Easy no-boil lasagna made with beef, marinara sauce, ricotta cheese mixture, and convenient oven-ready noodles. Enjoy all the flavors of traditional Italian lasagna with minimal time and effort.
About the recipe
There are not so many shortcuts when it comes to Italian recipes. But sometimes, there are ways to prepare your favorite meal with less time and effort without compromising the taste and flavor.
For sure, the classic lasagna recipe can take a long time from start to finish, especially if you are making it with Bechamel sauce or even home-made noodles.
I found a nice shortcut to make my husband's favorite meal with less time and work. I have been making this no-boil lasagna recipe for about 5 years, and it never fails.
We all need to have a few simple recipes like this one. As sometimes, we (busy moms) simply do not have enough time in a day to accomplish everything.
I am also using store-bought quality Rao's marinara sauce, which makes the recipe even easier.
If you prefer a more traditional way, make this beef bolognese sauce. It can easily be prepared a day or two in advance.
Despite all the shortcuts, this lasagna tastes delicious and authentic and my family absolutely loves it.
You may also like our chicken and broccoli lasagna recipe.
Scroll down to the recipe card if you need the quantities. This is just the overview of ingredients and possible substitutions.
- Beef: I used 7% fat ground beef. You can also use Italian sausage or a combination of both beef and pork.
- Olive oil: a little bit to brown the meat.
- Sauce: I used store-bought marinara sauce. You can also any other tomato pasta sauce or plain strained tomatoes (passata).
- Water: when using no boil noodles, it is important for the sauce to have enough liquid, so the noodles properly cook.
- Egg: for the cheese mix.
- Ricotta cheese: full-fat ricotta is the best, but you can also use a low-fat version.
- Mozzarella cheese: I used already shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Parmesan cheese: grated Parmesan for the ricotta mixture and some for serving.
- Oven-ready lasagna sheets: I used whole foods brand no-boil lasagna sheets. Make sure the package has no boil or oven-ready on it. Otherwise, you will have to boil the noodles before baking.
- Seasonings: Marinara sauce tasted perfect for me so I did not add any salt. Only some black pepper and garlic powder. You can also add dried parsley or Italian seasoning to the meat sauce.
How to make no-boil lasagna
Prepare the meat sauce. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add ground beef and brown it, breaking it down with the spatula into small pieces.
Once browned, add marinara sauce, garlic powder, and black pepper. Lower the heat and simmer covered for about 10-15 minutes.
If the sauce is on the dry side, add about 1 cup of water. The dry sauce will prevent the no-boil noodles from cooking properly.
Make ricotta cheese mixture. In a medium bowl, add ricotta cheese, egg, shredded mozzarella, and grated Parmesan cheese. Mix the mixture with the fork and set aside.
Layer the lasagna. To make this recipe I used a medium side oven-safe dish, 8 x 6 - inch. At the bottom of the baking dish, add one cup of meat sauce.
Now, place dry pasta sheets over the sauce, overlapping them slightly.
If the noodles are too long, you can easily break them off on one end to fit into the dish. On top of the noodles, spread a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture, followed by the meat sauce and the noodles again.
Make 2 or 3 more layers of noodles, ricotta, and meat sauce. The top layer should be noodles covered with sauce and grated mozzarella cheese.
Bake and serve. Cover the dish with the aluminum foil tightly. It will help to cook the oven-ready lasagna noodles better and faster.
Bake covered lasagna for about 30-40, or whatever time and temperature the noodles have. Insert the fork in the middle of the lasagna, it goes in without resistance, the noodles are cooked though.
Now, you can uncover the lasagna and cook it for another 10-15 minutes until bubbly and golden brown on top. Let it stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
- If the meat sauce is too dry, add one cup of water or broth. The dry sauce might not cook the no-boil noodle sheets properly.
- If you have regular lasagna noodles, simply boil them according to the package directions before assembling the lasagna.
- Use a medium size baking dish (8 x 6 inch), other wise double the meat sauce and cheese mixture.
- Layers order: meat sauce-noodles-ricotta mixture-meat sauce-noodles-repeat 2-3 layers-finish with noodles covered with sauce and grated mozzarella cheese.
- Cover the lasagna tightly with foil for the uncooked noodles to cook through.
- If you like a crispy top, remove the foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
- Let lasagna rest before serving - it makes it easier to slice it.
How to store and reheat lasagna
Lasagna tastes great even the next day. I usually make a large batch to enjoy it for a few days. I cook it in a glass baking dish that has a lid.
So after it cools down, I cover it and place it in the fridge.
If your baking pan does not have a lid, transfer the lasagna to an airtight container. It will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days.
You can reheat it in the microwave or the oven.
If you want to freeze cooked lasagna, let it cool down completely and cut it into squares.
Wrap each in parchment paper and place in a freezer storage bag. Store the lasagna in the freezer for up to 3 months. Do not forget to place the date on the bag.
More Italian recipes
- Risotto with mushrooms
- Beef meatballs in tomato sauce
- Pasta with creamy beetroot sauce
- Rigatoni al forno
- Pasta e piselli
Frequently asked question
You can use cottage cheese in place of ricotta to make this recipe.
You can serve lasagna with garlic bread, green salad, or a side of steamed vegetables.
Yes, you can assemble lasagna with oven-ready noodles and freeze it for up to 3 months. Make sure the sauce cools down before you place the dish in the freezer.
Chianti, bold Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sangiovese are great wines to pair with beef and ricotta lasagna.
No-Boil Lasagna (with beef and ricotta)
- 1 skillet
- 1 medium baking dish, 8 x 6 inch
- 1 mixing bowl
- 1 pound ground beef
- 25 ounces jar of marinara sauce, or other tomato pasta sauce
- ½ cup water
- 12 no-boil lasagna noodles, or more as needed.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 15 oz container whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
- ¼ cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley or Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼-½ teaspoon black pepper
- to taste salt, only if using no sodium tomato sauce
- In a skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Add ground beef and cook on medium heat until browned.
- Add a jar of pasta sauce and ½ of water to the beef and stir. Bring it to a gentle boil and simmer over low heat for about 5-10 minutes. Add dried parsley, garlic powder and black pepper. Taste the sauce and add salt to taste, if needed. You should need salt only if using no salt tomato sauce. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, add 15 oz ricotta, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, ¼ cup grated Parmesan and 1 egg. Mix well with the fork until well combined.
- Spread a thin layer ( about ½ cup) of beef and tomato sauce into the bottom of 8 x 6 inch baking pan. This will prevent the noodles from sticking.
- Place 3 uncooked oven ready lasagna noodles on top, overlapping slightly. Spread a thin layer of ricotta mixture over the noodles, followed by a layer of meat sauce. Repeat 2 more layers. Finish with the layer of noodles, remaining meat sauce and the remaining 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 375°F for about 40-45 minutes or until the noodles are soft and cooked. Insert the fork in the middle of lasagna to check if cooked. It should go in without resistance.
- Remove from oven. Remove the foil. Return to the oven and bake uncovered for another 10-15 minutes until the cheese on top is browned.
- Remove the lasagna from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before sitting. Enjoy.