This classic meat lasagna is filled with layers of pasta, homemade meat sauce, and lots of ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.
Lasagna is a cozy classic for good reason! It’s so rich, warming, and satisfying, and who can resist a plate of pasta? (Ahem, not me.)
This classic meat lasagna is a simple no-frills recipe. There’s no modern twists, no healthier substitutions, no surprises. It’s just layers of all the delicious ingredients we know and love— lasagna noodles, the best easy homemade meat sauce, and plenty of ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.
Serve this traditional lasagna recipe at your next dinner party, for Sunday dinner with the family, or even as a casual weeknight meal. I guarantee everyone will love it!
How to Make Classic Meat Lasagna
Traditional Lasagna Ingredients
This recipe is completely from-scratch and will take a little time to assemble, but I promise it’s not difficult! And it’ll be more than worth it.
To get started, we’ll make a homemade meat sauce. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 pound combined of sausage, ground beef, and ground pork. I recommend going to the butcher’s counter at your grocer, you should be able to get exactly 1/3 pound of each without having any leftovers. While I recommend a combination of sausage, pork, and beef will for a richer sauce, it is possible to use 1 lb of just one kind of meat if you prefer.
- Garlic cloves
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 15 oz can tomato sauce
- Fresh or dried herbs
And to assemble the lasagna you’ll also need:
- Lasagna noodles. Save yourself a step and use no-boil lasagna noodles. There’s no need to cook them before assembly and they taste the same!
- Ricotta cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil
How to Layer Lasagna
Once you’ve prepared your meat sauce and gathered the rest of the ingredients, it’s time to assemble your lasagna. This is the fun part!
- Spread a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of the pan
- Fit noodles into a single layer in the pan, breaking a few as needed so it’s filled completely
- Add dollops of ricotta cheese and gently spread into a thin layer
- Top with mozzarella cheese
- Repeat these 4 layers once more
- Add one more layer of noodles
- Cover with the rest of meat sauce
- Top with mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese
Note: This recipe fills a standard 9×13-inch baking dish all the way to the top with 3 layers of noodles/sauce/cheese. If you want more of a deep dish look, use a smaller, deeper pan.
How to Make Lasagna in Advance
One of the great things about lasagna is that it’s easy to store both in the fridge and freezer, and it reheats very well. It’s a perfect meal to make ahead!
Store in the fridge:
Cover assembled unbaked lasagna with plastic wrap and store for up to 3 days. Bake as directed. Once it’s been baked, cover leftovers with plastic wrap and store for up to 1 week.
Store in the freezer:
Cover assembled unbaked lasagna with a layer of plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 1 month. Remove plastic wrap before baking and add about 10 minutes to baking time. To freeze baked lasagna, make sure it is completely cool and then cover with a layer of plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 1 month. To reheat, remove plastic wrap and warm in 350°F oven for 30-45 minutes.
Make it a Complete Meal
Here are some recipe ideas to turn your baked lasagna into a complete meal:
- The Best Caesar Salad
- Buttery Garlic Green Beans
- Pesto Pull-Apart Breadsticks
- And for dessert, Lemon Olive Oil Cake
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Classic Meat Lasagna
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ⅓ lb sausage
- ⅓ lb ground pork
- ⅓ lb ground beef
- ½ onion , chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 15 oz can tomato sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt , plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs such as basil, rosemary, or thyme , chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried, such as Italian seasoning)
- 2 lbs ricotta cheese , preferably whole milk ricotta
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil , chopped
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoons ground black pepper
- About 1 lb lasagna noodles , boiled till al dente or use "no-boil"
- 1 lb mozzarella cheese , shredded
- ½ cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil , for garnish
To Make Meat Sauce:
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to medium pot set over medium high heat. Add sausage, pork, and beef and cook until browned and almost done all the way through, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped onion. Cook until onions are soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more until fragrant.
- Pour crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce into the pan, along with the salt, pepper, and herbs.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes until thickened slightly. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Remove from heat.
To Assemble Lasagna:
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking or casserole dish.
- In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese with the basil, salt and pepper.
- Spread a thin layer of meat sauce over the bottom of the pan. Top with a single layer of lasagna noodles, breaking a few as needed to cover entire pan. Dollop with ½ of the ricotta mixture and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with ⅓ of the mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat these layers one more time, using ½ of remaining meat sauce this time (not a thin layer).
- Add one more layer of noodles. Top with remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Top with parmesan cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for about 35 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is lightly browned, 15-20 minutes more.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- You likely will not need all 1 lb of lasagna noodles.
- While a combination of sausage, pork, and beef will produce a richer sauce, it is possible to use 1 lb of just one kind of meat.
- To make ahead: Assembled unbaked lasagna can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge. Assembled unbaked lasagna can be frozen for up to 1 month, adding 10 minutes to the baking time. Baked lasagna can also be frozen for up to 1 month. Reheat in 350° for 30 minutes till warmed through.