The Best Make-Ahead Lasagna (Freezer Friendly Too!)

The Best Make-Ahead Lasagna recipe is made with a rich sausage sauce and loads of cheese. This will be your go-to lasagna recipe, guaranteed!

In the mood for more lasagna? Check these out: Classic Lasagna Recipe, Easy Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna and Butternut Squash Lasagna Roll-ups.

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The Best Make-Ahead Lasagna

Few things are more deliciously comforting than a plate full of delicious hearty cheesy lasagna. Truth be told, I didn’t have a great lasagna recipe until I tried this one. It’s what lasagna dreams are made of. It’s rich, saucy, cheesy, simple to put together (thank you canned tomatoes and no-boil noodles), and just all around awesome. This is for sure the best make-ahead and freezer friendly lasagna recipe out there. I can’t wait for you to make it!

The Best Make-Ahead Lasagna recipe that is also freezer friendly is made with a rich sausage sauce and loads of cheese. This will be your go-to lasagna recipe guaranteed!

This lasagna recipes hails from the new America’s Test Kitchen cookbook The Complete Make-Ahead Cookbook: From Appetizers to Desserts 500 Recipes You Can Make in Advance. It’s a good one! I love this book because there are 500 recipes you can make ahead of time – 500! Lots are freezer-friendly too. It goes through the process of how to make, store, and then cook each recipe. It’s awesome for busy moms.

I do a lot of my dinner-making at lunch or early afternoon while I only have two little people at home. Once after school time hits, we have homework, karate, chores, Cub Scouts, and more. It’s great for me to have a plan for dinner but not have to be actively in the kitchen at that time. The Complete Make-Ahead Cookbook is perfect for that kind of thing. I also love it for planning dinner parties, family functions, and other events where you don’t want to be busy in the kitchen right before the meal.

Not only can you make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for up to 24 hours,  you can freeze it, too. I make a double batch of this recipe in the morning or early afternoon, stick one in the fridge to cook for dinner and wrap one up and stick it in the freezer. Cook once and eat twice! I love having meals in the freezer for busy nights (hello DIY house building) or to have ready for a friend in need. I’ve delivered many freezer meals to neighbors and friends just when the thought strikes me. It’s such a gift for myself and others to have homemade, comforting meals in the freezer for when we need them. It’s great for prepping for big crowds, too. In fact, I have tons of family coming into town this weekend (my son is getting baptized on Saturday!), so I’m making 4 pans tonight that we’ll cook up tomorrow after the baptism. Hurray for prepping ahead for parties and family gatherings!

The Complete Make-Ahead Cookbook would make a great gift for you or a friend. Definitely check it out!

The Best Make-Ahead Lasagna recipe that is also freezer friendly is made with a rich sausage sauce and loads of cheese. This will be your go-to lasagna recipe guaranteed!

What type of pan do I put lasagna in?

This recipe makes a big lasagna so make sure you have a 9×13 inch pan. I like to keep these foil pans in my pantry if I’m making a lasagna for the freezer. I don’t have to worry about tying up my dishes or getting them back if that lasagna makes it to the home of a friend.

What should I serve with lasagna?

This recipe is great for company (it’s that good and you can make it ahead of time!). Serve it with some of my favorite no-knead bread and my favorite fall salad (apples, bacon, candied nuts, and shaved Brussel sprouts…so good) and you are ready for company in no time.

Does fresh basil make a difference in a recipe?

Fresh basil in this recipe is SO good. Splurge on it if you can, but dried works well, too.

The Best Make-Ahead Lasagna recipe that is also freezer friendly is made with a rich sausage sauce and loads of cheese. This will be your go-to lasagna recipe guaranteed!

Photo of Make-Ahead Lasagna

The Best Make-Ahead Lasagna (freezer-friendly too!)

  • Author: Melissa Griffiths-Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 50 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 16 1x


The Best Make-Ahead Lasagna recipe is made with a rich sausage sauce and loads of cheese. This will be your go-to lasagna recipe, guaranteed!




  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound meatloaf mix OR Italian sausage
  • 1/4  cup heavy cream
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried


  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (4 cups)
  • 24 ounces (3 cups) whole-milk or part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 and 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. For the sauce Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add meatloaf mix and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream and simmer until liquid evaporates and only fat remains, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato puree and tomatoes, bring to simmer, and cook until flavors meld, about 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. For the lasagna Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, basil, egg, salt, and pepper in bowl.
  3. Spread 1 cup sauce over bottom of 13×9-inch baking dish (avoiding large chunks of meat). Lay 3 noodles in dish, spread 1/3 cup ricotta mixture over each noodle, then top with 1 cup mozzarella and 1 cup sauce (in that order). Repeat layering process 2 more times. Top with remaining 3 noodles, remaining sauce, remaining 1 cup mozzarella, and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan.
  4. Cover dish tightly with greased aluminum foil, place on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover, and continue to bake until spotty brown and bubbling around edges, 25 to 35 minutes. Let casserole cool for 10 minutes before serving.


To Make Ahead

  • Lasagna, prepared through step 3, can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, covered with aluminum foil, and refrigerated for up to 24 hours or frozen for up to 1 month; if frozen, thaw completely in refrigerator
  • To bake, unwrap lasagna, cover with greased aluminum foil, and bake on foil-lined sheet in 400-degree oven until hot throughout, about 1 hour; remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is golden, about 10 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Italian
Nutrition Information: YIELD: 16
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 422.3 Fat: 26.8g Cholesterol: 89mg Sodium: 844.5mg Carbohydrates: 25.4g Sugars: 4.7g Protein: 21g Vitamin A: 167.9µg Vitamin C: 13.4mg

Keywords: make ahead lasagna, easy lasagna recipe, easy homemade lasagna, homemade lasagna recipe, best lasagna recipe, best homemade lasagna, easy homemade lasagna, how to make lasagna

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My family LOVED this make-ahead lasagna and so did every one else I took it to. It’s for sure my new go-to lasagna recipe and I know it will be yours, too. Whether you are making it ahead of time, right before dinner, or to put in the freezer, you are going to love having this amazing lasagna recipe in your life.

Disclosure: America’s Test Kitchen sent me a copy of the cookbook to review but I was not paid for my time to write this review or share this recipe. I just genuinely love ATK and love sharing their books with you. I’ve never had one that I didn’t love!

The Best Make-Ahead Lasagna recipe that is freezer friendly too is made with a rich sausage sauce and loads of cheese. This will be your go-to lasagna recipe guaranteed!

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about me

About Melissa

I have a lot going on, and I’d much rather spend my time enjoying my messes than fretting about what I’m going to make for dinner. Over the past few years, I’ve nailed down a few strategies that helped me keep my kitchen running like a well-oiled machine, so I started Bless This Mess to help other mess-loving parents solve the nightly dinner delimma—no stress, no drama, just really great food your whole family will love. Read more...

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Great make ahead recipe for a crowd!!

So you bake it throughly, cool it & then refrigerate overnight or do you assemble & cook next day? Thx

I made this last week and froze or in prep for my upcoming adventures in motherhood (I’m for in a month) but I wanted to thaw and bake one now and if we like it, I’ll prepare more. Do y’all think 24 hours in the fridge to thaw is ok? Whattt happens if I bake it and the middle may not be all the way thawed?
Thanks so much!

I can’t wait to try this recipe – my grandmother always had two pans of lasagna in the freezer for family get-togethers. I am trying to make some freezer meals for my friend who is getting ready to have her second baby to have on hand when she gets home from the hospital – obviously it is best to thaw completely in the fridge but I am not sure they will be planning their meals two days in advance (2 hours more likely). Are there directions to prepare from frozen? Or to defrost more quickly? Would also be helpful if taking a frozen meal over to a friend or neighbor last minute. Thanks in advance!!!

Hello! I’ve read a few recipes that don’t call for no boil noodles and they also do not precook them before assembly; have you any experience with this? I’m wanting to use this recipe but not sure if I need to boil the noodles first. I’m planning to freeze. Thanks!!!

Thanks so much! So I do not need to boil them first? Just assemble and freeze?

I’ve made this lasagna (as well as the spinach mushroom version) many many times – it’s absolutely delicious & foolproof…however, it serves at the most 12, not 16; & it takes forever to defrost so be sure to pull it out of your freezer at least two days ahead & leave it out at room temperature before baking it.

Christmas is Tuesday……..if I put it together today will it be okay in the fridge till then? I will be too busy Christmas Eve…

Can you prepare the recipe with no boil noodles and put in fridge without baking and then bake it the next day.

Hey there – what if I were to cook it to save a friend in need some time? How do you recommend storing and reheating it once cooked? Thanks in advance–can’t wait to try it!

This recipe sounds delicious! I can’t wait to try it. I need to prepare it two days in advance, so should I freeze it? If so when should I take it out to thaw?

An excellent classic lasagna recipe. It’s been so long since I’ve had lasagna, but I’ve been craving it lately! Love this!

To freeze it, when you say wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and then covered in foil, do you mean plastic wrap tight on the top, or do you need to line the pan with it to wrap it completely? And if it’s on top, tight to the lasagna, not just tight across the top of the pan?

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.