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Best Lasagna

Want to know how to make lasagna for a casual holiday meal? You can't go wrong with this deliciously rich meat lasagna recipe. My grown sons and daughter-in-law request it for their birthdays, too. —Pam Thompson, Girard, Illinois
  • Total Time
    Prep: 1 hour Bake: 50 min. + standing
  • Makes
    12 servings

Ingredients

  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 1-1/4 pounds bulk Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (one 28 ounces, one 15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, divided
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  • Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook sausage, beef and onion over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, breaking up meat into crumbles. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Drain.
  • Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar, 3 tablespoons parsley, basil, fennel, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • In a small bowl, mix egg, ricotta cheese and remaining parsley and salt.
  • Preheat oven to 375°. Spread 2 cups meat sauce into an ungreased 13x9-in. baking dish. Layer with 3 noodles and a third of the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining meat sauce and cheeses (dish will be full).
  • Bake, covered, 25 minutes. Bake, uncovered, 25 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Lasagna Tips

What side dishes go with lasagna?

A simple side salad is a classic side for lasagna, as well as garlic bread.

Is lasagna better with ricotta or cottage cheese?

It's a personal preference! Some prefer the richness and creaminess of ricotta cheese, while others like the lower-in-fat cottage cheese option that is chunkier due to the curds. Try our traditional lasagna for the perfect combo of both. Be sure to check out our secret tricks to making the best lasagna ever.

Why is my lasagna watery?

To avoid watery lasagna, make sure your lasagna noodles are drained properly before layering. Once they are cooked and drained, do not rinse with water but immediately place in a single layer on a lightly oiled tray. Not rinsing in water will allow the sauce to cling to the starches on the noodle. If using cottage cheese, drain it for an hour or so before using. Simmer the sauce for at least 30 minutes uncovered to allow excess water to evaporate. Also, uncover the lasagna during the last 25 minutes of baking to release any extra moisture in the pan.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 519 calories, 27g fat (13g saturated fat), 109mg cholesterol, 1013mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 4g fiber), 35g protein.

Reviews

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Average Rating:
  • Linda
    Jun 17, 2020

    I will try this one next. I tried one other last night from taste of home and I really didn't like it very much.

  • lvarner
    Feb 4, 2020

    I loved this recipe! I really enjoy lasagna and this one turned out really well. I made no changes. Next time I may try adding some chopped vegetables for added flavor and color.

  • DayofDubai
    Dec 31, 2019

    Just now i tried this recipe. It's very tasty but expected lot. Don't know where i made mistake. Anyway i have to try it another time, that will be better i think.

  • MrDisTrv
    Oct 14, 2019

    This is the right combination of flavor between the Italian sausage and seasonings. I never pre cook my noodles though, I lay them in straight from the package. Makes spreading the ricotta easier and once cooked, the slice stays firm and doesn't slide around on the plate. Maybe next time I'll put the meat through a grinder after it's cooked halfway, makes a less chunky but thicker sauce.

  • Yvonne
    Jul 14, 2019

    I just finished making this recipe. I am sure it is going to be tasteful. Other than my normal tweaks there definitely needs to be more ricotta cheese mix. I didn't have enough for the 3rd layer. Next time I will double the ricotta. I tasted the sauce and added more seasonings for my taste. You might want to do the same after using the basic measurements. Someone had posted 9 pieces weren't enough. Based on that review I ended cooking 12. 3 are going to waste Cook only 9 unless you have an oversized pan.

  • carmelina1123
    Jun 10, 2019

    A good recipe, but I made some changes. First, I couldn't find my Basil or Fennel so I added about 4 Tbsp. of Italian seasoning instead. We like lots of garlic, so I doubled what was called for. Next, I don't know about others, but I like my noodles to cover the sauce completely. Nine noodles doesn't do that, so thank god I'd made the whole box. Finally, the recipe as is didn't make enough of the cheese layer for me, so next time I'll double it or mix Cottage Cheese in with it. I also used sliced Mozzarella instead of shred. Other than that, I made the sauces ahead and let them sit in the fridge overnight to let the flavors meld. My husband (who's the cook in the family) said it was seasoned just right and he really liked it a lot. I will definitely be making this again.

  • Sara
    May 19, 2019

    Its a great recipe! Im not a creative person so I followed the recipe exactly. I do think it was a bit much sauce but next time I'll just save it for spaghetti later on. My entire family loved it.

  • Patti
    Apr 6, 2019

    First recipe I wanted to rate. Was looking for a recipe for a family game night thought this would be great . It was not too heavy the sauce has no taste too much meat. I’ve made the recipe on noodle box for years and so much better if your looking for a recipe to add to your books this is not it .

  • Nathan
    Mar 21, 2019

    My boyfriend found this recipe and now it’s a go to at our house! We have made it multiple times. We do a few modifications: we only use one can of the crushed tomatoes (we skip the 2nd 15 oz can), we use extra basil and add 3/4 teaspoon of ground cayenne, we double the ricotta cheese mixture (and add a little basil to it as well), and lastly we add more parmasean cheese! It turns out to be, quite literally, the best lasagna EVER! We have also used the sauce wirh a few modifications: a can of diced tomatoes, additional spices, mushrooms, and peppers to make a spaghetti sauce! Rave reviews! I wish I could put 20 stars! Thanks for sharing.

  • sulewski
    Feb 9, 2019

    Really wonderful lasagna. Better than some of the restaurant offerings I've had. Served it at a super bowl dinner with rave results!