Have you ever wondered about Panera sauce? Last week I spoke to my mom, and she said she would like an interesting dip to serve at her birthday party. After giving what felt like a million recommendations, she asked me if I could make something like the Panera Signature Sauce. So, I couldn’t rest until I got it as right as possible. Panera Bread’s creamy and rich sauce is a lot more than meets the eye, which is why I decided to write an article about it.
Panera Signature Sauce is a creamy and delicious sauce that adds depth, richness, complexity, and flavor to many dishes.
Since I first tried it at Panera Bread, their Signature Sauce has been tickling my curiosity, and I just had to crack the code on this delicacy. And since I’m always in a hurry and time-bound, one could say that my mom’s birthday party made it happen sooner. So, I am here tell you everything about it.
What Is Panera Signature Sauce?
Panera Signature Sauce is a creamy and tangy sauce with a taste you can’t quite crack on the first try. Made with mayonnaise, ketchup, Dijon mustard, and herbs and spices; it has a savory and sweet taste. It is usually served with sandwiches and burgers, but its application easily goes beyond the realm of fast food.
Since it is so versatile, it is definitely a crowd-pleaser and an excellent addition to many meals, no matter how complex or simple they are. I mean, you can just spread it on a piece of bread and have a fine dining experience.
Since I mentioned that its base ingredients are mayonnaise, ketchup, and Dijon mustard, you know why it is so versatile. Its texture is smooth and silky, and the taste features multiple flavor notes, but the tanginess seems to be the most pronounced one.
To make it even richer and more flavorful, Panera Signature Sauce is infused with a blend of herbs and spices that give it a herbal and slightly sweet note, enhancing the tanginess even more. This sauce has been specially made to pair well with baked goods, which means that it pairs well with everything else.
I love this delicious sauce for its, as I like to say, complex simplicity. Made with everyday ingredients, offering flavors known to the palate, it creates a unique twist, adding richness to any dish and ingredient it pairs with.
What Does Panera Signature Sauce Taste Like?
The first thing you have to know is that it is a shapeshifter of flavors. Recognizable and stylish on its own, the sauce tends to meld with the surrounding flavors, accentuating them while masterfully keeping its character.
Made to pair with baked goods, it has a pronounced tangy note, intertwining with soft sweet tones, enveloped on an overall herbal dimension. It sounds complex, I know, but the thing is, once you try it, it captures your palate with its simplicity and vibrancy.
Thanks to the mayonnaise base, it has a creamy bite giving you a smooth and velvety texture on the palate. It then releases the tangy tone from the ketchup and Dijon mustard, adding a zing of brightness that complements the creaminess. Like a good bottle of whiskey, this sauce has a beginning, a mid-palate, and a finish, and all three are very memorable.
The cherry on top of this sauce is the blend of herbs and spices, which give the sauce a natural, refreshing, slightly sweet, and savory note. The herbs make the sauce very aromatic, so it seduces the nose before it even reaches the palate.
Depending on what you pair it with, you can experience the Panera Signature taste as deep or as refreshing. When I have it with a focaccia sandwich, it is incredibly full, but if I use it as a salad dressing, it brings out its simplicity.
Is It Spicy?
Although it contains spices, it’s not spicy in the traditional sense of the word. The sauce’s purpose is to appeal to a wide audience, and spicy flavors can be limiting. So, while it is a very flavorful condiment, spicy isn’t the word to describe it.
Still, this is a common question since it does contain a bit of chili sauce, which gives it a very discrete heat without making it spicy overall.
How to Make Panera Signature Sauce at Home?
The Panera Signature Sauce is so simple you would think that sauce is nothing special, but here’s where you would be wrong. Simplicity is often the fastest road to perfection. Read the following Panera sauce recipe, recreate it at home, and see for yourself!
For the Panera Signature sauce, you’ll need the following ingredients: mayonnaise, ketchup, Dijon mustard, white vinegar, honey, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt and pepper.
Although the quantities aren’t set in stone, and you can adjust them depending on your preferences, I would recommend you use a cup of mayo, a tablespoon of ketchup and mustard, a teaspoon of vinegar and honey, and play the spices by ear.
The preparation method is a piece of cake. All you need to do is whisk the ingredients together in the mixing bowl and add the spices last. Mix until you get a homogenized mixture, and transfer it to a jar or similar container.
Place it in the fridge and keep it there for at least 30 minutes to allow for the flavors to bond and develop. After that, it’s ready to be the star of the party!
How to Store It?
Panera Signature Sauce is a mayo-based condiment and, therefore, highly perishable. It won’t last long at room temperature, so never take out the entire container. Scoop as much as you need and pop it back into the fridge.
Always keep your Panera sauce refrigerated, preferably in an airtight container. If you don’t have an airtight container, I suggest you get one because using an improper container can speed up the spoilage process.
For my mom’s birthday party leftovers, I used a glass container to avoid contact with plastic, but a plastic container will do as long as it is airtight.
In the fridge, your Panera sauce can potentially last for up to a week, but that doesn’t mean that it will taste good. The flavors in Panera sauce keep developing and melding together, so for the first three to four days, the sauce will get more and more delicious. Beyond this time, the sauce starts to get stale, and as days go by, it will likely lose its charm.
Plan the amount ahead, and make sure you have four to five days’ worth of stash. If you make too much, you will likely have to throw it away due to lack of flavor.
Panera sauce, and all mayo-based sauces for that matter, doesn’t do well in the freezer. The mayo will harden, and once you defrost it, it will turn into a water, shapeless, and tasteless substance. Therefore, a long-term storage option isn’t available for Panera sauce. Still, since it is so easy to make, you don’t even need to store it for long periods because you can make it in a few seconds and enjoy it fresh.
What to Serve with Panera Sauce?
Panera Signature Sauce is the little black dress among sauces, and you can pair it with a huge range of dishes and ingredients. If you aren’t feeling creative, you just spread it on a piece of bread for a quick and delicious snack.
In those days when you feel more explorative, you can try it with various dishes, starting from having it as a dip for roast meat or roasted, steamed, or grilled veggies. You can try it with burgers, hot dogs, pizzas, nuggets, wings, or simple and wholesome homemade sandwiches.
If you are looking for a breakfast idea, you can pair your Panera sauce with breakfast sausages, omelets, or French toast. Sometimes, I can’t think of a better way to start my day than with the classic breakfast of champions with Panera sauce on the side.
Panera Signature Sauce also fits in lighter meals, such as salads, or simply as a veggie dip. I like to dip my carrots and cucumbers and enjoy and delicious, healthy, yet rich snack. For a greasier option, because we all have days when we need it, you can have your Panera sauce with chips and fries and indulge yourself with a lazy night in.
If you want to have a fancy event, serve your Panera sauce with seafood, grilled fish, or seafood salads. For a pasta party, you can combine Panera sauce with almost any kind of pasta. I prefer the cheesy pasta, but the meaty ones, such as Carbonara, are great with Panera sauce too.
How will you use your homemade Panera Signature Sauce? I would love to get new combo recommendations in the comments below!
Homemade Panera Signature Sauce
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 cup mayo
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare all the ingredients and whisk them together in a mixing bowl, and add the spices last.
- Mix until you get a homogenized mixture, and transfer it to a jar or similar container.
- Put it into the fridge and keep it there for at least 30 minutes to allow for the flavors to bond and develop
- That's it — your homemade Panera Signature Sauce is ready for the party!
Before diving into the nutritional details, please review our Nutritional Disclaimer page for important context and clarifications.