Skip to content

Cheesy Lasagna Recipe

  • 20 min read

The best way to get your family excited about eating well and cooking healthy meals together is by creating delicious homemade food that everyone will love.

When you’re trying to create something new in the kitchen, there are some things to consider when making a lasagna.

This includes whether or not to precook the lasagna noodles, how much time each layer needs, what kinds of ingredients work best as an ingredient in this type of dish, and so on.

What Kind Of Cheese Should I Use For My Lasagna Recipe?

There are several different types of cheeses that can be used in a lasagna recipe.

The most popular ones include ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and cheddar.

If you want to make sure that your lasagna tastes good, it’s important to choose the right one.

Here’s more information to help you decide which kind of cheese works best for your lasagna recipe.

  • Ricotta has a mild flavor that doesn’t overpower other flavors in the dish. It also melts easily at room temperature, which keeps it from drying out even after being cooked. Ricotta is great because it only takes 20 minutes to prepare, but its bland taste makes it perfect for any sort of savory dishes.
  • Mozzarella is another common option for making lasagnas. Its melting point isn’t quite as high as that of ricotta, but it still gives off enough heat to keep the pasta warm while it cooks. Mozzarella is usually used in combination with other ingredients such as tomatoes, spinach, or pepperoni to add flavor. It may take longer than ricotta to cook, but once it does, it leaves behind little bits of melted cheese that are very tasty.
  • Parmesan is similar to mozzarella, although it tends to have slightly stronger and sharper flavors. You can find parmesan in both shredded and grated forms. Shredded parmesan is commonly found in Italian recipes, whereas grated parmesan is typically used in Mexican-style dishes.
  • Cheddar is probably the most versatile and popular choice for lasagna lovers. Cheddar comes in many delicious varieties including sharp, extra sharp, yellow, white, and blue.
  • If you’d like to add a crunchy element to your lasagna, try using feta instead of regular cheddar. Feta is often sold in blocks rather than shredded, which means it’s less likely to crumble into tiny pieces.
  • Another alternative to regular cheddar is goat cheese. Goat cheese is made mostly from milk and sometimes contains herbs, spices, or other seasonings. Some people think that goat cheese is better suited for baking than others since it’s higher in fat content. However, if you prefer a creamy texture, then go ahead and use it!

With all these options available, you might wonder why someone would ever pick one over the rest.

To answer that question, let’s look at their differences side by side.

Cost

One thing that sets apart the different types of cheese besides their appearance and taste is cost.

Cheesy foods tend to be cheaper than non-cheese alternatives, especially when you buy them pre-made.

For example, buying fresh ricotta costs around $4 per pound (0.5 kg), whereas dried ricotta costs just under $1 per pound (0.5 kg).

A single block of mozzarella can cost anywhere between $6 and $10 per pound (0.5–1kg) depending on where you shop.

Freshly baked cheddar costs around $15 per pound (0.5 kg), whereas freshly baked parmesan costs closer to $20 per pound (0.5 kg).

Even though they’re pricier, however, fresh versions of those products generally melt faster and don’t dry out as quickly as their packaged counterparts.

Texture

All of the above cheeses are pretty soft and pliable, but they differ in terms of how easy it is to work with them.

For instance, ricotta is fairly runny compared to mozzarella, which is denser.

Parmezan is extremely dense, almost crumbly, and hard to cut up without crumbling into small pieces.

These textures mean that you need to know exactly how long to bake each part of the lasagna to ensure that everything gets properly heated.

Otherwise, it could end up tasting mushy or unbalanced.

Cheeses that come in shreds or cubes are easier to handle than those that come in whole blocks, but you do lose out on the benefit of having big chunks of cheese melt throughout the entire dish.

So, if you’re looking to make a large quantity of lasagna, you’ll want to opt for a softer cheese.

Appearance

Some cheeses are naturally pale or ivory colored, whereas others turn darker during the aging process.

This change in color happens slowly over time, and so it’s possible to store aged cheeses for years without losing too much of their original quality.

When choosing a particular type of cheese for your lasagna, check the date code printed somewhere on the package to see how old it actually is.

Freshness matters too, especially if you plan on storing the cheese for months at a time.

In general, the older the cheese gets, the harder it becomes to slice cleanly and the shorter its shelf life will be.

On top of that, it won’t melt nearly as fast either.

Should I Precook The Lasagna Noodles Before Assembling The Dish?

Precooking the lasagna noodles is up to you.

You don’t have to do it if you want, but it does give you more options when planning out your meal.

If you decide to cook them ahead of time, keep these tips in mind:

  • You won’t need to worry about overcooking them because they’ll be done just right after assembly.
  • If you bake them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 Celsius) for 15 minutes, then let them cool completely, they’ll become crispy without losing their texture.
  • Don’t prep the noodles until the day before you plan to assemble the lasagna. The longer you wait, the better the flavor will be!
  • Cooked pasta doesn’t hold its shape very well, since it has little protein left from being cooked. So, try to prepare everything else first, like meatballs or chicken parmesan, and then add the noodles last.

If you choose not to precook your noodles, here are other ways to speed up the process:

  • Use frozen noodles instead of fresh ones.
  • Bake the lasagna in a shallow pan instead of a deep baking dish, which allows the noodles to brown faster while still maintaining their crispiness.

Other types of cheeses besides mozzarella

Mozzarella isn’t the only option when it comes to adding creaminess to your lasagna.

There are many different varieties of cheddar cheese available today, including blue cheese, sharp white cheddar, and even smoked Gouda.

These cheeses all have unique flavors and textures that may complement one another perfectly.

For example, blue cheese would pair nicely with red wine, whereas mild cheddars might go great with garlic-infused olive oil.

How Can I Make A Cheese Sauce For My Lasagna?

A great way to add flavor and variety to any meal is through using different types of cheeses.

A creamy cheese sauce works perfectly with a hearty meat-based lasagna like this one, which contains ground beef, Italian sausage, ricotta, and Parmesan.

To create the perfect creaminess from the cheese sauce, it helps if all of the ingredients are at room temperature.

To keep them cool enough during preparation, put them in the refrigerator beforehand.

If you don’t have access to fresh milk and other dairy products, try substituting powdered buttermilk or even full fat yogurt instead.

  • In a medium pot over medium heat, melt butter until browned and slightly bubbly. Add flour and stir constantly until combined and smooth. Cook 1 minute longer.
  • Add warm water to the pan and whisk continuously until thickened. Once thickened, remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine ricotta with half of the parmesan, mozzarella, and eggs. Mix thoroughly.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 Celsius).
  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile, take out the remaining half of the parmesan and mix into the melted butter mixture along with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return it to the pot. Toss with butter/sauce mixture and pour onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake 15 minutes, then top with another layer of pasta, followed by more mozzarella.
  • Repeat steps 4 – 6 two additional times. Bake 20 minutes total. Remove from oven and allow to sit 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

What kind of lasagne do you need to make?

You may be wondering what kind of lasagna you will need to make this dish.

The answer is simple.

You just need three layers of baked pasta sheets, topped off with a fourth layer of pasta.

Each layer must contain cheese, though you can swap out some of the varieties depending on what you prefer.

If you want to go super fancy, you could use four or five layers of pasta.

How Long Should I Bake My Lasagna For?

This depends entirely upon the size of your lasagna pan, the thickness of your noodles, and the amount of layers you want in it.

You may also need to adjust the baking times depending on if you are using fresh or frozen pasta (we recommend freezing).

Here’s a basic guide to help you decide:

  • If you have a 9 x 13-inch rectangular pan, cook for approximately 35 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness. For example, a 6-layer lasagna would take approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes to bake.
  • If you have a 10 x 15-inch square pan, cook for approximately 45 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness. A 5-layer lasagna would require 2 hours and 20 minutes to be baked.
  • A 12 x 18-inch round pan will cook for 50 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness. A 10-layer lasagna would require 4 hours and 25 minutes to bake.
  • For a 9 x 13-inch pan, cook for 65 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness. A 6-layer lasagna will take just over 3 hours to bake.
  • For a 10 x 15-inch square pan, cook for 75 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness. A 7-layer lasagna will take nearly two hours to complete.
  • A 12 x 18-inch round pan requires 80 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness. An 8-layer lasagna will take almost four hours to bake.

Once you know which type of pan you will use, check out our other articles on choosing the right oven rack position and selecting the perfect baking sheet for different types of foods.

What Temperature Should I Bake My Lasagna At?

If you want a creamy cheese sauce, then it’s important to keep the oven temperature down low enough so that the cheese doesn’t burn.

However, if you want more flavor from the other ingredients (like tomatoes) you may want to increase the heat slightly to allow those flavors to cook out.

Generally speaking, if you don’t want the pasta to become soggy, you’ll need to be careful with how high you set the temperature.

For instance, you could try baking the lasagna at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes per layer, but you might have issues with the bottom layers becoming mushy because they were cooked too quickly.

Microwave Lasagna Recipe

  • Spaghetti squash instead of noodles!
  • A “lasagna box” to make individual servings easier
  • Easy garlic bread recipe using a microwave baguette

Bake Your Lasagna at 350 F

One easy way to ensure that all of the ingredients cook evenly is to use a convection oven.

You’ll also find that you won’t have to worry about the top getting burned because the middle cooks fast while retaining its shape.

On average, most home chefs prefer to use a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven setting during the first few minutes of baking.

After that point, the temperature drops off until it reaches room temperature.

That said, you should still watch your lasagna carefully after the initial 15 minutes of baking.

You shouldn’t expect to see browning around the edges unless you plan on serving it immediately after baking.

If you do choose to leave it longer than 30 minutes, remember to check every five minutes after that.

What Kind Of Meat Can I Add To My Lasagna Recipe?

There are many different meats that go well in a lasagna.

You could make one out of any variety of protein-based foods like chicken, turkey, pork, fish, or even vegetarian proteins such as tofu.

The choice is entirely up to you.

It all depends on what you want to serve and what your family enjoys most.

For example, if you have children who enjoy seafood, then maybe shrimp would be more appropriate than other types of meat because they don’t contain cholesterol.

If you’re serving adults only, then you may choose to use whatever you prefer, since they won’t notice the difference anyway.

You may also decide to do away with traditional pasta altogether and instead opt for using whole grain quinoa flour, brown rice flour, cornmeal, lentils, tapioca starch, buckwheat, and/or oatmeal to create a gluten free lasagna.

All these options are great substitutes for regular pasta, but you’ll still need to follow standard baking instructions.

For instance, you’d need to preheat your oven according to its recommended setting.

If you really want to take your lasagna game to the next level, you might try making it vegan by replacing animal products with plant-based alternatives like soy milk, coconut oil, cashews, sunflower seeds, and nut milks.

How to cook lasagna noodles

To ensure that your lasagna has good flavor and texture, you must first prepare the noodles.

To start, boil them in salted water until tender (about 5 minutes).

Then, set aside and let cool completely.

Next, lay out a clean bed sheet (you’ll need 8 sheets) and cover it with parchment paper.

Place the cooled noodles onto the parchment paper, leaving enough space between each noodle to allow sauce to flow through without sticking to them.

Cover the top with another sheet of parchment paper and roll tightly into a log shape.

Repeat this process for every layer of noodles.

Once you’ve rolled the lasagna noodles, place them inside a large bowl filled halfway with ice.

Then, pour hot water over the noodles until they become soft.

Let stand for 10 minutes, and repeat the process again.

This helps to keep the noodles from overcooking while allowing them to absorb moisture better.

Should I Drain The Fat Off The Ground Beef Before Adding It To The Lasagna?

You should always remove excess fat from all types of meats prior to using them in recipes because fats have a tendency to burn more easily than other nutrients like protein and carbohydrates do.

When fats burn, they produce heat, which could alter flavor.

It also has the potential to cause dryness if you don’t remove the fat properly.

If you want to make sure your lasagna doesn’t end up tasting greasy, try draining most of the grease off ground chuck (or any other cut of meat) before placing it into the oven.

You may need to use paper towels to absorb whatever moisture remains.

If you prefer to cook your lasagna without removing the fat first, then go ahead and proceed with the instructions below.

For even better results, you might want to invest in a food dehydrator, which can help you quickly turn lean cuts of meat into flavorful and tender jerky.

These devices allow you to speed up the drying process while still producing high-quality products.

Tips for prepping ground beef

  • Wash hands thoroughly after touching raw meat.
  • Don’t wear rings or jewelry made out of metal while handling ground beef.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing while preparing ground beef.
  • Use plastic gloves whenever possible.
  • Always keep cooked meat covered until ready to serve.
  • Keep uncooked meat refrigerated at 40 degrees F (4 C).
  • Cook ground beef to 160 F (71 C), or 165 F (74 C)
  • Ground beef must be cooked through to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Remove all visible bits of fat once the beef is thawed.

What Vegetables Can I Add To My Lasagna Recipe?

One of the most important parts of a good lasagna recipe is choosing the right kind of pasta.

The noodles should be able to hold up under the weight of the sauce, cheese, and meat mixture.

When you choose the correct brand of pasta, you’ll have no problems with sticking issues.

There are lots of different types of pasta available at grocery stores these days, but the two main ones used in lasagna recipes are fettuccine and penne rigate (or “ribboned”).

These pastas are made from semolina flour and water, which makes them more durable than other varieties of pasta.

You can also use any other short pasta shape like elbow macaroni, rotini, shells, or even spiral ziti if they feel sturdy enough.

If you don’t want to use pre-made noodles, you may opt to cut fresh noodles into small pieces yourself instead.

Another thing to keep in mind when deciding which veggies you want to include in your lasagna is their texture.

Some foods are better suited for specific layers within a lasagna.

For example, leafy greens tend to break down easily, so they won’t last very long once cooked.

On the flip side, root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and sweet potato tend to stay firm after being boiled or steamed.

If you plan on using one vegetable in multiple places throughout the lasagna, try to pick something that has similar properties to those already mentioned above.

If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some ideas for adding veggies to your lasagna recipe:

  • Carrots, shredded or cubed
  • Rutabagas, peeled and diced
  • Potatoes, sliced or chopped
  • Broccoli florets
  • Fresh spinach leaves
  • Leafy greens, such as kale, chard, collards, beet greens, etc.
  • Zucchini slices
  • Cauliflower florets
  • Green beans, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • Tomato wedges
  • Mushrooms, sliced or quartered
  • Beets, peeled and grated
  • Turnips, peeled and grated

Other tips for making lasagna

Once you decide on the perfect combination of ingredients, you need to figure out how many servings you’ll need.

Lasagna usually serves six people per serving, although the number depends entirely on the size of your pan.

To calculate how large of a pan you need, just multiply the thickness of the lasagna sheets times the width of the pan.

So, let’s say you’ve decided to bake this lasagna in a 9×13 inch casserole dish.

You would then need at least four sheets of pasta per person.

To help you visualize this, imagine cutting eight strips of pasta across the width of the dish.

Then, divide the total amount of pasta needed by the number of servings you plan to serve.

In our case, we’d need 32 strips of pasta, which equals 16 servings of lasagna!

How Can I Make A Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe?

If you don’t eat meat but want to include it into your meal plans, then this recipe is perfect for you! You have two options here:

  • You can try using vegetable-based cheese instead of dairy cheese—this works great if you don’t consume any animal products at all.
  • Or you can just skip the cheese altogether and use eggplant instead for added protein and nutrients.

Either way, you’ll need these basic items to complete this tasty lasagna recipe:

  • 1 pound fresh spinach leaves (about 3 medium bunches)
  • 3 cups ricotta cheese (or alternative)
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 cups grated Parmesan cheese (use non-dairy parmesan substitute if needed)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 8 oz (227g) pasta sheets (lasagna noodle size)
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely

First, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190°C).

Next, cook pasta according to package instructions.

While waiting for the water to boil, remove stems from the spinach and chop the leaves roughly.

Once cooked, drain excess water and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the spinach with the rest of the ingredients except the pasta sheets.

Now, pour 1/2 cup of the sauce over the bottom of a 9×13 pan.

Add one layer of pasta sheets, followed by half of the sauce mixture.

Repeat this process until you run out of pasta sheets or sauce.

Top off the final layer with the remaining 1/2 cup of sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before baking for 30 minutes.

10

What’s important to remember here is that if you go too far away from traditional lasagna recipes, it may be hard to get back to those simple flavors again.

If you try to add more layers, use different ingredients, or do anything else out of the ordinary, you might end up losing sight of the original idea behind the dish.

To avoid getting lost down any rabbit holes, stick to the basics—and enjoy them! The following recipe for classic lasagna has been tested many times over at our site, and we think it does everything right.

There’s no need to experiment with other cheeses or sauces, because these two classics work just fine.

  • Classic pasta sheets (1-inch wide) – $0.99/sheet – Amazon
  • Béchamel sauce (for noodles only) – $3.49/16 oz – Walmart
  • Mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • Ground beef (lean ground beef)
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper
  • Italian seasoning (Italian herb blend)
  • Olive oil spray
  • Lasagna noodle sheets

Cheesy Lasagna Recipe

There are several different types of cheeses that can be used in a lasagna recipe. The most popular ones include ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and cheddar.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Cheesy Lasagna Recipe
Servings: 5
Calories: 1246kcal

Equipment

  • The Oven

Ingredients

  • 32 oz Ricotta Cheese Galbani
  • 16 oz Shredded Mozzarella Cheese Galbani
  • ½ cup Parmesan Cheese grated
  • 24 ounce spaghetti sauce Bertolli
  • 24 ounce Marinara Dell ‘Amore Traditional
  • 9 ounce box no boil lasagna noodles
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley minced
  • 1 Tablespoon basil
  • Italian seasoning

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine the ricotta, basil, parsley, parmesan, and half of the mozzarella.
  • In a 13 x 9 inch baking sheet, spread 1 cup of sauce (I like glass).
  • Over the sauce, layer 3 lasagna sheets, 14 of the cheese mixture, and 1 cup of sauce.
  • 3 more layers of lasagna, 1/4 cheese mixture, and sauce should be added (the final layer should only have 1/2 cup sauce).
  • Top with the final 12 cup of sauce and another layer of lasagna.
  • For 45 to 60 minutes, bake a cover made of foil (less time if using glass pan).
  • Remove the foil, add the remaining mozzarella cheese, and top with Italian spice. Bake uncovered for an additional 5–10 minutes.
  • Take out of the oven, then wait for about 15 minutes.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 1246kcal | Carbohydrates: 149g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 173mg | Sodium: 908mg | Potassium: 409mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 54g | Vitamin A: 1781IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 938mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Follow me