Easy Homemade Lasagna (Freezer Friendly) - Happy Money Saver (2024)

This is the best make ahead homemade lasagna recipe this side of Italy! Delicious and hearty, this baked lasagna with tender pasta and melting Italian cheese is surrounded by bubbly tomato sauce and authentic spices. Easy to make, freezable, and comfort food at it’s finest!

Easy Homemade Lasagna (Freezer Friendly) - Happy Money Saver (1)

Lasagna is one of those meals that changed my life. Seriously.

When I first met my husband, I made this homemade lasagna for dinner for him and his roommates. I think this lasagna might have helped him fall in love with me…yes, people, it’s that good! 🙂

Easy Homemade Lasagna (Freezer Friendly) - Happy Money Saver (2)

This lasagna recipe is not difficult to prepare. But it does require some steps, which is why no one “whips up” a lasagna after work.

I’ve created a wonderfully freezable lasagna you can prepare like an Italian grandmother on Sunday and serve like an American mom on Tuesday after soccer practice!

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So, I’m giving you my best option for creating and serving lasagna:

Prep it, freeze it, thaw it, bake it, eat it.

The beauty of this method is that you can make it ahead of time, but you’re only cooking the lasagna once.

From one busy mom to another, I want you to be able to grab a prepared but uncooked lasagna from the freezer, thaw it in the fridge, then bake and serve the next night for dinner.

INGREDIENTS – WHAT YOU NEED

This make-ahead freezer lasagna has 4 main ingredients – pasta, cheese, meat, and sauce, along with onions, salt, garlic powder, and parsley. You can absolutely shop for ingredients with a budget in mind.

HOW TO MAKE FREEZER LASAGNA – Step by Step

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Combine ground beef, onion, salt and garlic powder. Cook under med-high until browned and tender. Drain and put back into skillet.

Add spaghetti sauce and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a separate bowl combine cottage cheese, parmesan cheese and dried parsley. Mix well.

Boil your lasagna noodles until al dente, remove from water and set aside.

*Layering Lasagna*

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Bottom Layer

  • First add a small amount of spaghetti sauce mix to the bottom of your 9×13 pan. (photo #2)
  • Layer a single row of noodles (photo #3)
  • Layer 1/3 sauce (photo #4)
  • Layer 1/3 Mozzarella Cheese (photo #5)
  • Layer 1/3 Cottage cheese mixture – dotting it all over. (photo #6)
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Middle Layer

  • Layer single row of noodles (photo #7)
  • Layer 1/3 sauce (photo #8)
  • Layer 1/3 Mozzarella Cheese (photo #9)
  • Layer 1/3 Cottage cheese mixture – dotting it all over). (photo #10)
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Top Layer

  • Layer single row of noodles (photo #11)
  • Layer 1/3 sauce (photo #12)
  • Layer 1/3 Cottage cheese mixture – dotting it all over. (photo #13)
  • Layer 1/3 Mozzarella Cheese last so it bakes up all cheesy on the top. (photo #14)
  • Cover with foil and bake in 350 degrees (F) oven for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly all over. Let stand 10 minutes. (photo #15)

HOW TO FREEZE LASAGNA

To freeze raw lasagna, simply cover the baking dish tightly with Saran Wrap, then cover with aluminum foil, label and freeze. You will be using the same baking dish for prep, freezing, baking, and serving, so I recommend not using a glass baking pan, use metal or foil pans instead.

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IS IT BETTER TO THAW FROZEN LASAGNA BEFORE COOKING IT?

Whenever possible, I like to thaw dishes like lasagna overnight before baking them. This accomplishes 2 things:

  1. The food spends less time in the oven, so dinner is ready sooner.
  2. The food cooks more evenly (I’m talking to you, cold lasagna center!).

However, you CAN bake a lasagna from frozen, it’s just gonna take longer to bake. Note: don’t place a glass or ceramic baking dish that’s filled with frozen lasagna into a hot oven…it could shatter!

To bake from frozen: Remove the foil and saran wrap from the pan, and re-cover with the foil.Place lasagna into the oven and bake at 325°F covered for 1.5 – 2 hours or until you can see or hear bubbling sauce in the middle. Remove foil and cook for an additional 10-12 minutes, until golden on top. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

CAN I USE NO-BOIL LASAGNA NOODLES?

No-boil lasagna noodles are a great option when you want to save time and a few steps. In my experience, however, you lose a little quality in the final product you’re making. No-boil noodles are missing some of that starch that helps the sauce and cheese stick to the pasta. And the noodles end up being less firm than I prefer.

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PRO TIPS/RECIPE NOTES

  • When cooking lasagna noodles for the recipe, remove them carefully from the water with tongs and lay them across a cutting board to dry and cool off. Don’t stack them, or they will stick together.
  • When preparing your ingredients in the baking dish, try to cover your top row of lasagna noodles with cheese and/or sauce before baking. Exposed, naked noodles end up burnt and hard.
  • Before cutting your baked lasagna to serve, let it stand for 10 minutes after you remove it from the oven. This will help the servings hold their classic lasagna shape.
  • Shredded Romano can be substituted for shredded Parmesan cheese. It has a similar flavor, and usually costs less.
  • If using foil pans, this Lasagna can be quite heavy so make sure and put a cookie sheet underneath of it before you bake.
  • NEVER thaw your freezer lasagna on the counter. Always in the fridge.

WHAT OTHER MEALS CAN YOU MAKE AHEAD AND FREEZE?

  • Create these Mini Chicken Pot Pies
  • Make this Simple Chili With Smoked Sausage
  • Prepare these Sausage McMuffin Make Ahead Breakfast Sandwiches
  • Make these Creamy White Chicken Enchiladas
  • Make this Pressure Cooker Cajun Chicken Sausage and Rice

If you make a batch of this freezer lasagna, I would love to see it! Snap a picture of it and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag @happymoneysaver and tagging me @happymoneysaver

Easy Homemade Lasagna (Freezer Friendly) - Happy Money Saver (10)

Recipe Card

4.54 from 26 votes

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Easy Homemade Lasagna

Published By Karrie

Course Dinner

Cuisine Italian

Keyword Freezer Lasagna, Homemade Lasagna

Servings 12

Prep Time 30 minutes mins

Cook Time 45 minutes mins

Total Time 1 hour hr 15 minutes mins

This is the best homemade lasagna recipe this side of Italy! Classic Italian flavors and simple ingredients come together in thick layers of pasta, cheese, and rich meat sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 15 oz spaghetti sauce (I use traditional Ragu)
  • 1 pint cottage cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 10 oz lasagna pasta (cooked to al dente and cooled in cold water)
  • 12 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 ½ cups)

Instructions

  • Add ground beef, onion, salt and garlic powder to a medium skillet. Cook on med-high, stirring and chopping into the beef so you have small ground size pieces, and cooking until browned and tender. Drain fat from meat using a strainer and put back into skillet. Add spaghetti sauce and simmer on low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • In a medium bowl combine cottage cheese, parmesan cheese and dried parsley. Mix well.

  • Boil your lasagna noodles as directed on the box to al dente. Remove them carefully from the water with tongs and lay them across a cutting board to dry and cool off. Don’t stack them, or they will stick together. (If you are freezing this lasagna for later cook less than al dente, to where the noodles are getting soft, but still have a firm bite.)

*Layering Lasagna*

  • First add a small amount of spaghetti sauce mix to the bottom of your 9×13 pan.

  • Layer a single row of noodles.

  • Layer 1/3 sauce.

  • Layer 1/3 Mozzarella Cheese.

  • Layer 1/3 Cottage cheese mixture (dotting it all over).

  • Layer single row of noodles.

  • Layer 1/3 sauce.

  • Layer 1/3 Mozzarella Cheese.

  • Layer 1/3 Cottage cheese mixture (dotting it all over).

  • Layer single row of noodles.

  • Layer 1/3 sauce.

  • Layer 1/3 Cottage cheese mixture (dotting it all over).

  • Layer 1/3 Mozzarella Cheese last so your topping will be cheesy.

BAKE IT NOW

  • Cover baking dish with foil and bake in 350°F oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove foil and co*k for an additional 10-12 minutes, until bubbly all over and golden on top. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

MAKE IT A FREEZER MEAL

  • Wrap baking dish tightly with plastic wrap, pressing down to gently remove air. Cover with foil, label and freeze.

THAW & COOK

  • Place dish in refrigerator for at least 24 hours or up to 48 hours to thaw. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove plastic wrap and foil, re-cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes more until bubbly all over and golden on top. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

Expert Tips

  • When cooking lasagna noodles for the recipe,remove them carefully from the water with tongs and lay them across a cutting board to dry and cool off. Don’t stack them, or they will stick together.
  • When preparing your ingredients in the baking dish,try to cover your top row of lasagna noodles with cheese and/or sauce before baking. Exposed, naked noodles end up burnt and hard.
  • Before cutting your baked lasagna to serve, let it stand for 10-15 minutes after you remove it from the oven. This will help it hold it’s classic lasagna shape.
  • Shredded Romanocan be substituted for shredded Parmesan cheese. It has a similar flavor, and usually costs less.
  • If using foil pans,this Lasagna can be quite heavy so make sure and put a cookie sheet underneath of it before you bake.
  • NEVER thaw your freezer lasagnaon the counter. Always in the fridge.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 356kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 760mg | Potassium: 366mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 478IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 290mg | Iron: 2mg

Loved this recipe?

Make sure to follow on Instagram @happymoneysaver and on Pinterest @happymoneysaver for more money savin’ recipes!

This recipe was first posted Feb. 24th, 2018, but has been updated with new photos and better detailed instructions and tips on Dec 17th, 2020.

Easy Homemade Lasagna (Freezer Friendly) - Happy Money Saver (11)

About Karrie

Food is my love language. But so is saving money. So I like to combine the two a lot and make thrifty make ahead and freeze meals to save time. Because life is busy, and freezer meals can come to the rescue for all of us. And yes, they actually CAN taste good. Read more...

Easy Homemade Lasagna (Freezer Friendly) - Happy Money Saver (2024)
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