How to Make a Bechamel Lasagna

Updated: May 16, 2023

This classic red and white bechamel lasagna will have you coming back for seconds every time!

When it comes to comfort food, not many dishes can beat a homemade lasagna fresh from the oven. With the layers of meaty tomato sauce, noodles and the cheesy topping, it’s a labor of love that will keep you well-fed for many days to come.

So what’s the secret to this beloved baked pasta? The secret’s in the sauce! Follow along with our test kitchen-approved bechamel lasagna, and you’ll be pulling a piping hot lasagna from the oven in no time.

What Is Bechamel Sauce?

This sauce is certainly not reserved just for a bechamel lasagna. A bechamel is an important sauce in French cooking and beyond, as it is one of the five French mother sauces. It starts with a roux: cooking butter and flour together to make a sort of paste. As you slowly pour in the milk and stir, the sauce will thicken considerably into a bechamel sauce. This basic white sauce is the basis for many of your favorite creamy dishes like mac & cheese.

Bechamel Lasagna Recipe


Bechamel Lasagna ingredientsTMB Studio

  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Bechamel Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2-1/2 cups 2% milk


Step 1: Cook the noodles

Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F. Then, cook the lasagna noodles to al dente according to the package instructions.

Step 2: Make sauce

Bechamel Lasagna sauceTMB Studio

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook beef and onion until meat is no longer pink, breaking it into crumbles. Drain any oil, then add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and seasonings. Mix well, then bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 3: Make bechamel

Milk Being Gradually Whisked Into Butter, Flour, Salt And PepperTMB Studio

Start by making your roux. Melt butter in a large saucepan, then stir in the flour, salt and pepper until well mixed. Gradually add milk and stir until thickened, about one minute. It will be very thick at first, but as the milk is added, it will thin out. Remove from the heat.

Step 4: Assemble lasagna

Bechamel LasagnaTMB Studio

Arrange three cooked noodles in a single layer on the bottom of a greased 13×9-in. baking dish. Top with 1/4 meat sauce and 1/4 bechamel sauce. Repeat layers three times and then sprinkle the top with the mozzarella cheese.

Step 5: Bake

Bechamel LasagnaTMB Studio

Cover lasagna and bake about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the lasagna is golden and bubbly and the cheese is melted, 20-25 minutes. Allow to rest 5-10 minutes before cutting into it.

Tips for Making Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce

Why is bechamel used in lasagna?

Bechamel is used in lasagna and other dishes as a thickener for the sauce. The bechamel tightens up the filling and helps hold together all the different layers.

Does lasagna need bechamel sauce?

Lasagna almost always benefits from a bechamel sauce, but you can still make a delicious lasagna without one. These are some of our favorite lasagna recipes to make when you don’t want to include a bechamel.

Does traditional lasagna have bechamel or ricotta?

Traditionally, lasagna contained a bechamel sauce. Over time, however, ricotta cheese has become a popular stand-in for bechamel.