This homemade lasagna recipe is an easy meal made with a meat tomato sauce and layered with ricotta and mozzarella cheese then baked until golden and bubbly
A homemade lasagna recipe is truly a wonderful wholesome and whole-family approved recipe in my house! The layers of tender pasta, hearty marinara sauce and melted cheese is the perfect combination of delicious and comforting. It’s always in my dinner rotation, and I think this recipe should be in your rotation too!
My lasagna recipe is not necessarily a traditional one, but it’s an easy one that I learned from my mom and have been making for more than 10 years now! We make it often and serve it with a simple caesar salad and olive oil garlic bread.
How to make lasagna
Make the tomato sauce layer
What I love about this homemade lasagna recipe is the meaty tomato sauce. The base of it is onions, garlic, herbs and ground beef. But I love to load it up with any vegetables I have on hand. Once everything is mixed together, it’s an excellent way to use up leftovers and add more nutrition to the recipe. Here’s how to make my lasagna sauce:
- Start by placing the ground beef, onions and garlic all together in a large pan with heated olive oil.
- You want to cook the beef with onions and garlic until the beef is completely cooked through. If you notice any excess fat, you can drain at this point.
- Add any additional vegetables if you’re using. I love to add mushrooms and green peppers. To bulk it up, I will also add spinach sometimes. Be sure to drain the thawed frozen spinach though to remove excess liquid if you’re using.
- Now add the tomato “things.” This will vary sometimes depending on what I have on hand. But I prefer to use fresh tomatoes and tomato paste. You can also used canned diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
- Next, add the pasta sauce or canned crushed tomatoes and simmer for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to set.
- The tomato meat sauce is ready now for layering this homemade lasagna!
Combine the cheese layer
The cheese layer is a mix of ricotta, mozzarella cheese and eggs (optional). The egg helps to bind the ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese so that it doesn’t come oozing out when you cut into the lasagna. However, my mom never added eggs to hers, so now I don’t ever bother with that step. I just add the ricotta and cheese right as a layer on top without mixing in a bowl. This is another reason my lasagna is not traditional, I guess!
How to layer lasagna
Start with the tomato meat sauce as the bottom layer. Some recipes will mention to grease the bottom of the pan, but since we’re adding the meat sauce, I don’t find it necessary.
Next, add 3-4 sheets of lasagna noodles. The noodles will expand when cooked, so you should only really use 3. However, I love the pasta to sauce ratio and like being able to cover up the bottom of the pan fully with the lasagna sheets.
Now, add the ricotta cheese and the mozzarella cheese. If you have extra fresh herbs you’re using, it’s a great idea to layer them throughout the dish as well.
Then you’ll repeat 2 more layers the same way. The last layer will have with noodles topped with sauce and the remaining cheese. Some people wait to add the last layer of cheese at the end of cooking, but I throw it in from the get-go. Just make sure the foil covering the dish doesn’t touch the cheese. You can use toothpicks to prop up the foil to prevent it from touching the cheese.
When this heavenly homemade lasagna is done baking, you can remove the foil to allow the cheese to brown. An extra 10-15 minutes will be perfect. My kids especially love the crispy top and so at times I will broil it for an extra minute to give them that crispy top layer.
Tips for making homemade lasagna
- Opt for no-boil pasta or fresh lasagna sheets found in the deli section of the grocery store. You can use them in the recipe without the added step of boiling the lasagna first. It’s always as must for me.
- Use store-bought marinara. I make a simple homemade marinara sauce with only 3 ingredients, so I definitely prefer it if time allows. But when you’re in a pinch, there are many good quality marinara sauces you can buy. Just make sure to check the sugar and salt content for moderate levels.
- Prepare a day in advance for convenience. You can assemble the lasagna in your dish, and then cover it and keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours until you are ready to bake it. This is ideal if you’re serving to guests.
- Let the lasagna rest for at least 15 minutes after you remove it from the oven. This is important to prevent the cheese from oozing out and the layers turning runny.
Frequently asked questions
How long do you bake lasagna?
Baking time for lasagna will usually require about 45 minutes at 375°F. Start by baking the lasagna covered with foil, and then remove the foil during the last 10-15 minutes of baking to get the cheese to become golden and bubbly.
How do you freeze lasagna?
This homemade lasagna recipe is one of my favorite freezer meals. After you layer the lasagna in the baking dish, make sure it’s completely cool and then cover it with foil and a freezer safe cling wrap and place it in the oven. It’s safe in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then cook per the instructions, but give it an extra 10 minutes before removing the foil. You can also bake it and freeze the entire pan or individual servings.
How do you reheat lasagna?
To reheat frozen lasagna that has already been baked, you can defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat the whole pan in the oven at 350°F for 10 minutes or individually in the microwave. You can also reheat the lasagna while it’s still frozen. But the baking time in the oven will be about 30 minutes.
For more similar recipes:
There’s something about a classic homemade lasagna recipe that everyone loves. It’s a complete meal that’s easy to prepare, great for a crowd and great for meal prepping or a freezer meal. My son particularly enjoys it since it’s Garfield’s favorite food, so that should be convincing enough for you!
If you’ve tried this feel good Homemade Lasagna recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
- 12-16 lasagna noodles uncooked
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 8 ounces mushrooms chopped (optional)
- ½ green pepper chopped (optional)
- 2 roma tomatoes chopped (optional)
- 15 ounces pasta sauce
- 4 ounces tomato paste
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh basil plus more for layering
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Heat oven to 375°F.
- To make the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil over medium hight heat. Add the ground beef along with the onions and garlic; and cook until beef is well browned. Drain any fat.
- Stir in any additional vegetables you’re using like mushrooms, green peppers and tomatoes. Add the pasta sauce, tomato paste and basil. Season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of the tomato sauce to a 9x13 baking dish and spread evenly. Top with 3-4 sheets of lasagna noodles. Layer with 1/3 of the ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup of the remaining tomato sauce. Continue for 2 more layers, and finish with noodles topped with sauce and the remaining cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
- Let rest for 15 minutes before cutting.
- Instead of ground beef, or in addition to ground beef, you can use ground turkey, ground chicken or sausage.
- Instead of pasta sauce, you can use crushed tomatoes, but be sure to season them with salt and pepper as they can be bland on their own.
- Feel free to leave out the added vegetables or substitute different ones.