Homemade Lasagna is the ultimate comfort food. We start this delicious lasagna recipe with a homemade meat sauce that is perfection. This is bound to be a family favorite.
If you have been following me for a while you know that I grew up eating vegetarian recipes. So when it came time for big holidays, we didn’t eat the traditional big meat dishes. Instead, my mom would make a big lasagna. Her recipe, of course, did not have meat in it like this one. But it is still reminiscent for me of those holiday meals.
This lasagna recipe is everything you are looking for. It is made with easy to find ingredients, it has a from scratch meat sauce that is to die for, and we have detailed instructions to make sure it comes out perfect every time you make it.
Ingredients for Lasagna Recipe
This easy lasagna recipe with ricotta cheese requires simple ingredients that will result in a comforting and delicious meal your family will love.
- Lasagna noodles: This recipe is made with regular lasagna noodles. While you may be tempted to use the no-boil noodles to skip the step of boiling them and save time, this recipe has not been tested with them. Cook your noodles according to the box’s directions.
- Onion and garlic: To add flavor to the meat sauce.
- Italian sausage: You can also use ground beef or turkey.
- Tomato sauce: In the United States, we have canned tomato sauce that is labeled as such and the only ingredient in it is tomatoes. It is pureed tomatoes in which all the seeds, pulp, and skin have been removed. That is what you are looking for; do not use spaghetti sauce.
- Seasonings: Basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes are the perfect complement of flavor for the sauce.
- Ricotta cheese: While I think this is essential to a good lasagna, I know that lots of people have an aversion to ricotta. I have had readers report that cottage cheese is a good substitute.
- Eggs: Help bind the ricotta mixture and hold the lasagna together, giving it that nice crisp layered look. If you have someone with an egg allergy though, you can leave them out and still have a delicious recipe.
- Sugar: The amount used in this recipe is so small it won’t taste sweet, however, it does help balance the acidity of the tomato sauce resulting in a more balanced sauce.
- Cheese: Freshly grated parmesan and mozzarella melt well. See more on this below.
How to Make Lasagna
Here is a brief overview of how to make the best homemade lasagna recipe. For the full recipe including all ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Cook the lasagna sheets. Follow the directions on the box so that the noodles don’t get overcooked. Since this recipe will bake, the lasagna noodles will be less cooked than pasta you typically make. Continue to make the recipe while the noodles are cooking.
- Make the lasagna sauce. Sauté the garlic and onion and add the sausage, cooking until it is well broken up and just begins to brown. Add the tomato sauce and seasonings to the meat mixture and simmer.
- Make the filling. In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, eggs, and the remainder of the mozzarella and Parmesan. Divide the mixture into thirds.
- Put it all together. Spoon a ladle of meat sauce to the bottom of your baking dish, followed by a layer of cooked lasagna noodles, then one-third of your cheese and egg mixture. Try not to stress about the cheese layer being perfectly even. Repeat two more times or until you’ve used all of the ingredients.
- Bake the lasagna. Top with the remaining shredded cheese and bake until the cheese is bubbly, about half an hour.
How to Layer Lasagna
The layering of meat sauce, noodles, and cheese filling is what lasagna is known for. I recommend doing three layers of each ingredient in the following order:
- Start by spreading a little sauce on the bottom of your baking dish to prevent the noodle sheets from sticking.
- Then place a row of cooked lasagna noodles.
- Spread an even layer of one-third of the ricotta cheese and egg mixture. Again, don’t worry about it being spread perfectly even.
- Spread an even layer of meat sauce.
- Repeat two more times or until all of the ingredients are used. Finally, top with remaining shredded cheese.
Shredding Your Own Cheese
Pre-shredded cheese is covered with preservatives, which helps it hold its shredded form but prevents it from melting well. I highly recommend shredding your own cheese from a block. It will taste and melt better. It only takes a few extra minutes and will truly make a big difference in this recipe as well as any other that calls for shredded cheese.
Homemade Lasagna Sauce
We are especially making a meat sauce for this lasagna recipe. The sauce in this lasagna is so good and completely makes the whole dish. It comes together with simple ingredients and can be used on lots of other pasta dishes. It’s thick and rich without being too spicy or overbearing.
You will notice that I suggest you taste the sauce at the end of making it. This is an important step, please take the time to do it. The sauce is delicious and makes the whole recipe, but only if you love it. You should taste it and add more salt and pepper to accommodate your taste preferences. Start by adding just a little bit more, tasting, and adding a tiny bit more until you get the taste you like. Additionally, if there is any bitterness to the sauce, add a pinch more sugar.
How Long to Bake Lasagna
This easy lasagna recipe with bakes at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. You can turn your oven up to the broil setting and broil for 5 minutes at the end if you would like the cheese to be more browned. Let it stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Store your leftover lasagna in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Many people love the taste of lasagna even more the next day. When ready for those delicious leftovers, reheat only the portion you are eating. No matter what the recipe is, leftovers should never be reheated more than once. Always use your best discretion with leftovers.
This is a great recipe to make ahead and freeze, or make a double batch and freeze the second pan. I recommend preparing the recipe up until the step of baking it. Cover it well with foil three times and store it in the freezer for up to three months.
When ready to bake the lasagna, remove it from the freezer along with two layers of foil. Bake right from frozen at 350 degrees for 20 minutes covered. Remove the foil and bake for 30 more minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees.
I also suggest that you freeze it in a disposable baking dish, as frozen baking dishes made of glass or ceramic often crack or shatter in hot ovens.
I have not made this recipe using gluten-free noodles, however, you can try swapping out the noodles for a gluten-free option.
Yes, it can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours or stored in the freezer for up to 3 months before baking.
This recipe has only been tested with regular lasagna sheets. It has not been tested with the no-boil sheets.
If you are preparing and baking it right away, you do not need to cover the lasagna. If you are baking it from frozen I recommend covering it with foil for the first part of cooking. You can read more on this above.
Using ricotta in my lasagna recipe is a hill I will die on. It has a more authentic taste and texture. That being said, you know me. I’m a strong believer in doing what works best for you and your family in your own kitchen. If you can’t tolerate ricotta and it will keep you from making this, then definitely use cottage cheese.
Lasagna Recipe Variations
Looking for other variations on the classic homemade lasagna recipe? From chicken to turkey to vegetarian, there is an easy lasagna recipe for everyone.
- This Crockpot Lasagna is everything you love about a traditional lasagna without boiling noodles or the need to be home while it cooks.
- Zucchini Lasagna is a hearty vegetable lasagna recipe.
- Chicken Lasagna is made with the most creamy homemade lasagna white sauce.
- Have dinner ready in 30 minutes with this Skillet Lasagna.
What to Serve with this Lasagna Recipe
Round out your meal with these sides!
- Garlic Bread: This will cook up perfectly in those 10 minutes you are letting your lasagna rest after baking.
- Chopped Salad: Made with my Italian Dressing, this is the perfect way to balance out this comfort food.
- Green Beans Almondine: This is a great stove top recipe that is perfect to make while your lasagna is baking.
Please leave a comment below with questions or comments on this lasagna recipe or any of my other recipes. Enjoy!
- 12 ounces lasagna noodles (cooked and drained according to box instructions)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound Italian sausage (or ground beef)
- 28 ounces tomato sauce (just tomato sauce, not spaghetti sauce with seasoning)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (read here about why I use a pinch of sugar in my sauce)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 16 ounces mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Bring a large pot of water to a roaring boil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook according to the time indicated on the box. When the noodles are done cooking and have been drained, spread them on lightly greased baking sheets while you finish the sauce and make the filling.12 ounces lasagna noodles
- While the noodles are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, cooking until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 small yellow onion, 3 cloves garlic
- Add the Italian sausage, breaking it up. Cook until it is well broken up and just begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Drain off any excess grease.1 pound Italian sausage
- Add the tomato sauce, salt, oregano, basil, sugar, red pepper flakes and pepper to the meat mixture and set aside. Simmer on low for 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt, pepper, and/or sugar to taste.28 ounces tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon dried basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Set aside 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.
- In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, eggs, and the remainder of the mozzarella and Parmesan. Divide the mixture into thirds.
- Add a ladle full of the sauce and meat mixture to the baking dish, spreading it to coat the bottom. Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Top the noodles with 1/3 of the cheese mixture and then more sauce and meat. Repeat until you have used all the ingredients (save the set aside cheese). Finally, top with the set aside cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Broil for 5 minutes at the end if you would like the cheese to be more browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
It was delicious and a hit. I did use the no cook noodles since I had them already. The sauce was flavorful and I enjoyed the Italian sausage as I normally use beef. Will definitely make again.