Homemade Lasagna Recipe

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Looking for a classic lasagna recipe? You’ve found it! This easy homemade lasagna transform your family’s Italian night. We’ll give you hints and exact ingredients to use for the best lasagna your family has ever had.

Table of Contents
  1. About this Homemade Lasagna Recipe:
  2. What Are the Lasagna Ingredients?
  3. What to Cook Lasagna In
  4. Do I Have to Cook Lasagna Noodles?
  5. Make Ahead Lasagna
  6. How to Freeze Lasagna
  7. Homemade Lasagna Recipe Recipe
  8. Other Italian Casseroles

Homemade lasagna is one of those recipes that I had often made, but had really never perfected and hadn’t documented what I liked and didn’t like about each recipe trial.

Matt is crazy for homemade lasagna (even lasagna soup!) and really never met one he didn’t like. Because I knew he loved it, in our early years of marriage and while we had small kids, I made it all the time. In fact, I made it so much that Braden ended up not liking lasagna. Really? Not liking lasagna is so foreign to Matt and me. But in order to keep smiles on kids faces, I got away from fixing lasagna as one of our regular entree recipes  over the past 10 years.

meaty lasagna in a baking pan

Fast forward to last spring when I was requested to serve a lasagna dinner to Maddie and her friends before prom. I had about 3 days notice for this special occasion (nothing like teenagers and their last minute planning!) and suddenly panicked that I didn’t have a tried and true lasagna recipe. One that I knew hungry teenagers would love.

I quickly started researching and found the World’s Best Lasagna on Allrecipes.com. Sounds like the place to start, right? I scoured the reviews, taking copious amounts of notes on what people liked and didn’t like about the recipe. I gathered together what I thought would be my special version from my previous cooking knowledge and that is what I share with you today.

This lasagna was a hit that night of prom. Everyone loved it. And now I can officially say I have a lasagna recipe written down that to make over and over again. Even Braden agrees that it’s not that bad. It’s not necessarily an easy lasagna recipe, but it is the best lasagna recipe.

About this Homemade Lasagna Recipe:

  • Flavor: The flavor of this lasagna is like no other. The 5 cheeses, homemade sauce and combination of beef and sausage ensure that it tastes homemade and is delicious.
  • Texture: Lasagna is loaded with texture thanks to the meat and lasagna sheets. The cheese is creamy.
  • Method: This makes a large pan of lasagna. I use a deep dish lasagna pan or a deep 9×13″ baking dish.

What Are the Lasagna Ingredients?

There are a few key ingredients that I like to use in my lasagna:

  • Sweet Italian Sausage. Search the stores until you find this exact thing. The “sweet” in the Italian sausage really brings out the flavor in this lasagna. I’ve tried this recipe with traditional Italian sausage and we didn’t like it as much. I find sweet Italian sausage in a local grocery store in the fresh meat case.
  • Homemade Sauce. I always used to use jarred spaghetti sauce for my lasagna. There’s definitely a place for lazy day lasagna recipes, but when you want something really special, make from-scratch meat sauce. The key to this sauce is to make it a day in advance and allow it to cook together for about an hour and a half, or even allow it to simmer in the slow cooker for 4-6 hours. The fresh herbs, spices and tomatoes blend together beautifully if you just plan ahead and take a little time.
  • Fresh Basil and Fresh Parsley. I never used to buy fresh herbs, but when you really want to make an impression, grabbing a bunch of green herbs from your produce case is the way to go. Use some kitchen scissors or herb scissors to snip the herbs and enjoy their aroma as you do so.
  • Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese. I’ll be honest. I’m not crazy about ricotta, but it is a must in traditional lasagna. This recipe calls for just 15 ounces of ricotta which allows for two thin layers which cooks right in with the other cheeses.
  • Nutmeg. That’s right. This is a hint I got from reviewers on Allrecipes. Don’t skip it. It’s a little secret ingredient to a great lasagna.
  • Whole Milk Mozzarella. Pick up a chunk of whole milk mozzarella and shred it yourself. This will give you the creamiest, cheesiest lasagna around.
  • Provolone, Romano and Parmesan Cheeses. I personally love the flavors each of these Italian cheeses bring to this lasagna recipe. Using these three cheeses along with the ricotta and mozzarella make this a five cheese lasagna recipe. We’re crazy for cheese!
words best lasagna in a baking pan

What to Cook Lasagna In

Because there are so many layers in lasagna, I recommend a deep dish pan that is bigger than the traditional 9x 13-inch baking dish. I highly recommend the Cuisinart Classic Lasagna Pan.

Do I Have to Cook Lasagna Noodles?

I’ve tried this recipe three ways: boiling the noodles, not boiling the noodles, and soaking the noodles in hot water. My findings? If you like the noodles super soft, boil the noodles in advance. It tasted very traditional to me. However…I’m ok with my noodles being a little bit al dente so would rather take the shortcut of not boiling the noodles.

A trick to no boil lasagna is to soak the noodles in hot water for 30 minutes. You can do this easily while you are preparing the sauce, shredding the cheese or getting the ingredients out to put the lasagna together. The hot water softens the noodles ever so slightly and they finish cooking while the lasagna is cooking.

Here’s my own personal trick

If you put the lasagna together while the sauce is piping hot from simmering for several hours, the noodles will do that little bit of cooking just while the casserole sits, waiting to be baked. Sneaky, right?

And with that, I’ll give you my exact timeline for make ahead lasagna.

a piece of lasagna sitting on a plate

Make Ahead Lasagna

Here’s the timeline for how I make this lasagna.

  • Make the sauce. The day before I want to cook and serve the lasagna, I make the sauce.
  • While the sauce is cooking, mix together the cheeses and cook the noodles if you’d like.
  • Put the lasagna together. Allow the lasagna to sit for 30 minutes or so until the sauce cools, then cover the pan with plastic wrap and slip it into the fridge to sit overnight. If you cover with aluminum foil, the acid in the sauce may eat away at it as it sits. For that reason, I prefer plastic wrap.
  • Remove the lasagna from the refrigerator 45 minutes before baking, then bake as the recipe states.

I love preparing lasagna this way because it keeps the mess out of the kitchen the day I want to serve the lasagna and the flavors have time to meld together.

This also gives the noodles time to soften (as long as you put the lasagna together while the sauce is hot) and they’ll finish cooking during the baking.

It’s the perfect company casserole, really. No messy kitchen the day you need it clean for company!

How to Freeze Lasagna

After you assemble the homemade lasagna (after step #3 above), cover the lasagna with plastic wrap 2-3 times to seal well. Freeze for up to 6 weeks.

Allow the lasagna to thaw in the fridge at least 24 hours before baking. Also, pull it out of the fridge 1 hour before baking to take some of the chill off.

overhead view of homemade lasagna in a pan
overhead view of homemade lasagna in a pan

Homemade Lasagna Recipe

4.77 from 545 votes
If you're looking for the best homemade lasagna recipe, give this a try. Hints and exact ingredients to use for a delicious lasagna.
Servings 15
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours

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Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 pound ground chuck 80/20
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 12 ounces tomato paste
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ cup freshly chopped basil
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 15 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1 pound whole milk mozzarella shredded
  • 9-10 slices provolone cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated romano cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • This makes a large pan of lasagna. I use a deep dish lasagna pan or a deep 9×13" baking dish.
  • In a large saucepan, cook the sausage, ground beef, onion and garlic until cooked through. Drain the fat.
  • Add the tomatoes, paste, sauce, water, sugar basil, fennel, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and parsley. Stir well.
  • Simmer, covered, over low heat for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.*
  • Place the lasagna noodles in a pan of hot water and make certain they are completely covered. Allow them to sit for 30 minutes to soften, then drain the water.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, egg and nutmeg.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan and Romano cheeses.

Let’s put together the lasagna!

  • Spread 1 ½ cups of meat sauce on the bottom of the lasagna pan.
  • Place 4 lasagna noodles over the sauce. 
  • Spoon half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles.
  • Top with 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Spread another 1 ½ cups of sauce over the mozzarella, then sprinkle with ⅓ cup of the Parmesan mixture.
  • Lay another 4 noodles over the cheese.
  • Top with the remaining ricotta mixture.
  • Lay 9-10 slices of provolone cheese over the ricotta, then top with 1 ½ cups meat sauce.
  • Sprinkle ⅓ cup Parmesan mixture over the sauce.
  • Top with 4 more noodles, the remaining sauce, 2 cups of mozzarella and the remaining Parmesan mixture.
  • Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake immediately for 25 minutes (covered with foil**) and then an additional 30 minutes with the foil removed.
  • OR…cover the unbaked casserole and refrigerate to save baking until the next day. If you choose to do this, remove the lasagna from the refrigerator 45 minutes before baking, then bake the same as above.
  • Allow the lasagna to cool for 15 minutes before slicing.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Video

Notes

*You can also allow this to simmer on low in the slow cooker for 4-6 hours if you don’t have time to watch it on the stove.
**Spray the foil with cooking spray prior to covering the pan to prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil.
 
Refer to the article above for more tips and tricks.
The calories shown are based on the lasagna being cut into 15 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 piece of lasagna. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**

Nutrition

Calories: 545kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 1254mg | Potassium: 781mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1120IU | Vitamin C: 12.9mg | Calcium: 465mg | Iron: 3.4mg
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 545
Keyword best lasagna, how to make lasagna, italian lasagna

Other Italian Casseroles

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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1 year ago

5 stars
I just want to thank you for sharing this. You have turned me into designated lasagna guy in our family. I made this and bought it to a family gathering and now all my relatives beg me to make lasagna for every family get together.

I love lasagna and I can’t thank you enough. You are awesome.

Susan MacFarland
6 years ago

5 stars
I have made lasagna for years, but your recipe is a lot better. I love the addition of all the different cheeses ( I used only mozzarella and ricotta). The extra cheeses make it even more tasty and fresh herbs are a must. Thank you for this recipe.

Sydney Sullins
6 years ago

I learned to make lasagna in my high school home economics class in 1973! I have used that recipe ever since, and it’s very similar to yours. When my kids were young and I was busy working I did start to take short cuts, and the first to go was making the home made sauce. And you’re right…the jarred sauce just isn’t the same. When my kids were teenagers, one became a vegetarian. I started making two small pans of lasagna so I could do one without meat. I subbed fresh spinach, zucchini, shredded carrots, whatever was on hand. That… Read more »

Diane Schulert
6 years ago

5 stars
I love the cheese and meat with noodles. Makes for a yummy meal in the middle of snow in January!

James
1 year ago

5 stars
I made this recipe about a month ago.
I replaced the crushed tomatoes with more tomato sauce. Pureed the onions. It was a huge success. The sauce tastes like what you’d expect a lasagna sauce to taste like. Wish I could post a picture..Would highly recommend it.
Why you’d buy any frozen lasagna I don’t know.

Tim
1 year ago

If using a slow cooker should I brown the meats and onion then put it in the slow cooker along with the sauce ingredients and cook it on low for about five hours?

Dirk de Boer
2 years ago

5 stars
this recipe is great, I changed the ground beef for Bison, and added 1 celery stork finely chopped, and a carrot finely chopped, made the pasta sheets from 00 flour, and added a splash of wine halfway trough the cooking proccess.

Sharon
6 years ago

I like to use spicy italian or spicy cajun sausage to give it a bit more flavor, and always extra cheese. This year I have enough tomatoes from my garden to use my own sauce, should be delicious!

Liz S.
6 years ago

5 stars
My hints for the best homemade lasagna are to simply use fresh, seasonal ingredients – that’s also what I love best about lasagna (the versatility, with rotating seasonal ingredients). Also, I’m following Lagostina USA on Facebook.

MJ
6 years ago

I always make a homemade sauce as well and use sausage along with ground beef. I need to try it with sweet Italian sausage next time!

Susan
6 months ago

5 stars
I’ve made this recipe four times over the past 3 years. I was tired of my old recipe and went looking for something new. I consider myself a pretty good cook, and I strongly endorse this recipe. The sauce is the perfect consistency for lasagna, and the combination of flavours are perfect. The addition of Provolone (I didn’t use before) makes a very positive addition. My husband loved my old recipe, and loves this one even more. It’s the only recipe I’ll use now.

Claudia
1 year ago

5 stars
So good! I don’t think I’ll buy store bought lasagna again! This was hearty and un(fortunately) we had leftovers the next day. And it was just as good and filling. What else you got? 🙂

Elizabeth Barclay
3 years ago

Hi! Will this freeze well?

Marc Melhuish
6 years ago

5 stars
I love the fact I can have it hot or cold the next day. I often add sausage meat sometimes Lincolnshire sausages or old English made with black pudding

Michelle Saroki
6 years ago

5 stars
My best tip for lasagna is to use Herbs de Provence from William Sonoma When I am sautéing my onions and meat.

The herbs comes in a beautiful container I display in my kitchen.

My secret ingredient to fabulous lasagna ????