Best Lasagna with Meat Sauce Recipe

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This lasagna is made with a delicious and rich meat sauce for an easy, traditional and comforting main meal. This Italian layered pasta dish is loaded with flavor and only takes 20 minute prep time. Perfect for a weeknight meal and fancy enough to serve to guests.

 Lasagna with Meat Sauce being lifted out of a white dish

I honestly don’t think there’s a better comfort food than a cheesy lasagna layered with a rich and flavorsome meat sauce. It’s so hearty and filling and it’s a dish the whole family will love!

How to Make The Best Lasagna with Meat Sauce

  • Heat oven to 350°F and adjust oven rack to middle position. Spray a 9×13-inch casserole or lasagna pan with nonstick cooking spray.

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • In a large Dutch oven set over medium heat, cook the beef and sausage until no pink remains. Strain the cooked meat and set it aside (in a separate bowl) for later.
  • Return the Dutch oven to the stovetop and heat the oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent and has softened. Add garlic, stir and cook an additional 30 seconds.
  • Add tomatoes and tomato puree, stir and reduce heat to medium-low.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar and hot water – stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the sugar water to the tomato mixture and stir well.
  • Add salt, black pepper, parsley, oregano and basil. Stir well.
  • Add the cooked meat mixture and cook 15 minutes or until sauce is hot and has thickened a little.

FOR THE CHEESE AND PASTA:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together Ricotta, egg, basil and ½ cup Parmesan.

TO ASSEMBLE THE LASAGNA WITH MEAT SAUCE AND CHEESE:

  • Pour ¼ cup meat sauce into the prepared baking dish and spread it over the entire bottom surface.
  • Place 3 to 3½ noodles, side-by-side, across the top of the sauce and slightly press the noodles into the sauce.
  • Place 1-teaspoon-dollops, about 2 inches apart, of the Ricotta mixture over the noodles.
  • Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese evenly over the Ricotta layer.
  • Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the Mozzarella layer.
  • Pour 1½ cups sauce evenly over the Parmesan layer.
  • REPEAT the process, beginning with the noodle layer, 2 more times.
  • For the top layer, place 3 noodles on top, spread with the remaining sauce, and sprinkle with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
  • Spray a piece of aluminum foil (large enough to cover the lasagna) with nonstick cooking spray and cover the lasagna.
  • Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, then remove the foil. Continue cooking the lasagna 30-45 minutes or until the cheese is toasty brown in spots and the lasagna is bubbling and gorgeous.
  • Transfer lasagna to a cooling rack and cool 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Top shot of a baked Lasagna with Meat Sauce

Baked lasagna garnished with fresh herbs

Can you make lasagna ahead of time?

Lasagna with meat sauce is a great dish for meal prep and make ahead meals, and you have several options:

  • Assemble and bake the lasagna, let it cool to room temperature, cover and place in the fridge. It will keep well for around three days.
  • You can freeze the baked lasagna and it will keep for several months. Wrap the whole dish in plastic wrap and foil and place in a freezer bag. Thaw the dish in the fridge over night and reheat in the oven. Here are some more tips for freezing meals.
  • You can assemble the lasagna the day before and keep covered in the fridge to bake the next day.

Why is this the best lasagna recipe?

This lasagna recipe is incredibly cheesy, as any lasagna should be. Just like the traditional Italian recipe, ricotta cheese is layered with the meat sauce, rather than béchamel which is often used. The meat sauce is incredibly rich, but it doesn’t take hours of cooking to achieve the flavor, so it’s great for a weeknight meal.

A shot showing the layers of pasta

Close up of layers of pasta and meat sauce

What to serve with lasagna

This pasta dish is honestly pretty perfect on it’s own, but I do like to serve it with a simple side salad, vegetables or garlic bread. Any of these side dishes will be perfect to serve alongside this lasagna with meat sauce:

Lasagna served on a blue plate

The pasta served with a side salad

Top tips for making the Best Lasagna with Meat Sauce Recipe

  • Use the freshest ingredients and whole milk rather than light cheeses for the most flavorful dish.
  • Be sure to spray your dish with cooking oil so for easy removal.
  • Cook the lasagna in a pre-heated oven for the best results.
  • Let it cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.
  • Keep any leftovers covered in the fridge for up to three days and reheat in the oven.

A square of Lasagna with Meat Sauce served on a dark blue plate

Be sure to check out these other pasta recipes:

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Becky Hardin
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