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Panera Flatbread Pizza Review – Good or Bad?

If you have never tried the Panera Flatbread pizza, then this review is for you. At first, you may even find yourself put off by the idea of a flatbread pizza, but we think you should give it a chance.

Well, at least give it a chance until you have worked your way through our review. After that, we believe you will find yourself in a better position to determine if this pizza remains something you want to try or to give it a miss.

People think of Panera as a place for sandwiches and coffee, but it turns out that they have decided to add some pizza options to their menu. Clearly, they do not focus on pizza, and that does make people a bit nervous about trying it.

So that is where we hope to come into our own and make life a bit easier. We want to save you the hassle of wondering what their flatbread pizza tastes like, so here is our very own review.

Panera flatbread pizza

What is it?

Before we dive more into what it tastes like, it’s best to point one important thing. Panera makes bread, so the idea of them crafting a flatbread pizza is not as crazy as it sounds. 

Honestly, they have the knowledge and understanding to get a really good crust, and after that it’s all down to the quality of the toppings. 

But the problem people tend to have regarding this Panera flatbread pizza is trying to get their head around one thing. Panera is not a pizzeria, so the idea of them having the ability to make a pizza of any kind that tastes pretty good is a tough one to think about.

Now you may have noticed other places selling pizza when it’s not their main thing and you have never had a good experience. Well, perhaps this time things can end up different.

But on with the review as there’s quite a bit to get through before we can reach our conclusion.

The Crust

The crust on the Panera flatbread pizza actually tastes pretty good. It manages to bridge that gap between having a real crunch to it, and also having that soft texture on the inside.

Ultimately, what you end up getting here is a pizza where it has a blend of crunch and chew without one overwhelming the other.

With this, the crust does work better than a number of other flatbread pizza options on the market. It also doesn’t come across as too heavy. So, you never feel as if it will simply sit in your stomach if you manage to eat a whole one.

Also, what you tend to find with this flatbread pizza is that it gets chewier as you move to the middle of the pizza. The edges do take on a real crunch when it comes out of the oven, and this does end up getting lost as you move inwards.

However, this change does not really alter the enjoyment of eating the crust. It remains thin throughout and keeps its flavor. So, the crust comes out pretty well, and it’s certainly not the worst crust out there on the market.

But as with any place selling pizza, it all depends on the cooking. Basically, there should never really be any problems with this crust as the flatbread but we cannot give a guarantee that this is the case.

The Panera flatbread pizza

The Size

Size is yet another factor you need to think about, and Panera has managed to get it just about right in this department. Typically, they measure some 11 inches in length and 4 inches wide. That means it hits the spot for a pizza for one individual to eat at the one sitting.

However, if you have a large appetite, then you might feel it comes up as slightly small. Yet it can act as a wonderful lunch option for most people with it cut into six squares.

This size does work out quite well when you compare it to small pizzas available elsewhere. Actually, when you look at the size and price in comparison, then you end up getting something of a bargain.

Also, it doesn’t feel as if you have too much to eat. That does partly come down to the crust and the fact it’s light compared to other options, so that does undoubtedly help.

The Toppings

At this moment in time, Panera does offer this pizza in five different toppings. Those toppings include the normal Margherita, a couple of cheese options, pepperoni, and finally a Chipotle chicken and bacon topping.

While this clearly does not represent a lot of options, it’s still more than people generally expect. Also, they do appear quite generous when it comes to adding the toppings to the pizza.

Plus, even though the toppings come across as what you expect, they certainly do not taste of poor quality. We do love the fact they have included something a bit different with the Chipotle option. Too many places stick with the same old things that it’s difficult to find something that challenges your tastebuds.

But are the Toppings Any Good?

Let’s get one thing straight, the toppings do not come across as anything different or special. Well, at least in comparison to what you will get at any pizzeria.

The pizza sauce can taste as if it’s lacking something at times. However, that may be due to an occasional issue regarding the sauce that we will talk about later.

But then you have the Mozzarella. Honestly, the Mozzarella they use on their pizza actually tastes quite good. It has a good chew on it and melts quite well into the pizza. The Mozzarella remains the surprise package when it comes to the toppings, so we do suggest making sure you get it on your pizza.

The tomatoes they use as toppings tend to have quite a light flavor, but they do taste refreshing. Their pepperoni tastes the exact same as you get elsewhere, so it packs a bit of a punch but refuses to overwhelm.

But generally speaking, we don’t mind the toppings. They add enough flavor and taste to the pizza without going over the top with everything. So most people should feel quite satisfied with what’s on offer.

the panera flatbread pizza

If You Want Something Different

But if you do want to experience something just a bit different, then we do recommend the Chipotle chicken and bacon.

Here, the pizza sauce becomes the absolute star of the show. The Chipotle and tomato sauce base really hits the spot, and it adds a whole new level to this flatbread pizza. Actually, you can smell this as it comes out of the oven over and above any other pizza.

Most of their pizza sauce actually tastes quite bland, so if you want your sauce to have that extra something, then this option is the one for you.

Any Downsides?

But sadly while the overall picture appears quite good, you do need to contend with a few downsides as well when it coms to the Panera flatbread pizza.

One problem is the temperature of the pizza. Some people do report that their pizza is more on the lukewarm side rather than anything else. This temperature issue does vary from place to place, but it does change things a bit.

Also, while they will often come across as generous with the toppings, that’s not always the case. You can get times where the pizza sauce only appears in a very thin layer, and that does just make things a bit harder to eat.

Basically, the downside is a real lack of consistency, and that comes down to the individuals making the pizza. How they manage to add a lot of toppings on one occasion and very few the next seems strange. Ultimately, you end up hoping luck is on your side when it comes to getting a pizza with a decent amount of toppings on it.

Now, we know that both of these issues do come across as pretty major, but they don’t always happen. The actual crust stays the same when it comes to texture and flavor, so that’s a good thing.

However, it can come across as disappointing when your pizza doesn’t quite hit the mark, and sadly that can happen with the Panera flatbread pizza.

Overall Conclusion

The Panera flatbread pizza remains a surprise. While it may not come from the usual sources, it’s a simple pizza that manages to hit the spot.

Sure it may not have the same depth to it as a pizza from a normal pizzeria, but for a snack or an alternative option then it does just fine.

We don’t even really mind the fact they have limited options with toppings. After all, what else would you expect when pizza is not their main focus?

If you want a cheap alternative to normal pizza, then the Panera flatbread could suffice. Granted it’s not the best pizza you will ever taste, but it will also not come at the bottom of your list either.