Order Panera Mac And Cheese With Stir-Ins For An Easy Upgrade

When you're craving some warm comfort food, Panera's mac and cheese just might be the solution. While it's certainly delicious all on its own, you may want to switch things up here and there with additional ingredients added in, straight from Panera's menu.

For an additional fee, you could always add bacon as a flavor- and texture-filled mix-in. Or, if you want a vegetarian-friendly crunch, you can crumble up some of the restaurant's kettle-cooked potato chips and sprinkle the crumbs on top. But, the restaurant chain has plenty of other stir-in options, too. Thanks to its salads that are made fresh, there are plenty of veggie toppings to choose from to adorn your macaroni and cheese.

If you want to keep the creamy texture while adding a little burst of freshness, ask for avocado to be added into your bowl of mac. The chain also offers other salad ingredients, like basil, onions, pickles, and carrots that would all taste great mixed into the cheesy pasta. For a little bit of crunch, you can request to have Parmesan crisps or croutons mixed in, too. 

Soup makes for an easy mac and cheese stir-in, too

Some TikTok users have even suggested combining Panera's French onion soup with mac and cheese, and there are plenty of other soup options you could stir into your bowl of mac and cheese to seamlessly blend the flavors.

One easy way to add a little bit of acidity to your mac and cheese is to combine it with a bowl of tomato soup. The chain's version blends tomatoes, cream, red pepper, and oregano, all of which will complement the cheesy flavors of the mac and cheese. Another veggie-packed option is to grab a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup to recreate Panera's now-discontinued broccoli cheddar mac. 

If you want something a little heartier, the turkey chili includes turkey, beans, and plenty of vegetables that would work well with the cheesy noodles. Or, if chicken is your preferred poultry, you can grab a cup of chicken noodle soup instead. While the broth might be a little too much liquid, you can always use a fork to scoop out the chunks of chicken, pasta, and veggies to mix into your mac.

Order both the mac and soup as part of Panera's cost-saving "You Pick Two" option, which allows you to choose two qualifying menu items and build a meal — or, in this case, combine it for one tasty dish.

Recreate Panera's discontinued mac and cheese dishes

Mixing some Panera ingredients into a bowl of mac and cheese is a great way to recreate discontinued menu items that you may be missing, such as the broccoli and cheddar mac mentioned above. 

Another example is Panera's BBQ chicken mac and cheese that's currently unavailable to order, but you can still recreate the taste with some creative stir-ins. Since chicken is readily available, it can easily be added to your bowl, and the restaurant chain also serves some sandwiches with an apple cider vinegar BBQ sauce, so request a splash of that, too, to tie it all together.

Some Panera fans also still miss the Baja mac and cheese. The dish added avocado, pico de gallo, and cilantro to the cheesy pasta. While Panera no longer offers pico de gallo, but it does have tomatoes, bean corn salsa, peppers, onions, cilantro, and avocado that can be added into your mac to recreate the dish.