Mac and Cheese, place in a lightly oiled baking dish.
Sprinkle with a little shredded cheese and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until hot and bubbly. Enjoy!
How to Make a Panera Mac and Cheese Sandwich?
For a Panera Mac and Cheese sandwich, you will need two slices of bread.
Spread Panera Mac and Cheese in between the two slices, and then toast on both sides until golden brown.
This is called a Panera grilled mac and cheese sandwich or grilled mac and cheese Panera toastie.
Can My Dog Eat Macaroni and Cheese?
No, Panera Mac and Cheese should not be given to dogs as it can cause an upset stomach. There are also some ingredients in Panera Mac and Cheese that are not safe for dogs, such as onions and garlic powder.
Can Cats Eat Macaroni and Cheese?
No, Panera Mac and Cheese should not be given to cats.
Can I Eat Macaroni and Cheese While Pregnant?
Yes, Panera Mac and Cheese is safe to eat while pregnant. Just make sure to check the ingredients label first, as some versions contain small amounts of onion powder which can cause heartburn during pregnancy.
Can I Make Panera Mac and Cheese in My Slow Cooker?
Yes, Panera Mac and Cheese can be made in a slow cooker. Just add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 3-4 hours. Stir occasionally until it is creamy and hot. Serve warm. Enjoy!
Can You Add Toppings to Panera Mac and Cheese?
Yes, you can top Panera Mac and Cheese with various ingredients such as bacon, diced tomatoes, jalapenos, or shredded cheese.
You can also mix in some cooked vegetables for a flavorful and nutritious addition.
How Many Carbs in a Cup of Macaroni and Cheese?
A cup of Panera Mac and Cheese contains approximately 60 grams of carbs.
Is Macaroni and Cheese Low Fiber?
No, Panera Mac and Cheese contains a moderate amount of fiber. One cup contains approximately 3 grams of dietary fiber.
Is Panera Mac and Cheese Gluten Free?
No, Panera Mac and Cheese is not gluten-free as it contains wheat flour. If you are looking for a gluten-free macaroni and cheese , there are many options available at Panera or in your local grocery store.
Is Panera Mac and Cheese Vegan?
No, Panera Mac and Cheese is not vegan as it contains milk and cheese. However, there are plenty of vegan macaroni and cheese recipes that can be found online or in cookbooks.
Can I Eat Macaroni and Cheese With Braces?
Yes, Panera Mac and Cheese can be eaten with braces. However, you should make sure that it is cut into small pieces so that it does not get stuck in your braces or cause any damage to them.
Can You Eat Macaroni and Cheese After Tooth Extraction?
Yes, Panera Mac and Cheese can be eaten after tooth extraction. Just make sure to cut it into small pieces so that it does not get stuck in your teeth or cause any damage.
More Instant Pot Recipes
Check out more Instant Pot Pasta Recipes here:
- Wild Buffalo Chicken Pasta
- Instant Pot Cacio E Pepe
- Viral Instant Pot Feta Pasta
- 20-Minute Tomato Tortellini Soup
- Instant Pot Copy Cat Spicy Chipotle Chicken Pasta
- Instant Pot Shrimp Scampi
- Easy Instant Pot Macaroni Cheese Recipe
- 1 Pound Pasta Shells
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
- 4 Tablespoons Margarine
- 8 Ounces White Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- 6 Slices White American Cheese
- 1 Cup Milk (whole milk or skim milk)
- Black Pepper, optional
- Add your medium shells, butter, and kosher salt to the Instant Pot
- Add 4 cups of water, and then give the mixture a good stir making sure each pasta shell has been mixed with the water.
- Close the lid on the Instant Pot, and turn the valve to sealed position. Pressure cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
- It will take about 10 minutes for your Instant Pot to come to pressure.
- Once the time is up, manually release in the Instant Pot by pulling the valve to you and opening it. Be sure to open using a towel or hot pad.
- Remove some of the water from the pot. No need to make sure all is gone, just a bit.
- Add the shredded white cheddar cheese, sliced white American cheese, and milk to the cooked pasta. Mix until fully incorporated.
- The heat from the pasta will melt the cheese.
- Serve your copycat panera mac and cheese bowls with a little black pepper, if desired. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 424Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 1057mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 18g