Homemade Lasagna

5 from 32 votes

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

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A homemade lasagna recipe is truly a wonderfully wholesome and whole-family approved recipe in my house! The layers of tender pasta, hearty marinara sauce, and melted cheese are 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!

Homemade lasagna recipe, slice cut out of baking dish

Table of Contents

  1. Recipe at a glance
  2. Ingredients you’ll need to make lasagna
  3. Popular substitutions & additions
  4. How to make lasagna
  5. How to layer lasagna
  6. Tips for making the best homemade lasagna
  7. What to serve with lasagna
  8. How to store & reheat homemade lasagna
  9. Frequently asked questions
  10. For more similar recipes:
  11. Homemade Lasagna Recipe

My lasagna recipe is not necessarily traditional, 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.

“I made this yesterday with no-boil gluten-free lasagna noodles, vegan ricotta cheese, and vegan mozzarella cheese…and it came out GREAT! I still made the sauce with meat, mushrooms, and bell pepper. It was delicious and I felt less guilty with the added veggies in the sauce. I will definitely make this again. Also this would be great for a simple dinner party. Thanks for this recipe!” – Faisal

Recipe at a glance

Cuisine Inspiration: Italian
Primary Cooking Method: Baked
Key Flavor: Savory Beef and Tomatoes
Skill Level: Intermediate

Summary

  • Family Favorite: A go-to recipe for many families, this classic homemade lasagna brings the family together. Even more so when it’s served with tender garlic knots. 
  • Easily Customizable: This lasagna is extremely adaptable to your preference or diet. Pack it full of veggies, switch up the meat, or make it dairy-free. This recipe welcomes all kinds of customization.
  • Meal Prep Dinner: Easily prep this dish ahead of time, then bake when you’re ready to serve it. Perfect for entertaining or enjoying a comforting meal during the busy week.
  • Leftover Treat: The flavors of your homemade lasagna only deepen over time, making any leftovers you may have even better.

Ingredients you’ll need to make lasagna

  • Lasagna Sheets: Lasagna sheets that don’t require boilings provide a sturdy structure and create tasty layers needed for this recipe.
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese: When melted, mozzarella transforms into a creamy and gooey texture. Creating a yummy cheese pull and richness in each bite.
  • Ricotta Cheese: Combined with mozzarella, it helps to create that rich, gooey cheese layer. Its mild flavor works really well with the mozzarella.
  • Tomato Sauce & Paste: An important component in lasagna. Choosing your favorite tomato sauce will guarantee that you’ll love this recipe. A good tomato paste helps to thicken but also adds a sweet and savory umami flavor.
  • Lean Ground Beef: Lean beef adds a robust and hearty meatiness that’s essential in a classic lasagna recipe.
  • Onion& Garlic: These strong flavors add huge amounts of flavor and aromatics. Each adds a sense of richness and provides a slightly sweet undertone.
  • Optional Vegetables: I love to use any veggies I have on hand, which are usually mushrooms, green peppers, and Roma tomatoes. You can use all of these or whatever you have on hand at the moment. 
  • Seasonings: A fresh and herby combination of fresh basil, Italian seasonings, salt, and black pepper really round out the dish and enhance the classic lasagna flavors.
  • Go Meatless: Replace the heartiness of meat with diced eggplant, zucchini, or even more mushrooms. When using vegetables, just make sure to chop them small and saute them first. This will bring out the flavors and reduce the moisture. Using a ground meat replacement like Beyond Meat is another alternative. 
  • Dairy-Free Lasagna: We still want to be able to enjoy a gooey lasagna when going dairy-free. Dairy-free cheeses, including ricotta, will still offer that cheesy richness you crave.
  • Meat Options: For an even leaner meat option, try ground chicken or ground turkey. 
  • Boiled Lasagna Noodles: Using boiled noodles will add just one more step to the process, but it can be done. Simply boil the noodles until al dente, let cool slightly, and begin the layering process. 

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:

  1. Start by placing the ground beef, onions, and garlic all together in a large pan with heated olive oil.
  2. 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 it at this point.
  3. 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 it.
  4. 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 use canned diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  5. Next, add the pasta sauce or canned crushed tomatoes and simmer for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to set.
  6. The tomato meat sauce is ready now for layering this homemade lasagna!
Process shots to show how to make the tomato meat sauce with ground beef, onions, garlic, tomatoes, green peppers, tomato paste and pasta sauce

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.

Process shots to show the layering, starting with the tomato sauce and then the noodles

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.

Process shots to show the layering with ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese

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.

Process shots showing the layering with the tomato sauce and the final layers

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.

When the lasagna comes out of the oven, letting it rest before slicing

“I learned that the hard way. It was my first time making lasagna and the noodles were super undercooked. I’m making again today and boiling the noodles because those are what I have rn. Looking forward to trying again!! When the pasta was reheated, it was perfect and absolutely delicious. Making this dish for the second time this week lol. Thank you for your always delicious recipes Yumna!” – Cristina

Tips for making the best homemade lasagna

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

What to serve with lasagna

Pair the star of your meal with sides that bring out the flavors, add a bit of lightness, and enhance the overall meal. 

Baking pan with lasagna slices cut out

How to store & reheat homemade lasagna

Before storing your lasagna in the fridge, let it cool to room temperature first. Wrap the entire baking dish in plastic wrap, or portion out the lasagna into airtight containers and put them in the fridge.

How to 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.

How long will homemade lasagna last in the fridge?

When stored properly, any leftover lasagna will last about 3 to 4 days in the fridge.

Can I 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.

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 long should I let the lasagna rest before cutting into it?

I recommend letting the lasagna rest for about 15 minutes before cutting into it. This helps the layers set, the juices disperse and settle, and makes it easier to cut into neat portions.

How do I prevent the lasagna from becoming too watery?

To prevent any excess moisture, make sure to drain any fat from the cooked ground beef. Additionally, if using vegetables like mushrooms or zucchini, saute them beforehand to release their water content.

For more similar recipes:

Slice of lasagna on a small plate

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!

Homemade Lasagna

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
5 from 32 votes
Servings 12 servings
Course Dinner, Entree
Calories 378
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 12-16 lasagna sheets
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese

Tomato Sauce

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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 9×13 baking dish and spread evenly. Top with 3-4 sheets of lasagna noodles. Layer with ⅓ of the ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese and ⅓ 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.

Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Freezing Instructions: You can also freeze the baked lasagna for up to 3 months. To re-heat, thaw in the fridge overnight and bake in a 350°F oven until heated through. You can also freeze the uncooked lasagna as I often do. Follow the baking instructions but leave it in the oven for an extra 10 minutes.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.
  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 378kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 71mg, Sodium: 650mg, Potassium: 579mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 830IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 286mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American, Italian
Course: Dinner, Entree

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Comments

  1. I learned that the hard way. It was my first time making lasagna and the noodles were super undercooked. I’m making again today and boiling the noodles because those are what I have rn. Looking forward to trying again!!

    When the pasta was reheated, it was perfect and absolutely delicious. Making this dish for the second time this week lol. Thank you for your always delicious recipes Yumna!

  2. Was I supposed to boil noodles before!?! I’ve just pulled my noodles after the 30 minutes and the noodles close to the top were really hard still! Was I supposed to buy the oven-ready ones >.< I'm panicking lol. If I am supposed to buy oven ready, can it please listed in the ingredients list?

    1. 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.

  3. I made this yesterday with no-boil gluten-free lasagna noodles, vegan ricotta cheese, and vegan mozzarella cheese…and it came out GREAT! I still made the sauce with meat, mushrooms, and bell pepper. It was delicious and I felt less guilty with the added veggies in the sauce. I will definitely make this again. Also this would be great for a simple dinner party. Thanks for this recipe!