Cheesy Sausage and Beef Lasagna

How to make the ultimate meat lasagna with a hearty tomato and meat sauce made with sausage and ground beef. Our readers have said this is the best lasagna they’ve ever made. 

Watch the Video

Sausage and Beef Lasagna Video

How to Make the Best Meat Lasagna

The star of this lasagna recipe is the meat sauce. We brown sausage and lean ground beef and stir it into tomato sauce. We love the combination of sausage and beef. By combining the two, the lasagna becomes rich and immensely satisfying. By the way, if you’d prefer a meatless lasagna recipe, try our five cheese lasagna.

How to Make the Best Lasagna with Sausage and Beef Meat Sauce

For a quicker, lighter meat sauce, try using ground turkey or chicken. We use ground turkey to make our Homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce and love it.

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 entirely up to you.

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. Add another layer of the meat sauce and add noodles. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up.

Beef Lasagna Recipe

Here’s another sausage pasta recipe: Try our Easy Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe with sausage and spinach.

Make Ahead Tips

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 three months. We recommend using freezer-safe glass containers, or double layers of freezer bags to store sauces. To thaw, 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.

More Lasagna Recipes

We love lasagna — and have quite a few variations on Inspired Taste.

For another recipe that uses ground beef, try our favorite homemade chili!

Crave-Worthy Sausage and Beef Lasagna

Cheesy Sausage and Beef Lasagna

  • PREP
  • COOK

This is the ultimate 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.

Makes approximately 10 servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

Meat Sauce

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

1/3 cup (75 grams) tomato paste

2 teaspoons dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 1/2 cups water

2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

1 to 2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (optional, see notes)

Assembling Lasagna

1 tablespoon olive oil

12 unbroken lasagna noodles

16 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese or cottage cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 large egg, beaten

1 pound part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated


  • Make Meat Sauce
  • 1If you have 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, continue to the next step.

    2Place a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add the sausage and beef and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. As the meat cooks, use a wooden spoon to break the meat apart into small crumbles.

    3Stir in the onion and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes.

    4Stir in the garlic, basil, oregano, and tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant and the redness of the tomato paste has turned more orange.

    5Pour in the water then use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits of meat that have stuck to the bottom of the pot — there’s lots of flavor there. When the pot is almost scraped clean of stuck bits, stir in the canned tomatoes.

    6Bring the sauce to a low simmer. Taste then season with salt, pepper, and sugar as needed. We usually end up adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper and little to no sugar (see notes about sugar). Gently simmer the sauce, uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. (Keep the sauce at a very low simmer). Skim off any fat floating on top and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

    7The 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. You can save the sauce for a second lasagna or use to top pasta another day.

  • Prepare Lasagna
  • 1Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water with one tablespoon of olive oil to a boil.

    2Add 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.

    3In the meantime, stir ricotta with Parmigiano-Reggiano, and the beaten egg.

    4To 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 the dish to cover where the other noodles have not).

    5Next, spread about half of the ricotta 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.

  • Bake Lasagna
  • 1Cover 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.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Make Ahead: Cover and refrigerate unbaked lasagna up to 2 days. If baked, 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 degrees F for about 1 hour. The meat sauce can be made in advance and should last in your refrigerator up to 3 days and in your freezer for about three months.
  • Meat Sauce with Jarred Marinara Sauce: Cook sausage, beef, onions and carrots as shared above. Add garlic then cook about 1 minute until garlic becomes fragrant. Next, add 2 (24-ounce) jars of 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.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving Calories 597 / Protein 40 g / Carbohydrate 37 g / Dietary Fiber 4 g / Total Sugars 7 g / Total Fat 32 g / Saturated Fat 14 g / Cholesterol 112 mg / Sodium 1582 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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121 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Allyson Braley DeMedeiros March 9, 2023, 6:37 pm

    I absolutely love this recipe. I used 2 24 Oz jars of plain marinara and 1 small sweet onion and 2 garlic cloves minced and added parsley flakes to the cheese mixture. The sauce is to die for. I wish I would have used the no boil lasagna but next time I will. Thanks for the great recipe.

    • Kimberly March 21, 2023, 2:32 pm

      You actually don’t even need to use the no boil lasagna noodles. You can use the regular noodles without boiling them at all. All you do is take the noodles out of the box, assemble the lasagna like you normally would (except now using the hard noodles- it’s also easier to top the noodles with cheese this way) and add a bit of water to the edge of the pan. I usually add about a half cup of water (I don’t measure I usually just eyeball it- it also depends how thick your sauce is. Thick sauce – add more water, thin- add less) Make sure the entire noodle on the top layer is covered in sauce. If you leave an edge not covered it just becomes a little crunchy. Each time I have done this it has turned out the same as it did when I used to boil the noodles. It’s such a time saving trick!

  • Kevin Drew January 30, 2023, 8:51 pm

    Had this at the In-laws. The best lasagna I have ever tasted. They shared the website and I make it exactly like the recipe, sauce and all. No boil noodles makes the lasagna stand up to being portioned without annoying extra liquid. Important to let lasagna to rest for 15-30 mins to reabsorb the liquid. The best I’ve ever ever had! My only recipe for several years now.

    • Joanne January 31, 2023, 1:24 pm

      That’s wonderful, Kevin! Thanks so much for coming back and commenting.

  • Liz Shivel June 10, 2022, 4:49 pm

    Hi, I’m making this today with two jars of marinara sauce instead of canned tomatoes. Everything tastes great as I put this together. But your recipe says 12 noodles and it’s really 9 noodles. I split out the ricotta mixture to do 3 layers. Have a 10×15” glass baking dish that’s great for lasagna. No overlapping noodles. But you do use up all of your sauce! No problem tho!

    • Joanne June 10, 2022, 5:06 pm

      Hi Liz, Depending on the baking dish, we have used 9 or 12 noodles. I use the large number when the dish has a flare to it on the sides. Use whatever fits!

  • Jordan May 9, 2021, 6:16 pm

    I’ve used this recipe several times, the only exceptions being I leave out the sugar and carrots – and I go heavy on the seasonings and garlic – and I always get rave reviews. I even had friends ask me when they can come back for my lasagna again. Definitely a winner! Thanks!

  • Sallie January 7, 2021, 11:45 pm

    Great recipe. Followed it exactly except the grocery store substituted brats for the sausage. It still tasted wonderfully. I believe we simmered the meat sauce too high as we didn’t have any extra sauce left over but honestly, I found it to be the perfect amount! We refrigerated it for a couple of days before making the lasagna and I think that also allowed the sauce to soak in all of the flavors! I have no complaints! Thank you!

  • marbrill November 23, 2020, 5:51 pm

    Very good basic recipe — used a good organic jarred marinara so maybe that’s why I ended up with so much extra sauce. Fine by me for a ready meat sauce some other day!

  • Sylvia Stangel October 5, 2020, 5:38 pm

    Hi! I am making this now. Wondering if the sauce for SURE needs a whole 1.5 hours to simmer, or how I might know if it’s done sooner? It’s seems quite thick already. Thanks!

    • Joanne October 5, 2020, 5:53 pm

      The longer simmer time makes sure the sauce tastes rich and concentrated. If it’s thickening on you too quickly, try reducing the heat a little. You can also go by taste. If the sauce tastes rich and delicious, you can use it.

  • Dave August 7, 2020, 11:09 am

    Excellent lasagna recipe. I made the sauce the say before to allow the flavors to meld – and it was incredible. I did have a few changes: used hot Italian sausage, added about 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, and substituted .5 cup Cab Sav instead of water. The whole dish was so flavorful. I definite keeper and will make again. The only change I would make is more Ricotta cheese next time because I love cheese.

  • Char June 10, 2020, 9:48 am

    I love this recipe. Followed it exactly, but doubled up. Froze one pan to bake later… My Granddaughters LOVED IT! THANK YOU!!

  • Kay April 2, 2020, 5:25 am

    So I’ve been making sausage and beef lasagna a long time bc that’s how my sister made it. This is nearly identical and I agree it’s the best but I looked to this recipe for the temp n time because I cant ever remember. I just happened to read ‘to cover with aluminum foil’ in this recipe..which…I should have known better with the tomato sauce. I could immediately taste the metallic taste in my mouth. It wasnt bad near the bottom, and we are in quarantine n trying to save food, not to mention I spent hours in the kitchen so I ate it anyway, but I cant get the metal taste out of my mouth now. My only suggestion with this is to leave out the aluminum foil, find something else to cover it with. The temp n time were perfect.

    • KIM December 25, 2020, 12:37 am

      The metallic taste usually comes from canned tomato products. Adding a little wine, or sugar, or vinegar (any type) to your sauce should help.

  • Julie A Blanford December 27, 2019, 9:11 pm

    This is an amazing lasagna recipe! Instead of 1&1/2 cups water, I used 1 cup water and 1/2 cup Merlot. I also doubled amount of basil. We let it cool about 30 minutes longer uncovered, but, all ovens are different. This is a keeper!!!!!

  • Linda Stark August 9, 2019, 3:54 pm

    So I have been looking for a great lasagne recipe for a very picky husband for a very long time. He would only eat the one made here locally in little ‘ol Sedro Woolley, WA which is owned by Greeks. All of the recipes are too acidic to his liking and just adding sugar was not the solution. Well, after reading bunches of recipes, I happened across this one! It is awesome!! I tweaked it just a smidge and I believe I have copied our local pizzeria’s recipe! I am a happy camper. I think I may have reduced it a little too much though because it didn’t “spread” very well. Used it over spaghetti and it was a hit! My only changes to get rid of the acidity and make it a little more “greek” was to add about 2 tablespoons of “Better Than Bouillon” beef flavor and about 1/2 to 1 tsp of cinnamon. But this recipe is great without the changes. I see lasagne and ravioli bakes in my future!!


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