Easy Cheesy Meat Lasagna

from 1 votes

Get ready for the best homemade lasagna recipe! This classic Italian dish stars layers of tender noodles, rich meat tomato sauce and a creamy ricotta cheese mixture. Serve it alongside a crisp wedge salad and cheesy garlic bread for the ultimate family-friendly dinner.

A wooden spatula lifts a slice of lasagna out of a baking dish.

Are you craving a warm, comforting meal that’s perfect for any occasion? Look no further than this easy cheesy meat lasagna recipe! With layers of tender pasta, hearty meat sauce, and creamy cheese, this classic dish is the epitome of comfort food perfection. 

I’ve been using this recipe for more than 15 years, and it’s always been a crowd-pleaser. As a busy mom, I’m all about finding shortcuts without sacrificing flavor, which is why I love using a jar of marinara sauce in this recipe. Trust me, it’s just as delicious as any homemade lasagna you’ve ever tasted.

This cheesy meat lasagna is so easy to make, even if you’re not an experienced cook. Plus, it’s perfect for feeding a crowd or for meal prepping for the week ahead. It’s also a great recipe to get the kids involved in the kitchen, as they’ll love layering the pasta and cheese.

So what are you waiting for? Grab that jar of sauce off the shelf and get ready to indulge in a comforting and satisfying meal that’s sure to become a family favorite!

This Meat Lasagna Is:

  • Cheesy.
  • Hearty.
  • Made with just 12 simple ingredients.
  • Packed with flavor – loaded with ground beef and Italian sausage.
  • Freezer-friendly – stash individual portions in the freezer for quick and convenient meals on busy days; just thaw and reheat for a delicious homemade dinner in minutes.

Meal Prep Tip: Whip up a batch on the weekend and enjoy leftovers throughout the week. This meat lasagna reheats beautifully and tastes even better the next day.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Various sizes of clear bowls containing all of the ingredients needed to make lasagna, including ricotta cheese, diced onion, Parmesan cheese, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Italian sausage, ground beef, mozzarella cheese, lasagna noodles, an egg and fresh parsley.
  • Lasagna noodles: These are the foundation of your lasagna layers. Look for traditional lasagna noodles that require boiling before assembling the dish. Swap: If you prefer, you can use oven-ready lasagna noodles, but keep in mind they might absorb more liquid during baking, so you may need to adjust the amount of sauce.
  • Mozzarella cheese: Opt for a good-quality, whole-milk mozzarella cheese for optimum melty, cheesy goodness in every bite.
  • Ricotta cheese: Look for whole-milk ricotta cheese for the best texture and flavor. Swap: No ricotta? No problem! Cottage cheese works, too. And if you’re looking to add an extra touch of homemade love to your lasagna, swap in homemade ricotta!
  • Parmesan cheese: Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese for maximum flavor. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding a sprinkle of pecorino Romano cheese for an extra punch of saltiness. Don’t forget to reserve some of the Parm for serving!  
  • Egg: The egg binds the ricotta cheese mixture together, helping it to set and maintain its shape during baking. Tip: If you have an egg allergy or prefer to avoid eggs, you can omit the egg altogether. The ricotta mixture will still hold together, albeit with a slightly different texture.
  • Fresh parsley: Brightens up the dish and complements the richness of the cheese and meat sauce. Swap: If you don’t have fresh parsley on hand, you can substitute it with dried parsley. Dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor than fresh, so you’ll need to use less. I recommend starting with about half the amount and adjusting to taste. 
  • Ground beef and Italian sausage: This dynamic duo is my secret to an irresistibly flavorful lasagna. You can use either mild or spicy sausage. If you opt for using all ground beef, I recommend adding some Italian seasonings like dried oregano and basil, to infuse the meat with extra flavor. 
  • Yellow onion and garlic: These aromatic ingredients provide a flavorful base for the meat sauce.
  • Tomato paste: You’ll need just 2 tablespoons for this recipe. But don’t let the rest go to waste! Spoon out the remaining tomato paste in 1-tablespoon portions onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once frozen, stash in a freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer for future use. Don’t forget to label the bag so you know that each mound is a tablespoon. When you need tomato paste for another recipe, simply thaw and use as you normally would. 
  • Marinara sauce: While homemade marinara sauce is always a winner, I’m all for convenience, so don’t hesitate to use your favorite store-bought marinara sauce. (Rao’s Homemade Tomato Basil Sauce is my fave!)

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to Make Homemade Lasagna

Here’s how simple it is to whip up the best lasagna you’ll ever taste:

  1. Boil the lasagna noodles. Be sure not to overcook the lasagna noodles during boiling, as they will continue to cook in the oven. Cook them just until pliable according to the package instructions to avoid ending up with mushy noodles. 
  2. Prepare the cheese mixture. Reserve 2 cups of the shredded mozzarella cheese to sprinkle on top towards the end of baking.
  3. Make the meat sauce. Use a heavy-bottomed stock pot to brown the ground beef and Italian sausage. Then, add the onions, garlic, and tomato paste and cook, stirring as needed, until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the marinara sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
  1. Layer the lasagna. To prevent the noodles from sliding around while layering, spread a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish before adding the noodles. Spread ¾ cup of the ricotta cheese mixture atop the noodles then repeat the meat sauce, noodles and cheese layers two more times, ending with the meat sauce.

Kelly’s Note: Don’t stress about perfectly layering the lasagna. It’s okay if the layers aren’t perfectly even or if the noodles overlap slightly. Just aim for an even distribution of sauce, cheese, and noodles throughout.

  1. Cover with foil and bake. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and sprinkle the remaining shredded mozzarella cheese on top. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
  2. Rest before serving. Allowing the lasagna to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving allows the layers to set and makes it easier to cut into neat portions. This also helps prevent the lasagna from falling apart when serving.

Serve alongside Cheesy Pull-Apart Garlic Bread and Kale Caesar Salad for the ultimate dinner.

A white 9x13 baking dish containing homemade lasagna with a golden cheese crust next to a bowl containing a crisp green salad.

Recipe Tips

  • To prevent the noodles from sticking together after boiling, rinse them under cold water and lay them out on a clean kitchen towel or parchment paper until you’re ready to assemble the lasagna.
  • Use fresh ingredients whenever possible, especially the cheese. Freshly grated cheese will melt better and taste better than pre-shredded cheese.
  • Don’t skip the rest! Let it sit for 15-30 minutes before you even think about slicing into it. This gives the lasagna time to set and makes it easier to cut into neat portions. Plus, it’ll be way too hot if you try to eat it straight out of the oven. 
  • Consider adding some vegetables to your homemade lasagna for extra flavor and nutrition. Spinach, zucchini and eggplant are all great options.

How to Store

  • Refrigerate: If you have leftover lasagna, simply cover the baking dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator. It will keep well for 3 to 5 days.
  • Freeze: This lasagna freezes really well. Let it cool completely and store it tightly wrapped in plastic wrap plus a layer of foil in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat: You can reheat individual slices in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, or you can reheat the entire dish in the oven. If you’re reheating the entire dish, preheat the oven to 375°F, cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake for 30-40 minutes or until heated through. Remove the foil for the last 10-15 minutes to allow the cheese to brown and get bubbly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes, you can make this meat lasagna ahead of time. Assemble the lasagna according to the recipe instructions, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking. Alternatively, you can freeze the assembled but unbaked lasagna for longer storage. When ready to bake, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator if frozen, then bake as directed in the recipe below.

Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef in lasagna?

Yes, ground turkey can be used as a substitute for ground beef in lasagna. While ground beef is traditional and adds a rich flavor, ground turkey is a leaner option that can still provide great taste. Just be sure to season the ground turkey well with your favorite herbs and spices to enhance its flavor.

How do I know when the lasagna is done baking?

You’ll know the meat lasagna is done baking when the cheese on top turns golden and bubbly, forming a delicious crust, while the edges become lightly browned. Insert a knife into the center to check if the noodles are tender and fully cooked, with no resistance. Additionally, peek into the center to ensure the sauce is hot and bubbling. These visual and textural cues indicate that the lasagna has cooked evenly throughout and is ready to be served.

Bubbly, golden brown cheese crust atop a homemade meat lasagna.

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Main Course

Easy Cheesy Meat Lasagna

Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with this Easy Cheesy Meat Lasagna recipe! Packed with layers of savory meat tomato sauce, creamy cheese and tender noodles, it's the perfect dish for any occasion.
Author: Kelly Senyei
5 from 1 vote
A wooden spatula lifts a slice of lasagna out of a baking dish.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients 

  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 6 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese 
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving  
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley 
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (mild or spicy), casings removed
  • 1 cup diced yellow onions
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic 
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 (24-oz.) jars marinara sauce

Instructions 

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook just until pliable according to package directions. Drain the noodles and set them aside. (Do not stack them atop one another or they will stick together.)
  • In a large bowl, stir together 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg and parsley. Set the mixture aside.
  • Add the ground beef and Italian sausage to a large heavy-bottomed stock pot set over medium-high heat. Cook, breaking the meat apart with a spatula until it is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the onions, garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring as needed, until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the marinara sauce. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes then remove it from the heat.
  • Add 2 cups of the meat sauce to the bottom of a 13×9-inch baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on top. Spread ¾ cup of the ricotta cheese mixture atop the noodles then repeat the meat sauce, noodles and cheese layers two more times, ending with the meat sauce.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover the baking dish with foil.
  • Bake the lasagna, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the remaining 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese on top. Return the lasagna to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the cheese is golden and bubbling. (If desired, broil the lasagna 3 inches from the top broiler until the cheese is bubbling.)
  • Allow the lasagna to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving topped with additional grated Parmesan cheese.

Kelly’s Notes

  • Don’t skip the rest! Let it sit for 15-30 minutes before you even think about slicing into it. This gives the lasagna time to set and makes it easier to cut into neat portions. Plus, it’ll be way too hot if you try to eat it straight out of the oven. 
  • Refrigerate: If you have leftover lasagna, simply cover the baking dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator. It will keep well for 3 to 5 days.
  • Freeze: This lasagna freezes really well. Let it cool completely and store it tightly wrapped in plastic wrap plus a layer of foil in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat: You can reheat individual slices in the microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, or you can reheat the entire dish in the oven. If you’re reheating the entire dish, preheat the oven to 375°F, cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake for 30-40 minutes or until heated through. Remove the foil for the last 10-15 minutes to allow the cheese to brown and get bubbly.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
     

Nutrition

Calories: 976kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 57g, Fat: 63g, Saturated Fat: 30g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 22g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 218mg, Sodium: 1806mg, Potassium: 893mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 1550IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 772mg, Iron: 4mg

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  1. 5 stars
    This was OUTRAGEOUSLY good! I was worried lasagna would be too ambitious for me to make for my family dinner last night but boy am I glad I tried it. So easy and truly comforting!!