Perfect Sausage and Beef Lasagna Recipe

A meaty lasagna recipe with Italian sausage, ground beef, and cheese. Plus, our tips for making it in advance. Jump to the full Sausage and Beef Lasagna Recipe now or read on to see how we make it.

A meaty lasagna with Italian sausage, ground beef, and cheese. Plus, our tips for making it in advance.

We love lasagna — and have already shared our veggie lasagna recipe, spinach and mushroom lasagna, and our white chicken lasagna. This time we’re sharing a hearty, meat lasagna filled with Italian sausage, lean ground beef, cheese, and noodles. It’s completely over-the-top and we love it.

Vegetable Lasagna RecipeYOU MAY ALSO LIKE: This very popular recipe for Fresh Vegetable Lasagna. The sauce is light and there’s lots of fresh vegetables including zucchini, onions, and peppers.

Making Our Cheesy Sausage and Beef Lasagna Recipe

The star of this lasagna recipe is the meat sauce. We brown sausage and lean ground beef and stir it into rich tomato sauce. You could just use sausage or just use beef, but by combining the two, the lasagna becomes rich and extremely satisfying.

A meaty and incredibly delicious lasagna recipe with Italian sausage, ground beef, and cheese. Plus, our tips for making it in advance.

How to Make The Meat Sauce

Here’s the thing. We like store-bought pasta sauces. That’s why we 100% believe it is perfectly fine to use your favorite jarred sauce to make lasagna. It cuts time and tastes great. With that said, we also really love dedicating a sleepy Sunday afternoon to homemade sauce. You can relax, read, watch a movie, or whatever else while the sauce slowly bubbles away on the stove.

In the recipe below, we’ve shared two versions of our recipe. We love them both. The first shares how to make a meaty tomato sauce from scratch, the second takes a well deserved shortcut and uses jarred marinara sauce. Choose either one or make both. It’s completely up to you.

How to Make the Meat Sauce

Once the sauce is made — which could be done in advance (see our tips below) — it’s time to assemble. When layering lasagna, we start with sauce on the bottom, add noodles then add a mixture of ricotta cheese, egg and parmesan. More sauce goes on top and then we layer more noodles. We repeat until all the ingredients are used up.

Make Ahead Tips: How to Make Lasagna in Advance

Lasagna is the perfect make-ahead meal. Here’s how to do it:

  • The meat sauce can be made in advance and should last in your refrigerator up to 3 days and in your freezer for about 3 months. We recommend using freezer-safe glass containers, or double layers of freezer bags to store sauces. To thaw, simply leave it overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Baked lasagna freezes well. Let it cool completely on a rack before freezing, and then wrap it very well with foil (we use two layers). Defrost the frozen lasagna overnight in the refrigerator and then bake at 400°F for about 1 hour.
  • Consider using no-boil noodles. Now that no-boil noodles are more readily available at larger grocery stores, we love using them to make lasagna — especially if we plan to make it ahead of time. The no-boil noodles don’t tend to become as soft or mushy after freezing or reheating compared to boiled noodles.

A meaty lasagna recipe with Italian sausage, ground beef, and cheese. Plus, our tips for making it in advance.

Recipe updated, originally posted January 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne

5.0 from 13 reviews
Perfect Sausage and Beef Lasagna Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is a hearty, meaty lasagna recipe. You have two choices here. If you’re up for it, you can make your own sauce, which takes about 2 hours. Or, to save time, you can substitute your favorite store-bought sauce. We have done both. It’s all up to you. Our homemade sauce will make more than what’s needed for one lasagna. Since it takes so long to make the sauce, we always make sure we have enough for a second lasagna or to use, as is, over pasta for another night. You can save the extra sauce in the refrigerator up to 3 days or in the freezer up to 3 months.
Created By:
Yield: Makes 8 servings
You Will Need
FOR Homemade Meat Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup (150 grams) finely diced onion
  • 1/2 cup (75 grams) finely diced carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (depending on taste)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
FOR Meat Sauce Using Jarred Marinara Sauce (store-bought)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup (150 grams) finely diced onion
  • 1/2 cup (75 grams) finely diced carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (24-ounce) jars store-bought marinara sauce
FOR Assembling Lasagna
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 unbroken lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
FOR the Meat Tomato Sauce
  1. If you have purchased Italian sausages with casings, you will need to remove the casings. To do so, take a knife and cut down the length of the sausage. The casing should peel away easily. If you purchased sausage meat without casings, you can continue to the next step.Lasagna Step 1
  2. Heat a heavy 4 to 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add olive oil then add the sausage meat and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until browned. About 8 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl. Next, add the beef with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. About 8 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with sausage.
  3. Add onion, carrots and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown. About 8 minutes.
  4. Now, add garlic, basil and oregano to onions and carrot then cook about 1 minute until garlic becomes fragrant. Next, add crushed tomatoes and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits that are stuck to the pot. Add sausage and beef into sauce and stir.
  5. Add tomato paste, water, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer, stir then taste for seasoning. Depending on how acidic your tomatoes are, you may need a little more sugar. You also want to taste for salt. It’s best to add the salt now rather than later, so taste and season as needed.
  6. Gently simmer sauce, uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. (Keep the sauce at a very low simmer).
  7. Skim off any fat floating on top and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Our homemade sauce can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. This recipe yields about 9 cups of sauce. You will need 4 to 5 cups of sauce for the lasagna. So, either save the sauce for a second lasagna or use to top pasta another day.
HOW to Make Meat Sauce with Jarred Marinara
  1. Cook sausage, beef, onions and carrots as shared above. Add garlic then cook about 1 minute until garlic becomes fragrant. Next, add jarred marinara sauce and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits that are stuck to the pot. Then, add sausage and beef back to the pan with onions and carrots. Simmer the sauce 20 to 30 minutes until carrots are tender. Skim off any fat floating on top and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
FOR Assembling the Lasagna
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a boil. Add lasagna noodles to the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, according to package directions, this is usually about 10 minutes. Drain.
  3. In the meantime, stir ricotta (or cottage cheese) with Parmigiano-Reggiano and the beaten egg.
  4. To assemble the lasagna, ladle about 3/4 cup of the meat sauce into the bottom of a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish. Arrange noodles lengthwise and side by side and cover the bottom. (If the noodles are short on one end, you may need to cut an extra noodle and place into dish to cover where the other noodles have not).
  5. Next, spread about half of the ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese ) mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with a third of the shredded mozzarella cheese then top with about 1 1/4 cups of meat sauce. Add another layer of noodles and repeat. Add a third layer of noodles then top with remaining sauce and a final layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.Lasagna Step 3
  6. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes, uncover then bake 20 minutes until cheese is crusty around the edges. Let rest at least 15 minutes.
  7. If making ahead, you can cover and refrigerate, unbaked up to 2 days. When you cover, use parchment or wax paper between the lasagna and aluminum foil. Aluminum foil can react with the tomatoes.

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62 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Kathy Flister March 6, 2016, 1:01 pm

    Lasagne was wonderful. I froze half of the recipe uncooked lasagna and we ate the other half. It was wonderful . I also made it with chicken breasts and that was also very good. Will make again.

  • Marlene March 2, 2016, 10:17 pm

    This was excellent! First time I’ve tried making homemade lasagna & I followed the directions exactly – but made a smaller size for 4 people & bottled sauce. My bf loved it! Thanks for sharing.

  • Toya February 4, 2016, 8:01 pm

    Looks great! My fiance and I are going to make this tonight !

  • Patty January 15, 2016, 9:05 pm

    i made this for dinner tonight; I made the homemade sauce recipe and it was delicious! I did make one slight change. I didn’t have enough noodles so I used lengthwise cut eggplant slices for the center noodles, which I roasted first. My husband is raving on how wonderful it was. This is a keeper and I will definitely be making it again.

  • Kathy January 1, 2016, 11:58 am

    Looks great. Making tonight for New Year’s Day dinner with friends!

  • Cheryl October 23, 2015, 12:49 pm

    Will try. Looks good

  • Paul October 14, 2015, 6:24 pm

    Absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing. Bravo!!!

  • Vannie October 8, 2015, 1:50 pm

    5 stars! This was fantastic and everyone devoured it. Making the meat sauce was so simple and worth the hour and half simmer. We like spicy in our household so I added some hot peppers from the garden and a bit of creole seasoning. I’m going to try this with ground turkey and turkey sausage next. Thanks for the recipe. Love!

  • Mari September 27, 2015, 5:58 pm

    What I do is I buy Ragu or Prego sauce mix them together add onions, garlic and green pepper and any other spice I like and the sauce is amazing. Use ground beef and sausage hot or mild sauté with the garlic, onions and green peppers add the sauce let it simmer and you got the meaty sauce ready to put together with as many different shredded cheeses you want. Use your imagination.

  • Kay September 8, 2015, 8:03 am

    Recipe looks great… Planning on making tonight for dinner… Thanks

    • Scott November 22, 2015, 10:02 am

      Did you make this recipe? How did it turn out? I’m planning on making this tonite for my family.

  • Antoinette August 22, 2015, 5:16 pm

    Just gotten through making it ,and it looks and smell like homemade.I would share this recipe with anyone who wants to learn how to fix it the right way.

  • Madeline August 21, 2015, 4:50 am

    What is the difference if I use cottage cheese or ricotta?? I see a few recepts with those choices. I am going to make it tomorrow from scratch.

    • Joanne October 16, 2015, 1:01 pm

      We personally prefer ricotta.

      • F Campbell February 9, 2016, 10:47 pm

        I prefer Ricotta and in fact I prefer whole milk ricotta and 2 beaten eggs. Also fresh mozarella sliced and within layers and then regular shredded mozarella on top.

  • Kate, cook for the whole house August 19, 2015, 7:30 pm

    Thanks for a great, easy recipe! I omitted all the olive oil and everything came out just fine. I also replaced the carrot for fresh, chopped up spinach because I needed to use it up and it mixed beautifully into the sauce. 🙂 it’s cooking right now and I can’t wait to taste it! (Five stars in anticipation of the finished product, based on the yumminess of the pre-baked product.)

  • ellie July 26, 2015, 4:55 pm

    i am 12 years old and made this recipe for my mom and step dad (they have the same birthday) they loved it! they said it could be from a resturant and accused me of buying frozen from the store 🙂 it was great. thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • Deena May 15, 2015, 7:45 am

    Not sure if oven ready noodles are the same as using the uncooked Lasagna noodles to avoid the cooking noodle step but I heard these are even better to use than the cooked before hand noodle recipes. Less mushy texture! Your recipe looks amazing and I am going to use the store bought sauce recipe for your lasagna served at a dinner party buffet event along with other delights.

  • Jennifer April 1, 2015, 12:13 pm

    Can you 1/2 the recipe? What size pan should I use? Time? Temp? Thank you!

    • Joanne April 1, 2015, 12:26 pm

      Hi Jennifer, An 8×8-inch pan is just slightly bigger than a halved 9×13. The bake time should be close. You might want to check a few minutes early to see how things are going.

  • kent smith March 24, 2015, 10:07 pm

    FANTASTIC, I want to make this for several people, how do I adjust the cooking time and temp to put two in the oven at the same time.

    • Joanne March 26, 2015, 8:21 am

      Hi Kent, You may find that you need to bake a little longer. Most importantly, though, you will probably want to rotate the lasagna pans during cooking a couple of times to ensure even cooking.

  • Jamie March 9, 2015, 7:44 pm

    this recipe was Delish! I’m not usually a fan of leftovers but this was the exception!

  • Fah January 20, 2015, 7:21 am

    I made this with the ground turkey that I had on-hand and added mushrooms. It turned out great! Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

  • may December 26, 2014, 9:25 pm

    I don’t usually like lasagna, but this recipe makes the best lasagna I’ve ever had. The recipe is detailed and easy to make. My boyfriend loves it and asks me to make it a lot.

  • Charlene November 25, 2014, 2:48 pm

    I made this last night, and this is now our lasagna recipe. I made the sauce with crushed San Marzano tomatoes, and I used hot turkey sausage and ground turkey. This is a great sauce, and hubby said he would have just eaten the sauce on spaghetti. I kept the leftover on the side, and he added more on top of his lasagna slice.

    I don’t buy the “no boil” noodles. Instead, I soaked whole wheat lasagna in hot water to soften them for about 20 minutes, then assembled. They bake up great in this recipe.

    To bump up the veggies, I added two layers of baked eggplant after the mozzarella layer (just thinly sliced, brushed with EVOO, and roasted for 20 minutes to soften).

    I served with a simple salad and this was a great dinner.

  • FREDDY May 3, 2014, 10:17 am

    this is by far the best lasagna recipe ive come across……salivating!

  • kym February 15, 2014, 10:45 pm

    dear joanne & adam, first off, please don’t give away/sell/make available to anyone, anything, anywhere, my email address. it is the only one that doesn’t get junk mail. my original mail is now so overrun i cannot even use it anymore. but i do want to get your info so i am trusting you with my only good email address that is left.
    my husband and i have been trying your recipes and i’ve gotta say they are AMAZING!!! thank you for sharing!
    my question is for the meaty lasagna recipe. unfortunately we don’t care for the taste or texture of ricotta or cottage cheese. years ago i had a fabulous recipe without the ricotta and i’ve lost it. whaaaa! anyhow, if i were to eliminate the ricotta (or cottage) cheese from your recipe, should i up the other two types of cheese? if so, how much uppage? (is that a word?)
    all the best to you awesomely creative peeps!

    • Joanne February 20, 2014, 11:05 am

      Hi Kym, No worries about your email address (no one can see it but us and we don’t share or sell them).

      You could just remove the ricotta layer all together. I’d leave the other cheeses as they are. That should taste great. Another option is to use a layer of creamy cheese sauce (like a béchamel sauce). If you google that, recipes should come up.

    • Winifred March 19, 2015, 10:37 am

      Love this recipe. For your earlier poster who didn’t like ricotta, she could always substitute that with a thick cheese bechamel sauce (which is actually a mornay sauce).

  • Carrie February 1, 2014, 8:57 pm

    My husband and I tried this recipe out on New Year’s Day, as we wanted something special for our first dinner of the new year. This did not disappoint! We made the sauce from scratch and decided to use two different types of sausage. We used traditional spicy Italian sausage as well as four cheese Italian sausage. As it was just the two of us we had a lot left over, but it froze really well. It was great to take to work for lunch. Thank you for posting this fantastic recipe!

  • Gigi Long January 21, 2014, 1:04 am

    It’s very delicious! My husband and I made it tonight for dinner… Along with
    some red vino. We had left overs for lunch tomorrow.
    I like the option of using sauce from a jar.
    My famy is ready for another lasagna night.
    Thank you!

  • Steve December 29, 2013, 12:56 pm

    I decided to have a non traditional Christmas Dinner this year and this recipe is what I chose. It was the best lasagna that I have ever had, if I do say so myself. My family really enjoyed it just as much as I did. Thanks!

    • Joanne December 30, 2013, 11:11 am

      That’s great Steve! So glad you loved it.

  • Heather December 23, 2013, 12:55 pm

    I’m going to attempt to make this for Christmas dinner, but I’m feeling a little blonde… I want to use the store bought jars of sauce, do I need 2 24 oz cans of sauce or 24 oz altogether?

    • Joanne December 30, 2013, 1:07 pm

      2 jars will do it.

  • K December 22, 2013, 6:07 pm

    If made ahead and refrigerated, do you bring to room temp? Same cooking time?

    • Joanne December 30, 2013, 12:27 pm

      You probably won’t need the whole cooking time to reheat. Just keep it covered with foil and check every so often to see if it is warmed through.

  • christy December 21, 2013, 5:00 pm

    The best lasagna I’ve made and I replaced my old favorite recipe w this one. Family loved it! I used a basil and garlic jarred sauce (momma’s brand I think?). Loved it!

  • valli December 11, 2013, 12:40 pm

    I will be making this for friends. Can I use store bought Vodka Sauce instead of Marinara?

    Also is oven ready Lasagna ok to use?

    • Adam December 12, 2013, 3:04 pm

      Yes to both questions 🙂

  • Jenny July 21, 2013, 6:42 pm

    Made this last night and my boyfriend and I LOVED it. Super delicious! Best lasagna recipe. I live in vegas and have been to some of the best italian restaurants in the country and your recipe could be the best i’ve had. Thanks and looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

  • stephanie July 18, 2013, 12:46 am

    I may have missed it, but I was wondering how many people this recipe will feed? We have a family gathering, and I’ll need to feed about ten people.

    • Joanne July 26, 2013, 1:26 pm

      The lasagna should serve 8.

  • J clarke June 28, 2013, 5:22 pm

    What if u have oven ready lasanga noodles? How much water would u recremend to use

    • Adam July 6, 2013, 6:03 pm

      Use the oven ready lasagna in place of the regular noodles. You should not need any additional water.

  • Kay June 13, 2013, 5:19 pm

    What size baking pan do I use?

    • Joanne June 13, 2013, 7:15 pm

      A 13 x 9 inch baking dish (or slightly larger) will work best.

  • Brenda June 5, 2013, 11:46 am

    We have used this homemade sauce before with the lasagna recipe and it was the BEST we have ever made… Just wondering would this sauce taste well over penne (like as a mostaccoli)?

    • Joanne June 5, 2013, 12:54 pm

      Definitely! We do that all the time.

  • rjames May 8, 2013, 12:58 pm

    Hi there! The recipes calls for 2lbs of lasagna noodles. Do I use two boxes? It seems too much but I thought I’d check.

    • Joanne May 8, 2013, 2:41 pm

      Hi — Yes, we made a mistake (sorry!). You will only need 12 unbroken noodles (just over 1/2 a 1-pound box). The recipe is fixed now.

  • Chick Copp April 20, 2013, 10:12 am

    Yummmo, will you adopt me? I followed the steps and blow me down if it didn’t come out delishus, bravo! I made it with English pork and caramalized onion flavour bangers

  • Faye February 18, 2013, 7:33 am

    This looks real chunky and delightful. I’m not a huge lasagna but I love my mom’s recipe and finding the right recipe has been so difficult because the sauce, meat, and cheesy ingredients have to be well balanced.

  • randi January 29, 2013, 11:09 am

    Made this on Sunday. It is now our favourite lasagna recipe. The sausage changes everything. Making your sweet chili wings tomorrow.

  • randi January 27, 2013, 5:14 pm

    Don’t know if I just don’t see it on my small screen but what temp do you suggest? Just made this and put in the oven at 375. looks delicious so far!

    • Joanne January 29, 2013, 11:05 am

      Thank you for pointing this out. We didn’t have the oven temp in the recipe. We suggest 375 degrees F.

  • Ronja @ a dash of faith January 24, 2013, 10:02 am

    Looks fantastic! Lasagna is definitely on my mind, now, too.

  • Sharon January 23, 2013, 6:49 pm

    I’m not usually a make ahead person so I was wondering if this whole thing would freeze well? It looks fantastic.

    • Joanne January 24, 2013, 11:48 am

      Hi Sharon, Yes. We usually freeze after baking the lasagna, but you could freeze before baking (after assembly). To freeze lasagna, if you have baked it, set it aside for about an hour to cool. Then, cover with a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap then cover with foil and freeze. It should keep up to 3 months. You could also freeze in smaller portions.

      Then, remove from freezer and leave overnight in the refrigerator to thaw and bake until thoroughly heated.

  • Bev @ Bev Cooks January 23, 2013, 11:28 am

    WOOOOOOOW. omg.


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