Panera Bread is one of the Holy Grail’s of fast casual restaurants for college students. It’s relatively cheap, delicious, healthy(ish), and they have free Wifi. What’s not to love? But as much as I would like to go to Panera for every meal, every day, unfortunately my bank account lacks the funds for that. For days when you’re craving some of your favorite foods from Panera but lack the money or energy to go, here are 14 copycat Panera recipes you can make at home to satisfy you.
1. Fuji Apple Chicken Salad
This colorful salad packs a variety of fruits and veggies as well as chicken and blue cheese, making it a perfect filling packed lunch. Use this recipe to make this Panera favorite at home, which includes healthy apple chips to top it off.
2. Broccoli Cheddar Soup
If you go to Panera and don’t get the broccoli cheddar soup, did you even go to Panera? I honestly don’t know how anyone can resist this masterpiece of a soup. Make it at home using only five ingredients, which means it’ll probably be a lot healthier than Panera’s version. And you can use as much cheese as you want. #Winning.
3. Frontega Chicken Panini
You can make this mouthwatering sandwich in your kitchen with fresh mozzarella cheese, focaccia bread, homemade chipotle mayo, and cooked chicken breasts. If you don’t own a panini press, have no fear. These simple hacks will ensure you still get a toasted, gooey sandwich at home.
4. Cobblestone Muffin
Although it’s almost impossible to skip out on Panera’s vast selection of bakery items, you’ll be able to save a couple bucks and calories if you make this sweet muffin yourself at home. This recipe cuts out the icing and a bit of the brown sugar to make it a little healthier, but can be easily adapted to your liking.
5. Mac ‘n Cheese
Die hard Panera lovers find it hard to resist this creamy and cheesy classic dish. Some have never actually ordered anything else on the menu. Luckily, instead of spending your entire paycheck every week on Panera’s mac ‘n cheese, you can make a huge batch at home and enjoy it for a few days using this recipe.
6. Soba Noodle Broth Bowl With Chicken
Panera’s new broth bowls are like the cool older cousin to soup. They’re full of hearty, global ingredients that make for the perfect meal on a cold day. This recipe allows you to make the soba noodle broth bowl at home using a homemade marinade for the chicken and a medley of delicious veggies. Don’t forget the bread to sop up the broth at the bottom, because no part of this dish should go to waste.
7. Cinnamon Crunch Bagels
Nothing says breakfast like a bagel, especially one of Panera’s freshly baked warm ones. Unfortunately, most of us can’t wake up in time for class, let alone for a morning trip to Panera. Whip up some of Panera’s glorious cinnamon crunch bagels at home with this recipe so you can sleep in every morning and still feel super satisfied.
8. Power Chicken Hummus Bowl
Some Panera Breads no longer sell this protein and veggie-packed bowl, but luckily, you can still make it at home using this recipe. It was one of the lowest calorie items on the menu, clocking in at 270 calories with no added dressing, making it a light and healthy meal after a not-so-healthy weekend.
9. Chocolate Chip Cookie
It’s hard to resist the huge, chewy chocolate chip cookies that are sitting there innocently next to the cash register at Panera as you order your food. True, Panera’s chocolate chip cookies are the bomb, but at $3 a piece are they really worth it? Try this copycat recipe to make these perfect cookies at home without breaking the bank. As a plus, you can eat the cookie dough as you make them, which has me sold.
10. Chicken Noodle Soup
This soup is a staple for when you’re feeling sick or missing home. Since even Panera can’t make it as good as your mom probably can, use this recipe to make your own copycat version yourself. Toss all the ingredients in a crockpot if you’re feeling really under the weather and let it cook as you lay in bed watching Netflix.
11. Green Passion Power Smoothie
Panera’s power smoothies are packed with tons of fruits and veggies that are sure to keep you going all morning long. However, just one of these smoothies can cost you almost $5, which is probably about as much as it would cost to buy all the ingredients to make it yourself. So use this recipe to whip it up at home.
#SpoonTip: If you’re always running late in the morning, chop up and prepare all the ingredients the night before, then store them in a plastic bag you can just dump in the blender when you’re ready to make the smoothie.
12. BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad
Another colorful, yummy, and flavorful salad from Panera filled with interesting textures like beans, tortilla strips, lettuce, and other veggies that’s a favorite with Panera lovers. By using this recipe you can make your own version at home using your favorite BBQ sauce as a marinade for the chicken, and feel free to add as many more veggies as you’d like.
13. Avocado, Egg White, and Spinach Breakfast Power Sandwich
What’s better than fresh avocados, melty cheese, and toasty bread in the morning? Certainly nothing that I can think of. This Panera breakfast sandwich gives you all three things, making one hearty and delicious morning meal. Make this copycat recipe at home using bagel thins and reduced-fat cheese to cut the calorie content down to only 277 calories per sandwich, along with 7g of fiber to keep you full till lunchtime.
14. Asiago Cheese Bread
It’s impossible to write about Panera Bread recipes without including some bread. The asiago cheese bread is a favorite because cheese, duh. By making your own version, you can enjoy it fresh out of the oven, and save your leftovers for sandwiches, or as a side to any of the soups or salads listed above. Caution: bread right out of the oven will be hot and may cause serious burns, but will probably be worth it anyway.