Everyone has their favorite go-to Italian homemade lasagna recipe, and this is our family favorite. Between the meaty layers, the gooey cheese and tomato sauce, this dish tastes amazing and is perfect whenever you’re feeding a crowd.
Lasagna. It’s a staple dish for every kitchen, but there are literally thousands of recipes out there and they all claim theirs is the “best lasagna recipe.”
We’re not going to make that claim, but we are going to share the recipe we use in our home kitchen. We got it from AllRecipes.com. On their site it says it’s the “world’s best” and has over 20K 5-star reviews. We wholeheartedly agree with all the positive reviews. This is a really good recipe. We’ve tweaked it just a smidge (we only use ground beef in our version). We hope you like it, too!
Noodles: We highly recommend you use classic noodles or whole-wheat pasta, and boil until they’re al dente to maintain the ideal texture in the finished lasagna. We recommend you do not use no boil lasagna noodles. We know they look amazing in the package, but they tend to be chewy instead of tender when baked. They’re just not as good.
Sauce: The rich and robust tomato sauce is the secret to this lasagna. This sauce does take some time to prepare since the tomatoes have to simmer with the blend of herbs and italian seasoning. That said, it’s very worth it and the sauce forms the savory base that ties all the layers together. If you’re in a pinch, you can also use store-bought sauce, which will make this a very easy lasagna recipe. You will loose some of the flavor with a store-bought sauce, but it will still be extremely good.
Cheese: Mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, and Parmesan cheese are the trinity of lasagna cheeses. Don’t skimp on the Parmesan—it adds a nutty depth that elevates the entire dish. No ricotta? No problem! Cottage cheese works great in this recipe.
Meat: Ground beef, Italian sausage, or a combination of both can add a hearty, savory element to your lasagna. Typically, we just use ground beef because we always have it on-hand. Brown the meat thoroughly, seasoning it with salt and pepper
Seasonings: This lasagna recipe is flavored with fresh parsley, dried basil leaves, salt, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, and black pepper.
Why I love this recipe
- Crowd pleaser. Lasagna is a fantastic dish for gatherings. It can be prepared in advance, and its generous portions make it a crowd-pleaser for family dinners, potlucks, or to take to a friend or family member who needs a meal.
- Leftover Magic. Unlike some dishes that lose their luster the next day, lasagna often improves with time. Leftovers can be even more flavorful as the ingredients meld further while in the refrigerator.
- Customizable. You can customize homemade lasagna however you’d like with different types of meat, vegetables (hello, spinach lasagna!) and even sauce. Make it your own!
- Make Ahead. I love making lasagna ahead of time. Sometimes I cover the unbaked lasagna with aluminum foil and let it sit in the fridge overnight with plans to bake it the following day. Other times, it goes in the freezer so that I can thaw it whenever there are busy days ahead. Typically, I always (or sometimes triple) this recipe because it freezes so well, and it’s just as easy to make two lasagnas at the same time as it is one.
How to Layer Homemade Lasagna:
Layering lasagna isn’t hard, but some people find it confusing at first. Here’s how you layer it:
- Meat sauce
- Ricotta mixture
- Mozzarella slices
- Meat sauce
- Parmesan cheese
- Repeat the layers, then top with the remaining Parmesan.
Homemade Lasagna Tips and Tricks:
- Disposable pans: When I make homemade lasagna, I almost always use a disposable pan instead of a traditional baking dish or casserole dish. Why? If I’m serving the lasagna that same day, it makes clean-up extra easy. If I’m planning to freeze the lasagna for future use, it gives me more flexibility — I can either use the meal for my family or I can give the lasagna to a friend who may need a meal because they just had a baby or came home from the hospital.
- Batch: I always make a double batch (sometimes triple) and freeze the second pan for another day.
Assemble and bake lasagna as instructed. Allow to cool completely. Cover really well with a layer of plastic wrap and then a double layer of aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, you can thaw in the fridge for 24 hours, or bake from frozen for 1 ½ hours (covered with aluminum foil, but remove the plastic wrap). Then uncover and bake for another 45 minutes or so, or until the lasagna is hot and bubbly.
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 can crushed tomatoes 28 ounces
- 2 cans tomato sauce 6.5 ounces each
- 2 cans tomato poaste 6 ounces each
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley divided
- 1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
- 1 1/2 tsp salt divided
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 16 oz ricotta cheese or you may use cottage cheese
- 1 egg
- 3/4 lb mozzarella cheese sliced
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- Cook ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat in a Dutch oven until well browned. Drain grease.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water. Season with sugar, 2 tbsp parsley, basil, 1 tsp salt, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occassionally.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water according to package directions. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water.
- In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup; Parmesan cheese.
- Repeat layers, and top with mozzarella and Parmesean cheese. Cover with foil and make sure the foil doesn't touch the cheese. Or, you can spray foil with cooking spray in advance.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake fo ran additional 25 minutes.
- Rest lasanga for 15 minutes before serving.
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ONE MORE THING!
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- 7 Steps to Grilling Steak to Perfection
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- How to choose the best cut of steak (Top 4 cuts)
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