Ultimate Homemade Lasagna

How to make the best homemade lasagna with a delicious tomato sauce, sausage, and beef. Our readers have said this is the best meat lasagna they’ve ever made, and we agree!

Watch the Video

Sausage and Beef Lasagna Video

We brown flavorful sausage and ground beef, then simmer slowly with tomatoes and herbs, creating a thick and delicious sauce that becomes the heart of this delicious lasagna.

Trust me, our homemade lasagna sauce SO good and worth the effort. It makes this the ultimate meat lasagna! If you are short on time, I’ve included a shortcut using store-bought sauce in the recipe below.

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

Ingredients for the Best Lasagna

The ingredients needed for this sausage and beef lasagna are straightforward. Here’s an overview for you:

  • Lasagna noodles: Over the years, I’ve fallen in love with no-boil noodles, which I’d use today. Our photos and video show traditional lasagna noodles, which work well, too. When using them, I boil traditional noodles before assembling this meat lasagna.
  • Cheese filling: We combine creamy ricotta cheese with parmesan cheese and an egg for this classic lasagna. Cottage cheese is an excellent substitute if you don’t have ricotta cheese. I also use mozzarella cheese when assembling.
  • Meat sauce: We make the sauce from scratch for this lasagna. It takes 1 ½ hours, which sounds like a long time, but I promise that extra time is rewarded with how flavorful this dish turns out. If you are short on time, I have included a shortcut using store-bought sauce in the recipe below.

How to Make the Best Lasagna

First, make the homemade meat sauce. You can make it days in advance! It keeps in the fridge for up to three days.

The sauce for our lasagna is a labor of love, but the results are worth it. Similar to homemade bolognese, slow cooking gives it an incredible depth of flavor compared to quicker meat sauces.

Since we LOVE this sauce so much, the sauce recipe shared below makes enough for 2 lasagnas or 1 lasagna with leftover meat sauce for spaghetti.

  1. Brown the meat: Start with sausage and beef, cooking until they get those tasty, browned, crispy bits.
  2. Add aromatics and herbs: Onions, carrots, garlic, and herbs build the flavor base.
  3. Add tomatoes and simmer: Crushed tomatoes and water are added, then it’s all about low and slow cooking for 1 to 2 hours.
Lasagna Meat Sauce made with Sausage and Beef

How to Layer Lasagna

Remember this when layering lasagna: sauce, noodles, cheese, repeat. Easy!

  1. Sauce: Start by spreading a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your baking dish. This prevents the bottom layer of noodles from sticking.
  2. Noodles: Add a layer of lasagna noodles, slightly overlapping if needed.
  3. Cheese: Spread the ricotta, egg, and parmesan mixture evenly over the noodles.
  4. Meat Sauce: Add a layer of your delicious meat sauce.
  5. Repeat: Continue layering noodles, cheese filling, and meat sauce until you’ve used up all your ingredients.
  6. Final Layer: Finish with a layer of noodles and a final layer of meat sauce. Sprinkle with shredded cheese on top.
How to layer lasagna - the cheese layer
How to layer lasagna - the meat sauce layer

How Long to Cook Lasagna

I bake lasagna at 375°F for 50 minutes. I loosely cover it with foil for the first 30 minutes, then uncover it and bake for another 20 minutes or until the top gets a little crispy and golden brown.

Let your lasagna sit: After baking it, allow your lasagna to rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing so that the cheese layer sets up a bit.

Make Ahead Tips

The Meat Sauce: Lasts up to 3 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. For freezing, use freezer-safe glass containers or double-bagged freezer bags. To thaw your sauce, simply place it in the refrigerator overnight.

Assembled, Unbaked Lasagna: You can assemble your lasagna and keep it covered in the fridge for up to two days. Tip: Put parchment or wax paper between the lasagna and any aluminum foil to prevent reactions with the tomatoes.

Baked & Frozen: Your baked lasagna freezes beautifully! Let it cool completely, then wrap it well with two layers of foil. To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge and bake at 375°F for about an hour.

Storing Leftovers: Leftover lasagna lasts in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or stored in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat gently for the best results.

How to Reheat Lasagna

The best way to reheat lasagna is in the oven. Preheat your oven to 350°F, cover your lasagna with foil, and bake until heated through.

If you’re in a hurry, the microwave is your quickest option. (I cover smaller portions with a plate or paper towel and microwave until hot.)

Beef Lasagna Recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you bake lasagna covered or uncovered? I bake my lasagna covered at first so the interior cooks evenly, then uncover it for the last 20 minutes to add a crisp, golden-brown, and cheesy top.

How long does it take to bake lasagna at 350°F? I prefer 375°F, but you can bake lasagna at 350°F. Cover and bake for 35 minutes, then uncover and bake until golden-brown and crisp on top, another 20 to 30 minutes.

What is better in lasagna? Ricotta or cottage cheese? It’s really up to you. I love ricotta (whole milk ricotta is best), but some people find it grainy, which is why they substitute cottage cheese.

Can you make lasagna without ricotta cheese or cottage cheese? Absolutely! Ricotta or cottage cheese adds a nice creamy layer to the lasagna, but you can leave this out. To layer lasagna without it, start with sauce, noodles, shredded cheese, more noodles, and repeat.

What to Serve with Lasagna

Lasagna pairs perfectly with so many side dishes! Try a classic Caesar salad, peppery arugula salad, or a Caprese salad with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil for something light and fresh.

Want a veggie side? Sautéed spinach or broccolini is always a winner. And you can’t go wrong with warm, crusty garlic bread – perfect for soaking up all that yummy sauce!

More Lasagna Recipes

Best Sausage and Beef Lasagna

Ultimate Homemade Lasagna

  • PREP
  • COOK

This is the best lasagna with the most delicious homemade meat sauce. Our homemade sauce takes about 2 hours to make. It’s so worth it for the flavor you develop (highly recommended). The recipe below makes enough for 2 lasagnas, so you can save half the meat sauce to use another day (it freezes for 3 months).

As a shortcut, you can use store-bought sauce, which saves 1 ½ hours.

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 (15g) finely diced onion

1/2 cup (75g) finely diced carrot

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup (75g) tomato paste

2 teaspoons dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 ½ cups water

2 large (28oz) cans crushed tomatoes, 56 ounces total

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 ricotta cheese or cottage cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 large egg, beaten

1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated


  • Make Meat Sauce
  • 1If your sausage has casings, slice them lengthwise and peel them off. If you bought ground sausage, skip this step.

    2Place a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and beef, breaking them into crumbles with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned (about 10 minutes).

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

    4Add garlic, basil, oregano, and the tomato paste. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant, and the tomato paste turns more orange.

    5Pour in 1 ½ cups water and use your wooden spoon to scrape up all the flavorful browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

    6Stir in the canned tomatoes and bring to a low simmer. Season with salt, pepper, and a touch of sugar if needed.

    7Slowly simmer uncovered for 1 ½ hours, skimming off any excess fat. Taste and adjust seasonings.

    8Make-ahead: This meat sauce keeps in the fridge for 3 days or freezes for up to 3 months. The recipe makes 9 cups – you’ll need 4 ½ cups for your lasagna. Use the rest for a second lasagna or with spaghetti!

  • Prepare Lasagna
  • 1Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease a 13×9 inch baking dish, or use non-stick cooking spray.

    2Cook noodles (if needed). If using traditional noodles, boil them according to package directions (about 10 minutes) in a large pot of salted water with a tablespoon of olive oil. Drain well. Skip this step for no-boil noodles.

    3Combine ricotta, parmesan, and the beaten egg in a bowl.

    4Set aside 4 to 4 ½ cups of the prepared meat sauce.

    5Spread about 3/4 cup of meat sauce on the bottom of a 13×9-inch baking dish.

    6Arrange noodles lengthwise, overlapping slightly to cover the sauce. If needed, cut extra noodles to fill any gaps.

    7Spread half the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Top with a third of the mozzarella cheese and 1 ¼ cups of meat sauce.

    8Add another noodle layer and repeat with more ricotta mixture, mozzarella cheese, and sauce.

    9Top with a final layer of noodles and the remaining meat sauce, and sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella cheese.

  • Bake Lasagna
  • 1Cover the lasagna loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then uncover it and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is crusty around the edges. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Shortcut meat sauce with store-bought sauce: Cook the sausage, beef, onions, and carrots as directed in the recipe above. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Stir in two (28-oz) jars of jarred sauce and scrape up any browned bits from the pot. Return the meat to the pan and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until the carrots are tender. Skim off any excess fat and adjust the seasonings to taste.
  • Sugar in the sauce: If your sauce tastes too acidic, add a pinch or so of sugar to balance it out.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
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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127 comments… Leave a Review
  • Shirley Jeanette MacLeod March 21, 2024, 12:43 pm

    Delicious! Made it, family loved it. Thanks!

    • Joanne March 27, 2024, 11:27 am

      That’s wonderful. We are so happy you all enjoyed it.

  • Diane March 18, 2024, 6:07 pm

    I was wondering what other kind of cheese can I use to replace the ricotta cheese? My son doesn’t like it the ricotta at all….so I have no clue what to replace it with. I really want to make this lasagna minus ricotta….

    • Joanne March 27, 2024, 11:28 am

      Hi Diane, A few of our readers have used cottage cheese as a substitute for the ricotta. Hope that helps!

  • Dianne December 26, 2023, 8:37 am

    CHRISTMAS DINNER was a hit! I haven’t made lasagna in over 30 years, always seemed like such a hassle. I changed it up a little, couldn’t find canned tomatoes anywhere so I used canned diced tomatoes, also I didn’t understand adding water so I used Hunts tomato sauce.Other than that followed the recipe. I made the sauce the night before, kept in refrigerator, then just warmed it up a little. Everyone loved it!Had to hide some since everyone wanted to take some home!!!

    • Joanne March 12, 2024, 8:52 pm

      Hi Dianne, We are thrilled that your enjoyed the lasagna so much! Thanks for coming back and sharing!

  • 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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