The Best Lasagna Recipe Ever

4.84 from 30 votes

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This is hands down the Best Lasagna Recipe ever! Easy, cheesy, meaty and so so delicious! It’s the quintessential recipe for feeding a large family or bringing to a potluck. Layer up the hearty meat sauce, different cheeses, and lasagna pasta and then bake until hot and bubbly.

So happy to be sharing this epic Lasagna Recipe today! This recipe is easy, cheesy, can be made in advance, baked right away and comes out perfectly every time! My family will lick their plates clean when this is on the dinner menu. This recipe is not dry, not soupy, cuts perfectly, holds together, and tastes amazing!

Lasagna Recipe

Like I mentioned above, this is the quintessential lasagna recipe that you need in your recipe box. Make this once and never need another lasagna recipe again. It’s meaty, cheesy, decadent and the perfect Italian dinner.

Below are lots of tips and tricks for creating the best lasagna ever which are reflected in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Follow these guidelines and you too will have success with this recipe.

How to Make Lasagna

Lasagna is essentially a layered Italian casserole made up of three parts: meat sauce, cheese mixture, and pasta sheets.

  1. Make the meat sauce. I love making the red pasta sauce with lots of onions, garlic, ground beef, tomatoes, and spices. Cook it as long as you can for the most flavor and taste as you go!
  2. Make the cheese filling. Classic Lasagna Recipes call for ricotta cheese, mozzarella and parmesan. I don’t recommend using fresh mozzarella because all different brands have different moisture levels and it can affect the finished product. If you DO want to use fresh mozzarella, be sure to slice it thin and press out all the extra moisture in paper towels.
  3. Cook the lasagna pasta. Check out the packaging and cook it for two-thirds of the recommended time. Since you will be baking the entire lasagna in the oven after you layer it, your pasta will continue cooking, so give it a place to go! Overcooked pasta does not a good lasagna make.
  4. Layering. Start with a bit of meat sauce in the bottom of a large casserole dish or a plain 9×13 and line the bottom with pasta. Top with the cheese mixture and sauce. Add another layer of pasta, cheese, and sauce and then top with cheese.
  5. Baking. Cover with foil and bake, being sure to pull the foil off the last few minutes of cooking to brown the top.
  6. Let it rest. If you dig right into your lasagna straight out of the oven, it’ll turn into a sloppy mess. Let it cool 15-20 minutes before cutting.  It’ll cut perfectly if you just wait a few extra minutes.meat sauce in lasagna

Cottage Cheese vs Ricotta

Classic Italian Lasagnas are typically made with a blend of Ricotta, Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses.

If you don’t like using ricotta cheese because of the taste or texture, you can definitely substitute cottage cheese in its place 1:1. Everything else in the recipe will stay the same and you should only notice a slight difference.

Pro Tips for the Best Lasagna Ever

The best lasagna you’ve ever eaten is only steps away. Here are my golden rules for creating the best-finished product.

  • Cook your meat sauce for a long time. This not only concentrates the flavors, but it reduces the amount of liquid. If you want to cut perfect slices and not have a soupy mess on your hands, cooking your sauce for an hour or two until its very thick is a big step in the right direction. Bonus points for making the sauce 12-24 hours in advance. Red sauces of any kind always taste better the next day…in my opinion. Reheat the sauce before layering it up in the lasagna for quicker baking time.
  • Boil your pasta for two-thirds of the time, according to package directions. Most lasagna pasta will cook for 9-11 minutes. I pulled mine out at around 7 minutes. I don’t want to cook the noodles all the way through because once they hit the oven for baking, they can get mushier than al dente. So, draining them early means they will soak up any extra liquid in the sauce and after the hour in the oven, your pasta will be perfectly cooked, not mushy and help hold those beautiful layers together.
  • Don’t use fresh mozzarella. While I big puffy heart eyes love fresh mozzarella, I feel the added moisture isn’t worth the taste. Instead, reach for a block of sturdier mozzarella cheese and grate it yourself. If you think this is sacrilegious and would prefer the fresh mozzarella, be sure to cut it into thin slices and press it in between paper towels to get out as much moisture as possible. And please please please don’t use the pre-grated mozzarella cheese.
  • Let your Lasagna rest 20-30 minutes. Again, when trying to achieve those perfect slices, you have to let everything settle and rest before digging in. It will stay plenty hot, but the rest time really gives your lasagna those last few minutes to soak up that moisture and let the cheese firm up a touch.
Lasagna in Pan

Have leftovers? Here’s how to store them.

Half the fun of eating lasagna is being able to eat it AGAIN the next day. Store any extra lasagna in the fridge covered for up to 5 days. Whether that is in the same casserole dish or cut into individual slices in plastic containers, just ensure they are sealed airtight.

Individual slices can be reheated easily in the microwave. If you have more than a few slices in your casserole dish, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees until heated completely through again.

Can I freeze Lasagna?

Absolutely. Whether you are freezing it before or after baking, the instructions mostly stay the same!

  • Freezing Unbaked Lasagna: wrap casserole dish with assembled lasagna well with plastic wrap AND foil. Can stay frozen for up to two months. I like using a disposable 9×13 foil pan for freezing purposes.
  • Baking a Frozen Lasagna: unwrap lasagna completely. Cover with fresh foil and bake at 300 degrees for one hour and finish baking at 375 degrees for the last 30 minutes. Remove foil for the last few minutes of cooking to brown the cheese.
  • Freezing Baked Lasagna: wrap casserole dish with assembled lasagna well with plastic wrap AND foil. Can stay frozen for up to two months.
  • Reheating Baked Lasagna: unwrap lasagna completely. Cover with fresh foil and bake at 350 degrees until thoroughly warm.

What to serve with Lasagna

With all these helpful tips and the video below, you should be able to make the best lasagna recipe ever! But if you still have questions, feel free to leave a comment below 🙂

4.84 from 30 votes

The Best Lasagna Recipe Ever

This is hands down the Best Lasagna Recipe ever! Easy, cheesy, meaty and so so delicious! Layer up the hearty meat sauce, different cheeses and lasagna pasta and then bake until hot and bubbly.
servings 15 servings
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 40 mins

Ingredients

For the meat sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound ground beef 93/7
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste

For the cheese layer:

  • 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste

Remaining ingredients:

  • 1 pound lasagna noodles
  • 1/4 pound mozzarella cheese grated

Instructions

  • For the meat sauce: In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in onion and saute 2-3 minutes. Add in garlic and ground beef. Break meat apart as it browns. Once meat has browned completely, pour in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, bay leaves, dried basil, sugar, Italian Seasoning and salt. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook sauce 1-2 hours or until very thick.
  • While meat sauce cooks, make the cheese layer: stir cheeses together in a bowl with basil, parsley and salt & pepper. Set aside.
  • Cook lasagna noodles 2/3 of the time marked on the package. About 7 minutes or so. Drain and place noodles in a large bowl of cold water.
  • To assemble: spread 1/2 cup prepared sauce in the bottom of a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish. Layer in 5-6 noodles, half of the cheese mixture and one third of the sauce. Top with more noodles, the second half of the cheese mixture and another third of the sauce. Final layer is the last of the noodles and the last of the meat sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 lb. grated mozzarella cheese.  
  • To bake: preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover lasagna with greased foil. Bake 45 minutes with foil on. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes or until cheese has browned and everything it hot all the way through. Remove from oven, cover lightly with foil and rest 20-30 minutes before cutting and serving. Sprinkle with dried parsley flakes, cut into squares and serve.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 359kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 554mg | Potassium: 218mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 330IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 239mg | Iron: 1.4mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: best lasagna, classic lasagna, italian dinner, italian lasagna, lasagna, lasagna recipe, pasta
Polaroid photo of granola bars

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Recipe Rating




82 Responses
  1. Karen H

    The one time I tried to make lasagna for my family, it was a terrible soupy mess—and I’ve never tried it again. But I LOVE lasagna, and have been wanting to give it another go. Super excited to try your recipe! (Especially with your handy tips.)

    Can’t wait to give this one a go!

  2. Amy

    This looks and sounds delicious!!! Even though I have my go to lasagna recipe, I’m always up to try a different one. I’m wondering though, I’ve always used oven ready lasagna noodles, and curious if you ever do or if there’s a difference in taste?

    1. Destiny W

      Used raw oven ready noodles in mine and omitted the sugar. Added a little bit of extra water and my noodles cooked perfectly. The top layer got a bit crispy. But still really good. Would add black olives next time. Also topped ours with sour cream. Boys said they liked it. 9/10.

      1. Kate

        I use regular noodles and cover them in very hot water. They soften but you don’t have to worry about them being overcooked and very easy to handle. Turn out great

  3. Lauren

    5 stars
    I made this for my family last night, and without knowing what you titled the recipe my husband, unprovoked, said “this May be the best lasagna I’ve ever had!” Awesome recipe, it was delish!

  4. Kathy

    5 stars
    I made this tonight! It was great, not soggy at all (lasagna usually turns out too wet when I make it). This was perfect. Thank you!

    1. Lauren

      They cook down in the sauce quite a bit. Try petite diced tomatoes to make sure there aren’t any chunks. My only concern with using another can of sauce is it would be too liquidy.

  5. Sara

    5 stars
    So delicious! Made this last night.. first night was a little sloppy but after it had 24h to set, it’s so yummy! This recipe is a keeper, thank you! 😁

  6. Sunnie

    Would love to know if cheese substitutes work with all the great recipes that use cheese . Dairy doesn’t work for my sinus issues at all.

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  8. Robyn D

    5 stars
    I made this tonight & it was awesome! I used fresh lasagna sheets, but other than that made as directed. My family said it was their favourite hands down!!!

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  11. Hélène Bilodeau

    4 stars
    Not crazy about the lasagna – I think I just don’t like ricotta cheese – but I love, love, love the sauce. I have been using it on my spaghettis and it’s a bit hit.

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  13. Mischelle

    5 stars
    Lauren, girl this recipe is the “Bomb.com’”!! I really enjoyed making this dish. It’s been years since I made a homemade lasagna dish and it turned out this good. Thank God for cast iron cookware.! Let me just say this, the no boil lasagna pasta worked really well. The taste is soooooo good!! I will be checking out more of your recipes. Thank you so much😊

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  15. Carolyn S Cheeseman

    5 stars
    Love this recipe. It quickly became my go to. It’s simple straightforward and foolproof. And obviously delicious!

    1. Lauren

      Pre-grated cheese is coated in food starch to prevent it from sticking to itself. Cheese that you grate or cut yourself will melt a little nicer.

  16. Carla Apple

    I was super excited to make this recipe….I was however disappointed with the sauce….it just wasn’t anything special and didn’t have any real kick.

    1. Lauren

      It doesn’t really matter. If you plan on cooking the sauce longer than an hour, I’d either mix the cheeses together and store in the fridge or just wait until I’m ready to assemble.

  17. Kirk Johnson

    5 stars
    Made this twice! Fun. Easy. Delicious. First time I made it, I followed the recipe as published.

    Some tips I can share working for me. Get quality cheeses if possible… I was fortunate to get freshly made mozzarella at local cheese shop, and fresh ricotta and a superb Parmesan. Also fresh ground grass fed beef made the sauce excellent. Be sure to simmer slowly. Mine took one hour and 45 minutes before it was cooked down just perfectly for building the layers.

    The motivation to find a great recipe was for my best friend’s birthday. His wife taught me how to make a “table side Cesar salad” which we did together as the lasagna was resting from the oven. (I prepared it several hours and stored in frig before baking.)

    Thank you Lauren for the recipe. I’m not a great chef but this turned out fantastically for my guests.

  18. Jennifer Johnson

    4 stars
    Made this last night and todayt with a few changes. I had a jar of garlic olive oil basil tomatoe sauce in the cupboard that I used. I used crushed tomatoes for the balance of the ozs of sauce. I subbed cottage cheese for the ricotta. Increased the herbs and added lots of crushed garlic to the sauce. I actually increased the ozs of tomato products by about 6 and totally left out the water. I used the 1 lb of organic hamburger plus 1 1/2 lbs of sweet italian sausage squeezed out of the casing. For extra zip in the sauce I added some red wine and cooked it down for about 3 hours so the sauce and flavors were a nice thick consistency. Extra garlic in the cheese mix. Then I used the oven ready (no need to pre-cook) noodles and it turned out to be the absolute perfect consistency. No water ran into the empty part of the casserole after removing some pieces.
    For those who don’t like red sauce, I would make a bechamel (white) sauce and add a jar of pesto to it for flavor. I would also add a package of frozen chopped spinach to it. Controlling the consistency might take some practice. I might also consider adding shredded chicken to the sauce to make it a meat sauce. (I might even shortcut it and use a costco rotisserie chicken!)

  19. Beth

    5 stars
    I made this for Christmas dinner at my parents’ house. It was a big hit! My mom is 80 now and a stroke and heart attack survivor. She has always been an amazing hostess, but can no longer physically do what she used to do. I had to very carefully keep her out of her own kitchen and do my thing. I know it pained her to not be in control, but I think the end result made her very happy. She insisted on cleaning up the mess I made though. 😉 Moms…

  20. Carla

    5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe! I’ve always struggled with lasagna but this recipe was simple and so good!! My husband who isn’t a huge fan even loved it. We used it as one of our first “test recipes” on our Traeger wood pellet grill we just got. It was perfect!

  21. Kyle Osborn

    This looks amazing and I can’t wait to make it with a salad and some fresh bread as a warm winter meal!
    Love your recipes!

  22. Dawn Krenz

    I’m so excited to try your recipe! We are moving into a new house with lots of family hanging around. I want to make something yummy but that will also make a memory! A good lasagna can do that! 😊

  23. Brittany Ackerman

    5 stars
    This was my first time making lasagna and it was delicious!! I struggled a bit to spread the cheese sauce without messing up the noodle placing, so If you have tips I would appreciate them! Will definitely be making again 😋

    1. Barbara J Kalter

      I don’t spread the cheese mixture. Instead I place rather large scoops of it about two inches apart, staggering it on each row of the noodles. It melts/spreads when it’s baked. Works every time!

  24. Katherine

    5 stars
    I’ve made this several times, because it is so good!! I usually only cook my sauce for about an hour, but it’s always been nice and thick. Thanks for the yummy recipe!

  25. Kelly LeCureux

    I’m dying to try this recipe! I have no doubt it will be wonderful. Every recipe of yours that I’ve tried has been wonderful. Also I love that you have videos so that I can reassure myself that I’m doing it right.

  26. SA

    3 stars
    Not sure if I did something wrong but mine tasted quite dry. I tasted the ricotta cheese quite strongly but not the sauce as much. I did cook the sauce down for two hours and made 24 hours in advance and used fresh bars of cheese. Followed the recipe exactly.