This Italian Homemade Lasagna is made with an easy béchamel white sauce (no ricotta) and homemade red sauce, making it is truly the BEST lasagna and can impress any guest!

Looking for more Italian recipes? Try this Tomato Basil Pasta, Manicotti, or Calzones!

A slice of freshly baked Homemade Lasagna being lifted from the white rectangle pan, ready to serve.

Why I love this recipe:

  • The Sauces – The white sauce is a homemade bechamel (and could be replaced with ricotta if you prefer), and taking a few extra minutes to make the red sauce, rather than bottled pasta sauce, is so worth the huge improvement in taste!
  • Freezer Friendly – I always make a double batch and freeze the second pan for another day. See recipe notes for how to freeze lasagna.
  • Family Favorite – lasagna recipes are a staple in most peoples recipe boxes, but you HAVE to try this from scratch version!

How to Make Lasagna:

Prepare the Red Sauce: In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and sausage. Remove grease then transfer to a food processor and pulse 3-4 times until it’s broken up into very small pieces. Remove to a bowl.

Two images showing cooked ground beef and sausage, and then the meat in a food processor in tiny pieces.

Sauté Vegetables: Heat olive oil in the same skillet then add the garlic, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Add onion, spinach, and bell pepper. Cook on medium-high heat until the vegetables are softened, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to the same food processor and pulse several times, until it’s nearly puréed.

A pan with sautéed garlic, onion, and spinach, and then the mixture blended in a food processor.

Add Tomato:Combine vegetable mixture, tomato sauce, and tomato paste in the skillet. Stir to combine then add the diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper. Stir. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.

A fresh red sauce for Homemade Lasagna with all the ingredients poured on top, and then a picture of it mixed together.

Add Meat to Sauce: Right before using the red sauce in the lasagna, stir in the reserved crumbled ground beef and sausage, and fresh basil.

A picture on the left of a red sauce in a pan with cooked ground beef and sausage dumped on top, and then a picture on the right of the sauce mixed together for Homemade Lasagna.

Boil lasagna noodles for half the time suggested on the box, then drain and lay them on a greased baking sheet to keep them from sticking together. (If you are using no-boil noodles, don’t boil them.)

Make White Sauce (Béchamel): Add butter to a medium size saucepan or large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. 

Butter and flour combined in a saucepan to make a roux for a bechamel sauce for Homemade Lasagna.

Add Milk gradually, whisking until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, whisking often so it doesn’t burn on the bottom, until it thickens– about 5-7 minutes.

A fresh bechamel sauce with milk, butter, flour, and salt and pepper to layer in a Homemade Lasagna.

Assemble: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Keep in mind that there will be 3 layers of lasagna, so mentally split the sauces into thirds as you layer them to make sure you have enough at the end.

Layer Three Layers: First, place 3 lasagna noodles in the bottom of a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Start by layering the bottom of your greased pan with 3 lasagna noodles. Spread the red sauce over the noodles, followed by the white sauce, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, spreading all to the edges. Top with another layer of noodles, then red sauce, white sauce, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Add the final layer of noodles, then red sauce, white sauce, and cheeses.

Bake: Place in the oven uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until golden at the edges, and bubbly. Allow the lasagna to rest for at least 15-20 minutes before serving.

An authentic Homemade Lasagna fresh out of the oven and topped with fresh basil.

Serve Italian lasagna with homemade breadsticks or Artisan bread and a green salad, like this orange pomegranate salad!

A slice of Homemade Lasagna on a white plate with a green salad.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: You can make the white sauce and red sauce in advance. You could also boil the noodles in advance. If you want to assemble the lasagna before baking it, make it according to the directions, cover it with plastic wrap, and then tinfoil and refrigerate it for up to 2 days.

To Freeze Baked Lasagna: Assemble and bake this Italian lasagna recipe as instructed (using uncooked regular noodles or no-boil noodles). Allow to cool completely. Cover really well with a layer of plastic wrap and then a double layer of aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, you can thaw in the fridge for 24 hours, as stated above, or bake from frozen for 1 ½ hours (still covered with foil, but remove plastic wrap.) Then uncover and bake for another 45 minutes or so, or until the lasagna is hot and bubbly.

To Freeze Unbaked Lasagna: Assemble this easy lasagna recipe (use uncooked regular noodles or no bake noodles).. Cover really well with a layer of plastic wrap and then a double layer of aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. Remove from freezer and allow to thaw in the fridge for 24 hours. Remove plastic wrap. Cover with tinfoil and bake until warmed through and bubbly. about 45 minutes. Remove tinfoil 15 minutes before it’s finished baking to allow cheese to get bubbly.

Recipe Variations:

  • Bottled Pasta Sauce: If you want to use bottled pasta sauce, instead of making the red sauce from scratch, heat 48oz pasta sauce in a large skillet. Add cooked and crumbled meat, and chopped basil. 
  • Fresh Mozzarella: Replace shredded mozzarella with layers of thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese.
  • Lasagna Soup
  • Crock Pot Lasagna
  • Lasagna Stuffed Shells
  • One Pan Skillet Lasagna

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Recipe

Prep 35 mins
Cook 1 hr 15 mins
Total 1 hr 50 mins
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Ingredients
 
 

Lasagna:

  • 9 regular lasagna noodles (or no-boil noodles)
  • 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese

Red Sauce:*

  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2 large onion , chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 bell pepper (red or green), chopped
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes , or 5-6 whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 container fresh basil leaves , finely chopped (about 10-15 leaves)

White Sauce (béchamel sauce):

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste

Instructions
 

Make the Red Sauce: (Can be made in advance).

  • Brown meat: In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and sausage over medium-high heat, breaking the meat apart into pieces with a wooden spoon. When cooked through, remove the grease. 
  • (Optional) Add meat to a food processor and pulse just 3-4 times until it’s broken up into very small pieces. Remove to a bowl.
  • Sauté Veggies: In the same skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil. When oil is hot, add the garlic, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Add the onion, spinach and bell pepper. Continue cooking on medium-high heat until the vegetables are softened –about 2-3 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat and transfer them to the same food processor. Pulse several times until they’re nearly pureed. Return mixture to the skillet.
  • Add Tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Cover and allow the sauce to simmer for about 20-30 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. Right before using the red sauce in the lasagna, stir in the reserved crumbled ground beef and sausage, and fresh basil. 
  • Cook Pasta: While the red sauce simmers boil the lasagna noodles for half the time suggested on the box. Drain into a large colander and sprinkle them with a tiny bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking together. (You can skip this step if you are using no-boil noodles).

For the White Sauce: (Can be made in advance).

  • Add the butter to a medium size saucepan or large skillet. Over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour, stirring constantly to combine 2 minutes. Gradually add in the milk, whisking until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Cook over medium heat, whisking often so it doesn’t burn on the bottom, until it thickens– about 5-7 minutes.

Assemble Lasagna:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Keep in mind that there will be 3 layers of lasagna, so mentally split the sauces into thirds as you layer them to make sure you have enough at the end.
  • Layer: Start by layering the bottom of your greased pan with 3 lasagna noodles. Spread the red sauce over the noodles, followed by the white sauce, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, spreading all to the edges. Top with another layer of noodles, then red sauce, white sauce, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. 
  • Repeat: Add the final layer of noodles, then red sauce, white sauce and cheeses.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Allow the lasagna to sit for 15-20 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with garlic bread or homemade breadsticks and a green salad.

Notes

Make Ahead Instructions: You can make the white sauce and red sauce in advance. You could also boil the noodles in advance. If you want to assemble the lasagna before baking it, make it according to the directions, cover it with plastic wrap, and then tinfoil and refrigerate it for up to 2 days.
Freezing Instructions:
  • Baked: Assemble and bake lasagna as instructed (using uncooked regular noodles or no-boil noodles). Allow to cool completely. Cover really well with a layer of plastic wrap and then a double layer of aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, you can thaw in the fridge for 24 hours, as stated above, or bake from frozen for 1 ½ hours (still covered with foil, but remove plastic wrap.) Then uncover and bake for another 45 minutes or so, or until the lasagna is hot and bubbly.
  • Unbaked: Assemble lasagna (use uncooked regular noodles or no bake noodles).. Cover really well with a layer of plastic wrap and then a double layer of aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. Remove from freezer and allow to thaw in the fridge for 24 hours. Remove plastic wrap. Cover with tinfoil and bake until warmed through and bubbly. about 45 minutes. Remove tinfoil 15 minutes before it’s finished baking to allow cheese to get bubbly.
Recipe Variations:

Nutrition

Calories: 319kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 20gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 856mgPotassium: 496mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1218IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 366mgIron: 2mg

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I originally shared this recipe in February 2016. Updated December 2017 and September 2022.

 

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wonderful lasagna and surprisingly very easy to make. It made so much that I had tons of frozen leftovers which made for easy quick meals. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

  2. Make it sound like cottage cheese and ricotta is bad. Some love them, like me! The texture, taste etc mixed with the sauce. Will give this a try though. As a caterer I have plenty of people who order my lasagna as is but always open for good ideals.

  3. 5 stars
    This is literally the best lasagna recipe I have ever had or made, and I consider myself a Garfield level lasagna enthusiast. I was pleasantly surprised and only slightly intimidated by the bechamel. The only subs I made were Cowvin and Kevin and using 60 calorie almond milk in the bechamel, because I was too lazy to go get cow milk. We feed and slaughter our own beef (Cowvin); and the s.o. is an avid and excellent hunter, so we also have Kevin (a 7 point buck) who provided a wonderful homemade Italian sausage. I’ve already been recruited to make this in June when we spend the month with the in-laws in Oregon. The s.o. has also provided direct and explicit instruction that this is THE ONLY recipe I am to use for future lasagnas. Thank you for such an amazeballs recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve made this several times. An absolute family favorite. No more ricotta or cottage cheese stuffed lasagna for us. I do add about 3/4 Cup of sharp cheddar to the bechamel.

  5. 5 stars
    I added mushrooms instead of spinach and also added some freshly grated Romano cheese to the white sauce. It was delicious!! Highly recommend this recipe. I’m not a fan of ricotta so this recipe is my new go to for lasagna

  6. 5 stars
    This lasagna was liked by all at Christmas dinner. Everyone raved about it and no leftovers. Next year I need to make two!! Thank you

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