If you are the lucky recipient of a Panera gift card, you are in for a treat! Maybe you received the gift card for the Holidays, or you were smart enough to snap receipts and earn free gift cards with Fetch Rewards.
Panera Bread has over 2,000 restaurant locations nationwide and is known for healthy, fast casual café-style foods from morning to night. There is something for everyone at Panera, with a menu that spans baked goods, salads, soups, pasta, sandwiches, and specialty drinks. In 2020, the company also introduced delicious, yummy flatbreads pizzas to the menu.
If you are looking for the best things to buy with a Panera Gift Card, here are our favorites:
Best Baked Good: Classic Croissant
With an on-staff baker working from the early morning hours, the baked goods at Panera are fresh, delicious, and plentiful. Panera offers everything from bagels, brownies, cookies, croissants, muffins, and scones. Don’t miss out on the artisan breads, which are used for everything from the sandwiches to soup bowls. If you only get to choose one baked good, opt for the classic croissant, perfectly buttery and flakey with a hint of perfectly browned golden crust.
Best Breakfast: Avocado Egg White Breakfast Sandwich
Did you know that Panera has an extensive breakfast menu? From simplistic bagels, muffins, yogurt and oatmeal to the more filling breakfast sandwiches and wraps. While these are all tasty, the clear winner, for both health and taste, is the Avocado Egg White Breakfast Sandwich. The original is made of Egg whites, Vermont white cheddar, avocado, spinach, vine-ripened tomato, salt, and pepper on a Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat, or can be personalized to your individual liking. At 350 calories and 19 grams of protein, this is also a great healthy option.
Best Baked Egg Souffle: Spinach and Bacon
Made from fluffy eggs, spinach, applewood-smoked bacon, a cheddar cheese blend, and a hint of garlic, this souffle is heavenly. Other options include Four Cheese and Spinach and Artichoke.
Best Specialty Drink: Madagascar Vanilla Latte
With an extensive latte menu, it can be hard to narrow it down to just one. From the Cinnamon Crunch Latte to the Chocolate Latte, the creamy, frothy drinks are the perfect way to start any morning. We love the Madagascar Vanilla Latte, with espresso, foamed milk, Madagascar syrup and topped with whipped cream.
Best Sandwich: Grilled Cheese
What is better than a classic, gooey grilled cheese? The Classic Grilled Cheese at Panera Bread is the perfect blend of American cheese between two slices of Panera’s Classic White Miche bread. If you want something a little more complex, the Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt and Toasted Frontega Chicken are also hugely popular.
Best Soup: Broccoli Cheddar
For those cold winter nights, soup is the perfect appetizer or main course for a lighter meal. The Broccoli Cheddar Soup at Panera Bread hits all the marks for a great soup, filling, warm and luxuriously creamy. Made from chopped broccoli, shredded carrots and seasonings simmered in a delightful cheese sauce, this is an example of cheesy, tasty goodness at its best. Looking at surveys across the internet, the broccoli cheddar soup is consistently ranked the #1 item at Panera.
Best Salad: BBQ Chicken
The BBQ Chicken Salad is a standout on the Panera menu, made with “Chicken raised without antibiotics, romaine, black bean and corn salsa tossed in BBQ ranch dressing, topped with frizzled onions, and drizzled with apple cider vinegar BBQ sauce.” With so many delightful ingredients to give the salad different textures and flavors, this salad will not only taste great, but fill you up. With 520 calories and 33 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber, this would also be a good choice for those wanted the optimal nutritional value.
Best Bowl: Baja Bowl
If you are looking for a vegetarian option, the Baja Bowl is a filling, delicious option. Made with cilantro lime brown rice, quinoa, black beans and corn salsa, salsa verde, grape tomatoes, avocado, feta, and Greek yogurt. Other bowls to try: Teriyaki and Chicken Bowl and the Mediterranean Bowl.
Best Flatbread: Margarita
Flatbreads were introduced in 2020, and comes in three flavors: cheese, margarita, and chipotle chicken and bacon. While all are delicious, our favorite is the classic margarita, made with fresh mozzarella, shredded fontina, grape tomatoes, tomato bell pepper sauce and fresh basil.
Best Side Dish: Macaroni and Cheese
Who can resist another cheesy, comfort-food option? The macaroni and cheese is a super creamy, rich blend of cheddar cheese and classic shell pasta. Pairs perfectly with your favorite salad or sandwich.
Best Tea: Plum Ginger Hibiscus Tea
With a tea menu that features Regular Iced tea, Passion Papaya Green Tea, Agave Lemonade, Prickly Pear Hibiscus Fresca, it can be hard to choose just one. For those that love a refreshing tea made with Nigerian hibiscus, apple pieces, sweet blackberry leaves, rosehips, and ginger, this one is for you!
Best Smoothie: Strawberry Banana Smoothie
The strawberry banana smoothie is a classic, and a perfect meal replacement at 250 calories. A mix of fruit purees, juice concentrates, banana, Greek yogurt, and ice.
Best for Kids:
The little ones will be thrilled with their own menu, with kid-sized soups, pastas, and sandwiches available. You can’t go wrong with a grilled cheese, or a grilled mac and cheese sandwich for the more adventurous. For soup lovers, adult sized portions of tomato soup, broccoli cheddar soup, ten vegetable soup and French onion soup are available. Don’t forget to pair with your favorite milk!
Best Dessert: Panera’s Kitchen Sink Cookie
With so many baked goods, it could be hard to choose something sweet for dessert. The Kitchen Sink Cookie literally is just that – all the ingredients to make the most perfectly decadent sweet, salty cookie. The ingredients include semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate, pretzels, caramel, and salt chunks.
And that’s our curated list for the best things to buy at Panera Bread with your free gift card. Get snapping on Fetch Rewards to earn yourself a tasty reward!
Kimberly Fisher is a freelance writer and on-camera host, Kimberly has traveled the world and has published over 400 articles in over 44 publications including Sherman's Travel, Huffington Post, Just Luxe, Luxury Lifestyles UK, eHow, Examiner, Food Wine Travel Magazine, Luxe Beat, NiteGuide, Ocean View, and USA Today.
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