Classic easy meat lasagna is the ultimate Italian comfort food with layers of tender lasagna, meaty tomato sauce, cheese filling and melted cheese on top.
For the lasagna noodles:
- 9 dry lasagna noodles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the meat sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 cup onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
For the cheese mixture:
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 + 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Cook the lasagna noodles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium high heat. Add lasagna noodles, olive oil and salt and cook until al dente (fully cooked but still firm), or according to package directions, about 10 minutes. Rinse the noodles under cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside in the pot.
- Prepare the meat sauce: Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven for 2 minutes over medium-high heat until the oil is sizzling hot. Add ground beef and cook for 5-7 minutes until browned. Add onion and garlic. Stir well to combine and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes until tender. Pour tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt and parsley. Stir well to mix and bring the meat sauce to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes uncovered. Set aside.
- Prepare the cheese mixture: In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, beaten egg, and parsley. Stir well to combine together.
- Assemble the lasagna:
- Sauce: Evenly spread 1 cup of the meat sauce in a 9x13 baking pan.
- Noodles: Place 3 lasagna noodles evenly apart over the meat sauce.
- Cheese: Spread 1/2 of the cheese mixture evenly over the noodles.
- Sauce: Spread 1/2 the remaining meat sauce on top.
- Noodles: Top with another layer of 3 lasagna noodles.
- Cheese: Spread remaining half of cheese mixture.
- Noodles: Top with last 3 pieces of lasagna noodles.
- Sauce: Add remaining meat sauce on top.
- Shredded cheese: Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
- Bake the lasagna: Lightly grease a large piece of aluminum foil and cover the pan with the greased side inside. Greasing the foil prevents the melted cheese from sticking to the foil while baking. Bake the lasagna covered for 45 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake uncovered for another 20 minutes or until the melted cheese turns golden brown and bubbly. Optionally, turn on broiler on high and broil for 3-4 minutes to get a crispy and brown cheesy crust. But keep a close eye on the broiler as things can burn quickly.
- Cool down: Let the lasagna cool for 10 minutes before serving.
How to store before baking: Store assembled uncooked lasagna in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, covered in aluminum foil.
How to store after baking: Store in the pan, sealed with aluminum foil, or transfer to an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven at 350 F for 10 minutes, or until heated through. You can also reheat in the air fryer uncovered at 350 F for 5-10 minutes, or in the microwave for a few minutes.
How to freeze before or after baking: Store lasagna (either uncooked or cooked) in the freezer for up to 3 months, covered in foil. I would recommend using a disposable 9x13 aluminum pan for assembling the lasagna in if you are planning to freeze it.
How to reheat frozen lasagna:
- To reheat frozen uncooked lasagna, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then bake according to recipe instructions.
- To reheat frozen cooked lasagna, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator or kitchen counter. Then cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven at 350 F for 10 minutes, or until heated through. You can also reheat in the air fryer uncovered at 350 F for 5-10 minutes, or in the microwave for a few minutes.
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: easy meat lasagna, make ahead meat lasagna, how to make lasagna with ground beef, beef lasagna