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Panera Copycat White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese The creamiest, richest homemade white cheddar macaroni and cheese. This is one of Panera's most popular recipes and now you can make a copycat recipe at home!

Panera Copycat White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

The creamiest, richest homemade white cheddar macaroni and cheese. This is one of Panera’s most popular recipes and now you can make a copycat recipe at home!

This is the dreamiest and creamiest macaroni and cheese recipe. You will want to throw away all of your boxed mac and cheese!

My son, Mason, just had his wisdom teeth taken out, and basically, he couldn’t eat much at all. He was so excited to learn that macaroni and cheese was on the list of acceptable foods and on the 3rd day of his recovery, we ran to Panera to grab him their famous mac and cheese. 

It may not come as a surprise to you but I am a tough critic in the food department. I don’t usually order macaroni and cheese unless it is the real deal. I was actually pleasantly surprised at the flavor and creaminess and by the time I got in the car, I was determined to create a homemade version of the famous Panera macaroni and cheese. 

Panera Copycat White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese The creamiest, richest homemade white cheddar macaroni and cheese. This is one of Panera's most popular recipes and now you can make a copycat recipe at home!

Before I start in the kitchen creating my copycat recipes, I always do a lot of research. I scour the internet for the list of ingredients and nutritional information. This is the most helpful guide to knowing how they create the recipe. I already tasted the mac and cheese so that part of the research project is all completed. 

Of course, they have dozens of ingredients listed and I wanted to simplify it for my homemade version. Here is the key to making it extra creamy — just like Panera — use a mix of two cheeses — white cheddar cheese and white American cheese. The Boar’s Head white American cheese is the real game-changer to keep it creamy — even after it sits and gets cold. 

This homemade macaroni and cheese is made with a roux mixture of butter, flour, whole milk, and cream plus white cheddar cheese, white American cheese, spices, and pasta. It is so easy!

My kids could not get enough of this Panera Copycat White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese. It is THAT good. If you love mac and cheese, you can check out this other recipe from MH — Creamy Jalapeno Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

Panera Copycat White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese The creamiest, richest homemade white cheddar macaroni and cheese. This is one of Panera's most popular recipes and now you can make a copycat recipe at home!

How to make the Best White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese:

  1. Start by making a roux by melting the butter and then stirring in the flour until it forms a paste. I like to use a whisk to make sure it is all combined. Slowly add in the whole milk and heavy cream and whisk until it is silky smooth. Let it cook for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Use sharp white cheddar cheese and white American cheese (I suggest Boar’s Head from the deli because it is the best quality and melts beautifully). Add it in small increments, stirring well after each addition to allow it to melt. You don’t want to add all of the cheese at once as it may clump. I suggest chopping the cheese into small pieces. 
  3. Cook the pasta. Use your favorite type of pasta from elbow macaroni to orecchiette to campanelle. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Make sure to generously salt the water! 
  4. Let the sauce thicken and add seasonings. Toss with drained pasta and serve. 

Panera Copycat White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese The creamiest, richest homemade white cheddar macaroni and cheese. This is one of Panera's most popular recipes and now you can make a copycat recipe at home!

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5 from 13 votes

Panera Copycat White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

By: Modern Honey® - www.modernhoney.com
The creamiest, richest homemade white cheddar macaroni and cheese. This is one of Panera's most popular recipes and now you can make a copycat recipe at home!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients  

  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 4 ounces Sharp White Cheddar Cheese (cut into cubes)
  • 8 ounces White American Cheese * (Boar's Head from deli)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon Dried Mustard
  • 1 lb. Pasta (such as orecheiette, macaroni, etc)

Instructions 

  • Heat water in a large pot on high until it reaches boiling point. Generously add salt to the water. Once it begins to boil, add pasta and cook according to package instructions.
  • As the water is warming up, make the sauce. Heat a pot over medium heat and add butter. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour until a paste forms. Make sure to have the milk nearby because you will want to have it ready. Whisk in milk and heavy cream. Let it simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  • Slowly add in the chunks of cheese in small increments, whisking after each addition. You don't want to add it in all at once or the mixture may clump. Add in salt, pepper, and dried mustard. Let the cheese melt and once the sauce has thickened, add the drained pasta. Taste for seasonings.
  • Serve warm.

Notes

** I only use Boar's Head White American Cheese for the deli department. I just ask them for 1/2 lb. 

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Lunch or Dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Keyword: homemade mac and cheese, homemade white cheddar macaroni and cheese, panera copycat macaroni and cheese, panera mac and cheese, panera macaroni and cheese
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Hi, I'm Melissa Stadler!

I am an Award-Winning Recipe Creator. Cover of Food Network Magazine. Two-Time Pillsbury Bake-Off Finalist. I am passionate about sharing the best recipes so you have success in the kitchen!

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5 from 13 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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17 Comments

  1. Hi! Can you make this ahead of time and back the next day to heat up? I want to make it for thanksgiving but it would be easier to make ahead of time.

  2. 5 stars
    So tasty and to think I can have it in the comforts of my home for a fraction of the cost. Creamy, tasty….love it with some fresh cracked pepper on top!

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! Used Cavattapi pasta since I can never find the orecchetti pasta in local stores… We live in a college town so anything pasta is off the shelves, lol! So delish! We baked some baby back ribs and a roasted tomato flatbed to go along with this… Winner! Our 17 m/o loves it! Definitely have to do Boar’s Head for cheese, especially White American… Gotta get the melty goodness! We use that as well for Cheese steak sandwiches, or a Cheese steak pizza. ????

  4. Amazing. It was a little thick, I think next time I will stir in a little more milk. But the flavor was fantastic. It reminded me of the Pastaroni white shells and cheddar.

  5. Could you PLEASE ANSWER MY QUESTION? It has been 16 days, don’t you follow-up on your own website? I would appreciate a response. Thanks Katherine

    1. Hi Katherine! Sorry for the delay. I have been taking time off to spend time with my family. My son is leaving for two years to serve a church service mission so we are trying to fit in as much family time as possible. I used Boar’s Head white American cheese and used white sharp cheddar cheese from the cheese area in the grocery store. I usually pick up what is on sale. I hope that helps! — Melissa

  6. What brand of sharp white cheddar did you use is it Boar’s Head as well?
    Thanks
    Katherine

    1. This was extremely rude of you, Katherine. You should be more respectful than that. You don’t know her reason for not getting back with you, and it’s none of your business either.

  7. 5 stars
    I love the ingredients for this recipe. Thanks we love Mac and Cheese at our house, but this one is a little over the top……….I’m so happy, can’t wait to try.
    Donna