Instant Pot Panera Broccoli Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese
copycat Instant Pot Main Dishes pasta Recipes

Panera Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese Copycat

This Panera Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese Copycat Recipe 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
Panera Broccoli Cheddar Mac and 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.

How to reheat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese:

There are a few ways to reheat mac and cheese, but one of the best ways is in the oven. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Transfer your leftover mac and cheese to an oven-safe dish. If the mac and cheese has dried out, you can add a splash of milk to it to help loosen it up.
  3. Cover the dish with foil to prevent the top from getting too crispy.
  4. Bake the mac and cheese in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until it’s heated through.
  5. Remove the foil from the top of the dish and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the top is crispy and golden brown.
  6. Let the mac and cheese cool for a few minutes before serving.

Alternatively, you can also reheat mac and cheese in the microwave or on the stovetop. However, reheating it in the oven will give it a crispy, golden-brown crust and will help to ensure that it heats evenly throughout.

What to serve with Panera Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese?

Broccoli cheddar mac and cheese is a delicious and satisfying dish that pairs well with a variety of sides. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts, carrots, or asparagus would be a great complement to the mac and cheese.
  2. Salad: A fresh salad with a light vinaigrette would be a nice contrast to the richness of the mac and cheese.
  3. Garlic Bread: A slice of garlic bread would be a perfect accompaniment to the mac and cheese.
  4. Grilled Chicken: Grilled chicken breasts or thighs seasoned with herbs and spices would add a protein boost to the meal.
  5. Steamed Broccoli: If you want more broccoli, steamed broccoli would be a healthy and tasty addition to the dish.
  6. Sautéed Mushrooms: Sautéed mushrooms with garlic and butter would complement the rich and cheesy flavor of the mac and cheese.

These are just a few suggestions, but feel free to get creative and try different sides to see what you like best with your broccoli cheddar mac and cheese.

Instant Pot Panera Macaroni and cheese

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:

Instant Pot Panera Broccoli Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese

Panera Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese Recipe

5 from 1 vote


  • 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

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