This copycat version of Panera Broccoli Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese is made super easy, (and one pot!) with the help of a pressure cooker. Much like the restaurant version, we combine the best parts of Macaroni & Cheese and Broccoli & Cheese Soup. Our version makes it super fast and easy to make a DIY version right in your own kitchen.
What are the ingredients in Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Butter– I used olive oil butter
- Onion– yellow or white onion will both work fine for this recipe
- Garlic Powder– I prefer garlic powder to fresh garlic in this recipe as I feel it spreads more evenly throughout the dish and there is less chance of it burning during the initial saute phase
- Onion Powder
- Elbow macaroni-you can substitute another similar sized pasta with similar cooking time, such as small shells, but you will want to stick with something similarly sized so it does not affect the overall cooking time
- Broccoli-cut the broccoli into small bite-sized pieces
- Grated Baby carrots-I used baby carrots as that is what I always have on hand. You could easily use standard sized carrots, peeled and grated, until you also reach about a cup in volume
- Salt and pepper
- Dijon mustard– I prefer the flavor of fresh dijon mustard to that of ground mustard powder for this pasta dish
- Chicken bouillon–I used the scoopable kind such as Better than Bouillon
- Hot Sauce– I used Texas Pete, use whatever hot sauce is your favorite
- Half and Half
- Cheeses– I used a cup of shredded yellow cheddar cheese, a cup of sharp white cheddar cheese, two slices of yellow American cheese, torn in small pieces and two Tablespoons of shredded parmesan cheese
How to make Panera Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Begin by setting the pressure cooker to sauté. Add the butter and allow to melt. Add the onions, garlic powder and onion powder and cook, stirring, until the onions are beginning to soften, 2-3 minutes.
- Turn off the sauté function and add the macaroni, broccoli, grated carrots, salt, pepper, dijon, chicken bouillon hot sauce, water and half and half. Stir gently so that the macaroni is covered. Set the cooking time to high pressure for 5 minutes.
- When the cooking time is done, quick release any remaining pressure. Remove the lid and stir in the cheeses. Continue stirring until the cheese has all melted. Serve immediately.
Can this pasta be made in advance?
Yes, the Panera copycat pasta can be made in advance. Just make sure to remove the pasta from the Instant Pot as soon as the cheese has finished melting so that the continued heat from the pressure cooker does not cause the pasta to become overcooked.
Love Panera? Be sure to check out some of our other Panera Copycat recipes to bring the café home:
Want More restaurant copycats to make at home? Here are a few of our favorites:
- Crispy jalapenos and homemade charred corn salsa make this Red Robin Burnin’ Love Burger a spicy treat
- Mac and cheese patties made just to top fresh burgers along with a homemade cheese sauce? You bet with these Cheesecake Factory Mac & Cheese Burgers
- Looking for the perfect fresh salad to make a light meal or perfect side dish? This Chick fil A Kale Crunch Salad is sure to do the trick.
- This California Pizza Club Pizza is so fresh and tasty with its homemade creamy lemon sauce and fresh arugula topping. This is such an impressive pizza to serve and surprisingly easy to make.
- Breadsticks go well with soup or salads, and why not pasta. These Little Caesars Cheesy Breadsticks just work with it all!
Panera Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese Recipe
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup onion diced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 12 oz elbow macaroni uncooked
- 2 ½ cups broccoli chopped in small florets
- 20 baby carrots grated in a food processor (about 1 cup)
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon chicken bouillon
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup half and half
To add after cooking:
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
- 2 slices American cheese torn in small pieces
- 2 Tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
- Set the Instant Pot to sauté. Add the butter and allow to melt. Add the onion, garlic powder and onion powder and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes just until the onion is beginning to soften. Turn off the Instant Pot.
- Add the remaining pre-cooking ingredients, through the half and half. Stir gently so that all the macaroni noodles are covered. Seal the pot and set to manual high pressure for 5 minutes. When the cooking time is done, quick release any remaining pressure.
- Add all the cheese to the mixture and stir gently until all of the cheeses have melted. Serve