How To Season Ground Beef For Lasagna


Have you ever wondered how to season ground beef for lasagna? Ground beef can be used for a lot more than just hamburgers. It is a very versatile ingredient that is used to make many different meals like tacos, sloppy joes, chili and even meatloaf!

I love to cook and I love making lasagna, but I hate it when the meat isn’t seasoned enough. This happens more often than I would like to admit. That’s why I’ve created this super easy step-by-step video to help anyone who wants to learn how to season ground beef for lasagna.

Lasagna with Meat Sauce

Ground beef and sweet Italian sausage enrich the sauce for this beloved baked pasta, while no-boil lasagna noodles speed up the process.


Lasagna with Meat Sauce

Recipe Summary


45 mins


2 hrs 30 mins


Serves 8 to 10


Meat Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound 85-percent lean ground beef
  • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped (3/4 cup)
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes in juice

Cheese Mixture

  • 24 ounces whole-milk ricotta (3 cups)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 pound low-moisture mozzarella, shredded (4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 18 dry lasagna noodles


Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Step 2Meat Sauce: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add beef, sausage, onion, carrots, celery, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up meat into bite-size pieces, until vegetables soften and meat has browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red-pepper flakes; cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add tomato paste; cook 2 minutes more. Puree tomatoes in a blender or food processor; add to pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened slightly but still very loose, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Step 3Cheese Mixture: In a large bowl, whisk together ricotta, milk, eggs, 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, 2 1/2 cups mozzarella, parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  • Step 4Assembly: Spread 2 cups meat sauce evenly in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, preferably ceramic or enameled cast iron. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles over sauce (space noodles evenly; they will expand as the lasagna cooks). Spread 2 cups cheese mixture over noodles; top with 3 more noodles. Repeat layering of meat and cheese mixtures between noodles twice more. Spread 2 cups meat sauce evenly over top layer of noodles. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 1/2 cups mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Loosely cover with parchment-lined foil and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Step 5Bake until noodles are tender but still al dente (easily pierced with the tip of a knife), 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover; continue baking until bubbly and puffed slightly along edges and golden brown in places on top, 20 to 25 minutes more. (There may appear to be a lot of liquid in the dish. It will be absorbed as the lasagna cools.) Transfer dish to a wire rack and let cool slightly and set, about 20 minutes; cut into squares to serve.

Cook’s Notes

This recipe can be assembled and stored in the refrigerator up to a day in advance. Leftovers also hold up well in the freezer: Package individual slices in parchment-lined foil and store in a freezer bag for up to a month. To reheat, bake, still wrapped in foil, at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until heated through.

Reserve any remaining meat sauce for another use, such as tossing with pasta for a quick supper, sandwiching between potato buns for sloppy Joes, or serving with fried eggs for breakfast.

Basic Lasagna Recipe with Ground Beef

Basic lasagna recipe with ground beef. Layers of noodles, ground beef in marinara and cheesy goodness.

Basic Lasagna with ground beef

Ask anyone and they will tell you the best lasagna they ever had was their moms’. It is true. My mom made a killer lasagna and so did Brandon’s mom. As we discuss whose mom made it better one thing that they have in common is that they are both basic lasagna recipes. Nothing crazy. Just the basics. As I was craving that basic lasagna I decided to throw one together and share it with you. Basic lasagna in all it’s comfort food glory! Serve it up with a Caesar salad and baguette.

We love ricotta cheese in our lasagna. The ricotta layer is actually my favorite, but you just can’t add ricotta all by itself. You have to add mozzarella and herbs to the ricotta for a flavorful layer. If you love ricotta too you have to make my super cheesy Ricotta Stuffed Shells. When you cut into the shells it is a ricotta and 5 cheese explosion.

This recipe is a good framework for making lasagna. Get creative by swapping out ground beef for ground spicy Italian sausage. Add provolone cheese to the mozzarella layer of the lasagna or other Italian cheeses.

How to save leftover lasagna.

Refrigerator: Cut the leftover lasagna into serving portions. Place individual portions in an airtight container and refrigerate. The leftover lasagna will stay good for about two days before it starts to dry out.

Freezer: This method is best done the next day after the lasagna has been refrigerated over night. Cut the leftover lasagna into serving portions. Using plastic wrap, wrap lasagna portions tightly several times. Place wrapped lasagna portions in a freezer bag and store in the freezer. Unwrap lasagna portions and microwave for 2 minutes and then in 30 second increments until heated through.

How long do you cook lasagna?

Thirty minutes, covered with tinfoil. Then 15 more minutes uncovered. Don’t forget to take into account prep time when planning your dinner.

Basic Lasagna Recipe with Ground Beef

Basic Lasagna Recipe with Ground Beef

Basic Lasagna Recipe

 Course Main Course

 Cuisine Italian

 Keyword lasagna

 Prep Time 30 minutes

 Cook Time 45 minutes

 Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

 Servings 10


  • 1 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 25.5 oz. jar of your favorite pasta sauce.
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 15 oz. container of whole milk ricotta cheese.
  • 1 16 oz. package of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese


  1. In a medium pot add ground beef, salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium heat until browned.
  2. Drain beef of excess fat and return to pot.
  3. Add the pasta sauce to the beef and stir. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water. Add a pinch of salt and olive oil and bring to a boil.
  5. Meanwhile in a mixing bowl add ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, Italian seasoning, and egg and beat until well combined and smooth. Set aside.
  6. Once noodles are done remove from heat. Do not drain. I have found the noodles don’t break or stick if I leave them in the water.
  7. Ladle in about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan and spread out into a very thin layer covering the bottom of the pan. This small amount of sauce will prevent the bottom layer of noodles from sticking to the bottom.
  8. Remove noodles from the water with a wooden spoon or thick utensil. If you use a fork the noodle will tear.
  9. Layer 3 lasagna noodles side by side in the baking dish. This will start your first layer.
  10. Ladle in half of your tomato sauce and spread evenly over the noodles.
  11. Layer 3 lasagna noodles on top.
  12. Spoon in the ricotta cheese mixture and spread evenly.
  13. Layer 3 lasagna noodles on top.
  14. Use half of remaining mozzarella and spread evenly over the noodles.
  15. Layer 3 lasagna noodles.
  16. Spread remaining tomato sauce evenly across the top.
  17. Cover with foil and bake at 350F. for 30 minutes.
  18. Remove from oven. Remove foil. Add remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
  19. Return to oven and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and lasagna is heated through.
  20. Set oven to Broil and broil for 2 minutes to get those gorgeous burnt cheese bubbles.
  21. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

You may want to cook extra lasagna noodles just in case some rip apart while removing them from the pot of water.
If your ricotta cheese container is 16 oz. go ahead and use the whole container. One extra ounce is a bonus!

Lasagna with Meat Sauce

Lasagna is the ultimate Italian comfort food and it’s the perfect make-ahead meal to enjoy on busy weekdays or even laid back weekends. Tender pasta noodles are layered with a delicious meat sauce, creamy ricotta, and mozzarella.

When a hot and bubbly baking dish filled with homemade lasagna hits the dinner table, it’s guaranteed to disappear fast! Multiple layers of noodles, cheese, and sauce are the best kind of edible architecture. I like to treat my Italian family with this comfort food because it always brings smiles at the end of a long day.

Using convenient pantry staples makes preparation easy, while effortlessly bumping up the flavor of the meat sauce and cheese layers. Ripe canned tomatoes and dried herbs help to instantly boost the flavor. If you’re in a pinch for time, make the layers in advance and bake when you’re ready to serve, it’s a game-changer!

Tips for the best meat sauce

I didn’t have all day to simmer a homemade marinara sauce, so I opted for convenient pantry ingredients. I use two canned products; tomato paste and crushed tomatoes. The concentrated pulp provides sweetness and helps to thicken the sauce. I use Cento crushed tomatoes imported from Italy because the fruit used is ripe, has a soft acidity, and provides an authentic flavor.

I use two types of meat, lean ground beef, and pork Italian sausage. The combination creates a deeper savory flavor and a more interesting texture. The fat from the sausage prevents the meat from drying out. The sauce simmers with olive oil, garlic, onions, dried Italian seasonings like oregano, basil, and thyme for about 30 minutes to meld the flavors together.

Use three types of cheese

Multiple Italian kinds of cheese are used for the lasagna; mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta. I use Mozzarella for its mild flavor and high moisture, so when it melts it gives thick stringy cheese pulls and browns nicely. This is added as its own separate layer to hold the casserole layers together.

For the filling, I use aged parmesan cheese to give a nutty pungent taste, along with sweet creamy ricotta cheese. If you like, you can substitute cottage cheese for the ricotta and it will have a more savory flavor, the large curds are also softer instead of grainy.

Noodle selection

Wide lasagna noodles create large flat layers which make it easy to spread other toppings. This type of pasta is cooked until al dente so it holds the shape, it will eventually soak up more liquid from the sauce and tenderize it further during baking. After removing from the boiling water, place them on a sheet tray in a single layer between clean kitchen towels to keep them from sticking together.

Cheese filling

For an irresistible creaminess to the baked pasta, make a delicious cheesy herb filling. I use a combination of ricotta cheese for the base, parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, and eggs. The eggs help to bind the filling together and it also puffs up when baking to keep the mixture light instead of too dense in texture. This mixture is added between the layers of noodles.

Layering the ingredients

I use a 13 by 9-inch baking dish to hold all the ingredients. Start with adding some tomato sauce to the bottom in order to prevent sticking. Each layer is built by laying out three to four overlapping pieces of cooked noodles then evenly spreading the ricotta cheese mixture, meat sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Then repeat! This layering pattern will keep the layers from sliding apart during serving.

Bake time

It takes about 45 minutes to bake the lasagna at 375ºF (190ºC). I loosely cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes to get the layers heated through and to cook the raw egg in the filling. To ensure that the mozzarella cheese layers are fully melted and the surface gets slightly golden brown in color, remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes.

You can broil the lasagna for a few minutes right before removing from the oven for an extra browned crust. As much as you’d like to dive right into the pasta, it’s best to let it cool down. It’s easier to cut the layers in attractive slices when it’s not steaming hot and the layers have a chance to settle and pack together.

Make-ahead and storing

Lasagna is an excellent meal prep option. You can assemble all of the layers in the baking dish several days in advance then bake the day you’re ready to serve. This lasagna recipe makes 12 generous servings and tastes even better the next day too.

I cut leftovers into individual pieces and wrap them up and place in the freezer, or pack them in containers for lunch. Any shortcuts to have a hot meal for dinner with little effort is a win for all!

Benefits of simmering tomato sauce

There are two advantages to simmering meat in a tomato sauce. The slow, low heat of simmering allows the flavors to concentrate as the sauce reduces. The natural acids in the tomatoes (malic and citric acid) help to tenderize the meat gently over time while the meat infuses flavor into the sauce.

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