How to Make the Best Lasagna With Meat Sauce

12 servings
1 hr 40 min

Welcome to the best lasagna recipe you’ll ever make!

Do you have lasagna lovers in your home?

My family, especially my husband LOVES my lasagna.

As a matter of fact he’d love it if I made it weekly.

I reserve this recipe for special occasions because it does take a fair amount of time to prepare the fillings and assemble layers.

But let me tell you, it’s definitely worth it!

This recipe makes a large pan of lasagna which will easily feed 12 people.

But what’s best, it even tastes better a day or two later.

We absolutely love the leftovers.

Without a doubt this delicious and hearty dish is sure to be a hit at any dinner table, potluck, or family gathering.

The recipe is easy to follow and results in an unforgettable lasagna experience!

Plus, it feeds a crowd for way less than going out to eat.

Another recipe you should check out is my slow cooker Salsa Verde Pork. It's perfect for tacos, burritos or even a taco salad.

And top off the dinner with my Fudgy Brownie Recipe.

Let’s get started and see my tips for the best lasagna ever!

In this post . . .

  • Is Lasagna Better with Ricotta or Cottage cheese?
  • What is the Correct Order to Layer Lasagna?
  • How to Freeze and Reheat Lasagna
  • How to Freeze Lasagna
  • To Bake Thawed Lasagna
  • To Reheat Frozen Leftover Lasagna
  • Ingredients for the Best Lasagna
  • Prepare the Meat Sauce
  • Prepare Cheese Mixture
  • Assemble the Lasagna
  • Bake Lasagna
  • Let Lasagna Rest

Is Lasagna Better with Ricotta or Cottage cheese?

When it comes to best lasagna recipes, there is a great debate over which cheese makes the best filling: ricotta or cottage cheese.

While both of these cheeses make a delicious addition to your lasagna dish, I find that cottage cheese is best.

Cottage cheese has fewer calories and fat than ricotta while still providing a creamy and rich texture.

Plus, it holds its shape better when baked in the oven.

While cottage cheese is my favorite, what’s your preference?

What is the Correct Order to Layer Lasagna?

When layering your lasagna dish, it’s best to start with a layer of meat sauce.

This will ensure that your lasagna is flavorful and moist throughout the baking process.

After adding the meat sauce, spread a layer of noodles over the top.

Then, add a layer of cottage cheese followed by another layer of noodles.

Finally, top the noodles with more meat sauce and cheese to create the best lasagna ever!

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How to Freeze and Reheat Lasagna

Lasagna makes a great freezer meal.

In fact, you can double this recipe and make one for dinner tonight and freeze the other for another time.

The homemade lasagna will keep if your freezer for about 90 days.

How to Freeze Lasagna

When I’m making a freezer meal, I like to use a disposable foil pan.

Layer the lasagna following the recipe.

Place a layer of plastic wrap firmly against the last layer then top with 3 layers of foil.

The plastic wrap will help prevent freezer burn.

On the final covering of foil write a note with a permanent marker to remove the plastic wrap before baking and baking instructions.

Place in your deep freeze for up to 3 months.

You can also freeze your leftover lasagna.

Wrap the lasagna in three layers of foil and write on the last layer baking instructions.

To Bake Thawed Lasagna

To bake remove the layers of foil and plastic wrap, cover with one layer of foil and let thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Then bake as directed.

To Reheat Frozen Leftover Lasagna

First unwrap lasagna from foil layers. Place in a baking dish, covered with foil and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Bake at 350° until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Ingredients for the Best Lasagna

To make the best lasagna, you will need Italian sausage, onion, red bell pepper, your favorite marinara sauce, lasagna noodles, cottage or ricotta cheese, egg, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

These ingredients are all easy to find at your local grocery store and should be enough to serve 12 people.

You’ll also need a deep dish 9×13 baking pan.

Prepare the Meat Sauce

In a large frying pan, break up and brown the sausage.

When the sausage is almost cooked add the chopped onion and cook until they are tender and translucent.

Then add the chopped red bell pepper and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

While the sausage, onion and pepper are cooking, prepare the cheese mixture.

Prepare Cheese Mixture

In a bowl combine an egg, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning.

Assemble the Lasagna

We are now at the home stretch and ready to assemble the lasagna.

First coat a deep baking dish with cooking spray.

Then place 1/2C. of the pasta sauce in the bottom of the pan and top with dry, uncooked lasagna noodles.

In my large pan, I’m able to place four noodles across the pan.

Then top the dry noodles with about 1/3 of the meat sauce.

It doesn’t need to be exact, just eyeball it.

Next place another layer of dry noodles.

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Now you’re ready to place your cottage cheese mixture on top of the layer of dry noodles.

Then top the cottage cheese mixture with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese.

Finally top the cheese layer with four more dry noodles.

Then add another layer of the meat sauce over the dry noodles.

Top the meat sauce with more mozzarella cheese and then place the final four dry noodles.

Cover the final layer of noodles with the remaining meat sauce.

Then cover the lasagna with a sheet of foil (shiny side towards the lasagna.)

Bake Lasagna

Place the covered pan in a preheated 350° oven and bake for one hour.

After one hour, carefully remove the foil and top the lasagna with more mozzarella cheese.

Continue baking at 350° uncovered for another 15 minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown.

Let Lasagna Rest

One of the keys to serving lasagna is to let it rest for 10 minutes before you cut into it.

In know, it’s tempting to cut into the lasagna as soon as it’s out of the oven.

But trust me, the layers will have a chance to set and you’ll be able to slice and serve it easier if you wait at least 10 minutes.

Thanks for checking out my best lasagna recipe ever!

With just a few simple steps, you can have a delicious and hearty meal to share with your friends and family.

So get in the kitchen and give this easy lasagna recipe a try today!


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How to Make the Best Lasagna With Meat Sauce
Recipe details
  • 12  servings
  • Prep time: 25 Minutes Cook time: 75 Minutes Total time: 1 hr 40 min
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  • 1 lb. Italian sausage I prefer hot Italian sausage
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning divided
  • 2 24 oz. jars pasta sauce
  • 1 lb. lasagna noodles dry, uncooked
  • 1 24 oz. container cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 lbs grated mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°.
Meat Sauce
Break up and brown Italian sausage in a large pan. When no longer pink add diced onion and cook until soft. Then add red bell pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
Reserve 1/2 c. of pasta sauce and add remaining pasta sauce to the meat mixture. Add dried basil, garlic powder and 1 tsp Italian seasoning. Simmer for few minutes while you combine the cheese layer.
Cheese Mixture
Place egg, cottage cheese, 1 tsp. of Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese in a bowl and mix well until combined.
Layer Lasagna in Dish
Spray large 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread reserved pasta sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Then place 4 dry, uncooked lasagna noodles side by side on top of the pasta sauce. Try not to layer the noodles on top of each other.
Spread hot meat sauce on top of the layer of dry lasagna noodles. Then top with another layer of dry noodles.
Spread the cheese mixture on top of the dry lasagna noodles and top with 1 to 1 1/2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese. Top with another layer of dry lasagna noodles.
Spread another layer of the hot meat sauce on top of the dry lasagna noodles, top with more mozzarella cheese. Then place another layer of dry lasagna noodles.
Cover the final layer of lasagna noodles with the remaining meat sauce.
Cover the baking pan with foil, shiny side towards the lasagna.
Bake in a 350° oven for 1 hour.
Carefully remove foil from the baking dish, top with more mozzarella cheese. Return lasagna to oven and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes at 350°.
Remove lasagna from oven and let rest at least 10 minutes before serving.
  • To make this lasagna recipe easier, I do not precook the noodles.
  • I’ve tried the oven ready lasagna noodles and the traditional lasagna noodles using this method and both work equally well.
  • Italian sausage is my preferred meat when making lasagna. I love the flavor it adds to the lasagna. I also preferred the Hot Italian sausage, but that’s a personal preference. It just depends on how spicy you like your food. But you can also use lean ground beef or leave it out all together if you’d like. You may want to add more cheese to the recipe if you do not add any meat.
  • In a pinch I’ve used traditional hot Jimmy Dean sausage and that’s delicious too.
  • There are times when I’ve made my own marinara sauce, for my lasagna recipe. But I find that adding a few seasonings to bottle pasta sauce has equally good results and it’s a lot easier.
  • I’ve tried both ricotta cheese and cottage cheese in my lasagna recipe, my personal preference is cottage cheese. It’s easy to switch and use ricotta if you prefer.
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