Skip to main content

Classic Italian Lasagna Your Family Will Love

Lasagna is one of those dishes that solves many menu problems and it is for this reason, I turn to lasagna when I think of easy foods. 

One of the rules I live by when planning meals is to make things easy for myself. That's especially true when I'm planning dinner for a crowd. This classic lasagna recipe for a crowd with easy-to-find ingredients is my go-to recipe.

My Classic Lasagna Recipe

(Affiliate links are in this post for your shopping convenience. When you make a purchase I will receive compensation.)

Traditional Italian Lasagna
Yummy Italian Lasagna

Are you feeling like you need hearty comfort food?  Comforting Italian-style lasagna with fresh herbs and spices served with a green salad, and warm garlic bread will certainly fit the bill.  Do you need to feed a group of family and friends this weekend?  Lasagna, a Caesar salad, and some flavorful focaccia bread will easily feed a large group.

Reasons to Love Classic Lasagna

First, this is the best classic lasagna recipe with ground beef and Italian sausage because it is tasty, simple, and uses easy-to-find ingredients.
Do you want to have a ready-to-go meal in your freezer for any occasion?  Lasagna is easily reheated in your oven and ready to go when paired with a Caprese salad and warm garlic bread. I love this enameled cast iron pan for my lasagna.  It works perfectly when I'm going from the freezer to the oven with my lasagna.  That's something I do all the time.

Classic lasagna is comforting and hearty. There's something about a classic lasagna that just screams comfort food. It's the perfect dish to warm you up on a chilly day or after a long day at work. With its layers of pasta, tomato sauce, cheese, and meat, it's sure to leave you feeling full and satisfied.

It's versatile. While this classic lasagna recipe includes ground beef and sausage, you can make it your own by using different meats or even veggies. Try adding some spinach, mushrooms, or zucchini to your lasagna for a tasty twist on the traditional recipe.

Lasagna is great for feeding a crowd. Whether you're hosting a dinner party or just feeding a hungry family, cheesy and savory lasagna is a great choice. With its generous portions and delicious flavors, it's sure to be a hit with everyone.

Leftover lasagna is yummy. One of the best things about classic lasagna is that it reheats beautifully. When you make a big batch, you can enjoy it for days to come. Just pop a slice in the microwave or oven and you're good to go.
Classic Italian Lasagna

Are you seeing a pattern here?  Lasagna is the answer to your needs.  Most people love lasagna, so it is a very good option when planning a meal for a group of friends or family.  Making lasagna can feel like an overwhelming exercise, but it doesn't have to feel that way.  If you plan and approach your preparation in steps, you will find it to be well worth your efforts.

My Tips for Making Lasagna

Use the right noodles. It's important to use the right type of noodle for your lasagna. Look for wide, flat noodles that are specifically labeled as lasagna noodles. Avoid using regular pasta noodles, as they won't hold up as well during the baking process.

Cook the noodles properly. Cooking the noodles properly is crucial to the success of your lasagna. Be sure to follow the cooking instructions on the package, but don't overcook them. The noodles should be al dente, or slightly firm, as they will continue to cook during the baking process.

If you want a shortcut with your noodles, use packaged lasagna noodles that don’t require precooking. Another option is to place traditional lasagna noodles in a 13x9 inch pan and cover them with boiling water for thirty minutes. Pat the noodles dry before layering in your lasagna.

Soak Lasagna Noodles in Boiling Water

Layer the ingredients carefully. When layering your lasagna, be sure to spread each layer evenly and cover the entire surface area. Use a spatula or spoon to smooth out each layer before adding the next.

Don't skimp on the cheese. Cheese is a key ingredient in any lasagna recipe, so don't be afraid to use plenty of it. Shredding the mozzarella cheese yourself eliminates any additives used when the cheese is commercially shredded. Be sure to spread the cheese evenly over each layer, as it helps to hold the noodles and other ingredients together.

Let your lasagna rest before serving. After baking your lasagna, it's important to let it rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving. This allows the ingredients to set and makes it easier to slice and serve.

Baked Lasagna in the oven.

About the Ingredients

Ingredients make a difference.  Choose wisely.

We talked about options for lasagna noodles above.  Classic lasagna is best when made with classic, dry lasagna noodles.  Substitute at your own risk.

Use whole milk mozzarella cheese for the best flavor and melting.  Always shred your own mozzarella cheese for the best results.  

Use whole milk ricotta cheese for its texture and mouth feel. Fresh chopped parsley adds brightness to the ricotta layer.

Use Italian sausage in classic lasagna.  Use your choice of sweet, hot, or a combination.  Choose based on who will be eating your lasagna and their preferences.  Half sausage and half ground beef is a good, flavorful mix.

Assembling lasagna layers in the pan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I make lasagna ahead of time?
A: Yes, you can definitely make lasagna ahead of time. In fact, many people prefer to make it a day ahead and then reheat it for dinner. Just assemble the lasagna as directed in the recipe, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate until you're ready to bake it. You may need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time if it's cold from the fridge.

Q: Can I freeze lasagna?
A: Yes, lasagna freezes very well. Just make sure to assemble it in a freezer-safe dish, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or foil, and freeze it for up to three months. When you're ready to bake it, thaw it in the fridge overnight and then bake it as directed in the recipe.

Q: What can I use instead of ground beef in lasagna?
A: You can use a variety of other meats or even vegetables in your lasagna. Some popular options include ground turkey, Italian sausage, or chopped mushrooms. You can also try adding spinach, zucchini, or eggplant for vegetarian lasagna.

Q: How many layers should my lasagna have?
A: This is really up to personal preference, but most lasagna recipes have between three and four layers. Just be sure to use enough sauce, cheese, and filling to cover each layer evenly.

Q: Can I make lasagna without ricotta cheese?
A: Yes, you can definitely make lasagna without ricotta cheese. Try using cottage cheese instead, or skip the cheese layer altogether and just use extra mozzarella cheese on top.

Lasagna Ready to Bake
Lasagna Ready for Baking

I encourage you to make this recipe your own. We like lots of seasoning, so make adjustments as you see fit.

Classic Lasagna Recipe

meat lasagna, sausage lasagna, Italian lasagna
Yield: 12
Author: Donna Urso
Classic Lasagna

Classic Lasagna

A classic recipe for lasagna made with ground beef and hot sausage. It's a delicious make-ahead recipe for your next family gathering.
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 45 MinTotal time: 1 H & 15 M



  1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook ground beef and hot sausage until all the pan juices evaporate.
  2. Add the diced onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook one minute more. Your beef mixture should be well-browned. This is important to the flavor of your lasagna.
  3. Return the meat mixture to the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, salt, bay leaf, and dried herbs, crushed between your palms. (Note: I don’t always add sugar. I taste the tomatoes to see how acidic they taste and add the sugar, if necessary.)
  4. Heat the sauce to boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and make adjustments. Discard the bay leaf and remove from heat.
  5. Prepare your lasagna noodles as the package directs, or use one of the tips I mentioned above.
  6. Put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch heavy pan. If using traditional lasagna noodles, arrange four noodles in the pan, overlapping to fit. For oven-ready noodles, use three. Combine the eggs, ricotta cheese, and chopped parsley.
  7. Spoon 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, spreading thinly. I use either a spoon or an offset spatula to spread the layers.
  8. Top with 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese, a sprinkle of the Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 of the sauce. Repeat two more times.
  9. Finish with a layer of noodles, sauce and then cheese. Cover the prepared lasagna with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Let it cool on your counter and then either refrigerate or freeze until ready to bake.
  10. Bake the lasagna in a 375°F oven for 45 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

27.01 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

12.83 g

Carbs (grams)

31.82 g

Fiber (grams)

3.28 g

Net carbs

28.54 g

Sugar (grams)

6.94 g

Protein (grams)

34.78 g

Sodium (mg)

1496.68 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

123.43 mg

Lasagna makes my life easier at any time of year.  Make it.  Freeze it.  You'll be happy you did!

You might also like to try this lasagna that uses eggplant and zucchini slices in place of lasagna noodles.

Vegetable Lasagna

Before you go...Never miss a Just One Donna post by signing up to receive posts in your email or your favorite RSS feed.  Links are in the sidebar.



Post a Comment

Talk to me. I welcome your comments. (These comments are strictly moderated. Spammers take note.)

More Popular Posts

How to Make a Perfect Bacon and Eggs Breakfast

In my opinion, the best breakfast consists of two perfectly fried eggs, crispy bacon, and toast made with hearty bread. This bacon and eggs recipe delivers. Bacon and eggs or eggs and bacon? No matter, it is definitely the breakfast you want on those lazy mornings when you have time to relax around the kitchen table, drinking a cup of coffee or two. The Best Bacon and Eggs Breakfast (This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.  When you make a purchase using these links you help support this blog.) How to Cook Bacon and Eggs My technique was learned from my mom, by watching her make our family's breakfast over and over again, year after year.  This is a basted egg recipe which means the eggs are cooked in bacon grease. Cooking eggs in bacon fat is easy and takes just a little practice to perfect. All you really need for a great bacon and eggs breakfast is a good nonstick skillet and a good toaster . If you want to make your own bread fo

The Best Asian Dipping Sauce You'll Ever Taste

If you're looking for a versatile, easy-to-make Asian dipping sauce perfect for sushi and dumplings, then you've come to the right place. This recipe for the best Asian dipping sauce is perfect for any time you want a  kick of delicious Asian flavor. An Asian Dipping Sauce for Sushi and Dumplings Try this if you are looking for a dipping sauce that is a little more flavorful than you typically get with your takeout order. You'll love it with dumplings, too!

Grandma's Soft and Chewy Date-Filled Cookies

One of the things I can count on as the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons arrive each year is a feeling of nostalgia. The traditional foods we serve at our family's holiday tables can sure bring out all the feels. Now that it is officially cookie season, we should kick it off with an old-fashioned homemade date-filled cookie recipe. This is a soft, tender cookie with dates that is a special, nostalgic, family recipe.   An Old-Fashioned Date Cookies Recipe This old-fashioned, date-filled cookie was my dad's favorite cookie from his childhood. My dad was born in 1932 so this recipe has been around for quite a while. 

Crunchy, Spicy Gingersnap Cookies

Crunchy, spicy, and yummy are all words used to describe a good gingersnap cookie.   While my hands-down, favorite cookie is a gooey chocolate chip cookie I occasionally crave a spicy ginger snaps cookie or  this molasses cookie .  This old-fashioned gingersnap cookie is a winner.  It's easy to make and will be a favorite in your recipe rotation. Traditional Ginger Snaps Cookie Recipe ( This post contains affiliate links.  I will be compensated when you make a purchase with these links.) Gingersnaps Cookies In the U.S., gingersnaps are usually drop cookies with lots of cracks on the surface.  That's exactly how I like them.  Those found in other countries may be thinner and sliced.  The Lebkuchen, a traditional German cookie, and the pepparkakor, from Sweden, are often cut into festive shapes.  My gingersnaps are round. Reasons You'll Love These Gingersnap Cookies These gingersnaps are tasty cookies at any time of the year.   Their spiciness is perfect as a holid

Can You Make Better Bacon in Water?

What is the best way to cook crisp, tender bacon? Today, let's investigate a new method for cooking bacon on the stove that I'm seeing suggested as a technique that will change your life.  It's frying your bacon in a pan with a small amount of water.  Is cooking bacon with a bit of water in the pan a better way to make bacon? How to Cook Bacon in Water This is a simple, relatively fast way to make perfectly cooked bacon every time. Whether you are looking to impress your guests with a decadent breakfast or just want to enjoy a delicious bacon treat, this technique is the perfect solution.

Traditional New England Whoopie Pies

Are you looking for the best whoopie pie recipe?  Whoopie pies are a quintessential New England dessert and a memorable treat from my childhood.   My mom would make them for us every once in a while.  Oh, what a treat to come home from school to a platter of chocolate whoopie pies!  Yum! Today I'm sharing my recipe for the best-ever whoopie pies. The Best Whoopie Pies Recipe without Marshmallow Fluff Whoopie Pies Whoopie pies are soft round cookie-like cakes with a smooth cream filling sandwiched in the center. Debate rages about the whoopie pie's origin.  Some say these goodies originated in New England, others say they originated with the Amish.   There is also debate about what ingredients should be in the filling.  Many recipes include fillings made with Marshmallow Fluff or buttercream but neither is  traditional, in my opinion.  The whoopie pie of my childhood is a traditional Maine whoopie pie recipe, made with a cooked flour and milk mixture added to suga

Easy Chicken Parmesan-A Make Ahead Freezer Dinner

Chicken Parmesan is a favorite dinner in the Just One Donna house because it is a delicious dish that can satisfy your cravings for Italian food. It's also easy to make at home with simple ingredients you probably have in your pantry.  But what if you don't have time to cook on a busy weeknight? Don't worry, you can make Chicken Parmesan ahead of time and freeze it for later. I like to prepare Chicken Parmesan to have on hand in my freezer for those busy weeknights when we might be tempted to head to a restaurant instead of eating at home.  How to Make Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Busy Nights This post contains affiliate links.  I receive a small compensation when you shop using these links Easy Freezer Chicken Parmesan for Dinner Chicken Parmesan, also known as Chicken Pa

Forgotten Pork Chops-A Skillet Dinner

When I first made this pork chop skillet dinner several years ago I knew it was a winner but never predicted how wildly successful it would be with my readers. Perhaps it is the comfort food combination of pork chops with savory rice.  Or maybe it is the easy one-pan preparation.  Whatever it is, you're sure to love this updated, one-pan, comforting Forgotten Pork Chops dinner.  Pork Chops and Rice with Cream of Mushroom Soup (This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.  When you purchase through these links I receive a small compensation.)  So you might wonder why I updated the recipe. Like most recipes that are part of my menu rotation, a tweak here or there is customary. I encourage you to do the same.  A tweak here to there will make the recipe your own. 

How to Doctor Up Store-Bought Potato Salad

Here's a potato salad time-saver for you just in time for summer cookouts. You'll love how you can transform grocery store potato salad so easily no matter whether you are hosting a BBQ or bringing a side dish for a summer barbecue. There's no judgment here. We don't always have the time to make a potato salad from scratch. Sometimes it is just easier to stop by your local grocery store to pick up a container of store-made potato salad. It's good. It's predictable.  It will do.  All it needs is a little doctoring. How to Make Store-Bought Potato Salad Better When you need a quick potato salad, and have no time to make one from scratch, that ordinary store-bought potato salad you have in your refrigerator can go from blah to amazing in just a few minutes with just a few ingredients. Yes, you can improve store-bought potato salad. How to Doctor Up Potato Salad to have a little more flavor? You're going to a potluck picnic or you are having

Spicy Italian Sausage Soup

Is soup your jam in winter? Through the fall and winter months, I like to make a big pot of soup at least once a week.  We'll have it for dinner and then for lunches until it is gone.  Today's recipe for Spicy Italian Sausage Soup is one of those hearty soups that will be perfect with a piece of crusty bread for dipping. Italian Sausage Soup to Spice Up Your Life This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.   Serve Up Spicy Italian Sausage Soup This soup is a flavorful and hearty Italian-inspired dish that combines the rich flavors of sweet and hot Italian sausages with fresh vegetables like red pepper, celery, onion, potatoes, and kale. It's simmered in a savory chicken stock and seasoned with Italian herbs for a deliciously satisfying meal.