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The best homemade lasagna recipe includes thick layers of noodles, sausage, ground beef, ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses in a made-from-scratch sauce. Pair the hearty, satisfying casserole with a Caesar salad and garlic bread for the ultimate family meal. It’s also an easy make-ahead dinner for busy days!

A traditional lasagna recipe in a white baking dish

How to Make Lasagna | 1-Minute Video

Easy Homemade Lasagna

My mother-in-law serves an easy homemade lasagna for Christmas Eve dinner each year. Farm & Ranch Living magazine recently published Chi-Chi’s recipe with a few tweaks, and I just loved the updated version and had to share it here. This traditional lasagna recipe includes thick layers of a homemade lasagna sauce that’s full of Italian sausage and ground beef, as well as plenty of garlic and fresh herbs. Combine the sauce with layers of noodles and three cheeses, and you’ve got the best lasagna recipe ever!

Ingredients for Homemade Lasagna

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a traditional lasagna recipe. As always, the specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Italian sausage: mild, sweet, or spicy — you choose! I buy bulk sausage, but you can also just remove the casings from sausage links if necessary.
  • Ground beef: substitute with ground turkey or ground pork, or use additional sausage instead.
  • Onion, garlic, parsley, basil, salt and pepper: all add savory flavor to the sauce.
  • Tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and tomato sauce: these different canned tomato products create the base of the homemade lasagna sauce. Choose a high-quality brand (or San Marzano tomatoes, when available) for the best flavor.
  • Brown sugar: sugar helps to balance the acidic nature of the tomatoes, yielding a sauce with more complex, deep flavor. You can adjust the amount of sugar that you use to suit your taste.
  • Egg: helps bind the ricotta cheese layer so that it doesn’t ooze out when you slice the casserole.
  • Ricotta cheese: adds a thick, creamy, cheesy layer to the dish. You can substitute with cottage cheese for a lighter option.
  • Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese: these additional cheeses add flavor to the casserole and hold it all together. The more cheese the better, right?!
  • No-boil (“oven-ready”) lasagna noodles: these par-boiled noodles do not require boiling before you assemble the casserole. They cut the prep time in half, making this homemade lasagna quick and easy!
Homemade lasagna sauce in a dutch oven

How to Make Homemade Lasagna Step by Step

Chi-Chi’s traditional lasagna recipe requires a little bit more prep time thanks to the homemade lasagna sauce, but it’s well worth the effort! Best of all, you can assemble this entire meal in advance so that you’re not slaving over a hot stove at the last minute.

Process shot showing how to make lasagna step by step
  1. Prepare the tomato meat sauce in a large Dutch oven.
  2. Stir together the egg, ricotta, Parmesan and pepper in a separate bowl.
  3. Spread two cups of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  4. Layer with 3 noodles and 1/3 of the ricotta mixture.
  5. Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
  6. Repeat the layers two more times.
  7. Top with the remaining meat sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  8. Cover with greased foil and bake in a 400° F oven for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the foil cover and continue baking for about 15-20 more minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and the inside of the casserole is bubbly.
  10. Let stand for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Overhead image of a server in a dish of the best homemade lasagna

What to Serve with Sausage Lasagna

This hearty, homemade lasagna is delicious when paired with a Caesar salad, a Shaved Fennel Salad, or a simple green salad dressed in Italian Balsamic Vinaigrette. You might also like to offer a side of garlic bread or homemade focaccia bread to complete the meal.

Side shot of homemade lasagna with sausage and beef on a plate in front of a brick wall

Make Ahead

Assemble the lasagna in advance, but do not bake. Wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours before baking, or freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, allow the refrigerated lasagna to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30-60 minutes before baking.

How to Cook Homemade Frozen Lasagna

If you’re baking the casserole frozen (directly from the freezer), bake the dish covered in a 400°F oven for 1 ½ hours. Then remove the cover and bake for an additional 20 minutes (or until the pasta is tender and the dish is heated through).

Storage

Leftover homemade lasagna will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

To Reheat

Cover the lasagna loosely with foil. Warm the dish in a 350°F oven just until heated through, about 30 minutes. You can also reheat individual slices of lasagna in the microwave until warm, about 1 minute.

Overhead shot of a slice of homemade lasagna on a plate

Frequently Asked Questions about Homemade Lasagna

  • Which is better for lasagna — cottage cheese or ricotta? I prefer ricotta cheese because it has a thicker, smoother, creamier texture. For a lighter choice, you can substitute with small curd or whipped cottage cheese. If the cottage cheese looks like it has a lot of liquid, strain it before combining it with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Do you have to put egg in lasagna? The egg is an important component of the ricotta mixture because it helps the cheese layer “set” so that it doesn’t ooze out when you slice into the casserole. That said, if you have an egg allergy, you can omit this ingredient — the finished texture just won’t be quite the same.
  • How many layers should lasagna be? There’s no correct or “absolute” number of layers that a lasagna must have; however, most lasagnas include between three and four layers.
Horizontal shot of a slice of grandma's best lasagna recipe on a red and white plate

Recipe Variations — Grandma’s Best Lasagna Recipe

  • If you’re feeling adventurous, try making your homemade lasagna from scratch with homemade lasagna noodles.
  • Swap out the ground beef and replace it with ground turkey, ground pork, or additional Italian sausage.
  • Add more fresh herbs if you have them. Fresh basil, parsley, oregano or thyme would also be flavorful additions to the sauce.
  • If using homemade lasagna noodles or boiled lasagna noodles (rather than the no-boil noodles), you can reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.
Overhead image of a fork eating a slice of easy homemade lasagna

Tips for the Best Traditional Lasagna Recipe

  • Assemble the casserole in a deep 9 x 13-inch dish. You’ll have thick layers that fill the dish to the top! I also like to place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet while it’s in the oven, just in case any of the sauce drips over the edge.
  • The brown sugar helps to balance the acidity in the tomatoes. We like a sweeter sauce, so I use 2 tablespoons of sugar. If you prefer a less-sweet sauce, you can reduce the brown sugar to 1 tablespoon. Just start with less and gradually add more, to taste.
  • Use whole milk ricotta cheese for the richest, creamiest, smoothest texture.
  • Cooking for Two? Divide the full recipe between two smaller 8-inch square baking dishes. That way you get two meals with the same amount of effort, and you can freeze one for a later date. Alternatively, you can cut all of the ingredients in half and prepare one lasagna in an 8-inch square dish. The baking instructions remain the same.
  • Let the lasagna rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing. This will help the cheese set so that it slices cleanly and doesn’t ooze out.
  • Garnish with plenty of fresh parsley or basil for a bright addition to the baked casserole.
Front shot of the best lasagna recipe served on a red and white plate

More Homemade Lasagna Recipes to Try

A traditional lasagna recipe in a white baking dish

Homemade Lasagna

4.75 from 4 votes
Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 50 minutes
Resting Time 15 minutes
Total: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 500 kcal
The best homemade lasagna recipe includes thick layers of noodles, sausage, ground beef, ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses in a made-from-scratch sauce!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (reduce to 1 tablespoon for a less sweet sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 9 oven-ready "no-boil" lasagna noodles

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a deep 9 x 13-inch baking dish; set aside.
  • In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook and crumble the sausage, ground beef and onion until the meat is no longer pink, 5-7 minutes; drain off the fat. Add garlic and tomato paste; cook and stir for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, brown sugar, parsley, basil, salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the egg, ricotta, 1 ¼ cups of Parmesan cheese, and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  • Spread 2 cups of the meat sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Layer with 3 noodles and ⅓ of the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining meat sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan.
  • Cover with greased foil; place on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch drips if it bubbles over); bake for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake for 15-20 more minutes, or until browned on top and bubbly. Let stand at least 15 minutes before serving.

Video

Notes

  • Assemble the casserole in a deep 9 x 13-inch dish. You’ll have thick layers that fill the dish to the top! I also like to place the dish on a rimmed baking sheet while it’s in the oven, just in case any of the sauce drips over the edge.
  • The brown sugar helps to balance the acidity in the tomatoes. We like a sweeter sauce, so I use 2 tablespoons of sugar. If you prefer a less-sweet sauce, you can reduce the brown sugar to 1 tablespoon. Just start with less and gradually add more, to taste.
  • Use whole milk ricotta cheese for the richest, creamiest, smoothest texture.
  • Cooking for Two? Divide the full recipe between two smaller 8-inch square baking dishes. That way you get two meals with the same amount of effort, and you can freeze one for a later date. Alternatively, you can cut all of the ingredients in half and prepare one lasagna in an 8-inch square dish. The baking instructions remain the same.
  • Let the lasagna rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing. This will help the cheese set so that it slices cleanly and doesn’t ooze out.
  • Garnish with plenty of fresh parsley or basil for a bright addition to the baked casserole.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/12 of the casseroleCalories: 500kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 33gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 1406mgPotassium: 930mgFiber: 3gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 1269IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 464mgIron: 4mg
Keyword: easy homemade lasagna, homemade lasagna, sausage lasagna, traditional lasagna recipe
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

    1. I am making this lasagna today as well,I use to make lasagna when my 4 boys were younger, they are grown now with children of their own now, I use to whip this up in no time but as I’ve gotten older, I seem to forget what ingredients go into it. This recipe is right on. Yes you can freeze it after cooking.

    2. Hi, Vanessa! Yes, you can freeze the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Hope you enjoy the meal!

    3. 5 stars
      I made your recipe last night, absolutely delicious, my husband loved it, as I did. I did add an extra ingredient, eggplant. I had one to use, so I sliced it lengthwise, roasted it and layered it in with the noodles, delicious. It was every bit as good today. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

      1. I bet that eggplant was delicious in the casserole, Patty! Thanks for taking the time to come back here and leave a note. 🙂

      2. My “no boil” noodles say to “Make sure each Lasagne sheet is exposed to sauce on all sides.“ Is it okay to have the layer of cheese better the noodles and sauce?

        1. Hi, Linda! Yes, the noodles should be fine. There will be enough moisture in the dish to help them soften and cook. Hope you enjoy!

    1. Hi, Peggy! No, you don’t. If you’re baking the casserole frozen (directly from the freezer), bake the dish covered in a 400° F oven for 1 hour. Then remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes (or until the pasta is tender and the dish is heated through).

    1. Hi, PJ! That’s no problem. You don’t really need to adjust anything when preparing the lasagna with the cooked noodles. I would just tent the dish loosely with foil so that some of the steam can escape when the lasagna is in the oven. The no-boil noodles use the steam in the tightly covered pan to cook, but you don’t need that extra steam for pre-cooked noodles. I wouldn’t necessarily leave the dish uncovered the whole time, though, or the top will probably get too dark. That’s why a loose foil tent should be great. Hope you enjoy the dish!

  1. Hi, I’m considering making this to freeze half of it. Do I cook it before freezing or after thawing? If I need to cook it fully beforehand, does it affect the cooking time after pulling it out of the freezer?

    1. Hi, Kaley! Here are the full instructions for prepping ahead and freezing:

      MAKE AHEAD
      Assemble the lasagna in advance, but do not bake. Wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours before baking, or freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, allow the refrigerated lasagna to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30-60 minutes before baking.

      HOW TO COOK HOMEMADE FROZEN LASAGNA
      If you’re baking the casserole frozen (directly from the freezer), bake the dish covered in a 400° F oven for 1 hour. Then remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes (or until the pasta is tender and the dish is heated through).

      STORAGE
      Leftover homemade lasagna will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

      Hope that helps, and enjoy!

      1. 5 stars
        Almost 50 yrs old & made my first from scratch lasagna using this recipe. Twas for my BF’s family & they usually expect greatness. Lol! This recipe did NOT disappoint. Everyone absolutely loved it and there were plenty of leftovers to share. Will most certainly put this in regular rotation! Thanks!

    1. Yes! You’ll want to use small curd or whipped cottage cheese if possible. If you don’t have either of those available, you’ll probably need to strain off some of the extra liquid from the cottage cheese if it seems really runny. Hope that helps, and enjoy!