The Most Amazing Lasagna Recipe (2024)

Homemade lasagna is the best. Each layer of this lasagna is thoughtfully composed to balance flavors and textures. The sweet Italian sausage and lean ground beef offer a rich, meaty base, complemented by the subtle sharpness of white onion and the warmth of minced garlic. The cheeses – ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan – bring creamy, gooey, and slightly nutty elements, respectively. Fresh herbs like basil and parsley add a burst of freshness, while the subtle spices of fennel seeds, oregano, and nutmeg provide depth.

Now because this is a from-scratch recipe and because it is so amazing, it requires quite a few steps. We recommend watching the video to get a good idea about how this lasagna is made and assembled. You will also find many of your questions answered below and some great tips for lasagna success. You are going to love this dish, and if you have guests for dinner, you can bet they will ask you for the recipe.

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Ingredient Breakdown & Substitutions

Diving into the heart of our lasagna, each ingredient plays a pivotal role in creating the rich, comforting flavors we love. Here’s a detailed breakdown of these key components, along with some versatile substitutions to cater to different tastes and dietary needs.

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  • Sweet Italian Sausage: Offers a mild, herby flavor. Can be substituted with spicy sausage, ground chicken, or a plant-based ground meat alternative.
  • Ground Beef: Provides a robust base. Ground turkey or lamb can be used as alternatives. A plant-based ground meat alternative can be used for a vegetarian version.
  • Cheeses: Ricotta for creaminess, mozzarella for stretchiness, and Parmesan for a nutty kick. Cottage cheese can replace ricotta, and cheddar can substitute for mozzarella in a pinch.
  • Fresh Herbs: Basil and parsley add freshness. Dried herbs can be used in smaller quantities if fresh aren’t available.
  • Wine: White wine adds depth, but red wine or broths are excellent substitutes.

Using substitutions can affect final taste and texture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this lasagna ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare and assemble the lasagna up to 48 hours in advance and refrigerate it before baking.

What kind of cheese do I use in lasagna?

There are three kinds of cheese in this recipe.

First, the classic lasagna filling of ricotta cheese: Use whole milk ricotta cheese in this recipe for best results.

Second, sliced mozzarella: We like to get our mozzarella sliced at the deli counter in our grocery store. (You want the slices to be pretty thin, 24 slices is the ideal amount and it should equal somewhere around one pound.)

Third, freshly grated (not shredded) Parmesan cheese: Don’t use the canned stuff. It doesn’t melt the same as real, freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Do I need to use tomato paste?

You’ll notice that two cans of tomato paste are used in this recipe. It may seem like a lot, but tomato paste has a super concentrated tomato flavor. By adding in so much, we’re able to get a nice, strong tomato flavor, without adding too much liquid to the sauce.

Pro Tip:If you open the tomato paste cans from both ends, you can use one of the lids to push the paste through the other side of the can, which is easier than scraping it out with a spoon (see how it’s done in the video below).

Are fennel seeds necessary?

The blend of herbs included in this bolognese is perfect. The fresh herbs all combine to produce the best flavor, and the key to bringing it all together: fennel seeds. You need the fennel seeds for that authentic, Italian flavor.

Why is there sugar in the sauce?

Sugar is added to balance the acidity of the tomato. If you prefer to not use sugar, finely chopped carrots are another option, as they are naturally sweet and add another vegetable and flavor to your sauce. Use about a cup in place of the sugar.

Can I use dried herbs instead of fresh?

Yes. We love the flavor that comes from the fresh herbs, but we know that it isn’t always an option. If you need to use dried herbs, use them in a third of the amount of fresh herbs called for.

Can I shorten the simmer time?

The sauce develops flavor as it simmers. It needs to be simmered for a minimum of 1 hour to give you the most amazing lasagna, but you can simmer it up to 4 hours for maximum flavor results. It’s worth every second and doesn’t require much effort at all.

If you don’t want to leave it simmering on the stove, you can always transfer it all to a slow cooker and simmer it in there on high for 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours.

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Lasagna Pasta Shortcut: Boiling lasagna pasta sheets is an extra step that we would all love to avoid. No boil lasagna pasta sheets, in our opinion, have an unpleasant texture and often turn out soggy. Here is a hack to skip the boil and make perfect pasta every time: All you have to do is place regular lasagna pasta sheets in a container, like a 9 x 13 pan, and pour hot water over them. Let them soak for 30 minutes and they’ll be tender enough to use in the recipe. Don’t worry, they will finish cooking in the oven.

Visual Guide to Making Bolognese Sauce

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Visual Guide to Assembling the Lasagna

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Baking Pan Options

When it comes to baking lasagna, the choice of pan can significantly influence the outcome of your dish. While there are various options available, the most common choices are the standard 9×13 baking pan and a specialized lasagna style pan.

Standard 9×13 Baking Pan

  • Size and Shape: The standard 9×13 inch baking pan is a versatile kitchen staple, typically about 2 inches deep. Its rectangular shape is ideal for creating multiple layers without the ingredients spilling over.
  • Material Varieties: Available in materials like glass, ceramic, and metal, each offers different heat conduction properties. Metal pans heat up quickly, making them great for achieving a crispy bottom layer, while glass and ceramic provide more even heat distribution.
  • Resulting Lasagna: Using this pan size, you’ll get a lasagna that’s thick enough to hold together nicely when served, but not so deep that the top can dry out before the middle is heated through. It’s perfect for standard recipes and serves a good number of portions.

Lasagna Style Pan

  • Size and Shape: Lasagna style pans are specifically designed for this dish, often deeper (about 3 inches or more) than standard pans, allowing for more layers.
  • Material Varieties: Like standard pans, they come in different materials but are generally metal. The depth is the key feature here, providing ample space for extra layers.
  • Resulting Lasagna: Ideal for those who prefer a thicker, heartier lasagna with numerous layers. The extra depth ensures that the lasagna cooks evenly throughout, and the layers are less likely to dry out. However, it’s important to adjust cooking times accordingly due to the increased thickness.

While both the standard 9×13 baking pan and the deeper lasagna style pan have their unique advantages, we recommend using a lasagna pan for its added depth and capacity.

Serving Suggestions

To turn your lasagna into a complete and satisfying meal, consider these classic pairings:

  • Garlic Bread: Serve your lasagna with a side of warm, buttery garlic bread. The crispiness of the bread complements the soft layers of lasagna, and it’s perfect for mopping up any leftover sauce on the plate.
  • Fresh Salad: Balance the richness of the lasagna with a light, refreshing salad. A simple mixed greens salad or a classic Caesar salad adds a crisp, fresh element to your meal, offering a contrast in flavors and textures.
  • Tiramisu: Conclude your meal with a serving of tiramisu. This classic Italian dessert, with its layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers and mascarpone cheese, offers a sweet and indulgent end to your dining experience.


  • Soggy Pasta: Ensure pasta is only soaked as instructed, not cooked, to avoid sogginess.
  • Dry Lasagna: Covering with foil during the initial baking helps retain moisture. Also, ensure ample sauce in each layer.
  • Not Cooking Evenly: Allow the lasagna to reach room temperature before baking if it was refrigerated.

Tips From the Chef

  • Let the lasagna rest for 15 minutes after baking for easier slicing.
  • Use a deep pan to prevent overflow.
  • Bake until the cheese is golden for the best flavor.
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Storage, Freezer & Reheating Instructions

Leftover lasagna can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through.

Preparing Lasagna for Freezing

  1. Cooling: Allow your cooked lasagna to cool to room temperature. Freezing it while hot can lead to condensation, resulting in a soggy texture upon reheating.
  2. Portioning: Consider cutting the lasagna into individual portions. This makes it easier to thaw and reheat only what you need, reducing waste.
  3. Wrapping: Wrap each portion tightly with plastic wrap, ensuring that it’s sealed well to prevent freezer burn. Then, wrap it again with aluminum foil for added protection.
  4. Labeling: Label each portion with the date. Lasagna can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Freezing Unbaked Lasagna

  1. Assembly: If you prefer to freeze an unbaked lasagna, assemble it as per the recipe but skip the baking step.
  2. Container: Use a freezer-safe dish or disposable aluminum tray for easy storage and baking.
  3. Covering: Cover the assembled lasagna tightly with both plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
  4. Freezing: Freeze immediately. Unbaked lasagna can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Thawing and Reheating Frozen Lasagna

  1. Thawing: Transfer the frozen lasagna to the refrigerator for at least 24 hours to thaw slowly. This ensures even reheating and maintains the texture.
  2. Reheating Baked Lasagna: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the plastic wrap and cover the lasagna with foil. Bake for about 30 minutes (longer if still partially frozen), then uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  3. Baking Unbaked Lasagna: For unbaked lasagna, keep the foil on and bake it at 375°F for about 60 minutes, then uncover and continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden and the lasagna is heated through.

More Lasagna Recipes

White Spinach Artichoke Lasagna

1 hr 20 mins

Classic Eggplant Lasagna

1 hr 20 mins

Pasta-Free Zucchini Lasagna

1 hr 35 mins

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

1 hr 35 mins

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes onYouTube,Facebook Watch,or ourFacebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

The Most Amazing Lasagna Recipe (2024)


What makes lasagna taste better? ›

Five Secrets of Building the Ultimate Lasagna
  1. Secret #1: No-Boil Noodles Actually Taste Better. ...
  2. Secret #2: For a Rich Sauce, Use Pork Sausage Instead of Ground Beef. ...
  3. Secret #3: Fresh Mozzarella Actually Makes a Difference.
Jan 6, 2015

How to make the best lasagna Gordon Ramsay? ›

Gordon Ramsay Lasagna Recipe
  1. Meat. • 300 g Beef, ground.
  2. Produce. • 2 cloves Garlic. • 1/2 Onion, medium. ...
  3. Canned Goods. • 1 tbsp Tomato paste.
  4. Condiments. • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce.
  5. Pasta & Grains. • 6 sheets Lasagna pasta.
  6. Baking & Spices. • 25 g Flour. • 1 pinch Nutmeg.
  7. Oils & Vinegars. • 2 tbsp Olive oil.
  8. Dairy. • 25 g Butter.

How to make your lasagne better? ›

7 Secrets for Making Better Lasagna
  1. Treat Your Pasta Right.
  2. Follow the Proper Method for Boiling Noodles.
  3. Decide on Ricotta.
  4. Consider Your Layering Strategy.
  5. Leave Top Sheet Overhangs for Crispy Magic.
  6. Err on the Side of Under-Baking.
  7. Make Extra Sauce for Serving.
Jul 21, 2022

How many layers of lasagna is best? ›

Let me break it to you: If you want to make a lasagna, three layers just won't cut it! For the perfect lasagna, you need at least 4-5 layers to really enjoy all those mouth-watering flavors. And, here's a pro-tip: make sure to season each layer generously, but not too much. The average lasagna has 8 layers!

What not to do when making lasagna? ›

17 Common Lasagna Mistakes Everyone Makes
  1. You're not salting the water. Shutterstock. ...
  2. You're assembling it wrong. Shutterstock. ...
  3. You're mistreating your noodles. ...
  4. You're not using no-boil noodles. ...
  5. You're not using fresh mozzarella. ...
  6. You're using the wrong meat. ...
  7. You're using the wrong pan. ...
  8. You're not combatting soupiness.
Jan 2, 2024

Why do you put milk in lasagna? ›

The secret ingredient? Milk. It tenderises the meat, to leave you with the most tender ragù. Use a deep dish and find out how to layer a lasagne.

How do you jazz up a lasagna? ›

How to make next level lasagne
  1. 10 tips for the perfect lasagne. Up the texture with chunky meat. ...
  2. Up the texture with chunky meat. ...
  3. Add pancetta or bacon. ...
  4. Squeeze in some ketchup. ...
  5. Don't be shy with the wine. ...
  6. Try a wild mushroom white sauce for added luxury. ...
  7. Use three types of cheese. ...
  8. Choose egg pasta sheets.

How to make lasagne Jamie Oliver? ›

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion, garlic and carrot, then finely slice the pancetta or bacon. ...
  3. Slowly fry the pancetta or bacon and cinnamon in a large casserole pan over a medium heat until golden, then add the onion, carrot, garlic and herbs and 4 tablespoons of oil.

Do you put meat sauce at the bottom of a lasagna? ›

Line the bottom of the baking pan with 4 cooked lasagna noodles, overlapping them. Spread the ricotta mixture first then the meat sauce on top. Sprinkle grated mozzarella and top with another three noodles. Repeat layering the ricotta and meat sauce with the cheese.

Should lasagna sauce be thick or runny? ›

Milk is slowly whisked into the roux and cooked until it takes on a creamy consistency, thickening to the texture required. (Some recipes call for a thick sauce, whereas for use in lasagna, the béchamel needs to have a pourable consistency.) The sauce is then seasoned with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Is lasagna better made the day before? ›

If you make your lasagna the day before, it will probably taste better! Letting the dish set for a day let's the flavors meld. Just make sure that when you do make it, you don't overcook it is — that will make the pasta soggy; remember, you will need to reheat it when you are ready to serve.

Should you bake lasagna covered or uncovered? ›

In an oven preheated to 375 degrees F, this homemade lasagna should be perfectly baked in about 50 minutes (30-40 minutes covered, 5-10 minutes uncovered).

Do you put cheese in between lasagna layers? ›

The best way to layer your lasagna is to start with a layer of red sauce, follow it up with a layer of white sauce, then pasta, then cheese. Follow this pattern until you've filled your tray.

What is the final top layer of lasagna? ›

Finish off your lasagne either with a layer of tomato-based sauce or with your white sauce – whichever you have left – and then grate over plenty of Parmigiano-Reggiano. A common extra topping is torn mozzarella, which makes a lovely, melted cheesy layer on top.

Should the top layer of lasagna be cheese? ›

Begin Layering

After the initial sauce layer, add a layer of pasta sheets, ricotta mixture (or bechamel), sauce, and cheese. Then repeat the layers. Top the last layer of your lasagna with sauce and cheese. You can also alternate layers of sauce and ricotta cheese.

How can I make bland lasagna taste better? ›

11 Ways To Add More Flavor To Your Homemade Lasagna
  1. Diversify your sausage. Artisteer/Getty Images. ...
  2. Sswap out that sausage for seafood. ...
  3. Reconsider the veggies you're using. ...
  4. Don't use the same exact cheese. ...
  5. Try ricotta cheese. ...
  6. Use no-boil noodles. ...
  7. Test out white lasagna. ...
  8. Consider cinnamon your secret ingredient.
Feb 26, 2023

How do you spice up bland lasagna? ›

Use vegetables like carrots, onions, and celery for flavor plus lots of garlic and herbs. If making a meat sauce, brown and season the ground meat before adding the tomatoes.

How do you elevate store bought lasagna? ›

When you pull the lasagna out of the oven, top it with dried parsley, garlic powder, and fresh ground pepper (don't add more salt – frozen food is notorious for having high sodium content). Your family will beg for more!


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