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

5 from 4 votes

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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 and Easy Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna.

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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!
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5 from 4 votes

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!
Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 16

Ingredients 

Sauce

  • 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 can tomato puree, 28-ounce
  • 1 can iced tomatoes, drained, 28-ounce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried

 Lasagna   

  • 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
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Instructions 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Notes

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

Nutrition

Serving: 1 of 16 servings, Calories: 346kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.001g, Cholesterol: 94mg, Sodium: 515mg, Potassium: 188mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 628IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 325mg, Iron: 1mg
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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!

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34 Comments

  1. Cynthia says:

    Thank you so much!
    I had a large group of family and needed a great flavorful recipe
    This is exceptional! What a delicious meal
    And it freezes beautifully
    Everyone absolutely loved it

  2. Lynn says:

    I must say getting through all the ads isn’t fun trying to read this article. But no doubt it will be worth it reading all info and comments. Making this for a guys trip group fishing up in North east peninsula of Michigan. Looked for recipe you can freeze then bake. Sounds like a winner! I’m using half ground beef (we get meat from a farm butcher) other half Italian sausage. Can’t wait to make it then send sit with my hubby for a meal I’m sure they’ll enjoy. Thanks for sharing recipe and all details. BTW will be ordering the cookbook you rave about! 😊

    1. Melissa says:

      Lynn, thanks for wading through the ads. I try to keep them to a low level but they are the way I make an income for my family of 7 and am able to provide free recipes. I appreciate your support and hope that helps you to understand their purpose!

  3. Tabitha says:

    5 stars
    I doubled the recipe, and made 4 8×8 trays. 2 for us (1 to eat right away and one to freeze) and 2 frozen for friends who just welcomed a baby. I used 1 lb ground beef, and 1 lb mild Italian sausage. I also used 3 24 is jars of Rao’s Tomato Basil sauce, 2 wasn’t quiet enough. The “Oven Ready” pasta was incredibly easy and worked like a dream. The ricotta mixture was so flavorful! What an easy way to make impressive dinners! Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Lauren says:

    5 stars
    Hi there! This sounds (and looks!) delicious and I am planning to make it here in a few hours for tomorrow’s dinner. Just want to make sure I have this right, I just use uncooked noodles? No need to boil them before? Thank you!! 🙂

    1. Melissa says:

      Yep, isn’t that the best??

    2. Lauren says:

      It is!! And it was delicious! Thanks so much 🙂

  5. Chrissy says:

    Making this lasagna 24 hours ahead of time does not make the noodles be mushy when you serve it? I’d be afraid they would have absorbed too much sauce Nd gone mushy. I have run into mushy pasta way too often over last few years

  6. MIKAILA ROSE CRESPIN says:

    If I make this in Sunday for Dinner on a Monday and only refrigerate it, how long should i heat it up in oven?

    1. Melissa says:

      It’ll be actually close to the full cooking time. I’d probably just assemble it and stick it in the fridge and then bake it the full time on Monday.

  7. Megan says:

    5 stars
    Great make ahead recipe for a crowd!!

  8. Natalie Sherman says:

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

    1. Melissa says:

      Assemble and bake the next day! You’ll just cook it when you are ready to serve it.