Panera Mac & Cheese

Recipe by Chef Shelby
READY IN: 40mins


  • 1
    (16 ounce) package small shell pasta
  • 14
    cup butter
  • 2 12
    cups 2% low-fat milk (I used 1% milk)
  • 6
    slices American cheese, chopped (I used Land O Lakes white, presliced from the deli)
  • 1
    cup extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (I used an 8 oz block of Cabot Vermont extra sharp and cut into small pieces for better melting)
  • 1
    tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used a store brand-start with half the amount and taste as you go)
  • 1
    teaspoon kosher salt
  • 14
    teaspoon hot sauce (optional-I do not recommend using it. If you add too much then all you taste is the hot sauce)
  • paprika (optional-I use smoked paprika)


  • Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  • Melt butter in a Dutch oven over low heat. (I just used a regular pan) Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  • Gradually whisk in milk, cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and is bubbly. Remove from heat.
  • Add cheeses, mustard, salt, and hot sauce, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth.
  • Stir in pasta and cook over medium heat, 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Serve immediately.