This classic homemade lasagna recipe is all-out comfort food! It has three kinds of cheese and an irresistible tomato and meat sauce for an Italian-American favorite at home.
Why you'll love it
There's no need to be intimidated when making this easy lasagna recipe. I'm going to walk you through it in this step-by-step and straightforward guide so you'll feel confident and have success every single time for those cozy, cheesy layers of flavor!
Making lasagna really isn't complicated, and there's just no substitute for homemade. It's a good idea to set aside enough time to do it, but it's not a fancy dish and you definitely don't need to be perfect when assembling the layers. You'll feel so accomplished when you make lasagna from scratch.
What goes into it
For the meat sauce
- Olive oil - for sautéing
- Onion and garlic - our aromatic base. I like using Vidalia (sweet) onion, but yellow or white works as well. For the garlic, this press makes mincing it easy.
- Italian sausage and lean ground beef - using a 50/50 mix enhances the flavor. I used mild Italian sausage and 90% lean ground beef
- Crushed tomatoes - I find they give the best consistency for the sauce
- Beef broth - to create deeper, richer flavors and adds moisture
- Italian seasoning - it's a blend of dried herbs like rosemary and thyme that comes in a single jar so you don't need to fuss with individual ones
- Sugar - it's an old chef's trick to cut the acidity of tomatoes and balance the sauce
- Red pepper flakes - they're optional but add a nice dimension. It's not enough to make this spicy!
- Salt & pepper - it's important to be generous
For the cheesy filling
- Egg - it's important to bind everything together
- Ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan - make sure to use whole milk ricotta and freshly grated mozzarella and parmesan for maximum taste and the right texture
- Italian seasoning, salt, fresh parsley - for seasoning and a pop of freshness
- Lasagna noodles - get the uncooked variety
- Mozzarella - additional mozzarella for the cheesy and golden top layer
- Measuring and laying out all the ingredients in the order you'll need them makes this recipe go so much smoother!
How to make lasagna
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
In a soup pot or Dutch oven, make the meat sauce. While it's simmering away, mix the three cheese filling in a large prep bowl. Preheat the oven to 375F, and boil the noodles until just al dente, and place them individually on parchment paper.
Assemble the lasagna. In the recipe card below we get super specific, and you can also look at this gif showing how to layer lasagna with every single step if you're a more visual person!
Finish up with the mozzarella layer. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 20 minutes. Broil if you'd like it a little more golden on top. Let it sit for a bit so it sets, and enjoy.
- Be sure to use a deep 9x13 casserole dish (or lasagna dish) rather than some of the very shallow ones that are out there so that it doesn't overflow. This lasagna has 3 noodle layers and is quite tall, so you don't want the cheese to stick to the foil when you bake it.
- It's a good idea to boil an extra noodle or two in case one of them ends up tearing.
- Don't rinse your noodles. Not rinsing them after they're boiled will help the lasagna stay together since the starch makes the noodles more sticky and the sauce clings better.
Substitutions and variations
- This recipe has only been tested as written, so use careful judgement for any substitutions. Subs for any of the major components (type of canned tomatoes, other liquid quantities, cheeses, meats, etc.) may change how the lasagna works out (texture, flavor, etc.). Small changes like adding more garlic are fine!
- Can I use no-boil lasagna noodles? Our kitchen has not tested this, but you're welcome to try. There is a chance that cooking time may vary and the lasagna may end up more dry, however.
How to make lasagna ahead
- Follow the instructions up to the baking step. Cover the uncooked assembled lasagna and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days ahead.
- You can also freeze for up to 3 months, defrost in the fridge overnight, and bake as instructed in the recipe card below. It may need a little longer if it's cold from the fridge.
Leftovers and storage
- Lasagna will keep for 3-5 days in the fridge in a sealed container.
- To reheat in the oven, cover an oven-safe baking dish with foil and heat at 350F until hot, about 30 mins, until it's 165F in the middle. You can add a couple tablespoons of water to the lasagna if it's looking dry. Microwaving in intervals until warmed works too.
- Cooked lasagna leftovers can be stored for 2-3 months in the freezer. I like to freeze it individual portions. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
Did you make this lasagna or have any questions? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!
Classic Homemade Lasagna
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 (28 fluid ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pepper to taste
- 1 large egg beaten
- 15 ounces ricotta see note
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
- 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella for topping the lasagna
- For serving: fresh basil, chopped parsley optional, to taste
- In a pot/Dutch oven, sauté the onion in the olive oil for 4 minutes, then stir in the ground beef and sausage meat, breaking it up with your spoon as you go along, and cook until meat is browned (about 8-10 min.). Spoon out most of the fat, but leave a few tablespoons in for flavor. Add in the remaining meat sauce ingredients. When it starts to bubble, reduce the heat (medium-low to low), cover the pot with the lid slightly open, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce should be quite thick.
- While the sauce is cooking, gather the remaining ingredients. Add the egg to a fairly large prep bowl and beat it with a fork. Add in the rest of the cheese layer ingredients and stir until combined.
- Preheat your oven to 375F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
- When the meat sauce is about 15-20 minutes from being done, boil a large, salted pot of water for the lasagna noodles. Cook the noodles al dente (about 7-8 minutes) - be careful not to overcook. Stir them occasionally to prevent sticking. Once they're done, drain them (do not rinse). When they're cool enough to handle after a couple of minutes, lay them out individually on a sheet of parchment paper so they don't stick together.
- To assemble the lasagna: spread about 1 cup of the meat sauce evenly on the bottom of a deep 9x13 casserole dish. Add 4 noodles to the bottom of the casserole dish (they will overlap a bit). Spread half of the cheese mixture over top, and then spoon about 1/3 of the meat sauce on top of that. Add another 4 noodles, the rest of the cheese mixture, another 1/3 of the meat sauce, and then the final layer of 4 noodles. Spoon on the rest of the meat sauce, then top with the remaining 2 cups of mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with foil and then bake for 30 minutes. Take the foil off and continue baking for another 20 minutes. Optional: broil for a few minutes to make the cheese extra browned (watch it closely so it doesn't burn!).
- Let the lasagna sit for 15 minutes. This is important as it helps it set. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and basil if using. Cut into squares (I use my chef's knife and then a spatula to scoop it out) and enjoy! Season with extra salt & pepper if needed.
- Some of the prep time is counted within the cook time for this recipe as some prep steps are completed while the meat sauce is cooking.
- For the ricotta, I strongly recommend using the highest fat % you can find. It'll be more creamy and less watery. You may find it labeled as "whole milk" ricotta. I used one with 15% fat.
- I caution against making substitutions on any of the major components (type of canned tomatoes, other liquid quantities, cheeses, meats, etc.) as it may change how the lasagna works out (texture, flavor, etc.). Small changes like adding more garlic are fine.
- Serves 8-12 depending on portion size and what else it's served with.
- See blog post for more tips including process photos, storage info, etc.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.