Ultimate Cheese Lasagna
We love this cheese lasagna recipe with the perfect blend of cheeses that makes anyone weak at the knees. It’s rich, creamy, cheesy, and delicious. You can assemble this lasagna in about 20 minutes. Jump to the Cheese Lasagna Recipe
If you have seen our recipes for veggie or no-fuss lasagna, you already know our love of lasagna. This time, we are sharing a cheese version. Yep, no veggies or meat here. Just cheese. Five kinds of cheese, in fact.
The blend creates lasagna that’s perfectly rich, creamy, and delicious. Here’s what we use:
- Whole milk ricotta cheese
- Mascarpone cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Fontina cheese
For the Best Lasagna, Use Ricotta and Mascarpone Cheese
We call for ricotta cheese in all of our lasagna recipes. However, when we made this cheese lasagna with our usual ricotta and parmesan filling (seen in this veggie version), it came out too grainy.
I can only assume this is because there aren’t other ingredients like vegetables or ground meat to add another texture. Adam agreed, so for the most delicious cheese lasagna, we prefer to use a combination of ricotta cheese and creamy mascarpone cheese.
With the combination of ricotta and mascarpone, you achieve the most lovely rich and creamy layer between the noodles and sauce. I love the combo so much that I plan on using it whenever I make other lasagna recipes from the blog. I’m kind of bummed that we hadn’t tried it sooner.
The ricotta filling in this lasagna combines ricotta, mascarpone cheese, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and one egg. The egg helps firm up the filling so that it stays put in its own layer.
FAQ: Cheese Substitutes
We realize that asking for five kinds of cheese is a lot. So, if you cannot find one or find one too expensive, here are some tips to help you.
- Ricotta cheese substitute: Try cottage cheese.
- Mascarpone cheese substitute: Use 8 ounces of ricotta or make a DIY mascarpone by beating 8 ounces of cream cheese with 1/4 cup heavy cream until smooth and creamy.
- Mozzarella cheese substitute: Try provolone cheese
- Fontina cheese substitute: Fontina cheese is mild and melts exceptionally well. Substitute it with provolone cheese.
- Parmesan cheese substitute: Try Grana Padano or Pecorino Romano cheese.
Except for parmesan cheese, which is made with animal rennet (an enzyme used to help the cheese set), the cheeses called for in this cheese lasagna are typically vegetarian.
When shopping for this recipe, double-check all labels and skip the parmesan. Instead, you can mix a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast into the ricotta and mascarpone mixture to add a cheesy, salty flavor like parmesan.
Assembling the Lasagna
When assembling the lasagna, we have 4 layers of noodles with two types of cheese layers. Here’s how we do it:
Start with sauce spread onto the bottom of your baking dish. Next, add the first layer of lasagna noodles (we love no-boil noodles) plus half the ricotta-mascarpone mixture and fresh basil leaves.
Place the second layer of lasagna noodles plus sauce, mozzarella, and fontina cheese.
Then add the third layer of lasagna noodles plus the remaining ricotta-mascarpone mixture and more fresh basil leaves. Finally, add the fourth layer of lasagna noodles, remaining sauce, mozzarella, and fontina cheese on top.
Make Ahead and Storing Tips
Lasagna is the perfect make-ahead meal. Here’s how I do it:
If you make our homemade red sauce, it lasts in your refrigerator for up to three days and in your freezer for about three months. We recommend using freezer-safe glass containers or double-layer freezer bags to store sauces. To thaw, leave it overnight in the refrigerator.
You can refrigerate unbaked lasagna. Cover and refrigerate the assembled but unbaked lasagna for up to two days. When you cover, use parchment paper between the lasagna and aluminum foil. Aluminum foil can react with tomatoes.
Baked lasagna also freezes well. Let it cool completely on a rack before freezing, and then wrap it well with foil (we use two layers). When ready to reheat, defrost the frozen lasagna overnight in the refrigerator and then bake at 400°F for 40 minutes to 1 hour. (I prefer baking and freezing the lasagna instead of freezing uncooked lasagna.)
Ultimate Cheese Lasagna
We love this cheese lasagna with the perfect blend of cheeses that makes anyone weak at the knees. It’s rich, creamy, cheesy, and delicious. Cheese substitutions can be found in the article above. We have also shared tips for making this vegetarian-friendly.
You Will Need
12 to 15 lasagna noodles, preferably no-boil noodles; see notes
8 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
8 ounces mozzarella, shredded, 2 packed cups
5 ounces fontina cheese, thinly sliced or shredded
3 cups homemade red sauce or use one 28-ounce jar of spaghetti sauce
Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Mix the ricotta, mascarpone, parmesan, salt, pepper, and beaten egg in a medium bowl.
Spread one cup of sauce over the bottom of the dish.
Place 3 to 4 lasagna noodles down, overlapping them slightly. Depending on your dish, you might need to break a noodle into smaller pieces to fill any gaps.
Spread half of the ricotta-mascarpone mixture over the noodles, then scatter half of the basil leaves on top.
Add a second layer of noodles, and then spread 1 cup of sauce over them.
Scatter half of the mozzarella cheese and half of the fontina cheese over the sauce.
Add a third layer of noodles, spread the remaining ricotta-mascarpone mixture over them, and then scatter the remaining basil leaves on top.
Finish with the fourth layer of noodles and spread the remaining sauce on top (about 1 cup). Finally, finish with the remaining mozzarella and fontina cheeses.
Bake the lasagna uncovered until the cheese bubbles and the noodles cook; about 30 minutes. For a golden-brown top, broil for an additional one to two minutes. If your dish is filled to the top, consider placing it onto a baking sheet before baking in the oven to prevent any oven mess from overflowing cheese and sauce.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Noodles: No-boil noodles are a quicker alternative to regular noodles, and we enjoy how they are slightly thinner. This recipe requires one 9-ounce box of no-boil noodles. You can use traditional lasagna noodles; we recommend boiling them first.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.