Classic easy meat lasagna is the ultimate Italian comfort food that we all know and love. Layers of tender lasagna, meaty tomato sauce, a creamy cheese filling, with extra melted cheese on top, and a perfect, crispy crackly crust. It’s super easy to make this delicious and comforting meal, can be make it ahead of time, and freezes beautifully.
Taking a bite into a classic lasagna just hits the spot, every single time. It’s the definition of pure comfort food. That gooey cheese, those lasagna noodles, and that hearty meat sauce. So so good. We are all about the comfort foods this year. Some of my other favourite comfort foods to try are easy chicken parmesan, classic baked mac and cheese, and lemon chicken orzo soup.
WHAT ARE IN THE LAYERS OF MEAT LASAGNA?
- lasagna layer – lasagna noodles boiled in olive oil and salt.
- meat sauce layer – olive oil, ground beef, onion. garlic, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and parsley.
- cheese layer – ricotta cheese. mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley, salt.
- shredded cheese layer on top – mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
- In addition to these ingredients, you will also need a large pot, medium bowl, and a 9×13 baking pan.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST EASY MEAT LASAGNA
- 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, ¼ cup Parmesan, beaten egg, and parsley. Stir well to combine together.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE AND LAYER LASAGNA
Assembling a lasagna is quite easy and just involves layering the lasagna noodles, meat sauce, and cheese mixture. Then, sprinkling shredded cheese on top. The order to layer the lasagna is as follows:
- Sauce: Evenly spread 1 cup of the meat sauce in a 9×13 baking pan.
- Noodles: Place 3 lasagna noodles evenly apart over the meat sauce.
- Cheese: Spread ½ of the cheese mixture evenly over the noodles.
- Sauce: Spread ½ 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.
HOW TO BAKE LASAGNA
First, 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. Then, bake in two steps (possibly three):
- Bake the lasagna covered for 45 minutes in a preheated 375 F oven.
- 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.
Let the lasagna cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve this lasagna alongside some pull apart garlic bread, no knead tomato focaccia or rosemary garlic focaccia bread.
HOW TO MAKE AHEAD AND STORE LASAGNA
- How to store before baking: Store assembled uncooked lasagna in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, covered in foil.
- How to store after baking: Store in the pan, sealed with 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 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 tin 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 minutes, or in the microwave for a few minutes.