My favourite easy lasagne recipe - step by step photos and instructions to help you make the perfect lasagne and impress your dinner guests! It's a family favourite!
There is no denying it...lasagne is definitely not a quick meal. Even my favourite easy lasagne recipe is a labour of love, but it's one of those meals that when I have taken the time to make it and Josh walks in at the end of a long day, it makes me feel like I am winning at the wife game. Especially when there is garlic bread too.
Lasagne is one of those recipes that everyone has their own take on. The classic "my mum makes the best lasagne" trick. The cool thing is, I am someones mum now so when I'm eating this I imagine Sadie telling all her baby friends that her mum makes the best lasagne...ha! She doesn't even eat it yet. But what I'm saying is, make this recipe and then alter it as you please so that it becomes YOUR lasagne! I have to admit, I really just use this recipe as a rough guide. When it comes to cooking I barely ever measure anything out and I usually always make it slightly different. But if I was to measure and be precise, this recipe is how I would do it.
So even though it's a bit of a long process, I promise lasagne really is easy to make. There are only 2 elements that need to be cooked - the meat sauce and the cheese sauce. And sure you could open a jar of pasta sauce to stir through the mince and mix up a packet of cheese sauce and it would actually be super easy, but PLEASE DON'T! Be a super Suzy homemaker and make it properly! I promise, it will taste 1000x better.
First up, the meat sauce. If you can make spaghetti bolognese, you can make the meat sauce. In fact, the hardest part is opening the tins of tomatoes. I'm still in team "undecided if I prefer struggling to use a can opener to open the last teeny little bit of tin that leaves the lid hanging on by a deathly sharp thread or breaking a nail everytime using the pull tab openers." Anyone else? So if you can solve that dilemma, you're on the way to an epic lasagne.
Cook down some onions and garlic, add the beef and brown it and then add all other ingredients and simmer away for 30 minutes or so while you make the cheese sauce.
And the cheese sauce - again, if you can make mac & cheese, you can make cheese sauce! Cook butter and flour together, add milk and let it bubble away until it thickens up enough to coat the back of a spoon and then stir in the cheese and other ingredients. I like adding a little nutmeg and dijon mustard to my cheese sauce...it makes it next level good!
Then all that's left to do is layer it up in a big old baking dish! A layer of meat sauce, followed by pasta, followed by cheese sauce and repeat. Top with more grated cheese, put it in the oven for around 30 minutes and dinner is served!
This easy lasagne recipe is the perfect meal to make ahead and freeze. The recipe makes a pretty big lasagne...enough for 6-8 people. So you can either halve the recipe, or make the whole thing and do 2 smaller lasagnes - one to eat now and one to put in the freezer. I made a couple of these in disposable tinfoil trays and froze them before Sadie was born - they were a lifesaver on busy days! And if you want to win brownie points with any new mum, they are the perfect meal to take when you visit. Rule number 1 of visiting a new mum and baby...BRING FOOD! Am I right? Plus, no dishes for them to do. Win!
My easy lasagne recipe is best served with a side salad and garlic bread...if you're feeling super ambitious try making your own ciabatta garlic bread!
Easy Lasagne Recipe (step by step)
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 kg (2.2lb) mince/ground beef
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 2 cups beef stock
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs e.g. rosemary, oregano, parsley or 1 tablespoon dried mixed herbs
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 80 g butter
- ½ cup (70g) flour
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup grated cheese
- 2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- Salt & pepper
- 400 g dried or fresh lasagne sheets
- ½ cup grated cheese
- Finely chop the onion and crush the garlic.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion & garlic and cook for 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the mince and cook until brown (10-15 minutes).
- Add the remaining meat sauce ingredients and combine. Reduce the heat to low/medium and simmer for around 40 minutes until the sauce has thickened and almost all liquid has evaporated.
- Remove the bay leaf and discard.
- While the meat sauce is cooking, make the cheese sauce. In a microwave proof jug or in a small pot on the stove, heat the milk for about 1 minute, until warm. Set aside. (This step is optional but speeds up the cheese sauce process)
- In a medium sized pot add the butter and flour and cook over a medium heat until the butter has melted. Cook for a couple of minutes, being careful not to let it burn. It will almost puff up which is what you want.
- Add about ½ cup of the milk and whisk it into the flour mixture until there are no lumps. Add the rest of the milk and bring to boil, whisking every 20 seconds or so to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom and go lumpy.
- Once the sauce thickens (5-8 minutes) take it off the heat and whisk in the grated cheese, mustard, nutmeg and salt & pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- In a large baking dish (mine is 30cm x 20cm and 6cm deep) assemble the layers of the lasagne. Spread ⅓ of the meat sauce on the bottom of the dish, followed by ⅓ of the pasta sheets (break them up to fit the shape of the dish) and ⅓ of the cheese sauce. Repeat until you have 3 layers of each, ending with the last of the cheese sauce.
- Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top. If you are going to freeze the lasagne see Note 1.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. You may want to grill it at the end for a few minutes to get it nice and golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Any leftovers can be frozen and reheated according to the directions in Note 1.