Elevate your weeknight dinners with Crockpot Lasagna! Ideal for on-the-go families, this dish requires just a handful of ingredients and minimal prep. Come home to a warm, delicious meal that’s ready to serve.
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I’ve made my classic homemade lasagna into an easy crockpot lasagna recipe. The good news is you don’t have to pre-cook the pasta. It’s a perfect meal to assemble, then let the slow cooker do the work!
The vegetables and meat are browned and seasoned, then combined with marinara sauce. The trickiest part is how to layer the dried lasagna noodles into the pot. Don’t worry! I’ll show you step-by-step my layer techniques for crockpot casserole success.
- Pasta: Use regular lasagna noodles, 9 pieces, about 7 ½ ounces. No-boil (over-ready) lasagna can be used but will cook faster and have a softer texture.
- Meat: Use 85 to 90% lean ground beef and fresh Italian pork sausage. Use mild or spicy sausage, depending on your heat tolerance.
- Tomato Sauce: Use my marinara sauce recipe or, for convenience, store-bought sauce. You’ll need 56 ounces.
- Seasonings: To season the meat sauce, saute chopped onion and minced garlic. Add dried Italian seasoning for a concentrated flavor, salt, and pepper.
- Cheese: For a creamy filling, combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley. Add grated mozzarella cheese between each layer.
Cook the meat sauce
Cook the meat sauce on the stovetop before adding to the slow cooker. Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil. This brings out the onions’ natural sweetness and mellows out the pungent alliums. Brown the ground beef and sausage; this adds more flavor to the surface. Season the meat with dried Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
The meat should be browned on the stovetop before adding it to the slow cooker. This adds more flavor to the surface. Add the marinara sauce and water, then simmer for 10 minutes. This makes the sauce hot, cooking the dried pasta faster. You can make the sauce a few days before assembling and then reheat it.
Make the cheese mixture
Add a rich and creamy layer to the crock pot lasagna with three types of cheese. I use a combination of whole milk ricotta cheese, salty grated parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, and freshly cut basil. This is spread on top of the noodles, followed by shreds of melty mozzarella cheese to bind the layers together.
Layer the lasagna
Use a 6-quart Crockpot for cooking a large batch, about 8 to 10 servings. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the pot with olive oil or cooking spray to prevent sticking. There will be three thick layers added to the pot. Follow these step-by-step instructions for layering:
- Add 1 cup of meat sauce to cover the bottom of the dish.
- Layer 3 sheets of the dried lasagna, breaking up the pieces to cover any gaps. I like to keep one piece whole (breaking a small portion from the bottom to fit into the pot), break one in half, then one into quarters. See the photo for the arranging technique.
- Evenly add ⅓ of the ricotta cheese mixture, ⅓ of the mozzarella cheese, and ⅓ meat sauce. Repeat for 2 more layers.
- Pour in and spread 1 cup of meat sauce on the top layer.
- Pour ½ cup of water along the sides of the pot to hydrate the pasta and create a hot and steamy environment.
Cook the Lasagna
Cover the slow cooker lasagna and cook for 3 ½ to 4 hours. This duration gives plenty of time for the uncooked noodles to absorb water from the surrounding ingredients, like the tomato sauce and ricotta cheese. The cooked pasta should be tender when ready.
To be completely cooked, the internal temperature should reach between 160 to 175ºF (71 to 79ºC). Add the remaining 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese on top, then cook until melted, about 15 minutes on low setting. Serve right away, or keep on warm. The slices will hold together better when not so hot.
Once you’ve learned how to make lasagna in a crockpot, here are some delicious ways to switch up the flavor. Try them in your next batch!
- Tomatoes: Make a quick tomato sauce with a few tablespoons of tomato paste and crushed tomatoes. Saute fresh diced tomatoes to add to the sauce.
- Meat: Make it hotter with spicy Italian sausage. Use ground turkey or chicken instead of ground beef.
- Spicy: Add red chili flakes to the marinara sauce, minced hot peppers, or hot sauce.
- Vegetables: Saute sliced mushrooms, bell peppers, eggplant, or zucchini. Do not add the vegetables raw to the lasagna.
- Cheese: Instead of ricotta, use cottage cheese, crème fraîche, or cream cheese. Use Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Garlic bread
- Focaccia bread
- Caesar salad
- Steamed broccoli
- Green salad with balsamic vinaigrette
- Minestrone soup
Frequently asked questions
The lasagna can be assembled in the crockpot insert, covered, and refrigerated. However, cooking times will be longer because all ingredients will be cold. Make sure to add 1 to 1 ½ hours of extra time.
No! Since the cooking time is about four times longer than baking the casserole, this gives plenty of time for the noodles to cook by absorption. The recipe has been designed to add extra water to the pot to hydrate the pasta since it’s not boiled in water.
Follow the ratios of the ingredients in the recipe. If you still find that the noodles turn out too wet, omit the 1 cup of water added to the sauce. Reduce cooking time by 30 minutes so the texture is not as soft.
High setting will take about 2 to 2 ½ hours. However, there is a risk of cooking it unevenly. The edges will cook and brown faster, but the center needs time to hydrate and soften.
Using no-boil pasta for lasagna
Pasta producers have developed no-boil (oven-ready) dried lasagna sheets to reduce prep time. These are thinner than regular dried lasagna and have been pre-cooked and dehydrated. This means that if used to make slow cooker lasagna, the texture will be softer, not as sturdy, and cook much quicker. I recommend cooking for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Add more time as needed to tenderize the noodles.
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- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ pound ground beef, 85 to 90% lean
- ½ pound Italian sausage, casing removed
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 46 ounces marinara sauce
- 1 ½ cups water, divided
- 32 ounces ricotta cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 9 dried lasagna noodles, 7 ½ ounces
- 16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, 4 cups
- Saute the Aromatics – In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Sauté thw onions until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Brown the Meat – Add the beef and sausage to the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high, break into smaller pieces. Cook until no pink remains, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the salt, Italian seasoning, and black pepper.
- Make the Meat Sauce – Add the marinara sauce and 1 cup of water to the pan. Stir to combine, simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Make the Cheese Mixture – In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley. Set aside.
- Layer the Lasagna – Reserve 2 cups of meat sauce and 1 cup of grated mozzarella cheese. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 6-quart slow cooker with olive oil or cooking spray. Add 1 cup of meat sauce to cover the bottom of the dish to prevent sticking. Layer 3 sheets of the dried lasagna noodles, breaking up the pieces to cover any gaps. Evenly add ⅓ of the ricotta cheese mixture, ⅓ of the mozzarella cheese, and ⅓ meat sauce. Repeat for 2 more layers. On the top layer, pour on the 1 cup of reserved meat sauce. Pour ½ cup of water along the sides of the pot.
- Slow Cook the Lasagna – Cover and cook for 3 ½ to 4 hours on the Low setting. The noodles should be tender, with most of the liquid absorbed.
- To Serve – Before serving, sprinkle 1 cup of the reserved mozzarella cheese on top. Cook on Low setting until melted, about 15 minutes. If desired, garnish with parsley.
- Make-Ahead: The meat sauce and cheese filling can be made and refrigerated 2 days in advance. Reheat the sauce before assembling. Alternatively, the lasagna can be assembled 2 days in advance. Add 1 to 1 ½ hours of cooking to account for the cold insert and ingredients.
- Storing: Refrigerate for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 3 months, defrost before reheating.
- Reheating: Reheat slices in the microwave until warmed through, about 1 to 1 ½ minutes.
- If using my homemade marinara sauce, double the sauce recipe.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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