Freezing lasagna is a great way to make it ahead of time and have one of your favorite meals at the ready. This homemade lasagna recipe is a delicious one-dish dinner that can be made ahead and frozen. And this recipe for making lasagna allows you to customize it to suit your tastes.
Lasagna has always been one of my favorite meals to make and freeze. It’s filling, and it can be doctored up with veggies to make it a one-dish dinner. My kids have gone through seasons when they’ve been picky about lasagna, but with my current method and go-to recipe, a 9×13 pan disappears in a flash.
Making homemade lasagna.
Lasagna is total comfort food. When served with salad, garlic bread, and a nice glass of wine for the adults, it makes the perfect company dinner.
Sure, you could go buy a frozen lasagna at the store, but making your own and freezing lasagna is so much better! Plus, it’s really not difficult at all.
Making homemade lasagna more affordable
Growing up, our lasagna had a cottage cheese filling. I upgraded that to ricotta when I became an adult. And I love lasagna made with a cream cheese filling like this easy lasagne recipe.
But, sometimes those cheeses can be pricey, especially if you’re buying a large quantity.
Nowadays my go-to method is to use a white sauce instead of a cheese filling. It’s super cheap to make with pantry staples and it tastes great!
If I’m going to make lasagna, it’s rare that I’ll make just one pan. It’s so easy to make several casseroles at once and stash the extras in the freezer for later! It’s worth it to make extras and have dinner all ready to go.
Is it better to freeze lasagna cooked or uncooked?
You can really do both! Whatever works for you. I like to freeze my lasagna uncooked, so then I have a meal ready to go for my family. And a fresh, hot bubbly lasagna? You can’t beat that.
But if I have leftovers, then I like to freeze my leftover lasagna slices.
How to make freeze lasagna – step by step
I lay out all the components, making a meat sauce and a white sauce in two separate pans. I have the cheese and the uncooked noodles ready at hand.
When I want to add vegetables, I usually do so via the sauce, making a veggie-rich bolognese or using this roasted vegetable sauce with browned ground beef. You can also add some chopped spinach to your favorite spaghetti sauce and call it good.
I haven’t cooked my lasagna noodles before assembly in years. If you add enough sauce to the dish, the noodles will cook in the sauce while the casserole bakes. This saves so much time — and you don’t have to clean another pan.
Start with a layer of sauce. Well, spray the pans first and then the sauce. I know it sounds weird to have the sauce on the bottom, but it works. And no, this isn’t very saucy looking sauce because the meat was cold when I stirred it in. Sorry.
Once you’ve got the sauce, add a layer of cheese and a layer of noodles. Again, don’t cook the noodles. I’ve been making it this way for almost 20 years. It will be fine. Promise.
Then add the white sauce that you made yourself. I usually stir in about ¼ cup shredded parmesan or asiago cheese to dress it up a bit.
Repeat with layers of noodles, sauce, and cheese. I have a kid who doesn’t love lots of melted cheese, so I go light on the cheese on one end of the lasagna.
Tip for freezing lasagna
Last cover the pans. If they come with lids, great. If not, heavy duty foil works. I also bag the casserole dish in 2-gallon size Ziploc bags. A whole casserole dish fits! I suck out the air with a straw so that there’s no air left in the bag to condense and create ice crystals.
I chill the casseroles in the refrigerator for several hours before I put them in the freezer. This helps them freeze quickly which in turn reduces the risk of freezer burn.
How long can you freeze homemade lasagna?
I recommend freezing your lasagna for 3 months. It may last a bit longer, but I think 3 months is safest.
How do you reheat lasagna?
I like to place my lasagna in an oven-proof dish and add a splash of water on top (the pasta tends to dry out). Cover the dish with aluminum foil and reheat in an 350F oven until heated through (could take up to 30-45 minutes).
Can I reheat a whole lasagna?
You absolutely can. I don’t recommend using the microwave as it probably won’t fit. Make sure it’s an ovenproof dish, splash a little water on top, and then reheat in an 350F oven until heated through, about 3-45 minutes.
Can I reheat lasagna in the microwave?
You absolutely can. It’s not my preferred method but it gets the job done. Make sure you place your lasagna slices in a microwave safe dish. You want to cover the dish with a paper towel to prevent it splattering.
Pro Tip: Stick a toothpick in the top of the lasagna. This will keep the paper towel from sticking to the top of your lasagna.
Can I reheat a frozen baked lasagna?
It is best to reheat a baked lasagna that’s thawed out, but it’s also not necessary. You will just need to reheat your cooked lasagna for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Tools I use for for freezing lasagna:
- 9×13 Pyrex pan
- foil pans
- 2-gallon Ziploc bags for the freezer
- nonstick skillet
- box grater for cheese
- Small Kitchenaid saucepan
- Wire whisk
- wooden spoon
Homemade Lasagna for the Freezer
- 1 lb ground beef turkey, or sausage
- 3 cup marinara sauce
- 16 oz mozzarella cheese (shredded) (4 cups)
- 8 lasagna noodles
- 1 batch white sauce
- 1 oz Parmesan cheese (shredded) (¼ cup)
- Grease a 9x13-inch pan. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Add the spaghetti sauce and set aside.
- Spread half the meat sauce in the bottom of the 9x13-inch pan. Sprinkle 2 cups of mozzarella cheese over the sauce.
- Lay 4 noodles across the cheese.
- Add the parmesan cheese to the white sauce, whisking to combine. Pour this mixture over the noodles in the pan. Top with the remaining four noodles.
- Spread the rest of the meat sauce over the noodles. Top with the remaining cheese.
- Wrap and label the pan with baking instructions. Chill completely before freezing. The dish can be frozen up to 3 months in a refrigerator’s freezer compartment.
- To serve: Thaw completely in the refrigerator. Bake in a preheated 400° oven for 30 minutes. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.
I was wondering how much ricotta cheese should I use for one 9×13-inch pan worth of lasagna if I wanted to use it instead of the white sauce
I would say anywhere from 12 to 16 ounces. Typically, I mix that with a beaten egg and some Italian herbs.
Hello, I was wondering if anyone has tips for baking this from the freezer without thawing? I’m guessing that I could just lower the temp and increase the time, like 350F for 1/2 hour covered and 1/2 uncovered. But I was curious if anyone had done this before I go by trial and error. 🙂
It is a bit of trial and error, and can take up to a couple hours, but yes, exactly as you describe.
I have fresh noodles. I am assuming they will be fine not to cook first too?! Have you used them before? I would think it would be ok since they are even softer than dried noodles, but I want to double check!
That sounds super yummy. I’ve never used them, but I would guess it wouldn’t need to bake as long. Maybe google some cooking times to confirm.
I just read this recipe. I just want to reassure your readers…. I, too, have made lasagna for years without boiling the noodles. When making this and baking the same day, I pour one cup of water around the edges. Even, after freezing and thawing, I still pour one cup around the edges before baking. So, so simple.
I’m just wondering should I let the sauces cool off a little or can I make it hot and then refrigerate before freezing?
I was worried the hot sauces would start to cook the lasagna sheets and melt the cheese in the layers. Before it went into the freezer.
If you’re making it for freezing, you can either chill all the components and assemble or chill the assembled casserole in the fridge for several hours before freezing. The slight melting has never been a problem for me, but you do want it cold before it goes in the freezer.
Hello – I’m preparing to make 10 (!) frozen lasagna’s for the holiday season. I’ve done my research (which included reading your post at least dozen times 🙂 )and feel confident I can pull this off. I love the idea of the white sauce in place of the ricotta mixture. Would you recommend making the white sauce one batch at a time or can I go all in and make enough for all of the lasagnas? Thanks so much for any insight!
I’ve made the sauce x4 but never of the large quantities you’re talking about. A bigger batch takes a bit longer to thicken, but you should be able to do it in two or three batches. Good luck!
I’ve never made lasagne without ricotta cheese. Would it be ok to add it and if I do, would I leave out the white sauce?
Also, please clarify for me – someone else commented on using “no boil noodles”. I’ve never seen those. Are your noodles just regular lasagne noodles? Thanks so much for the recipe. I’d like to make lasagne for my daughter’s family when she has her baby.
If you’re going to do a ricotta layer, you would omit the white sauce.
No boil noodles are available at most grocery stores, I just use regular. I’ve done this for over 15 years and it’s always worked fine, provided you add enough sauce and make it at least a few hours in advance.
Do you leave the foil on and bake? Or take it off and bake?
I recommend leaving it on for the first half of baking time and taking it off at the end.
Is the white sauce you mention an Alfredo sauce?
No, it’s made with a roux and milk. My alfredo is just cream and butter.
How long does it take to thaw in refrigerator before baking
It may take up to a couple of days, depending on the temp of your fridge and where in the refrigerator you place it.
A few times the top has come out overdone – like brown cheese. Is 400 the right temperature? What should I do to avoid this in the future? Love this recipe!!
Some ovens can be off or off “sometimes”. I would cover it with a sheet of foil for the first 15 minutes and then uncover for the rest.
I use cottage cheese in my lasagna. Will that change anything with the freezing and reheating?
Nope. I use the same methods when I use cottage cheese or ricotta instead of the white sauce.
Do you have to double the ingredients to make 2 lasagnas or is the recipe above enough to make 2?
The recipe makes one 9×13-inch pan.
When you make it fresh, do you bake it covered?
No, I bake it uncovered.
Jessica, I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for quite a while. Since I’m still pantry challenging I made it last night as I had everything. I had a box of the no boil noodles to use up. Very delicious! I think this will be my go to way from now on. I like lasagna with ricotta, but it’s expensive and cottage cheese isn’t my favorite. White sauce works great! I never would have thought of it.
I wish I had realized years ago that you don’t have to boil regular lasagne noodles first. Such a great shortcut!
I know, right?
This is how I make lasagna. I don’t care for cottage cheese or ricotta so I use white sauce. I have to admit that seeing cornbread with lasagna is a bit unusual but I usually only serve it with chili, a pot of pintos, or vegetable soup.
Ha! I had a big BIG debate with my editor on that point when I paired them in a book. I asked all my friends after that. Turns out it’s a Marie Callendar’s combination that I adapted long ago. Try it. It’s really yummy.