This classic homemade lasagna recipe is a homemade crowd-pleaser, that every home cook should keep in their seasonal recipe rotation. Tender sheets of pasta, creamy cheesy filling and savory meat-filled tomato sauce make this the perfect dish! Printable recipe card with baking times below!
There are three main steps to making this easy lasagna recipe. However, it’s really easy to make, flavorful, and satisfying! You can also make this dish ahead of time because it freezes like a charm well before and after baking!
How to Make Lasagna Recipe
There are four basic steps to making lasagna… In this lasagna recipe, we make a nice and thick, meat-filled tomato sauce. Then layer it with noodles and a creamy cheese filling, and bake! The basic process is:
- First, we make the sauce with onions, bell peppers, ground beef, Italian seasoning, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and crushed tomatoes. (These different types of preserved tomatoes give this sauce the perfect texture and deep flavor.
- While the tomato sauce simmers, we’ll boil our lasagna noodles, and make the creamy cheese mixture. We’re using cottage cheese or ricotta cheese, mozzarella (shredded), and parmesan cheese. These three types of cheese create a perfect creamy filling and lend a wonderful flavor to your lasagna!
- Then, we’ll just assemble ingredients in the casserole dish! A cup of meat sauce, a layer of lasagna noodles, followed by a layer of sauce and cheese, more meat sauce, and so on. We will repeat layers three times to use all the ingredients.
- Lastly, We’ll bake till it’s bubbly, and enjoy!
How to make meaty marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce:
We will combine In a medium-sized saucepan 1 tablespoon avocado oil, 1 pound ground beef (you can also use ground turkey if you prefer), 1 diced medium onion, one large bell pepper (any color bell pepper works here!), diced 2 minced garlic cloves, one (28-ounce) can of a good-quality tomato sauce, half a small can of tomato paste, 1 small can of crushed tomatoes, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, 1 tablespoon basil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon sugar (to taste, optional) and Salt to taste.
Brown your ground beef in a large saucepan or skillet –
- Add 2 teaspoons of avocado oil to a large skillet, and turn up to medium high heat.
- Add your lean ground beef, and cook over medium heat till lightly browned.
- Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove cooked ground beef and let excess fat drain off.
- Add the bell peppers onions, and saute in the same large skillet till soft.
Saute for about 5 minutes, till the onions are translucent and the peppers softened. Add the minced garlic and cook half a minute more.
Then, add the browned ground beef back to the pan. Give it a good stir with other ingredients, turn heat to low, and saute for about 5 more minutes.
Pour meat and pepper mixture into a medium-sized pot, (3-4 quart pot) and add all the tomato paste, sauce, and crushed tomatoes to make the sauce.
Now add your seasonings: chopped parsley, oregano, and basil seasonings (or Italian seasonings) and adjust the amounts to taste if needed.
Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Taste after adding sugar. (More acidic tomatoes need more sugar, so the amount of sugar needed will vary, depending on the tomatoes you use.)
Salt to taste. (Remember that you’ll add Parmesan cheese soon which is salty too!)
Simmer tomato sauce on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring often. Make sure to scrape the bottom of your pot couple of minutes to prevent scorching.
BOIL Lasagna Noodles
Boil and drain the lasagna noodles – Fill a large pot halfway with water, add salt, and bring to a boil. Add 1 package (1/2 pound box) of dry regular lasagna noodles. Boil noodles to al dente according to package directions (about 10 minutes). Stir noodles while they cook to prevent them from sticking together!
Then drain the noodles in a colander, and rinse them with cold water. If there are noodles stuck together, gently separate them now.
Add a teaspoon of olive oil and give them a quick coat to prevent them from sticking together. Let cooked noodles rest spread out single layer on a paper towel, or spread out on a baking tray or dish.
Now it’s time to make the ricotta mixture cheese filling!
In a separate large bowl combine
- 2 pounds or 32 oz container of whole milk ricotta cheese (you can also use cottage cheese if you can’t get ricotta.)
- 2 cup mozzarella cheese shredded (I prefer whole milk for a creamier cheese layer.)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese*
- 1 large egg
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves.
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
Stir till eggs and all cheeses are well incorporated, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for layering!
Finally, Assemble Lasagna Recipe
You will need the noodles, meat sauce, and cheese mixture with 1 heaping cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese to assemble.
Assemble the lasagna using a 9×13-inch casserole or lasagna dish.
Add one cup of sauce to the bottom of the dish, and spread evenly to cover.
Then, on top of the sauce add one layer of lasagna noodles in the lengthwise position. (This will use about 3 lasagna noodles, and It’s ok if the edge may overlap.)
Spoon 1/3 of the sauce over the noodles.
Then, add half the ricotta cheese mixture, by spooning dollops of cheese mixture every couple of inches in the sauce layer.
Add another layer of 3 noodles, and top them with half of the remaining tomato sauce.
Then, add half of the remaining cheese mixture in dollops every couple of inches into the tomato sauce layer.
Finally, add the final layer of noodles.
Spread all the remaining sauce evenly across the top layer of noodles.
Spread 1.5 cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese on top.
Preheat oven to 375°F
- Cover your lasagna with tented aluminum foil. (Tented upwards so that it doesn’t touch the cheese on top of noodles or sauce).
- Bake at 375°F for 35 minutes.
- Then Uncover the lasagna and continue cooking for the last 10 minutes so the cheese melts and for crispy edges and top!
- Remove from oven, let cool on a rack, or stovetop, for 15 minutes.
How to Store & Reheat Leftover Lasagna
Leftovers will keep up to 5 days and are nicely reheated in the microwave or oven… The best part of making lasagna is enjoying the leftovers the next day! I like to store leftovers in an airtight Tupperware or dish with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerated lasagna will stay good for at least 5 days, and you can reheat individual servings in the microwave, or the entire lasagna (cover it with foil again) in a 350°F oven till hot and bubbly!
Store Leftovers Safely
Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or frozen for 3 to 4 months. Although safe indefinitely, frozen leftovers can lose moisture and flavor when stored for longer times in the freezer.https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/leftovers-and-food-safety
Freezing & Reheating Frozen Lasagna Recipe
Lasagna is great to make ahead and freezes like a charm either baked or unbaked!
You can freeze a lasagna in the baking dish (if it’s freezer safe) wrapped in plastic wrap. Or, You can line your baking dish with foil before assembling the lasagna then freeze and remove the entire lasagna from the pan to freeze by itself.
To reheat frozen lasagna, put the lasagna into a 9×13 lasagna pan (if it’s frozen without the pan). Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter the morning you’ll cook it for dinner. Then bake according to the directions above!
Store cooked lasagna in a freezer-safe and airtight container (or wrapped in plastic wrap then put in a ziplock bag). You can freeze cooked lasagna wrapped in individual servings or as a casserole this way for a month!
Defrost cooked frozen lasagna, by setting it in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for a few hours. Reheat individual servings in the microwave, or reheat the entire lasagna (cover it with foil again) in a 350°F oven till hot and bubbly!
What To Serve With Lasagna
This classic lasagna is perfect all by its self, but I love to serve it with a green salad and homemade soft sourdough rolls!