This is a simple meat lasagna recipe is one that comes together in less than 60 minutes. It also doubles as a perfect freezer meal!
Sauté ground beef and garlic and then add the tomato products. Assemble your meat lasagna with cooked lasagna noodles, the ground beef, and a ricotta cheese layer.
Lasagna might look intimidating to look, but it’s actually rather simple (speaking from experience).
Our classic meat lasagna recipe is so easy to make and doesn’t require a fancy béchamel cheese sauce!
It starts with a red meat sauce that is layered with cooked lasagna noodles and a ricotta cheese mixture. Bake it at 375ºF for around 45 minutes.
What is in meat lasagna?
- Ground beef- the base of the meat sauce is this ground beef. We used 80/20 ground beef, but you can use whatever you’d like.
- Yellow onion- we prefer to use a yellow onion.
- Garlic cloves- don’t skip the garlic, in fact, feel free to use more garlic then we call for.
- Tomato paste- you want the meat sauce to turn out thick rather than watery and the tomato paste helps with that.
- Crushed tomatoes- a good meat sauce is thick and chunk with tomatoes, be sure you get crushed tomatoes rather than tomato sauce. .
- Whole milk ricotta cheese– the ricotta cheese is the main cheese in the cheese mixture. Using ricotta cheese adds a creamy texture the lasagna after it’s baked.
- Mozzarella cheese– the mozzarella is a delicious cheese that melts easily is tastes delicious.
- Parmesan cheese– a little saltiness is added to the cheese mixture with the parmesan cheese. Don’t skip it.
- Lasagna noodles- you are going to need a 16oz. box of lasagna noodles. Be sure they are not the quick cooking lasagna noodles.
Variations for Meat Lasagna
Swap the ground beef: we’ve made this recipe with ground pork and Italian sausage instead. You can also try ground turkey or chicken.
Use a plant-based ground: yes, you read that correctly. You can swap the ground beef 1:1 with a plant-based ground.
Turn them into lasagna roll-Ups!
Feeling extra fancy? Follow our lasagna roll-ups recipe to turn this meat lasagna recipe into little rolls of love.
What goes first noodles or meat in lasagna?
We recommend a layer of meat sauce before the noodles so that the noodles don’t stick to the pan.
What meat goes with lasagna?
We recommend using ground beef or Italian sausage. You can also use a combination.
Should sauce for lasagna be thick or thin?
We like a thick meat sauce for lasagna. As it bakes, moisture will release, so you don’t want your sauce to be too watery.
Do you bake lasagna covered or uncovered?
We recommend covering your lasagna for the majority of the time. Right at the end uncover it so that the cheese can brown nicely.
To store lasagna, let it cool completely before covering it with tin foil and placing it in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
How to Freeze Meat Lasagna
Bake the lasagna according to the instructions (and in a freezer and oven-safe container) and then let it cool completely. Cover the lasagna tightly with tin foil and then place it in the freezer.
To reheat the lasagna, remove it from the freezer and place it in the oven at 325ºF for 30 minutes or until warmed through.
What to Serve with Meat Lasagna
There are so many options when it comes to side dishes. Be sure the whatever side you choose is a lighter fare. Below are some of our favorite sides to pair with lasagna.
Beet Goat Cheese Salad- Make a big beet goat cheese salad for an easy and veggie-packed meal! This salad is made with pears, goat cheese, walnuts, spinach, and a delicious salad dressing.
Arugula Goat Cheese Salad- Eat the rainbow with this super flavorful arugula goat cheese salad that comes together with 6 simple ingredients in under 30 minutes. Enjoy!
Butter lettuce Salad- This butter lettuce salad has a combination of vegetables, fruit, nuts, cheese, and is drizzled with a simple lemon vinaigrette. Everything on a bed of tender butter lettuce makes a perfect and delicious salad.
Meat Lasagna Recipe
- 1 lb. ground beef we used 80/20
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped (about ½ cup)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- ¼ cup fresh basil julienned
- 1.5 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 16 oz. lasagna noodles
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- Parsley or Basil for garnish
- Add the ground beef to a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook the beef, stirring often, for 5-8 minutes or until it is browned.
- Remove the beef to a bowl and discard any grease. No need to clean or wipe the pan– just make sure to get rid of any extra fat.
- Place the pan over medium-high heat again and add the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until it is soft and just starting to brown.
- Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
- Next, add the beef back to the pan along with the crushed tomatoes, salt, and red pepper flakes, if using.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and then stir in the basil. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, and salt. Set aside until ready to use.
Assemble and Bake
- Preheat your oven to 375ºF.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
- Cook the lasagna noodles to two minutes less than al dente (make sure to look at the time on the box– it will vary by brand). Drain the water and rinse the noodles under cold water to stop the cooking.
- Lightly grease a 9×13-inch pan with olive oil or butter. Add 1/5 of the sauce (about ½ cup) to the bottom of the pan and spread it out so the bottom is fully covered.
- Next, add a layer of noodles, making sure not to overlap them too much. Spread 1/4 of the cheese mixture over the noodles.
- Top with another 1/5 of sauce, followed by lasagna noodles, and 1/4 of the cheese.
- Repeat steps 5-6 again twice– this time you should have used up all of the noodles and cheese!
- Top with the remaining sauce and then sprinkle over 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
- Cover your dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle the top with fresh chopped parsley or basil and enjoy.
Tips & Notes
- Don’t skip the fresh herbs! Chopping up fresh herbs (like fresh parsley or basil) and sprinkling them on top of the lasagna elevate every piece of lasagna.