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How to Make Lasagna

Lasagna is an epically delicious meal! Learn how to make it so you don’t have to wait to order it in a restaurant or settle for the frozen variety.

It takes a bit of work for it all to come together, but homemade lasagna is so worth it! Plus, you can take a couple shortcuts, if you wish.

Skillet Lasagna Photo

How to Make Lasagna

Select your cheeses. Ricotta is traditionally used for lasagna, along with mozzarella, Parmesan, and sometimes even Romano.

Some people swear by making lasagna with cottage cheese, but this Italian editor has never tried it. Whatever you use, make sure you drain any excess liquid, so it doesn’t make your lasagna soggy.

Prepare your meat, if using. Try ground beef, ground sausage, ground turkey, chicken or a combination.

Brown the meat and drain any liquid before adding it to your lasagna.

If you’re making vegetable lasagna, cook and drain your veggies before including them.

Make at least three quarts of tomato sauce. Or, you can take a shortcut and buy it.

Skillet Lasagna Picture

Boil vs. No-Boil Lasagna Noodles

If you’re looking for convenience and don’t mind thinner, softer lasagna noodles, go ahead and use no-boil noodles. As the name implies, you don’t need to boil them first. Just layer them right out the package, and they’ll cook in the oven as the lasagna bakes.

If you prefer thicker, firmer lasagna noodles, use with the kind that need to be boiled first. You can add a bit of olive oil to your pot while cooking them, so they won’t stick together.

To keep the lasagna noodles al dente, boil them for just under half the time listed on the package. They’ll finish cooking in the oven.

Ina Garten Lasagna Image

How to Layer the Perfect Lasagna

The key to layering lasagna is to alternate the direction of the noodles in each layer. Start by ladling some sauce along the bottom of your 9×13 pan.

Then, add lasagna noodles the long way across your pan, cutting up extra noodles to fill any gaps. Top the noodles with your cheese, meat and more sauce.

For the next layer, cut your lasagna noodles in half with kitchen shears and layer the noodles the short way. Spread on your cheeses, meat and top with more sauce.

Continue with a layer of noodles the long way. Add your cheeses, meat and more sauce.

Finally, top the lasagna with noodles the short way. Sprinkle on some Parmesan and ladle on more sauce.

Ina Garten Lasagna Pic

How Many Layers Should Lasagna Have?

This Italian editor prefers thick, traditional lasagna will three filled layers, plus a layer of lasagna noodles on top. If you want to be more conservative, you can go with two filled layers, topped with another layer of noodles.

How Long to Bake Lasagna

Bake your lasagna at 350 degrees F. For thick lasagna with three full layers, it will take an hour and 10 minutes.

For thinner lasagna, check it after 50 minutes. It’s done when it’s heated through.

Let the lasagna rest for 10 minutes before cutting it, so all the cheese doesn’t ooze out.

Gluten Free Lasagna Picture

Should You Bake Lasagna Covered?

You’ll need to cover your lasagna with foil before baking it. To prevent sticking, grease the foil with cooking spray first, then place the greased side down over the lasagna.

If you want your lasagna extra browned, you can remove the foil during the last 15 minutes of baking.

Eggplant Lasagna Image

Making Lasagna Ahead of Time

You have a few options for making lasagna ahead of time.

  • You can make and bake it the day before, then warm it up to serve it. Cooked lasagna can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days.
  • You can assemble the lasagna up to two days before, then bake it.
  • You can assemble the lasagna and freeze it without baking it first. Thaw the lasagna overnight in the refrigerator before baking it.
  • You can freeze cooked lasagna and reheat it.
Skillet Meatball Lasagna Picture

What to Serve with Lasagna

Lasagna is very filling, so you don’t need many side dishes. Serve it with a salad with Olive Garden Dressing.

Choose an easy dessert, and you’re all set!