A classic homemade lasagna recipe doesn’t get any easier! The pasta sheets get soaked while the meat sauce cooks with the cheese filling! A delicious dinner with minimal steps in making homemade lasagna, which may be the world’s easiest lasagna recipe yet! It’s a family favorite meal!

top view of lasagna casserole with cheese and meat sauce
easy lasagna recipe

There is nothing more complete than serving Homemade Italian breadsticks with a garlic topping or a side of a vinegarette salad to a homemade lasagna dinner! It is just a complete meal when you have the right sides to accompany the main dish!

Easy Lasagna

This will probably be the only way I make classic lasagna now. It’s seriously the EASIEST LASAGNA EVER! And tastes like a freezer Stouffer’s lasagna casserole or something from a Restaurant! It’s simple because you don’t cook the pasta noodles but just toss them in hot water while you prep the quick meat filling. Then comes assembling and you don’t even need to spread the ricotta cheese, it goes right into the meat sauce! So everything comes together very quickly and easily!

slice of classic lasagna on white plate garnished with parsley

Lasagna Layers

Since, lasagna is a layered dish, all the ingredients will bake into the noodles when cooking so, it will not matter how the cheese mixture looks before it goes into the oven. Besides, why take the extra steps when they’re really not necessary? This is the classic Meat Sauce Lasagna you’ve been missing out on if you haven’t tried it yet! It’s seriously so easy and we’re not the only ones who think so! Check out all the rave reviews from Pinterest on this Lasagna Recipe!

How To Make Lasagna Video:

How To Make Lasagna:

Easy Lasagna Recipe

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Alyona's Cooking
A classic homemade lasagna recipe doesn't get any easier! The pasta sheets get soaked while the meat sauce cooks with the cheese filling! A delicious dinner with minimal steps in making homemade lasagna, which may be the world's easiest lasagna recipe yet! It's a family favorite meal!  

Ingredients

Lasagna:

  • 8 oz lasagna noodles
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 32 oz spaghetti sauce
  • 16 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 1/4 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cups grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

How to Make Lasagna:

  • lasagna noodle sheets
    Soak 9 sheets of lasagna noodles in VERY hot water. 
  • meat sauce mixture in a pan
    Meanwhile, brown beef. Drain fat and add onion then sauté additional 2 minutes.
  • Add the sauce and ricotta cheese and heat thoroughly. 
  • layered lasagna sheets in 9x13 dish
    In a 13 by 9-inch pan, ladle enough sauce to thinly cover the bottom. Layer with 3 lasagna noodles, 2 cups of sauce, 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Repeat twice.
  • layered lasagna casserole in white baking dish
    Bake at 350° F for 45-55 minutes. 

Notes

NOTES: Since most jarred sauces come in 24 oz bottles you can substitute 1 (24 oz jar of sauce) plus 1 cup of water for 32 oz of spaghetti sauce.
  • Cottage cheese can be used in place of ricotta cheese.
  • TO FREEZE: Assemble the lasagna per recipe instructions into a disposable foil pan. DO NOT BAKE. Once meat sauce has cooled, cover with foil. Place into a grocery bag to protect from any frost and tie, then place into the freezer. When ready to bake, thaw completely and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour.  
  • Boiling water will soak the noodles faster than using hot tap water. The noodles are ready to be used when they are flexible to bend without snapping.  

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1servingCalories: 440kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 28gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 707mgPotassium: 573mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 692IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 283mgIron: 3mg

Buy this handy equipment for making Lasagna:

All your Q&A For Making Homemade Lasagna:

How many layers should lasagna have?

Believe it or not, half a box of a one-pound lasagna box will be enough for a 9×13 baking dish! Eight ounces of pasta (which is usually half a box or 9 sheets) makes a 3 layer lasagna dish that feeds a crowd of 6 or more people. Many recipes call for 8 oz of lasagne noodles and since that amount fills a 13 by 9-inch pan nicely, go with the classic 3-layer (9 sheets of lasagna noodles) amount.

If you want to use up a whole box anticipate on doubling the recipe and using a larger baking dish.

Do you have to cook the Lasagna noodles before baking?

Working with partially cooked noodles will speed up the baking process. That is the main reason for soaking or cooking the noodles beforehand. If you skip the step you may need additional sauce in the recipe to soften the noodles in the oven since the sheets will absorb more and you will have lasagna ready at a much later time. Cooking lasagna noodles with be giving you a head start.

Many recipes call for cooking the pasta noodles before baking the lasagna and if your up for that, go for it. But, I find it much more convenient to soak the pasta noodles while I prep the other stuff, than washing a big pot afterward. It’s really the approach you want to take in order to soften your noodles for easier handling in the making of lasagna.

Can you use lasagna noodles without boiling?

I prefer soaking the noodles over boiling, so the boiling step can actually be skipped altogether. However, softening the noodles is necessary in order to have lasagna in a timely manner, otherwise, your baking time will be well over an hour and the sauce proportions will have to tweaked to moisten the noodles properly and cook them down.

soaked lasagna noodle sheets in a disposable pan with hot water

Why is lasagna runny?

Watery or soupy lasagna is a result of too much sauce or over cooked noodles that have lost their structure. However, if your noodles are undercooked or barely al dente, they should soak up lots of the sauce during the baking time, helping lasagna retain its structure. Doing the opposite can dry out the lasagna since more sauce and baking time is required if using raw hard noodles.

Do not exceed 32 oz of liquid or sauce for 8 oz of partially cooked noodles. Try to avoid overcooked noodles as well for successful lasagna results. Either extreme can impact your final product tremendously!

Ricotta or Cottage Cheese?

The most common cheeses found in lasagna are mozzarella, parmesan and cottage or ricotta cheese. Many recipes call for ricotta but cottage will work just as good! Any small curd cheese like mascarpone, farmers cheese or even cream cheese can be used to make a cheese filling for lasagna. Small curd cheeses will melt creamier, whereas grated cheeses will give you more of a stringy effect which is good in proportion.

What’s the difference between oven-ready lasagne and regular?

The idea of oven-ready lasagna noodles or even the name of no-boil lasagna sounds quite intriguing but was a disappointment for me. Unfortunately, those kinds of noodles will not work for this recipe, unless they are soaked per my instructions. Why? If you pay attention to the quantity of sauce required for those boxed noodles you will notice they almost need double the sauce amount! Which, is why I’ve noted that more sauce is needed if using uncooked raw noodles including more baking time.

If you want to avoid soaking or partially cooking the noodles during prep time than oven-ready noodles are your options. However, keep in mind you will need more sauce, longer cooking time and may end up with something rather dry if you allow the sauce to seep in too long during the baking time.

How much sauce you use and how aldente your noodles are at the before the baking stage, will determine the later outcome. It’s important to go with sauce proportions per recipe and keep in mind that raw noodles will take longer to bake and will soak up the sauce more. Whereas softening the noodles before baking will need less baking time and less sauce.

This lasagna recipe is designed for softened soaked noodles before baking to ensure successful results. If you wish to use oven-ready noodles simply soak and follow the directions in this recipe.

How to Freeze Lasagna?

Freezing lasagna is easy. If Stouffer’s frozen Lasagna got it figured out, it must be easy! Just assemble the lasagna per recipe instructions, as you would before baking, right into a disposable foil pan. Then cool and cover with foil. Place into a grocery bag to protect from any frost and tie, then place it into the freezer. When ready to bake, thaw completely and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour.

How to keep the structure of lasagna from falling apart?

Lasagna loses its structure from excess ingredients or poorly handled lasagna noodles. Too much filling or sauce can weigh down the noodles and take a longer cooking time. Not soaking the pasta sheets properly or using the wrong kind of noodles will impact how much sauce you need. You can make lasagna too wet to keep its structure or work the other extreme. Which, is why the kind you use and how it needs to be prepped will mean everything!

Keep the sauce and filling proportionally. Try to avoid the over usage of cheese or sauce for a well-structioned lasagna dish. Remember too much filling will be too heavy and too much sauce will result in slippery fall-apart noodles depending on the kind of lasagna sheets you use.

Make-Ahead instructions?

To make lasagna ahead of time prepare as instructed:

  1. Soak noodles.
  2. Cook and drain ground beef.
  3. add the Cheese.
  4. Spread the meat sauce and top with grated cheese over every 3 noodle sheets.
  5. Cover with foil and keep refrigerated until ready to bake.

Freezer instructions for Lasagna?

To freeze Lasagna prepare as instructed:

  1. Soak noodles.
  2. In a Pan: Cook and drain ground beef.
  3. add the Cheese.
  4. In a 9×13 pan: Spread the meat sauce and top with grated cheese over every 3 noodle sheets inside a disposable pan.
  5. Cool and cover with foil. Freeze wrapped in a plastic bag (to prevent freezer burns.)

How long to bake Lasagna?

To Bake Frozen Lasagna: Thaw lasagna completely, (preferably overnight.)  Bake in a Preheated 375°F for 45 minutes or until hot.

To Bake Refrigerated Made-Ahead Lasagna:  Place covered lasagna casserole into a preheated 400°F oven. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until hot.

How to reheat Lasagna?

Cooked Lasagna can be reheated

Ingredients to make Lasagna?

Basic lasagna usually consists of three basic components:

  • pasta
  • meat sauce
  • cheese

Although there are many variations in the sauces or cheeses its the three that make lasagna. This recipe calls for:

  • ground beef
  • onion
  • marinara sauce
  • 3 cheese blend

ingredients for classic lasagna recipe with meat sauce

Lasagna Variations?

With so many lasagna variations you can pretty much make lasagna to whatever your craving. Here are is list of the different lasagnas:

Handy Lasagna Substitutes?

Here is a list of some lasagna substitutes-

  • Meat- ground sausage or chicken can make substitutes for ground beef in lasagna.
  • Ricotta cheese- if you don’t have ricotta cheese use cottage cheese or farmers cheese in place of ricotta.
  • Mozzarella cheese- provolone or white Monterey Jack cheese can work as substitutes for mozzarella cheese.
  • Spaghetti sauce- any jarred pizza sauce or marinara sauce can be used for lasagna and if you wish to make it even more homemade you can whip up a sauce from canned tomatoes or diced tomatoes.

How can you make easy lasagna like Stouffer’s?

  1. Soak 9 sheets of lasagna noodles in VERY hot water.
  2. Meanwhile, brown beef. Drain fat and add onion then sauté an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Add the sauce and ricotta cheese and heat thoroughly.
  4. In a 13 by 9-inch pan, ladle enough sauce to thinly cover the bottom. Layer with 3 lasagna noodles, 2 cups of sauce, 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Repeat twice.
  5. Bake at 350° F for 45-55 minutes.

how to make lasagna with step-by-step photos

 

Here are a few highlights to why I love this recipe so much!

  • No Boil Noodles

  • No oiling up noodles (because we’re not boiling)

  • Well structured lasagna

  • Not Mushy

  • Aldente

  • No eggs

  • No bowls

  • Freezer Friendly!

Tips:

  1. Don’t overcook your noodles! Maintain the structure and prevent mush by working with undercooked pasta and finishing off in the oven!
  2. Whip up a double batch and freeze half inside a disposable foiled pan for a future dinner!
  3. Mix and match the cheeses!
  4. Make-ahead and serve dinner on a whim later!

More Pasta Recipes :

 

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Leave a comment






4 comments

    • Shaunell

    Changed a couple of things but still came out great just added Romero cheese and used deer and pork ground meat. Added tomato paste to my sauce along with other spices. Also added basil pesto to the ricotta cheese

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Hi Shaunell, glad it worked out great! Thanks for sharing!

    • Stephanie Truitt

    I made a couple of adjustments. It called for 32 ounce sauce. I used 24 ounce jar of sauce plus a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes with basil. Also I used Italian sausage instead of beef and I used gluten free noodles. It was delicious!

      • Alyona’s Cooking

      Hi Stephanie, good to know it was still delicious with the changes!

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