The best Make Ahead Lasagna Recipe has a homemade meat sauce with beef AND sausage as well as THREE kinds of cheese. No need to boil the noodles ahead of time, either! Freezer-friendly. Scroll down for a video tutorial!
I love making recipes that involve separate components. Lasagna is a great example.
You make the homemade meat sauce first, then you mix up the 3-cheese filling while it simmers, and then you layer everything lovingly in a pan.
So fun right?
However, as much as I enjoy making lasagna, I love eating it even more.
Especially this version, my unofficial Best Make Ahead Lasagna Recipe. It’s tried and true, made again and again (by my family members, friends, and me), and it’s always a crowd-pleaser.
How to Make Overnight Lasagna
This recipe is Make Ahead because instead of boiling the noddles, they soften in the sauce overnight. This is crucial if you despise watery meat sauce in your lasagna as I do.
Another pet peeve of mine? No-boil lasagna noodles.
Have you ever tried the no-boil lasagna noodles? They literally shred on your fork. I am not impressed. At some stores (ahem, Target) you will ONLY find no-boil noodles.
Yet I’ve never met a person shopping in that aisle (and yes I’m that crazy person that interacts with the general public) who actually likes the weird shredding situation that accompanies no-boil noodles. So, we make THIS make ahead lasagna with regular noodles.
Need a make ahead lasagna to freeze? You’re in luck! This is my go-to meal when my Mom friends have a baby because it can be eaten immediately or frozen, and also because it’s comforting and there will absolutely be leftovers. Just thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
The Best Make Ahead Lasagna Recipe
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground Italian sausage
- 1 medium onion chopped (about 1 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (16 ounce) container ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 box lasagna noodles NOT no-boil
- 1 pound mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, cook beef, sausage, and onion over medium heat until well browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the fat if desired. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, sugar, basil, Italian seasoning, fennel, salt to taste (I like 1 tablespoon but you can use less) and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, parsley, and ½ teaspoon salt. Chill until the meat sauce is finished.
- To assemble, spread 1 cup meat sauce in the bottom of a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish. Arrange a single layer of uncooked noodles lengthwise over the meat sauce. Spread with 1/3 of the ricotta mixture. Top with 1/3 (about 5 ounces) of mozzarella. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Spoon 1 cup meat sauce over the cheese. Make another layer of noodles, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella and Parmesan. Repeat layers 1 more time, for a total of 3 layers. (You will have about 1 quart sauce left which can passed separately or reserved for another use).
- Spray a large piece of foil with nonstick spray and cover baking dish. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
- To bake, preheat oven to 375° F. Bake for 25 minutes covered with foil. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Cool 5 minutes before serving.