Stock your freezer with a homemade frozen lasagna for an easy meal on a busy day. This Freezer Lasagna is a stress-free way to get a comforting meal on the table with very little effort and easy cleanup.
With a little advance planning, you can have a warm, wholesome, comforting meal for your family on a night when no one feels like cooking. This easy Freezer Lasagna recipe is a snap to put together using no-boil pasta sheets and jarred marinara sauce.
A make ahead lasagna was my solution for feeding a pack of hungry boys within an hour of arrival on our annual family summer vacation. After years of traveling with a big family, I quickly learned that heading to a small town in the mountains without a plan for dinner is not a good idea.
Freezer lasagna to the rescue!
Table of contents
- Oven ready lasagna – A 9-ounce box of no-boil lasagna should have 16 sheets which is exactly what you’ll need for this recipe.
- Marinara sauce – Two jars of your favorite marinara. I’m loving Rao’s at the moment.
- Ground Italian sausage – I’ve made this with everything from turkey Italian sausage , to pork, and even plant-based sausage (like Impossible brand) for a vegetarian lasagna. Mild or spicy, whatever you love. It’s ALL good!
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Minced garlic
- Ricotta mixture – Part-skim ricotta cheese, egg, fresh basil, and salt.
- Cremini mushrooms – I love adding mushrooms to pasta dishes to bulk them up. It’s a less expensive way to add great “meaty” flavor.
- Cheese – Shredded part skim mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Use more or less mozzarella for a moderately cheesy to super cheesy lasagna.
- Olive oil
How to Make Freezer Lasagna
This is a quick overview of how to make this recipe. You’ll find detailed instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Prep the Ingredients
- Cook the Italian sausage in olive oil, stirring to break it up, until no longer pink. Drain as much grease from the pan as possible and return the pan to the heat. Add the garlic, salt and the pepper. Cook and stir for another minute or two and then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
- Add the ricotta, egg, salt, and chopped basil to a small bowl.
- Mix it well and set it aside.
Assemble the Lasagna
- Lightly coat the bottom of a deep, freezer safe 13- x 9-inch pan with marinara sauce. Place 4 lasagna sheets over the sauce.
- Spoon ⅓ of the ricotta mixture over the lasagna sheets and spread it out evenly with a knife.
- Sprinkle ⅓ of the cooked sausage over the ricotta. Top with ⅓ of the chopped mushrooms, purposely allowing some to fill in edges of the pan around the lasagna.
- Sprinkle with ¼ of both the mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Pour 1 cup of marinara evenly over the top.
- Layer as directed above 2 more times for a total of 3 layers. Top with the remaining 4 lasagna sheets and pour the remaining marinara sauce over the top. Use a knife or spatula to smooth out the sauce over the pasta sheets. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
I have had times where there were only 15 sheets in my box of oven ready lasagna. If this happens to you, don’t fret! Just layer as directed but use 3 sheets on the final/top layer. Lay them side to side and they will fill in a bit as they bake.
Best Bakeware for Freezing Lasagna
- Metal – My favorite bakeware to use for freezer meals is an inexpensive stainless steel baking pan with a plastic lid. When I pack frozen lasagna up for travel, the metal pan helps it stay cool when it’s in transit and the plastic cover can be placed on top to keep any leftovers fresh in the fridge.
- Disposable foil pans – You can pick these up at a low price at any grocery store and they work great. Foil pans are more flimsy than metal so be sure to place the lasagna on a baking sheet for transport in and out of the oven.
How to Freeze Lasagna
- Coat the bottom of a sheet of heavy duty foil generously with nonstick cooking spray and place it, coated side down, over the baking dish. This will help prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil as it cooks.
- Then, wrap the pan in another sheet or two of heavy duty foil and it’s ready for the freezer.
- Write the contents and the date on the foil with a permanent marker.
Homemade frozen lasagna will keep well in the freezer for three to four months and bake up beautifully whenever you’re ready for it. Just knowing one of these is in my freezer brings peace to my life.
How to Cook Frozen Lasagna
- Cooking thawed lasagna – Allow the homemade frozen lasagna to defrost completely in the refrigerator overnight. Never allow frozen lasagna to thaw at room temperature. Bake at 375 degrees F, covered with foil, for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly and cooked through.
- Cooking from frozen – Bake lasagna straight from the freezer covered with foil for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until cooked through and the internal temperature of the center portion reaches 165 degrees F with an instant read thermometer.
How to Pack Frozen Lasagna for Travel
If you’re planning to take and bake your lasagna, keep it frozen until you are ready to depart and then place the frozen lasagna between some ice packs in a cooler. I usually add a bagged salad mix and any other items I want to transport that need to stay cool. Pack it up and hit the road! Don’t forget the loaf of French bread and the bottle of red wine.
Dinner is served. Quick and easy cleanup. Everyone is happy. Job done.
For more delicious Italian-inspired dinner ideas, check out my entire collection of pasta recipes.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 16 ounces Italian sausage, pork, turkey, or plant-based
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ,
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese, divided
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil, plus additional for garnish, if desired
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, divided
- 48 ounces marinara sauce , (2 24-ounce jars), divided
- 9 ounce package no boil lasagna , (16 sheets Barilla Oven Ready Lasagne), divided – see Notes section below
- 12 to 16 ounces mozzarella, shredded, divided
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- Coat the bottom of a large skillet with the olive oil and place over MEDIUM heat. If using link sausage, remove it from the casings by slicing through one side with a sharp knife. Discard casings and place the sausage in heated skillet. Cook and stir, breaking up the sausage, until no longer pink. Drain as much grease from the pan as possible and return the pan to the heat. Add the garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and the pepper. Cook and stir for another minute or two and then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and chopped basil. Set aside.
- Remove the stems, chop the mushrooms and set aside.
- Lightly coat the bottom of a deep, freezer safe 13- x 9-inch pan with 1 cup of marinara sauce. Place 4 lasagna sheets over the sauce, overlapping just slightly, if needed. Spoon ⅓ of the ricotta mixture over the lasagna sheets and spread it out evenly with a knife. Sprinkle ⅓ of the cooked sausage over the ricotta. Top with ⅓ of the chopped mushrooms, purposely allowing some to fill in edges of the pan around the lasagna. Sprinkle with ¼ of both the mozzarella and Parmesan and then pour 1 cup (no more) of marinara evenly over the top.
- Layer as directed above 2 more times for a total of 3 layers.
- Top with the remaining 4 lasagna sheets and pour the remaining marinara sauce over the top. Use a knife or spatula to smooth out the sauce over the pasta sheets. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. See Notes section below for instructions to bake immediately, or follow as directed to freeze the lasagna.
- Generously coat the bottom of a large piece of heavy duty foil with nonstick cooking spray. Cover the unbaked lasagna with the foil, crimping edges of foil around the pan. Wrap the covered pan completely in one or two more sheets of foil. Place the pan in the freezer.
- Frozen homemade lasagna will keep well in freezer for 3 to 4 months.
Cooking Thawed Lasagna
- Defrost the lasagna completely in the refrigerator overnight or follow the directions below for transport.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. If your dish is very full, I recommend placing the foil covered lasagna on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, covered, for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake another 10 to 15 minutes until heated through and bubbly around edges.
Cooking Frozen Lasagna
- Bake the lasagna straight from the freezer covered with foil for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until cooked through and the internal temperature of the center portion reaches 165 degrees F with an instant read thermometer.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
This post was originally published on September 5, 2013. It has been updated with new text and images.