Ryan Um | 

26 Hacks to Make Panera Bread Menu Prices Super Cheap

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Panera used to be a special, occasional treat for me because while I love their drinks and all the different soups, sandwiches, and treats, the Panera Bread menu prices weren’t friendly to the bank account.

But I’ve discovered how to hack Panera Bread menu prices by maximizing Panera Rewards and even using their Unlimited Sips program. It’s possible to get free coffee, free pastries, free bagels, and more — and I’ll show you how. I never head to my Panera without a handful of these hacks in my back pocket.

1. Get a free pastry or sweet when you sign up for Panera Rewards.

A person holding a cell phone displaying a free sweet treat next to a muffin at Panera.

You’ll get a free pastry or sweet reward automatically added to your account after you sign up for Panera Rewards and confirm your email address. Members also get a free pastry or bakery sweet for your birthday when you add your birth date to your MyPanera account.

The freebie has a value of up to $4.69 (if you select the popular Kitchen Sink cookie).

That’s just the start of all the birthday freebies that you can get on your special day.

2. You’ll earn a free menu item every six transactions you make at Panera Bread.

A person holding a paper bag filled with food in front of a Panera restaurant

Most rewards programs give you points based on how much you spend, but Panera cares about your transactions. MyPanera rewards add up every time you make a purchase and use your MyPanera card or registered phone number.

Every six purchases, you earn your next reward — which is always a surprise, such as a free Panera bagel, free Panera drinks, or even discounted meal deals. More than once, I’ve received a month of free bagels (one per day)!

The most typical rewards are:

  • $2 off any order

  • Half-priced or free You Pick Two

  • A free bagel (reg. $1.39)

  • $1 off any salad (reg. $6.39 for a half and $8.19 for a whole)

  • A free cookie (reg. up to $2.39)

The longer you’re a member of Panera Rewards, the more personalized the rewards become. If you buy a bunch of cookies, chances are you’ll earn a free cookie in no time. Your receipt will tell you how close you are to your next reward. You can also track your reward progress in the Panera app.

Forgot to give your MyPanera info? You can still get credit; just submit your order number online or in the app to claim those points. The 6-digit order number is located near the top of the receipt (just above the itemized purchases) and also near the very bottom.

3. You can’t stack your Panera Rewards — you can only use one per purchase.

A phone held next to a self checkout kiosk displaying rewards.

You can earn multiple Panera Rewards, but you can only redeem one free item per purchase. You can get one point every two hours.

If you’re a member of the Panera Sips Club, your drink purchase will count towards your Panera Rewards if you order something else with your free drink.

Rewards are good for 60 days once you earn them, and you can keep track of them all in the Panera app. This free drink won’t count toward your next Panera Rewards.

4. Stop by Panera near closing time — you might be able to get a free pastry (or two).

A muffin inside an empty Panera restaurant

What does Panera do with all the leftover food at the end of a business day? The bread gets donated to the Day-End Dough-Nation Program which gives nonprofit organizations and charitable causes unsold bread at no charge.

The pastries, however, are fair game for value-hungry customers. Casually ask the cashier if you can have a free cookie or pastry if it’s near closing time, which is typically 9 p.m. Chances are you’ll beat Panera Bread Menu Prices by walking away with a tasty treat at no cost. (I’ve done it often!)

5. The Unlimited Sips Club subscription pays for itself after six drinks.

4 cups of coffee, one iced, on a table inside Panera

Do away with Panera Bread menu prices altogether by going with their Unlimited Sips Club. With this membership, you can get some of your favorite Panera drinks every two hours for $11.99/month.

The Unlimited Sips Club subscription pays for itself after five drinks (and you can get up to eight drinks a day). After that, it’s like every eligible Panera drink that you buy is free!

Plus, if you prepay for the year, you’ll get free delivery through the Panera app and a free calendar for $119.99 — a 17% discount when compared to purchasing monthly.

We’ve answered all the questions about the Panera coffee subscription and tell you if it’s worth it.

6. Get Mac & Cheese in a bread bowl for just $8.89.

A bread bowl filled with mac and cheese

Ask for your Mac & Cheese to come in a bread bowl. The whole meal will cost just $8.89, which is just $2.40 more than a small Mac & Cheese. You’re saving $0.39 doing it this way (because a bread bowl by itself costs $2.79).

7. Order an empty bread bowl with an actual bowl of soup on the side.

A cup of soup next to a bread bowl

If you love Panera bread bowls, you should know that you’re getting just a cup of soup (eight ounces) inside your bowl of bread. A cup of soup is four ounces less than a bowl.

If you want a full 12-ounce bowl of soup with your bread bowl, simply ask for the bread bowl to be empty with a separate bowl of soup. It’ll cost a couple bucks extra — a cup of soup in a bread bowl costs $7.89, while a bowl of soup ($7.49) and a bread bowl on the side ($2.79) will set you back $10.28 — but you’ll be sure to get the full bowl of soup you’re wanting, and you can just pour it in yourself.

8. Skip the “You Pick Two” menu and take advantage of the new “Value Duets” offerings instead.

A grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup

The extensive You Pick Two menu at Panera Bread is classic, but there’s actually more value to be had with the chain’s new, smaller Value Duets menu.

One Duets option is half a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of creamy tomato soup for $6.99. On the You Pick Two menu, that exact same combination costs $8.58 (although you do get a side item such as an apple or chips with the You Pick Two … but that doesn’t seem worth the extra $1.59).

If you’re watching pennies (and calories, for that matter), the Value Duet is the way to go.

9. Get $4.70 off a box of bagels on Tuesdays.

A receipt next to a stack of bagels

Get a baker’s dozen of bagels (that’s 13 bagels) for just $7.49 on Tuesdays. That’s $4.70 less than the regular $12.19 price for one dozen bagels. One Panera bagel costs $1.69; buying 13 individually would cost $21.97, which means you save more than $14 on Tuesdays!

That’s just the start of the Tuesday restaurant deals you can get every week.

TIP: Freeze whatever you don’t eat for a future treat. They’ll last for up to four months in the freezer; just make sure to slice them before putting them in there!

10. Veggies and toppings are always free to add to your sandwich or salad.

A sandwich with lots of extra vegetables.

Adding toppings like apple chips, wontons, olives, cucumbers, and kale, is always free.

Just ask when you’re in a Panera store, or if you’re ordering via the Panera app, tap on the “special instructions” section when you’re ordering a menu item to add the free toppings.

Certain toppings do cost extra, so be sure to ask which ones are offered free if you aren’t sure. Adding a regular side of avocado to a sandwich is $1.49, for example, while a regular portion of parmesan crisps costs $1.19 more.

You can double almost all the toppings in the Mediterranean Veggie sandwich for free (except the feta) to get a sandwich that’s nearly twice the original size.

Looking for more ways to hack your sandwiches? We’ve got every Potbelly’s savings, Jersey Mike’s tips, Jimmy John’s menu hacks, Subway tips, and Firehouse Subs savings.

11. If you’re feeding four people, consider the “group” portions.

Mac n' cheese being poured into a bowl.

Some Panera menu items have “group” portion sizes, which are intended to feed four people. The group soups and pastas come in quarts (32 ounces), which is roughly the equivalent of four small orders.

Panera Bread menu prices for a small Mac & Cheese are $6.49 for 7.75 ounces, or about $0.84/ounce. A group size, meanwhile, costs $23.99, which comes out to $0.75/ounce — a 10.7% difference.

It’s not massive savings, but if you visit Panera with three friends and all four of you are craving Mac & Cheese, why not get a little more for less?

12. If you’re feeding even more people, Panera’s Family Feast options can save you as much as 48%.

Family feast meal at Panera

There are a bunch of different Family Feast meals at Panera, which can include flatbread pizzas, salads, soups, sandwiches, cookies, and more.

The Family Feast with Soup or Mac & Cookies cost $39 (prices may vary by location) and contains two half sandwiches, two kids’ sandwiches, one whole salad, one quart of soup or family mac & cheese, a French baguette, and four chocolate chipper cookies.

Purchased individually, this deal would cost as much as $70.49, a savings of $31.49 — that’s more than 44% off!

Here’s how much you’ll save with the other Family Feasts, as opposed to buying their items individually:

  • Family Feast with Soup or Mac: Costs $34, a savings of $25.53 (43%)

  • Family Feast with Cookies: Costs $39, a savings of $35.69 (48%)

  • Family Feast: Costs $34, a savings of $28.73 (46%)

  • Premium Family Feast with Cookies: Costs $45, a savings of $29.69 (40%)

  • Premium Family Feast: Costs $38, a savings of $24.73 (39%)

  • 3 Flatbread Pizza Family Feast with Vanilla Cinnamon Rolls: Costs $38, a savings of $27.01 (42%)

  • 2 Flatbread Pizza Family Feast with Vanilla Cinnamon Rolls: Costs $32, a savings of $22.32 (41%)

  • 2 Flatbread Pizza Family Feast: Costs $24, a savings of $15.16 (39%)

  • Breakfast Sandwich Feast: Costs $14.99, a savings of $9.17 (38%)

  • Fresh Baked Goods Feast: Costs $15.99, a savings of $6.75 (30%)

Wondering if family meal deals are worth it? We’ve done the math to find out which ones are worth your money.

13. Pay with Apple Card to receive 3% cash back on every Panera purchase.

A cell phone held next to a Panera register showing a deal for 3% back at Panera with Apple Pay.

Customers get unlimited 3% cash back on Apple Card when they use Apple Pay to buy their favorite Panera drinks and food items (all the while earning Rewards points for future freebies).

No other restaurant currently offers this deal, so take advantage if you can.

14. Keep an eye on social media for Panera promo codes and giveaways.

Panera's instagram page on a cell phone with a panera meal in the background

Panera Bread social media accounts mostly talk about new menu items and other promotions, but you don’t care — you’re here for the freebies!

Several times a year, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram followers are treated to Panera promo codes — free access to the Unlimited Sips Club for a month or free unlimited coffee on National Coffee Day (Sept. 29) for parents.

15. Ask for a bagel or croissant sandwich instead of sandwich bread for only $0.50 extra.


Don’t let the pictures on the menu fool you. If you prefer your sandwich to be made on a croissant, bagel, or ciabatta, just ask! It’s only an extra $0.50, and it’s a biiiiig upgrade.

TIP: At some Panera Bread locations, if you ask for a sandwich on a bagel, you’ll get two sandwiches. This is rare, so make sure to ask your local Panera Bread to see if they are participating.

16. Substitute avocado instead of meat for no extra charge.

Avocado on a sandwich with no meat

This lesser-known tip is one of the best Panera hacks available. Who doesn’t love avocado? Most places charge extra, but if you want to take meat off your sandwich or salad and add avocado, Panera will gladly swap it.

17. Get a free pastry or sweet if your order isn’t made correctly.

A pastry from Panera

If your order is wrong, no problem! You’ll likely be offered a free treat on your next visit when you let them know (nicely, of course) how your order was messed up. Not only that, but you can likely keep the order that was made incorrectly because all they do is toss those in the garbage anyway.

When I ordered a turkey sandwich without mayo last week but got mayo on the bread, all I had to do was point out the mistake and I had a fresh replacement within minutes. Better still, I took the one with mayo home in a to-go box for another member of my family to eat.

And if for some reason they don’t make amends for the mistake, let Panera know on Facebook or Twitter. They respond to every customer service message they get.

18. Use Panera promo codes to save money when you order online.

The Panera promo code and coupon page open on a cell phone

The Panera Bread website has a dedicated page for Panera promo codes. In February 2022 it showed a deal for free delivery on online orders and a free side to go with your delivery order for MyPanera Rewards members.

19. Have your apple sliced and add a side of honey for no extra charge.

A person dipping a cut apple into honey

Guess what? For no extra charge, you can ask for the apple you get on the side to be sliced and get a free side of honey for dipping. This is a kid-tested, mother-approved special treat.

20. Buy an 8-ounce tub of cream cheese for $3.69 and take the rest home instead of spending $1.60 for a single serving.

Panera cream cheese being spread on a bagel

Why spend $1.60 to get 1.75 ounces of cream cheese on one bagel when you can get a whole 8-ounce tub of cream cheese for $3.69?

Not a cream cheese fan? Ask for butter on your bagel instead — it’s free!

21. Use a discounted Panera gift card to save up to 15%.

A cell phone displaying Raise.com held next to a gift card at the Panera self checkout

This is a clever way to avoid paying full Panera Bread menu prices. Discounted Panera gift cards can run as much as 15% off on sites like Raise. That means you pay 15% less than the amount that’s on the card.

Also, look for a Panera promo code for a free gift card during the holidays. In 2022 Panera offered a free $10 Panera gift card with every $50 Panera gift card purchase through the end of December. Watch that fine print, though, as the $10 add-on gift card must be redeemed in the month of January 2023.

If you own or manage a business that regularly provides staff lunches or gift cards to employees, you can get a 10% discount on bulk gift card orders of $500 or more.

There are so many restaurant gift card deals you should know about.

22. Get dessert for $0.99 when you order a meal plus drink.

A person holding a Chocolate Chipper cookie next to a Panera meal.

Get a salad, a bowl of soup, or a full sandwich plus a drink, and your dessert price will drop to just $0.99. That’s a savings of at least $1.50, depending on which cookie or brownie you select.

23. There’s no difference between a kids’ meal and a half portion of a regular menu item.


Panera Bread menu prices can be tricky. At first blush, one might think that ordering a kids’ meal would provide some sort of calorie or money savings versus “adult” meals, but that isn’t true at Panera.

Kids’ meals range from $4.99 for simple sandwiches like grilled cheese or turkey all the way up to $8.69 for premium sandwiches like steak & white cheddar, but these are all just half sizes of regular menu items. A half-size steak & white cheddar sandwich costs, you guessed it, $8.69.

If you have a foodie child and don’t want to be limited by the kids menu options, just order half sizes from the regular menu. There’s much more variety, and it costs the exact same.

Want to know if you can save on kids’ meals? We’ve got every comparison for you to enjoy.

24. Don’t order Panera to be delivered unless you want to pay more for your food.

A man standing on a front porch, delivering food in a doordash bag.

Panera Bread menu prices for delivery are higher and fees apply, according to the restaurant. So you might be enticed by an offer for “free” delivery but you end up paying more for the food — around 7% – 15%.

There are plenty of third-party delivery services available, and we know which one is the best.

You’re much better off going through the drive-thru if you don’t want to step foot in the restaurant but have to have your Panera fix. Or …

25. Skip the restaurant and get Panera food at your grocery store.


Depending on where you are, you can get certain Panera-brand products like soup, mac n’ cheese, pasta, coffee, dressing, and bread at grocers like Kroger, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Target, or Amazon.

At Target, we found 16-ounce containers of Panera soups on sale for $5.69, which amounts to $0.36/ounce. If you were to buy a bowl of creamy chicken and wild rice soup at a Panera location, however, you’d be paying $7.49 for 12 ounces, or $0.62/ounce. That’s 41.9% less than Panera Bread menu prices!

26. Order with Panera Bread AI, Tori, at select drive-thru locations.

The outside of a Panera Bread with a line of cars going through the drive thru

In mid-2022 Panera Bread introduced us to the virtual AI assistant, Tori, who can take orders at select Panera Bread locations. So far, Tori has only been introduced to around three locations, and it’s still in the testing phase. While it’s in the testing phase, Panera will have employees on standby to make sure that all your orders are correct, so no worries if Tori gets your order wrong.

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