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Easy Lasagna Recipe

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close up shot of a serving of Lasagna on a spatula
This easy, hearty, homemade lasagna is so simple to make from scratch and offers delicious, cheesy flavor you'll love!
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Table of Contents
  1. Lasagna Ingredients:
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS LASAGNA RECIPE
  3. HOW TO SERVE
  4. STORAGE
  5. MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

For a delicious dinner recipe, nothing beats this simple homemade lasagna! Tender lasagna noodles are layered with a creamy mixture of cheese and hearty meat sauce for an easy dish that tastes just like Nonna used to make.

close up shot of a serving of Lasagna on a plate

Lasagna Ingredients:

Lasagna raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 1 (16-ounce box) lasagna noodles

For the Sauce

PRO TIP:

If you do not want to take the time to make the sauce in this recipe, then a good quality jarred marinara (depending on the size of the jar, you may need 2 jars for this recipe) will work just fine. 

You will brown your lean ground beef, drain any excess fat, add your jar(s) of marinara, and season it with salt and pepper to taste. 

I still suggest letting it simmer while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 (28-ounce cans) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup (1 small) onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon (2-3 cloves) garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

For the Cheese Mixture

  • 1½ cups ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 cups shredded parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

PRO TIP:

I highly suggest shredding a block of mozzarella cheese and not buying the pre-shredded in the bag.

The mozzarella cheese that is already shredded in the bags has ingredients to prevent caking while packaged and they do not melt as well as the block cheese. 

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

MOZZARELLA CHEESE: I would not recommend any substitutions for the mozzarella in this lasagna recipe.

PARMESAN CHEESE: You can substitute different cheeses such as a grated Italian hard cheese blend or even a pecorino romano shredded cheese for the shredded parmesan cheese.

RICOTTA CHEESE: You can substitute cottage cheese for ricotta cheese in equal amounts in this great recipe.

GROUND MEAT: If you prefer to use ground pork, turkey or chicken in this recipe.

VEGETARIAN: Make the lasagna vegetarian by subbing sauteed spinach, zucchini and eggplant.

PASTA SAUCE: You can substitute the homemade sauce for jarred marinara (tomato) sauce.

HOW TO MAKE THIS LASAGNA RECIPE

STEP ONE: In an extra-large skillet (or sauce pot), on medium-high heat, add your olive oil, chopped onions, minced garlic, Italian seasoning blend, salt and black pepper. 

Saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions start to get tender. Push your cooked onions and spices to the side of your skillet and add your ground beef.

Lasagna process shot of ingredients in a pot

STEP TWO: Cook your beef for another 5 to 7 minutes or until it is cooked thoroughly and no pink remains in the meat. Stir your cooked onions into your cooked beef. Drain any excess fat if desired before moving on to the next step.

Lasagna process shot of ground beef being cooked in a pot

STEP THREE: Add the tomato paste to the meat mixture and stir it around until it is completely incorporated.

Lasagna process shot of tomato paste added to the ground beef mixture in a pot

STEP FOUR: Add the crushed tomatoes, stir and turn your heat to low to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

PRO TIP:

Taste your sauce to see if you need to add any more salt and pepper. This is a personal preference as some brands of can tomatoes can be saltier than others.

Lasagna process shot of crushed tomato added to the pot

STEP FIVE: Once your sauce has simmered, turn off the heat and add 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley, and stir. Set aside until ready to assemble your lasagna.

Lasagna process shot of chopped parsley added to the pot

STEP SIX: While your sauce is simmering, boil noodles in a large pot for only 5 minutes. You want them to just be partially cooked. Drain the pasta water from the pot and leave your noodles in the warm pot while you are assembling the lasagna.

STEP SEVEN: In a medium-sized mixing bowl add your ricotta cheese, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1½ cups shredded parmesan cheese, egg, and fresh chopped parsley. Stir ricotta mixture to combine.

Lasagna process shot of ingredients in a bowl

STEP EIGHT: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray, with nonstick cooking spray, a deep dish 9×13 casserole pan (also known as a lasagna pan).

PRO TIP:

If you do not use a deep dish then your lasagna may bubble up and overflow a standard 9×13 pan while cooking in the oven.

STEP NINE: To layer the lasagna, start by adding 1½ to 2 cups of sauce into the bottom of the pan and spreading it evenly.

Lasagna process shot of sauce spread on the bottom of the pan

STEP TEN: Next add a layer of 5 to 6 noodles (they should be slightly overlapping and you can trim them to fit your pan). 

Lasagna process shot of noodles layered on top of the sauce mixture

STEP ELEVEN: Then you will layer ½ of your cheese filling evenly over the layer of pasta.

Lasagna process shot of cheese filling added evenly over the noodle layer

STEP TWELVE: Once your cheese layer is spread out, very gently spoon over 2 cups of sauce. Do not mix the sauce into the cheese layer, just gently smooth it over.

Lasagna process shot of the sauce added over the top of the cheese layer

STEP THIRTEEN: Repeat with another layer of noodles, the other half of the cheese mixture, and another 2 cups of sauce. Top that with the remaining noodles, then the remaining sauce. 

Finally, top your lasagna with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese.

Lasagna process shot of mozzarella and parmesan cheese added to the top of the sauce mixture

STEP FOURTEEN: Cover your lasagna dish with aluminum foil. You can lightly spray your aluminum foil with some cooking spray, on the side that will be facing the cheese to keep the cheese from sticking when baking.

Bake it for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to bake for another 30 minutes or until the cheese is lightly golden brown and bubbly.

STEP FIFTEEN: Once your lasagna has cooked, allow it to cool on the counter for a minimum of 30 minutes, up to 45 minutes, before slicing and serving. 

It will still be nice and warm but you will get nice pretty slices (and not a lasagna mess all over your plate) by allowing it to rest and set up.

Lasagna process shot after lasagna is baked

HOW TO SERVE

This traditional lasagna recipe is so filling with all the major food groups involved I like to keep it simple with side dishes.

A great side dish to serve with lasagna is a salad! One of my favorites is this simple homemade caesar salad.

These cheese biscuits or our homemade garlic bread tastes great on the side! Heat them up and put butter on them.

For another great family dinner idea, try our chicken and rice casserole.

Head to the kitchen to make this yummy, hearty lasagna now! And don’t forget to make dinner rolls or this beer bread to go with it!

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: If you have extra you can store it, in a covered container, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can reheat individual pieces in the microwave for 30-second increments until the desired temperature is reached.

IN THE FREEZER: The next time you whip up this simple recipe, make two! One for now and one for later. Assemble the lasagna like normal but instead of popping it in the oven, pop it in the freezer.

Make sure your casserole dish is in an air-tight container or tightly sealed with plastic wrap. A properly sealed lasagna can stay in the freezer for up to 3 months.

REHEATING: When the time has come and you’re ready to dig into your frozen lasagna, let your homemade lasagna thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

One hour before dinner time, pop the thawed lasagna in the oven, covered, for 50 minutes at 375°F.

close up shot of Lasagna in a clear baking dish

This classic lasagna recipe is filled with gooey mozzarella cheese, creamy ricotta, hearty meat sauce, and tender layers of pasta.

This is the perfect dish to serve on a chilly night when you are looking for comfort food.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I make this dish ahead of time?

This easy lasagna recipe is the perfect dish for freezer cooking. Assemble the lasagna and instead of baking, cover and pop in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge overnight and bake at 375°F for 50 minutes.

Should I use no-cook or regular lasagna noodles for this recipe?

You should use regular lasagna noodles but you will only partially cook them as they will soften up the rest of the way while baking.

Can I use different ground meat than ground beef?

Ground sausage, pork, chicken or turkey will also work fine in this recipe.

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close up shot of a serving of Lasagna on a spatula

Lasagna

5 from 5 votes
This easy, hearty, homemade lasagna is so simple to make from scratch and offers delicious, cheesy flavor you’ll love!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

  • 16 ounces lasagna noodles

Sauce

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 56 ounces crushed tomatoes (two 28-ounce cans)
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced (2 to 3 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped

Cheese Mixture

  • cups ricotta cheese
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese divided
  • 2 cups parmesan cheese shredded and divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped

Instructions
 

  • In an extra large skillet (or sauce pot), on medium-high heat, add your olive oil, chopped onions, minced garlic, italian seasoning blend, salt and black pepper. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions start to get tender. Push your cooked onions and spices to the side of your skillet and add your ground beef.
  • Cook your beef for another 5 to 7 minutes or until it is cooked thoroughly and no pink remains in the meat. Stir your cooked onions into your cooked beef. Drain any excess fat if desired before moving on to the next step.
  • Add the tomato paste to the beef mixture and stir it around until it is completely incorporated.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, stir and turn your heat to low to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. Note: Taste your sauce to see  if you need to add any more salt and pepper. This is personal preference as some brands of can tomatoes can be saltier than others.
  • Once your sauce has simmered, turn off the heat and add the 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley and stir. Set aside until ready to assemble your lasagna.
  • While your sauce is simmering, boil your lasagna noodles for only 5 minutes. You want them to just be partially cooked. Drain the pasta water from the pot and leave your noodles in the warm pot while you are assembling the lasagna.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl add your ricotta cheese, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1½ cups shredded parmesan cheese, egg and fresh chopped parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly spray, with cooking spray, a deep dish 9×13 casserole pan (also known as a lasagna pan).
  • Layering your lasagna: start by adding 1½ to 2 cups sauce into the bottom of the pan and spreading it evenly. 
  • Next add a layer of 5 to 6 noodles (they should be slightly overlapping and you can trim them to fit your pan).
  • Then you will layer ½ of your cheese filling evenly over the noodle layer.
  • Once your cheese layer is spread out, very gently spoon over 2 cups of sauce. Do not mix the sauce into the cheese layer, just gently smooth it over.
  • Repeat with another layer of noodles, the other half of the cheese mixture and another 2 cups of sauce. You will top that with the remaining noodles, then the remaining sauce. You will top your lasagna with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese.
  • Cover your lasagna dish with aluminum foil (you can lightly spray your aluminum foil with some cooking spray, on the side that will be facing the cheese to keep the cheese from sticking when baking) and bake it for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to bake for another 30 minutes or until the cheese is lightly golden and bubbly.
  • Once your lasagna has cooked, allow it to cool on the counter for a minimum of 30 minutes, up to 45 minutes, before slicing and serving. It will still be nice and warm but you will get nice pretty slices (and not a lasagna mess all over your plate) by allowing it to rest and set up.

Video

Notes

TIP: If you do not want to take the time to make the sauce in this recipe, then a good quality jarred marinara (depending on the size of the jar, you may need 2 jars for this recipe) will work just fine. You will brown your lean ground beef, drain any excess fat, add your jar(s) of marinara and season it with salt and pepper to taste. I still suggest letting it simmer while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
TIP: I find that the combination of shredded mozzarella and shredded parmesan cheese works beautifully for this recipe, however, you can substitute different cheeses such as a grated Italian hard cheese blend or even a pecorino romano shredded cheese for the shredded parmesan cheese. I would stick with the mozzarella cheese though. I highly suggest shredding a block of mozzarella cheese and not buying the pre-shredded in the bag. The mozzarella cheese that is already shredded in the bags has ingredients to prevent caking while packaged and they do not melt as well as the block cheese. 
TIP: Taste your sauce to see if you need to add any more salt and pepper. This is a personal preference as some brands of can tomatoes can be saltier than others.
TIP: If you do not use a deep dish then your lasagna may bubble up and overflow a standard 9×13 pan while cooking in the oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 517kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 841mg | Potassium: 893mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 906IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 478mg | Iron: 5mg
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  1. Tam says

    How does the water on the outside not make the dish soupy? And can you sub and cook the noodles instead then just not add water??

  2. Cheryl says

    5 stars
    I added Italian sausage, spices and used ricotta cheese instead of cottage, and I didn’t use water. My guys loved it! Great recipe.