TikTok's Favorite Panera Hack Is French Onion Soup Mac & Cheese

Panera Bread fans on TikTok are onto something, and it is cheesy, toasty, slightly sweet, and so satisfying. Creamy mac and cheese and rich French onion soup are a perfect match. Aside from the fact that this combination is delicious, this Panera hack is also great because it does not cause a huge headache to the folks working at the restaurant. All you have to do is order a You Pick Two and select the mac and cheese and the bistro French onion soup. If you order cups of both, you will get two eight-ounce portions. You can also order a bowl of each for an upcharge, and you will receive two 12-ounce servings.


I just realized I said "Dr. Pepper" and not "Dr. PP". It must be the sinus infection... #panera

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Then, how you create your French onion soup mac and cheese is up to you. Take a spoonful of mac and dunk it in the soup, pour some soup into the mac, or dunk a piece of baguette into the soup first, and use it to scoop up some cheesy noodles. You can even ask for an extra bowl, (or grab one from your cabinet if you ordered to-go) and stir together the mac and cheese and French onion soup in the proportion that is perfect for you.

Dial Panera French onion soup mac and cheese up a notch

One way to undeniably take this combo to the next level is to order a bread bowl. If you want your lunch or dinner to be on the soupier side, get the French onion soup in the bowl. If you want the mac and cheese to lead, order the mac and cheese in a bread bowl. Then, ask for a cup or bowl of the other dish, and get to scooping, dunking, slurping, and savoring. Add crispy carrots, frizzled onions, or parmesan crisps to your mac for some extra crunch.

If French onion soup is really not your thing, you can take this same hack, and apply it to any of the other Panera soups. Try combining mac and cheese with creamy tomato, broccoli cheddar, turkey chili, or even the autumn squash soup for a creamy pumpkin pasta vibe. The world is your oyster — or at least your soup bowl.

Make it at home

There are lots of copycat recipes online for both the soup and the mac, so you could totally start from scratch with both dishes. You can also follow one of the many recipes for French onion mac, which are also very popular on social media. Start by caramelizing onions. Then make a roux, add milk or cream, and cheeses like fontina, gruyere, parmesan, and cheddar. Stir the onions and noodles into the cheese sauce, and top with toasted croutons. Trader Joe's even has a version in its frozen section.

If you want to go the semi-homemade route, ready-to-heat Panera mac and cheese is actually sold in the refrigerated section of grocery stores such as Sam's Club, Walmart, Target, and Randalls. Unfortunately, French onion soup is not available pre-packaged from Panera, but other soups that pair well with mac and cheese are, including lobster bisque. Follow a simple French onion soup recipe to make your own, or pick up a premade option from a different brand. Even if a trip to Panera isn't in the cards, you can definitely satisfy your craving.