Classic Easy Beef Lasagna is the perfect make-ahead meal to feed a crowd or quick dinner idea! Meat sauce, béchamel, pasta & cheese is a combo you’ll crave!
Classic Easy Beef Lasagna is so quick and easy to make it’s even perfect for a weeknight dinner. When it comes to lasagna there are a few simple truths. Layers of pasta, meat sauce, ricotta or béchamel, and cheese will always warm your soul. The Italians may have created the perfect food with this dish. When it comes to dinner ideas, this recipe is always at the top of my family’s list! Not to mention any meal you can make ahead of time to serve later is a winner in my kitchen.
CLASSIC EASY BEEF LASAGNA
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How many layers should a lasagna have?
The honest truth is that lasagna is a dish that has always represented generosity, so it’s really important to be… well… generous. We’re talking at least 3 layers, here. Be sure to use a deep lasagna dish because this recipe should definitely get you 6-7 layers.
How to Make Lasagna
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare beef tomato sauce and béchamel sauce or ricotta mixture.
- Start with a layer of lasagna sheets, then top with the beefy tomato sauce. Add a layer of the béchamel sauce, or ricotta, some mozzarella, and basil. Then top with another layer of pasta.
- Layer in this order until all your ingredients have been used.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is golden and the lasagna is bubbling.
Even though this is a really simple and classic recipe there are always a few tips and tricks that I can share with you to make the most amazing beef lasagna recipe ever!
Lasagna Tips and Tricks
- Here’s a secret… you can use oven-ready pasta sheets! You may read in some places that you shouldn’t because it’s not “authentic” but I’ve been making this recipe for years and have always used the “no-bake” sheets and this lasagna is always a hit with people asking for the recipe.
- Yes. You do need to make 2 sauces. The first is the rich and beefy tomato sauce, the second is the creamiest béchamel sauce ever! You can skip the béchamel and use ricotta if you really want to, but the white sauce just makes the lasagna next level with barely any extra work.
- You can make this lasagna the day you plan to serve it, but it’s even better if you put it together the day before and bake it right before serving. Which means it’s all hands-off time when you’re ready to make dinner!
Now that you’ve got all the tips and tricks, let’s talk about the really important stuff.
The cheese!!! Lasagna is typically topped with mozzarella, but not a fresh one. They’re too milky. You need a semi-skimmed mozzarella for this easy lasagna recipe. But, if you do need to substitute the cheese for another one you can use…
- or even Monterey Jack
These are all amazing melting cheeses and would fit in with this lasagna perfectly.
Can you freeze a lasagna?
Yes!! This lasagna can be frozen beautifully. Simply wrap in a double layer of foil before freezing and then bake from frozen. Bake the lasagna covered for the first 45 minutes, then take the foil off and bake for another 15 minutes to brown the cheese.
This recipe really is THE ONLY lasagna recipe you need in your life! But if you’re cooking for yourself or a small group, then this Spicy Chorizo pasta bake is a great lasagna alternative!
Wish every night was Italian night? Try these other recipes!
- Pasta Carbonara
- One Pan Baked Italian Chicken & Tomatoes
- Shrimp Scampi
- Italian Chop Salad
- Chicken Marsala
- More dinner recipes…
Tools used to make this Classic Easy Beef Lasagna recipe
Medium Saucepan: I don’t what I’d do without this saucepan. It gets used in my kitchen every day. The glass lid even has strainer sides so I even have a colander for pasta!
Slotted Spoon: This spoon is great for straining foods when you don’t want to use a colander!
Lasagna Pan: This baking dish is a must-have for lasagna lovers! Deeper than your standard 9×13 baking dish, this pan will let you layer that pasta up for days!
Spatula: One of my everyday kitchen tools, this spatula is sturdy and won’t scratch your skillet!
Beef Tomato Sauce
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 28 ounces diced tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
- 1 bunch basil
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 9 ounces oven-ready lasagna noodles
- 16 ounces mozzarella cheese shredded (divided)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Beef Tomato Sauce
- In a medium saucepan brown the ground beef over medium-high heat until cooked all the way through. Using a slotted spoon, remove the beef into a bowl leaving the fat in the pan.
- Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the beef fat and cook until soft and fragrant about 10 minutes. Add the dried herbs to the pan and stir. Add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute. Mix in the chopped tomatoes and bring to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the beef back to the sauce and stir thoroughly. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and whisk in the flour. Continue to mix until thick. Slowly add the milk while whisking continuously to avoid any lumps. Add in the nutmeg and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Layer the lasagna sheets until the bottom of your baking dish is covered. Ladle some of the beef sauce onto the pasta and spread to cover. Top the sauce with a layer of mozzarella and then a layer of the béchamel. Sprinkle with some chopped basil.
- Continue layering until the baking dish is full and the sauces and pasta are used up. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Chop the remaining basil and scatter over the top.
- Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until the lasagna noodles are cooked and the cheese is brown and bubbling. (If the cheese starts to darken too much, cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil.) Remove from oven and serve.
- You can substitute standard lasagna noodles (instead of oven-ready), just be sure to cook them according to package directions before layering them in the baking dish.
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