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This easy lasagna recipe is called the World’s Best Lasagna for a reason! A classic pasta made with layers of lasagna noodles, hearty meat sauce, creamy ricotta, and mozzarella cheese baked to hot, gooey deliciousness. This no-fail homemade lasagna always wins rave reviews!
Looking for a gluten free option? Try this simple Gluten Free Lasagna recipe!
Easy Homemade Lasagna
I am not Italian. At all. But I love Italy, and Italian food. And I grew up in New Jersey, definitely an epicenter of Italian-American cooking with pizzerias and Italian restaurants on every corner.
So when I have to make a large amount of something, I often fall back on baked ziti, or stuffed shells, or this easy lasagna recipe created by John Chandler on Allrecipes (with my changes as I note below).
Is this the World’s Best Lasagna?
It’s called the World’s Best Lasagna. While I can’t verify that the research was actually done to make this claim, it is definitely the best homemade lasagna I’ve ever made. And have I made it. Many, many times.
I brought it to for a woman in my former mom’s group who had just had her third baby. I’ve made it for my dad to eat while he was babysitting my big guy when he was just a toddler because they both love it. We have made two of them for big family parties.
And trust me, always make two. It’s not much more work and it freezes and reheats beautifully!
If you read all of my tips, check out the process shots, and watch the short video, you’ll see that it is truly an easy lasagna recipe. And once you taste it, you’ll know that all the effort is worth it.
What Makes this Easy Lasagna Recipe So Good?
Seriously, it’s all about the sauce. There is nothing like it. It’s hearty and meaty with tons of tomato flavor and the perfect amount of herbs. And it is so flavorful because it is made with both beef and sausage.
Then when it is layered with noodles and three kinds of cheese, it all comes together into the perfect bite of hot, cheesy, meaty, saucy deliciousness.
But don’t just take my word for it. Everyone goes crazy for it
What people have said about this recipe
“I’ve made this many times and it really is the best lasagna recipe I’ve ever made. Its my son’s favorite!”
“Delicious!! Meat sauce is the absolute BEST!!. I let it simmer for two hours. It turned out great. I will definitely add this to my dinner rotation. Thanks for the awesome recipe Brianne!”
“Outstanding recipe! The sauce alone is one of the best I’ve had. I use San Marzano tomatoes and simmer it for 3 hours. Thanks so much for sharing this great Italian classic!”
“I JUST made this, and it was actually the best lasagna ever. It was my first time making lasagna, and I am blown away by how well it turned out. I served it with fresh garlic bread. Thank you so much for this recipe!”
Here is a brief overview so you can see just how easy it is to make. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full quantities and details.
But don’t skip my PRO TIPS below!
Since it is so good, I have no need to make any major changes to the original ingredients. But I do make a few tweaks:
- Sweet Italian turkey or pork sausage – I always use turkey sausage
- Ground beef
- Canned crushed tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Canned tomato sauce
- Sugar (optional – I usually leave this out)
- Dried basil leaves
- Fennel seeds (optional – I usually leave these out)
- Italian seasoning
- Salt & Pepper
- Fresh parsley
- Lasagna noodles (regular or no cook. I usually use no cook noodles. If you need to make this gluten free, use Barilla No Boil Gluten Free Lasagna Sheets)
- Ricotta cheese
- Egg – The egg serves as a binder to make the ricotta firmer. It also adds protein.
- Mozzarella cheese
- Grated Parmesan cheese
How to Make Lasagna
Though I mentioned that it does take a bit of time, most of that time is waiting for the sauce to simmer or the homemade lasagna to bake in the oven. There are really only a few simple steps I note here. You can find all the details in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. Here is an overview with photos showing how to make this easy lasagna recipe:
- Combine sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic in a large pot over medium heat.
- Stir and cook until cooked through and browned.
- Add the remaining sauce ingredients.
- Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and let it cook for at least 1 1/2 hours. Note: If you are using regular lasagna noodles, while it simmers cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.
- Make the ricotta mixture and shred the mozzarella cheese.
- Layer sauce, noodles, ricotta cheese mixture, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. Keep reading for the details about how to layer lasagna.
- Cover with foil and bake at 375°F.
- Let cool slightly before serving.
Layering the Lasagna
In the World’s Best Lasagna, I like to have three layers of pasta with two layers of the three kinds of cheese. Sauce covers the bottom of the pan and the top of the lasagna, and it is finished with a final sprinkle of mozzarella and Parmesan.
The correct order to layer lasagna:
- Layer sauce on the bottom of the pan.
- Top with noodles.
- Top with ricotta cheese mixture.
- Sprinkle on mozzarella cheese.
- Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese.
- Add more sauce.
- Repeat layers starting with another layer of noodles.
- Spread on the rest of the ricotta.
- Sprinkle on more mozzarella.
- Add more Parmesan
- Layer on more sauce.
- A final top layer of noodles, sauce, and the rest of the Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese.
How Many Layers Should Lasagna Have?
You need at least 2 layers to make a proper homemade lasagna. You can certainly have more but 2 is the minimum. In the photos above I have made this lasagna with 3 layers.
Tips for the Best Lasagna
- I use turkey sausage instead of Italian sausage made with pork.
- I also add a little less salt and sugar in the pasta sauce.
- BRIANNE’S PRO TIP: I use no-boil noodles. They make the layering easier, and absorb some of the excess moisture, creating nice slices.
- BRIANNE’S PRO TIP: Make the sauce a day or two before, especially a day where you have time to just let it simmer for as long as possible. Then give it time for the flavors to blend together and develop in the fridge overnight. This also saves time the day you plan to assemble, bake, and serve the lasagna.
- Make two. Trust me. I’ll tell you below how to freeze it before or after you bake it.
- And here is a reader tip – “One tip I learned years ago when using regular noodles is to boil some water, pour them over your noodles & let them sit in a pan for an hour or so. No more broken noodles.”
Can I Make Lasagna in Advance?
Yes, you have a few options to make this recipe ahead of time.
- Prepare the sauce and keep it in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to layer and bake the lasagna. In fact, I think the sauce is even better when made at least a day in advance.
- Prepare the entire lasagna but don’t bake it. Then store it in the refrigerator or freezer. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator, then, in either case, bring it to room temperature before baking.
- Prepare and bake it. If you do this, I’d suggest only baking for the first 25 minutes. You can then bring it to room temperature and complete the baking process uncovered for about 30-35 minutes.
What Goes With This Easy Lasagna Recipe?
Here are a few of my favorite sides to serve with homemade lasagna:
A slight adaptation of the All Recipes lasagna that is a tried and true all-time favorite. It’s got the layers of pasta, meaty sauce, creamy ricotta, and gooey mozzarella cheese that you know and love. But there’s just something about this sauce that makes this recipe so amazing. Everyone goes crazy for it!
I hope you’ll leave a comment and give it a FIVE STAR rating or share a review on Pinterest or photo on Instagram!
Tag me @cupcakekalechip and use #cupcakesandkalechips!
World’s Best Lasagna
- 1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage
- 3/4 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- two 6 ounce cans tomato paste
- two 6.5 ounce cans canned tomato sauce (or one 15 oz. can)
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons sugar (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
- 12 lasagna noodles, regular or no cook. I usually use no cook noodles.
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until cooked through and browned.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water, and stir everything together.
- Add sugar, basil, fennel seeds (if using), Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, and 2 Tablespoons parsley, and stir to combine.
- Simmer, covered, for at least 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. I usually try to simmer for as long as possible.
- If using regular lasagna noodles, cook according to package instructions and drain.
- In a bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, egg, remaining parsley, and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- To layer the lasagna, spread 1½ cups of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange a single layer of noodles over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
- Spoon another 1½ cups meat sauce over the cheese.
- Add another layer of noodles, the rest of the ricotta mixture, half of the remaining mozzarella, and another 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Add another layer of 1 1/2 cups of sauce and a final layer of noodles.
- Top with another 1 1/2 cups sauce and the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes.
- Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
More pasta recipes to try:
- Eggplant Parmigiana Pasta Casserole
- Italian Pasta Casserole
- Two-Cheese Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese
- Baked Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce and Chicken Sausage
- Classic Beefaroni
More ways to enjoy lasagna