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Classic Lasagna Recipe

  • Serves: 12
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hr 25 min
  • Calories: 504
Classic Lasagna Recipe in a blue pan with a piece taken out.

Easy, meaty, cheesy, this classic lasagna recipe is what everyone’s dinnertime dreams are made of.

Cheesy, Saucy and Loaded with Italian Sausage, Our Homemade Lasagna Recipe is Everything You Want it To Be

There’s kind of nothing better than a big slab of freshly-baked, homemade lasagna. The oozing mozzarella cheese, puddling down over the sides of that piping hot tower-o-noodles. Hearty, tomato-meat sauce swirling together with basil-dotted ricotta cheese and you slide your fork right into the big, beautiful mess and spear yourself one, perfect bite. Yeah, it’s just about as dreamy as a home-cooked meal can be. And this lasagna recipe? Well, it’s just the very best. Why? Because we haven’t messed with perfection. Nope! Not one bit. Down to the very last thing—egg in the ricotta mixture, shredded mozzarella in droves, a homemade meat sauce and some basic herbs all come together to make this a totally traditional, 100% classic lasagna recipe. It’s the kind of thing your family will beg for on the regular, and luckily, it’s so easy to make, you won’t mind one bit. Lasagna leftovers make killer lunches, too, and if you need a meal to bring to a friend, well, nothing says “I love you” (or “hang in there” or “I think you might be hungry”) like a fresh, homemade lasagna left on the doorstep.

Ingredients for homemade lasagna. canned tomatoes, garlic, noodles, mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, onions, ground meat

The Real Secret to Making the Best Lasagna? Using the Best Lasagna Ingredients, of Course!

We’ve made this easy lasagna recipe as flexible as possible—after all, lasagna should be an inherently casual sort of thing to make. But there are a few musts! You must use whole-milk ricotta, anything less is just going to be a watery mess. You must use the teensy bit of sugar that we call for—it balances out the acidity of the tomato paste and canned tomatoes in a way that’s just essential to the quality of the finished product. As for the meat, well, here’s where things get flexible. Our very favorite version of the lasagna recipe comes into being when we use equal parts ground beef & ground Italian sausage, but ground chicken or even ground turkey can work, too, if you’re looking for a lighter option. You do you!

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Ground meat (Beef, Italian sausage, pork, turkey or chicken)

  • Yellow onion

  • Fresh garlic

  • Tomato paste

  • Canned, crushed tomatoes

  • Whole milk ricotta

  • Egg

  • Parmesan

  • Mozzarella (low-moisture mozzarella, not the fresh stuff)

  • Dried lasagna noodles

  • Italian seasoning

  • Fresh basil

  • Sugar

whole milk ricotta, egg, basil, parmesan in a bowl
ground meat, onion and garlic in a dutch oven
ground meat, onion, garlic, canned tomatoes, tomatoes paste,  and seasoning in a dutch oven
Lasagna sauce made with ground meat, onion, garlic, canned tomatoes, tomatoes paste,  and seasoning in a dutch oven

Do You Have to Boil Lasagna Before Baking?

Yes, we’ve heard of no-boil lasagna noodles. No, our recipe doesn’t use them. Yes, it’s slightly more work to boil the noodles separately. But the extra work is incredibly marginal and we love that you can control how cooked the noodles are when you boil them before adding to the lasagna. Now, if you’re a big fan of no-boil noodles, you might be tempted to swap them in but don’t do it! Our recipe is written for the kind of lasagna noodles that you need to boil, and the no-boil noodles will soak up too much liquid from the lasagna sauce, which will result in one of the greatest culinary tragedies known to man: dry lasagna.

meat sauce with marinara in the bottom of a lasagna pan
marinara meat sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan topped with lasagna noodles
marinara meat sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan topped with lasagna noodles topped with more sauce
marinara meat sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan topped with lasagna noodles topped with more sauce then ricotta cheese

Lasagna Layers 101: How To Correctly Layer Your Lasagna for Picture-Perfection

You’ll begin the lasagna layering process by spooning a bit of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish, and then you’ll begin. The layers go like this:

  • Layer 1: A little marinara and lasagna noodles

  • Layer 2: spread out some of the meaty tomato sauce.

  • Layer 3: ricotta cheese mixture.

  • Layer 4: mozzarella cheese

  • Repeat! For this recipe, you should be able to get about four layers. You’ll finish it with one last layer of noodles, sauce and cheese.

marinara meat sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan topped with lasagna noodles topped with more sauce ricotta and mozzarella
marinara meat sauce, topped with lasagna noodles topped with more sauce ricotta and mozzarella and parmesan in a lasagna pan
marinara meat sauce, topped with lasagna noodles topped with more sauce ricotta and mozzarella and parmesan in a lasagna pan
homemade lasagna in a pan with basil

How to Make Lasagna from Scratch

  1. Meat sauce! Make a quick meat sauce: brown the ground meat, onion and garlic. Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and sugar and simmer the whole thing for about ten minutes.

  2. Noodles! While the sauce simmers, boil the lasagna noodles.

  3. Ricotta! Make the filling for the lasagna’s ricotta layer by whisking together ricotta, egg, Parmesan, salt, pepper and basil (if you’re using it).

  4. Assemble! Remember, it goes: noodles, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella. You should have enough of all of the fillings to make four complete layers, and then top the lasagna off with a layer of noodles, the last of the sauce and a combo of mozzarella and Parmesan.

  5. Bake! Covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for another 20 until the top is all bubbly.

homemade lasagna in a 9 x 13 pan
homemade lasagna in a 9 x 13 pan with a piece taken out

Tools You’ll Need:

More Classic Baked Pasta Recipes to Try

a piece of homemade lasagna on a plate
a piece of homemade lasagna on a plate

Lasagna for All!

If you’ve been scared to try your hand at making lasagna from scratch, take this recipe as your chance to give it a go! It’s really not too hard, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be making it from memory. It’s one of those recipes that really sticks in your head and pretty quickly becomes something you could do in your sleep. And we all love those! When you make it, let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Classic Lasagna Recipe

  • Serves: 12
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hr 25 min
  • Calories: 504

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb Ground meat (1/2 beef 1/2 mild italian sausage is our favorite. ground chicken or turkey also work well)
  • 1 Medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced, about 2 tsp
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) Tomato paste
  • 2 (28-oz) cans Crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 tsp Freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 16 oz Whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Grated parmesan, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1 1/2 pounds Mozzarella, grated
  • 1/4 cup Loosely packed fresh basil, minced, optional
  • 1 pound Dried lasagna noodles (not the no-boil variety)

Method

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Fill a large pot with water and season with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, bring to a boil over high heat. Cook lasagna noodles in the boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, rinse and separate any noodles that are stuck together.
  2. Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, until glistening. Add ground meat, onion and garlic, cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and translucent, and the meat is browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste, stirring until completely combined, about 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, Italian seasoning and sugar, stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to medium low or low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato sauce has thickened and flavors have come together, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl combine the ricotta, egg, 3/4 cup Parmesan, basil, remaining salt and pepper.
  5. Spread 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a lasagna baking dish or 9x13 baking dish and top with a layer of noodles, try not to overlap them.
  6. Top with about 1 1/2 cups of sauce, dollop ¼ of the ricotta mixture over, lightly spread over the sauce with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with 1 1/4 cup mozzarella. Top with another layer of noodles and repeat three more times. Add the last of the noodles and pour remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  7. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and place baking dish on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet (to prevent any overflow from burning on the bottom of your oven).
  8. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes until bubbly and beginning to brown on top. Let cool for at least 5-10 minutes before eating.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 504
  • Protein 42 g
  • Carbohydrates 38 g
  • Total Fat 20 g
  • Dietary Fiber 4 g
  • Cholesterol 107 mg
  • sodium 1421 mg
  • Added Sugars 9 g

Classic Lasagna Recipe

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