The Best Lasagna Recipe
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
This classic Lasagna Recipe is cheesy, saucy and full of flavor! Make this easy lasagna recipe for a family dinner or to feed a crowd.
Lasagna is the best comfort food, made with noodles, ground beef, sauce and cheese. This lasagna is a hearty main dish that you can make ahead or bake right away.
This lasagna recipe is my all-time favorite, and it’s the one that I make most often for my family. This recipe uses a secret ingredient that saves time while still making a delicious lasagna with layers of flavor.
If you’re at all intimidated by making homemade lasagna, don’t be. This easy lasagna recipe is simple to prepare. Below I’ve outlined the steps so that you can make the best lasagna at home.
We love to make lasagna for Sunday dinner. It’s also perfect for entertaining or for when you need to bring a meal to a friend or family member. Serve it with garlic bread, garlic knots or dinner rolls and an Italian salad for a delicious Italian feast.
Best Lasagna Recipe
My secret for making the best easy lasagna? Use store-bought marinara sauce. As long as you use a good quality sauce that you love, your lasagna will turn out so flavorful, and you’ll have saved a lot of time and effort in the kitchen.
When you take a little help from the grocery store, you won’t have to simmer your lasagna sauce for hours to get the rich, deep flavors that you crave. The best store-bought sauces are perfectly seasoned and will add lots of flavor to your lasagna.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need to make this lasagna recipe:
- Lasagna Noodles: This recipe uses regular (not no boil) lasagna noodles.
- Onion: Adds flavor to the sauce.
- Ground Beef: My go-to for a lasagna meat sauce. If desired, you can add 1/2 pound of Italian sausage along with the ground beef. The Italian sausage will add even more flavor.
- Garlic: You can’t beat the flavor of fresh garlic!
- Marinara Sauce: You’ll need 48 ounces (two 24-ounce jars) of store-bought sauce. If you want to use homemade marinara sauce, you’ll need 6 cups of sauce.
- Salt, Pepper and Italian Seasoning: These add the perfect amount of seasoning to the lasagna. You can also add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
- Fresh Parsley: Brightens up the flavors; you can omit it if you don’t have any on hand.
- Egg: Helps to bind the ricotta cheese, which thickens it and prevents it from getting soupy as it bakes.
- Ricotta Cheese: Adds creaminess and cheesy flavor. If you don’t care for ricotta, you can omit the ricotta and egg from the recipe. You can also substitute cottage cheese if needed and omit the egg.
- Mozzarella Cheese: A classic ingredient in traditional lasagna, the mozzarella melts wonderfully as it bakes. Look for a ball of part skim or whole milk mozzarella, not fresh mozzarella.
- Parmesan Cheese: Brings more bold cheesy flavor.
How to Make Lasagna
The steps to making lasagna are:
- Boil the lasagna noodles.
- Brown the ground beef with onion and garlic.
- To the pan, add the marinara sauce, Italian seasoning and fresh parsley. Simmer the sauce for 10 to 15 minutes.
- In a bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese and an egg. Shred the mozzarella cheese.
- Layer the lasagna.
- Bake until hot and bubbly.
How to Layer Lasagna
- Spread a layer of sauce in the bottom of your baking dish.
- Make a layer of 3 noodles over the sauce.
- Spread 1/3 of the remaining sauce over the noodles. Spoon on half of the ricotta and egg mixture. Sprinkle on 1/3 of the mozzarella and 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese.
- Repeat the noodle, sauce and cheese layer one more time.
- For the top layer, use the remaining 3 noodles and spread on the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle on the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan.
Make Ahead & Reheating Instructions
You can assemble the lasagna ahead of time and refrigerate it, covered, for up to 24 hours before baking. If you are baking a lasagna that is fully chilled from being in the refrigerator, add about 15 minutes to the covered baking time.
Leftover lasagna can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a covered dish in the oven until it is steaming hot.
How to Freeze Lasagna
You can assemble the lasagna and then freeze it before baking. Wrap the lasagna tightly before freezing, and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to cook the lasagna, let it thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Then bake as directed in the recipe, adding about 15 minutes to the covered baking time since a lasagna that is cold from the refrigerator will take longer to heat through.
You can also freeze lasagna after baking, for up to 3 months. I like to wrap individual servings of lasagna and freeze them for a quick meal. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Lasagna Recipe Tips
- Slightly under-cook the lasagna noodles. They will absorb some of the sauce as the lasagna bakes, and become more flavorful. I usually cook the noodles for the minimum time given on the package, or one minute less than the time for al dente noodles.
- Drain the cooked noodles into a colander and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process. To keep the noodles from sticking together, lay them in a single layer on a sheet of parchment paper while you prepare the meat sauce.
- Use a good quality store-bought marinara sauce that you love the flavor of to save time when preparing lasagna. The fresh Italian parsley, dried Italian seasoning and fresh garlic in this lasagna recipe boost the flavor of store-bought sauce.
- When the lasagna comes out of the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. This makes it much easier to serve.
More Lasagna Recipes
- Vegetable Lasagna
- Instant Pot Lasagna
- Crockpot Lasagna
- Lasagna Roll Ups
- Butternut Squash Lasagna
- Lasagna Soup
- 9 lasagna noodles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 pound ground beef*
- salt and pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 48 ounces marinara sauce (about 6 cups of sauce)
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 egg
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 cups)
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook according to package directions for the minimum cook time. Then, drain the noodles and rinse them with cold water. You can lay them out on parchment paper to keep them from sticking together.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the ground beef and cook, crumbling, until the beef is browned. Drain off excess grease. Season with salt and pepper. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
- Add the marinara sauce, Italian seasoning and parsley to the skillet and stir. Bring to a simmer and then reduce the temperature to low. Cook at a low simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the sauce simmers, crack the egg into a medium bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Add the ricotta cheese and stir to combine. This is also a good time to shred the mozzarella cheese.
- To assemble the lasagna, put about 1 cup of the sauce into a 9×13-inch baking dish. Lay 3 noodles in an even layer over the sauce. Spread ⅓ of the remaining sauce over the noodles. Place small spoonfuls of the ricotta and egg mixture on top of the sauce, using ½ of the ricotta. Sprinkle ⅓ of the mozzarella and ⅓ of the Parmesan over the top.
- Repeat the same layer one more time: 3 noodles, ½ of the remaining sauce, the rest of the ricotta, ½ of the remaining mozzarella and ½ of the remaining Parmesan. For the top layer of the lasagna, use the remaining 3 noodles, the rest of the sauce, and finally the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Cover the lasagna with a piece of foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray on the underside (to prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil).
- Bake the lasagna, covered with foil, for 35 minutes. Then uncover and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the lasagna is hot and bubbling on the sides and the cheese is lightly browned on top. Let the lasagna rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- You can add 1/2 pound of Italian sausage in addition to the ground beef, if desired. Remove the sausage from the casings and brown it with the ground beef, crumbling it as it cooks.
- Leftover lasagna can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days after baking. You can also freeze lasagna after baking, in an airtight container, for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat in the microwave or in a covered dish in the oven until it is steaming hot.
- To Make Ahead: You can assemble the lasagna ahead of time and refrigerate it, covered, for up to 24 hours before baking. If you are baking a lasagna that is fully chilled from being in the refrigerator, add about 15 minutes to the covered baking time.
- Freezer Instructions: You can assemble the lasagna and then freeze it before baking. Wrap the lasagna tightly before freezing, and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to cook the lasagna, let it thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Then bake as directed in the recipe, adding about 15 minutes to the covered baking time since a lasagna that is cold from the refrigerator will take longer to heat through.
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