This Classic Beef Lasagna comes out perfect every time! The right amount of sauce and cheese makes this lasagna look as good as it tastes!
Sunday dinners, family meals, make ahead recipes…we love ’em. You should also check out our Grandma’s Sunday Sauce and Meatballs! Serve either of those dinners with a buttery loaf of Garlic Bread and a homemade Caesar Salad!
Why We LOVE This Lasagna Recipe!
We’ve been making this Classic Beef Lasagna for a long time now. Like, a really long time.
Making lasagna doesn’t have to be this huge chore that takes up your whole afternoon, just a few simple tips here will get your perfect lasagna in the oven in no time!
The first tip is following this recipe! That seems like a weird thing to say but one of the keys to a perfect lasagna recipe is that it doesn’t fall apart when you cut into it (too much sauce) or it’s too dry (not enough sauce).
Both things equal a not so great lasagna. So we’ve taken the guesswork out of it for you and made this lasagna recipe over and over again until it was perfect! Nice slices, saucy, but not too saucy.
And the ricotta cheese filling stays in place, only oozing out a little when you cut into it. Sounds pretty perfect, right? That’s because it really, really is.
Ingredients For This Classic Beef Lasagna
Lasagna is one of those recipes that you can pretty much add whatever you want to. Got leftover veggies in the fridge? Chop ’em up and add them in. Only have sausage instead of ground beef? Add it.
You get the idea, you can follow this lasagna recipe for the amounts of each ingredient and make your own substitutions if you like!
Lasagna Noodles: Use the regular noodles, not the no boil kind.
Ground Beef: A lean ground beef works well in this recipe, if you use a fattier ground beef blend make sure you drain off the drippings.
Ricotta Cheese: You can use whole milk or part skim ricotta cheese.
Mozzarella Cheese: Again, whole milk or part skim works best in this lasagna.
Marinara Sauce: You can take a short cut and use your favorite jarred sauce but we really like the simple homemade sauce in this recipe. And it makes the perfect amount!
Eggs: Eggs will help to hold the ricotta cheese mixture together so it’s not runny, making for a sloppy lasagna.
Parmesan cheese: Use the best quality parmesan cheese you can.
Tips For The Best, Sliceable Lasagna
Like we have already mentioned, the ratio of ingredients in lasagna is key. Too much sauce or cheese will make the lasagna fall apart when you cut into it, and we like really nice slices of our lasagna.
Another tip is how you cook the noodles. The traditional way of boiling them is just fine, but make sure when you drain them that you drain the water off really well.
Because if you’re layering wet noodles into your lasagna pan it’s going to make your lasagna runny. Also, don’t overcook the lasagna noodles! Cook them just a minute or two shy of what the package recommends so that when the lasagna cooks in the oven the noodles will absorb some of the sauce.
Probably one of the most important tips is to let the lasagna rest after it comes out of the oven. 10 minutes will do the trick, and it will make your lasagna cut into those perfect squares so it looks as good as it tastes.
How To Make This Easy Lasagna Recipe
You can try preparing the lasagna noodles with this awesome, time saving tip! Lay the noodles in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and cover completely with hot water. Let the noodles sit for 30 minutes, then drain and wipe the excess water off with paper towels.
The noodles aren’t going to be cooked through, and still will be firm but as the lasagna cooks in the oven, so will the noodles. This is the method we chose to make this lasagna recipe and it does come put perfectly!
Not having to clean another big pot from boiling those lasagna noodles? That’s a win.
- Make The Meat Sauce: After cooking or soaking the lasagna noodles, make the sauce by adding onions and garlic to a large skillet or pot with olive oil. Add the ground beef and brown, then drain off any excess drippings. Add tomato sauce and seasonings and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Make The Cheese Filling: While the sauce is simmering, make the cheese filling by mixing together ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, parsley, egg and seasonings in a bowl.
- Assemble: Spray a 9″ x 13: baking dish with cooking spray then add about 1/2 cup of sauce to the bottom of the dish and spread into an even layer. Place a layer of noodles, overlapping on the sauce. Top the noodles with a layer of the cheese mixture, then a layer of the sauce. Repeat to make another layer of noodles, cheese and sauce and then top with a last layer of noodles, sauce and mozzarella cheese.
- Bake: Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake another 15 minutes. Let the lasagna rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting.
Can You Make Lasagna Ahead Of Time?
Oh yeah, you definitely can. Some say it even tastes better if you make it ahead of time and let the flavors come together in the refrigerator, then bake it at dinner time.
To reheat this lasagna, take it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking to bring it up to room temperature. Then bake the lasagna following the directions in he recipe card below. Sometimes when we serve lasagna that’s been made ahead of time we like serving it with extra sauce on the side.
Can You Freeze Lasagna?
Yes! Make this lasagna recipe and freeze for an easy dinner at a later date, or package it up for a potluck or dinner for a friend. Follow this recipe until right before baking then wrap the top with plastic wrap first, then a layer of aluminum foil.
To reheat a frozen lasagna, let the lasagna defrost in your refrigerator until completely thawed and then follow the directions for baking in the recipe card. Again, when serving a lasagna that has been made in advance, we like having extra sauce on hand in case it’s a little drier.
When we make this Classic Beef Lasagna recipe we always have leftovers if it’s just for the four of us. Leftover lasagna is perfect for an easy meal the next day. Just reheat in your microwave for a couple of minutes and dinner is done!
Looking For More Pasta Recipes?
- Easy Turkey Bolognese
- Turkey Tetrazzini
- Beefy Tomato Soup
- Individual Lasagna Cups
- Beef Stuffed Shells
Classic Beef Lasagna
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 10 servings 1x
This mouth-watering beef lasagna will become your new go-to lasagna recipe! Not too saucy, not too dry, it comes out perfect every time!
For The Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 28 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 cup water
For The Lasagna:
- 1 pound lasagna noodles
- 24 ounces ricotta cheese (part skim or whole is fine)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Boil the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, but draining a minute or two before the time given. Alternately, you can use the soak method as described in the notes section below the recipe.
- Start by making the sauce in a large skillet or pot. Add the oil over medium heat, then add the onions and cook for 5-7 minutes until softened.
- Add the garlic, cook for a minute more and then add the beef to the skillet. Brown the beef by breaking up with a spoon until cooked through, drain any grease from the pan if desired.
- Pour in the tomato sauce and add the salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Stir and bring to a simmer.
- Stir the water into the sauce and let simmer, partially covered for 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Stir the sauce occasionally while it’s cooking.
- While the sauce is cooking, stir together the ricotta cheese, egg, salt, pepper to taste, nutmeg, parmesan cheese and parsley in a medium bowl.
- Assemble the lasagna by spreading 1/2 cup of sauce on the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.
- Lay 4 noodles, overlapping to cover the bottom of the dish. Usually there’s space at one end of the dish so I lay a noodle down to cover the end, cutting off the excess.
- Now spread half of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles, then cover with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup per layer).
- Add about 1/3 of the sauce to the top of the cheese, making sure the cheese is all covered with sauce.
- Next add another layer of lasagna noodles (4 overlapping across and one to cover the end, now on the opposite end of the dish) followed by the other half of the ricotta cheese mixture.
- Spoon another 1/3 of the sauce over the cheese, then another 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.
- Add the final layer of noodles to the lasagna, followed by the rest of the sauce and the rest of the mozzarella cheese.
- Spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray, then cover the baking dish and place the lasagna in the oven for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes of baking, take the lasagna out of the oven. Remove the foil and place the dish back in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling on top and the lasagna is warmed through.
- Remove the lasagna from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
To use the soak method for the lasagna noodles, place the dry noodles in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and cover with hot water. Let the noodles soak for 30 minutes then drain and dry the noodles well with paper towels.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: lasagna recipe, beef lasagna, pasta recipe, dinner recipes, recipes with ground beef, easy lasagna recipe, how to make lasagna, best lasagna recipe
Are you sure you want 28 oz. of tomato sauce? That seems like a lot!
For a whole lasagna? It’s not at all, trust me!
This has become out go to lasagna recipe! Sometimes we use Italian sausage too!
Thanks Trish! You’re working your way through them for us!
How hot should the water be for the soak method?
Just hot tap water, not boiling.
Seriously amazing!!! I loved it
can i store this in the fridge for a few hours before baking it?
Absolutely! Check out the post for make ahead tips, freezer tips and reheating too!
Just made this. It’s in the oven now and smells amazing! It smells so amazing I’m taking it to my mother-in-law’s for dinner!
Well you’ll have to let me know how your mother-in-law likes it! I hope it’s a hit!
Can cottage cheese substitute ricotta cheese?
If you like cottage cheese in lasagna, then yes.
1 pound of lasagna noodles equals 18 lasagna noodles….is this correct?
You won’t need the whole box, but you really can’t buy less!
In the instructions #6 says stir water into the sauce and let simmer partially covered for 20 minutes until sauce has thickened. What water and how much?
3/4 cup of water, it’s in the recipe ingredients for the sauce. Hope you enjoy!