Panera Combines Two of Their Most Popular Menu Items for One Incredibly Cheesy Dish

You won't have to wait long to try it.

Broccoli Cheddar Mac & Cheese
Photo: Panera at Home

When you're ordering from the Panera app or standing (socially distanced) in line at the café, it can be hard to pick from your favorite dishes. Do you want the creamy, comforting soup or a bowl of tender pasta wrapped in a luscious cheese sauce? Now, you can have both — at home!

Monday, Aug. 3, the national bakery chain announced their first-ever menu item mash-up: Broccoli Cheddar Mac & Cheese. The new item in their Panera at Home line combines the beloved Broccoli Cheddar Soup with their creamy Mac & Cheese menu star.

The result? One irresistibly ooey-gooey, warm, and cheesy pasta dish that shouts comfort and gives you a hug, precisely when we could all use a little more of both.

Each bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Mac & Cheese is loaded with a rich cheese sauce, tender broccoli florets and julienned carrots, and the same pasta used in the classic Mac & Cheese. Individually, the brand's Broccoli Cheddar Soup and Mac & Cheese grocery items are among the top-selling soups and prepared foods in the U.S., with the soup coming in as the most sold refrigerated soup in the country.

If you want to feel like you're actually eating in Panera again, be sure to grab a bread bowl from your supermarket's bakery, and hollow it out for the true Broccoli Cheese Soup experience. The 16-ounce containers are generous and could easily feed two. Grab a few for a quick dinner or casual date night. It would also make a great side dish with any number of other main dishes, from chicken to salmon.

Panera Broccoli Cheddar Mac & Cheese
Panera at Home

I had the opportunity to try the new dish recently, and I was surprised with how well the two dishes worked together. Broccoli Cheddar Soup is made in a rich cheddary cream sauce, while the Mac & Cheese's sauce is lighter and butterier. Together, however, it's a combination of tangy cheddar with the same lusciousness of the Mac & Cheese sauce.

The broccoli, as it always is in the café soup, is perfectly cooked and tender. And Panera didn't cut corners with small bits of broccoli — no, this dish is loaded with big pieces, perfect for sopping up that cheesy sauce.

Ready to try it? You won't be able to find this item in the cafés. As part of the Panera at Home menu, it's available in grocery stores for people to heat and serve at home.

And you won't have to wait long! The pasta dish, which will retail for $6.99 for a 16-ounce container, should be arriving on shelves of Food Lion, Giant, Martin's, and Jewel this month. Wider grocery expansion will come this fall.

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