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This Mac and Cheese Bread Bowl is a copycat of the menu item at Panera Bread so you can skip the takeout. It’s a fabulous way to serve mac and cheese for a satisfying lunch or dinner that’s ready in 15 minutes!

Overhead view of a DIY Panera mac and cheese bread bowl

After our popular Two Cheese Bread Bowl, we couldn’t resist the temptation to do a copycat of Panera’s mac and cheese bread bowl. This item is often not on the menu these days, so if you want it you’ve got to make your own at home!

Some readers have commented that this is piling on the carbs, although it’s an undeniably fun way to enjoy this comfort food. And you don’t need to eat the bowl anyways. Plus, we’ve introduced broccoli for a touch of color and nutrition. It’s a meal by itself!

How to Make Mac and Cheese Bread Bowl

To make it, you’ll need a 6 to 8 inch round bread load from the bakery or supermarket. Sourdough is Panera’s classic, but a crusty white bread or even pumpernickel will do as well.

We’re cooking the macaroni in the microwave to save time. Simply put the pasta and water in a medium microwaveable bowl and cook on full power for 5 minutes, and then in 2 minute intervals until al dente.

Mac n Cheese Bread Bowl - a delicious and fun way to serve your favorite mac and cheese

Then add the milk, cheese, seasonings and optional broccoli to the bowl. Microwave now in 30 second intervals until creamy.

Using a serrated knife, cut the top off and scoop out the inside with your hands. Spoon the mac and cheese mixture into the cavity and dinner is served!

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5 from 1 vote

Mac and Cheese Bread Bowl

This Mac and Cheese Bread Bowl is a copycat of the menu item at Panera Bread. It's a fabulous way to serve mac and cheese for a satisfying lunch or dinner idea! 
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 2 servings


  • 2 round bread loaves, 6-8 inch size
  • 1 1/2 cups macaroni pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, mild or medium recommended

Serving (optional)

  • 3/4 cup frozen broccoli florets, see note
  • red pepper flakes


  • Make the bread bowl by slicing off the top with a serrated knife. Remove the insides of the bread with your fingers and set aside.
  • In a medium microwaveable bowl, add pasta, water and salt. Microwave for 5 minutes on full power to start the cooking process. Then continue in 2 minute intervals until al dente.
  • Drain excess water from the bowl using a sieve if needed. Mix in the milk, garlic powder, cheese and optional broccoli. Then microwave for 1 minute or until creamy.
  • Spoon the macaroni and cheese into the bread bowl. Top with optional red pepper flakes before serving.


  • Broccoli: If using fresh broccoli florets, they'll need more cooking time. Add to the final two minutes to cook with the pasta.
  • Make Ahead: You can make the mac and cheese up to 3 days ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge. When ready to serve, reheat in the microwave and spoon into the bread bowl.
  • Note: nutrition data does not include the bread bowl
Nutrition Facts
Mac and Cheese Bread Bowl
Amount Per Serving (1 bowl)
Calories 485 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Cholesterol 22mg7%
Sodium 1160mg48%
Potassium 457mg13%
Carbohydrates 67g22%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 35g70%
Vitamin A 542IU11%
Vitamin C 30mg36%
Calcium 488mg49%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Please read our nutrition disclaimer.

Author: Cindy
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mac and cheese bread bowl, mac n cheese bread bowl, panera mac and cheese bread bowl
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