Freezer lasagna made in an 8-inch pan! Cook once, eat twice lasagna. Make ahead lasagna in two pans–eat one tonight and save one for the best freezer meal ever!
Freezer lasagna recipe
I’ve had a big problem in my life for a long time, and I couldn’t go any longer without fixing it. My mom makes the best lasagna–I’m sure your mom does, too. In fact, my mom’s lasagna is the only way my daughter will eat meat. I’m not sure if she actually knows it contains meat, but please, no one ruin this for me!
Anyway, like your mom’s lasagna, my mom’s recipe makes a giant 9×13″ pan. It’s fantastic for a family of 4 or more people–just enough for dinner one night and lunch the next day. But, what about couples without kids or empty nesters? Who can really eat 17 days worth of leftover lasagna?
When I had just brought baby #2 home from the hospital, my mom brought me an 8×8″ pan of this lasagna. She told me she just made her regular batch of lasagna, but split it into two 8-inch pans. We both got to eat the best lasagna ever for dinner that night!
The thing I love about this freezer lasagna is that the ingredients are so simple to put together. I typically have everything on hand, even the ricotta because I use it for baby breakfast ideas. And if I have any leftover ricotta, I make these ricotta pound cake cupcakes. Ok, back to lasagna ingredients! You will need:
- Marinara sauce. Grab your favorite 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce.
- Dry lasagna noodles. You can use the no-cook ones, too!
- Dried parsley
- Parmesan cheese
- Full-fat ricotta cheese
- Mozzarella cheese, freshly grated is so good here!
- Italian sausage (spicy or not, your call)
Once you have all of your ingredients, I recommend having one freezer-safe pan and one regular oven-safe pan. If you make these side-by-side, it’s so easy!
How to make homemade lasagna for the freezer:
Gather all of your ingredients and get ready to make your layers.
- First, if you’re not using no-cook lasagna noodles, you’ll have to bring your water to a boil and cook 10 ounces of noodles. You need about 12 noodles total because you’ll need 2 layers of pasta with 3 noodles for each pan (2 x 3 x 2 = 12)
- In a large skillet over high heat, add the sausage and break it up while it cooks. It should be crumbled and cooked al the way through before stirring in the jarred Marinara. Set aside.
- Next, make the cheese layer by stirring together the ricotta, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Have the grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheese ready on the side.
- Now, layer everything together: smear a bit of red sauce on the bottom of each pan. Top with 3 lasagna noodles. My personal preference is to leave the ends of the noodles sticking out so they can get crispy in the oven, but if that’s not your thing, tuck them under.
- Next, spread on a layer of the ricotta mixture on top, followed by grated mozzarella, and meat sauce. Repeat, using another layer of noodles. Finish with mozzarella (3 layers total of filling but only 2 layers of noodles), and then sprinkle the Parmsan on top.
Make one pan of lasagna in an oven-safe dish to bake now, and the other in a foil freezer-safe dish to freeze for later.
I’m happy to answer some questions about this freezer lasagna.
Is it better to freezer lasagna cooked or uncooked?
To be succinct, freeze it uncooked. So much of this freezer lasagna is already cooked, that if you were to fully cook it, freeze it, and then cook it again to reheat, the end result would be very mushy. The only thing not cooked here is the eggs in the ricotta layer, but they last in the freezer very well. So, assemble your lasagnas, freeze, and then bake fully at a later date.
Can you bake frozen lasagna without thawing?
The thing about frozen lasagna is that it needs to be eaten the same day it’s pulled from the freezer. Because it contains raw eggs, you can thaw it briefly during the day, but be sure to cook it that night. To be more clear, eat within 12 hours of removing from the freezer. Never, ever thaw at room temperature–it’s just not safe!
You can absolutely cook this from frozen, but be keep it covered in foil and cook it longer than one hour. Keep it covered to ensure the top layer doesn’t dry out.
To test if the lasagna is fully cooked in the middle, insert a thin knife, leave it for 2 seconds, and then pull it out and touch it. If the knife tip is cold, so is the lasagna! Look for bubbling edges and a hot center before serving.
Other ways to enjoy lasagna for two without having leftovers:
I have a Skillet Lasagna for Two, if that’s more your speed.
This White Lasagna Skillet is tasty, too.
And my Roasted Vegetable Lasagna for Two is perfect for vegetarians. Enjoy!
- 1 10-ounce box of lasagna noodles*
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground Italian sausage
- 1 24-ounce jar of Marinara sauce
- 3 cups full-fat ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- First, cook the lasagna noodles, if you're not using the no-cook noodles. Drain the noodles, toss lightly with olive oil and lay flat on paper towels.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the sausage, and cook while crumbling with a wooden spoon. When the sausage is fully cooked and brown, stir in the Marinara sauce. Set the sauce aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Have the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese ready on the side.
- It's time to assemble the first lasagna: add a small amount of red sauce on the bottom of an 8x8" dish, and smear it around to coat the bottom. Place 3 lasagna noodles on top--tuck under the ends of the noodles, or leave them sticking up to get crispy in the oven. Add a one-quarter of ricotta mixture and spread it evenly across the noodles. Top with one-quarter of the meat mixture. Add one-sixth of the grated mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles, making sure they face the opposite direction. Follow with another one-quarter of the ricotta mixture, another one-sixth of the mozzarella, and then one-quarter of the meat mixture. Finally, add another one-sixth of the mozzarella on top and sprinkle over 1/4 cup of the Parmsan cheese.( Basically, it's two layers of noodles, meat sauce, and ricotta cheese mixture, but three layers of grated mozzarella).
- Repeat with the remaining ingredients into a second pan, preferably an 8x8" freezer-safe foil pan.
- Preheat the oven to 350, and cook the lasagna for 30-40 minutes, until evenly hot and bubbling around the edges.
- For the lasagna meant for the freezer, cover it with the lid, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and foil, and then freeze for up to 3 months. To eat, remove the lasagna from the freezer and let thaw in the fridge for up to 12 hours. Remove the plastic wrap and lid, but keep the foil on the top of the lasagna. Preheat the oven to 350, and cook the lasagna for 55-65 minutes, or until evenly hot and bubbling around the edges. If the lasagna comes straight from the freezer, expect 75-90 minutes of cook time, but be sure to keep it covered with foil the entire time.
*You can subsitute no-cook lasagna noodles, if you like.
You don't have to freeze one pan and cook one pan--you can assemble this recipe in a single 9x13" pan.
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