This recipe for Best Easy Lasagna is so simple and quick, made with just the right amount of Italian seasoning, sausage, garlic, and all the cheesy goodness you love about lasagna in one perfect dish. Plus, it’s make-ahead and freezer-friendly!
Why This Recipe Works
Freezer-friendly – I don’t know about you, but when I’m cooking, I often do it with the intention of having leftovers. The best part about this simple lasagna is that the whole thing is basically a leftover! Make it ahead of time and pop it in the freezer for that perfect, homemade, meal you crave but without any of the work the day of.
Easy – It doesn’t get any easier than this better than traditional lasagna recipe folks! 65 minutes is all it takes to do all the parts of making this dish – from cooking the meat to putting it together. It seems like it would take way longer but once you start the time really goes by fast!
Delicious – I’m guilty of sometimes equating “fast” and “easy” with foods that are not also tasty. But this best lasagna recipe is definitely not one of those foods! Full of tasty Italian sausage, marinara, Italian seasonings, plus tons and tons of cheese and ricotta, this traditional lasagna recipe is so yummy you probably will hesitate to want to share it.
Feeds a crowd – Ever have unexpected dinner guests? Me too! More often than maybe is normal, I’m not sure but it seems like at least once a week or every other week I have someone stopping by and I invite them to stay for dinner. Feeding people is my love language. On these days I’m so glad I have an extra lasagna in the freezer!
- Lasagna Noodles – I use no-bake lasagna noodles, they are such a time-saver and perfectly cook every time. But if you don’t have them, then pre-cook the lasagna noodles you do have before layering and baking this dish.
- Italian Sausage – I use ground Italian sausage, either mild or spicy, it depends on your preference. (You can also use ground beef if you prefer.)
- Marinara Sauce – Your favorite marinara sauce works just fine here. I like to use roasted garlic marinara. You could also use 2 jars of roasted garlic tomato sauce or your own mixture of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and Italian seasonings.
- Minced Garlic – I use the jarred minced garlic all the time, but you can mince your own. Any type of garlic is fine.
- Italian Herb Seasoning Blend – Any name brand Italian seasoning works great here!
- Ricotta Cheese – Either whole or part-skim, store-bought ricotta works so well in this recipe.
- Mozzarella Cheese – I like to grate my own mozzarella or use Buffalo mozzarella for an extra creamy, cheesy lasagna.
- Parmesan Cheese – Any pre-grated parmesan cheese is okay in this dish, you are here for the flavor, not for the melt of the parm. However, if you want to use your own freshly grated parmesan that is perfect, too.
- Parsley – Top your lasagna with some chopped fresh parsley for a fresh, herby taste and a pretty presentation!
Here’s How You Make It
Making this freezer-friendly classic, simple lasagna is a cinch. Double up the recipe and make it twice as nice!
1. First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9×13-inch baking dish (or two if you are making a double batch). Next, you’ll brown the sausage in a skillet over medium high heat, breaking it apart with your spoon or spatula as it cooks.
- When the sausage is browned, stir in the garlic, Italian seasoning, and tomato sauce. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in another bowl, mix together the cheeses (ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella) for the filling.
- Now it’s time to put this lasagna recipe with ricotta together. You’ll make layers in the baking dish, starting with 1 cup of meat sauce on the bottom of the pan. Top this with four noodles in a single layer, then add all of the cheese filling.
- Next, add another 4 noodles on top of the cheese, and then half of the remaining meat sauce. Top the layers off with a final round of 4 lasagna noodles, the remaining meat sauce and a topper of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. (I also like to sprinkle more Italian seasoning over the top of the cheese before baking for additional flavor and, well, because it looks pretty.)
- Before putting the dish(es) in the oven, make a tent with greased foil and place it lightly over the top (this prevents the cheese from browning too soon). Bake with the foil on for 45 minutes, then take the foil off and broil for another 2-3 minutes to brown the cheese.
- I also suggest you let this meat lasagna recipe cool a little before serving as it will be very hot!
Make Ahead Directions and Tips
- To make this easy lasagna ahead of time, prepare the lasagna as written, then cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. Bake as directed but add another 20-25 minutes of baking time to account for it going into the oven cold.
- You could also cook just the noodles ahead of time and toss them in a little olive oil so that they don’t stick. Then, cook the sausage mixture too. After they have cooled, put both items into the fridge and then when you’re ready to bake, you can easily layer the lasagna together.
- To bake lasagna that you’ve taken right from the fridge, you’ll need to add a little more time because it’s going from cold (rather than room temperature) to the oven. Give it about 60 minutes to bake.
How To Make Spinach Lasagna
If you would like to make this better than traditional lasagna recipe with spinach, there are two ways to do that.
First, you can add spinach to this recipe by layering it in with the meat, cheese, and sauce. Fresh or frozen spinach will work fine here. If you are using frozen spinach, be sure to thaw it first and squeeze out all the excess water before adding it to the lasagna.
If you want to make spinach lasagna without the meat, then simply substitute the spinach for the meat in the layering process. If using fresh, use about a cup in each layer. For frozen, be sure to thaw and ring out and scatter it around each layer.
You could also mix in frozen or chopped fresh spinach into the ricotta cheese mixture for spreading if you like.
How To Make Vegetable Lasagna
While spinach lasagna is great, adding even more veggies is wonderful too! Simply cook up your favorite diced veggies in place of the Italian sausage in step one. Still add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and sauce.
Some of my favorite veggies to add include spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, and red bell peppers.
How to Correctly Layer Lasagna
Although some cooks might say there is no right way to layer lasagna, I disagree! Here’s how I think you should correctly layer lasagna:
- Always put some of the sauce on the bottom to keep the noodles from sticking.
- Next, add a layer of noodles.
- Then, add a layer of cheese.
- Add more noodles.
- Add half of the (meat) sauce.
- Add the rest of the noodles.
- Now finish with the rest of the sauce.
- Top the sauce with the shredded cheeses and dried or fresh herbs.
Of course, feel free to experiment with your layers if you like but I always think sauce first, cheese on top, and then the middle can be worked out differently if you like.
What Temperature to Bake Lasagna
When baking lasagna, lower and slower is better. You might be tempted to cook it for 30 minutes at 450 degrees, but you’d end up with a burned mess. The best temperature for this recipe for easy traditional lasagna is 350 for 45 minutes. Yours might take longer if you have a larger pan or thicker lasagna.
Using Ricotta or Cottage Cheese in Lasagna (Which is Better?)
I prefer the taste and texture of ricotta myself, but growing up my mom used to cook her lasagna with both, depending on what she had on hand. Both taste similar, but I like the texture and heavier fat content of ricotta. I just think when it melts it gets all soft and gooey whereas cottage cheese is lumpier. BUT it’s also lower in fat and calories so if that’s something you’re concerned about then choose cottage cheese.
I really think it’s a personal preference, but definitely choose one or the other, not both or you will end up with a soupy mess.
- Since everything you’ve layered your lasagna with is already baked, it’s okay if you pull your lasagna out a little underbaked. It’s better than letting it go too long in the oven and then ending up with a dried-out, chewy lasagna. When in doubt, err on the side of baking less instead of more.
- If you end up making a veggie lasagna or add spinach, do be sure to drain off any excess water from either the veggie or after cooking so that you don’t end up with a watery lasagna. Also make sure to use a thicker marinara sauce, sometimes homemade tomato sauces can be on the watery side.
- Sometimes I also slightly underboil the pasta too, because it’s going to cook again and absorb some of the liquids from the pasta so if you put it into the layers a little underdone, it will come out perfectly from the oven.
To freeze this easy lasagna recipe, you’ll want to put it all together as instructed. If the meat sauce is still warm from its initial cooking, then let it cool off to room temperature before wrapping and freezing. Then, cover it tightly and put it into the freezer.
I like to cover mine with a tight lid or wrap it in plastic wrap or press and seal before covering it again in foil.
- To reheat this easy lasagna from frozen, let the dish thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake according to the “make ahead” directions below.
- To cook it from frozen, bake for 1.5 to 2 hours.
- To reheat lasagna in the microwave, it’s easiest to do one portion at a time. Cut what you want out of the pan, put it on a microwave-safe dish and add a little extra olive oil to the top to keep it moist. Cover the dish and microwave at medium heat for about a minute or two, then check to see if it’s done. If not, keep microwaving in 30-second increments until it’s thoroughly heated through.
More Delicious Dinner Recipes
If you love lasagna, then you’ll also want to plan to make these popular recipes: White Chicken Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini Boats, Easy White Chicken Lasagna with Spinach, and Easiest One Pot Lasagna. Want more? Check out these ideas:
- Chili’s Cajun Alfredo Pasta
- Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Baked Cauliflower “Mac” And Cheese
- Margherita Pierogies Skillet
Did you make this tasty Lasagna recipe? EXCELLENT! Please rate the recipe below!