Lasagna Bolognese (or Lasagne alla Bolognese) is a hearty Italian classic recipe made with layers of fresh pasta, Bolognese sauce, béchamel sauce, and Parmesan cheese. It just might be the perfect Italian dish for feeding a family (or a small crowd) and is ideal for freezing for future use.

A slice of lasagna showing the many layers from the side

My ever-popular Traditional Bolognese Sauce (made with ground beef and ground pork) is the main ingredient in this authentic lasagna.

Now, you might think lasagna is a complex dish to make, but in reality, there are just four ingredients to this lasagna: the meat sauce, a béchamel sauce (or besciamella sauce, which is a simple white sauce), Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano cheese), and fresh pasta sheets. That’s it! But, it’s the quality of the ingredients and the method of putting it together that make this the best lasagna recipe.

Lasagna can be a labor of love but very rewarding in the end. The key to making life easier when preparing this classic dish is preparation and efficiency when assembling. What is meant by this is, make the Bolognese sauce a day ahead. If you’re making homemade noodles, also make them a day ahead. You can even make the béchamel sauce a day ahead, then all you have to do is assemble the layers.

If you have all of your components lined up in front of you, assembling the lasagna will go quickly and smoothly. You can even do this a day ahead, just cover well and refrigerate until ready to bake. More on this below.

A closeup showing the cooked lasagna

Lasagna without Mozzarella

In Northern Italy, such as the city of Bologna, home of the Bolognese, they do not use mozzarella cheese or ricotta cheese in their lasagna, just like my recipe here. But what is that on the top layer that looks like mozzarella, you ask? It is creamy béchamel sauce topped with Parmesan cheese to give it that wonderful, gooey topping when baked. For an extra zip of cheese flavor, you can also use Pecorino Romano cheese.

In Southern Italy, they make their lasagna with ricotta and mozzarella. It’s so interesting that the same country will have two different takes on the same dish, just based on either the northern or southern part of the country. 

Béchamel in Lasagna

When adding the béchamel sauce, you do not need to spread it thickly on each layer. Simply drizzle in lines across each layer. As it bakes, it will melt and spread evenly.

An overhead showing the lasagna in then pan

Fresh pasta vs Dried Pasta for Lasagna

I chose to use fresh lasagna noodles because they have a better texture than dried, and you can cut through the layers much easier with a fork. I do like to make my own homemade pasta dough, but these days many stores now carry fresh pasta that is very good indeed, so don’t be afraid to go that route. So, if you happen to see sheets of fresh pasta in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, I highly recommend using them! You can also use the no-boil lasagna noodles.

If you are using fresh pasta, there is no need to pre-boil it before assembling the lasagna, as it takes very little cooking time. With dry pasta, however, I do recommend cooking it just a few minutes shy of the recommended time on the box. That is, unless you are using the no-boil noodles that are available now.

The completed lasagna ready for the oven

This is a well-stacked lasagna and feeds a lot! I am not stingy on the layers here because I don’t like a wimpy tower of lasagna on my plate. Look a the layers in the picture below! Seriously.

The best pan to use for Lasagna

You will need a deep casserole dish or baking dish for this lasagna recipe, 9 x 11-inches (23  x 28 cm) 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) deep, as there are 5 layers of pasta.

A closeup of a slice of lasagna showing the layers of pasta, meat sauce and cheese.

Tips for Assembling Lasagna

My number one rule is to divide all the ingredients into five even parts when you start to assemble your masterpiece. There will be five layers, and this way, you know that you will not run out of ingredients. Another tip is that you don’t need thick layers of sauce between the pasta, and they don’t have to be long sheets; just cut them to fit as you need to.

Lasagna Bolognese make ahead instructions

You can make the entire lasagna a couple of days in advance of baking. Prepare the recipe up to step 5 (all the layers are complete). Cover tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 1 day. On the day you’re ready to bake, remove it from the fridge and bring it to room temperature while the oven preheats. Never put a cold ceramic dish in a hot oven. Bake as directed.

Best way to Freeze Lasagna

This Lasagna Bolognese recipe is the perfect make-ahead dish that freezes really well. If you want to make it and freeze it uncooked in the dish (make sure your dish is freezer-friendly), just cover it with two layers of plastic wrap and foil. When you are ready to bake, defrost it in the fridge overnight and cook according to the provided instructions.

Lasagna Leftovers Freezing Tips

If you want to freeze the lasagna after baking, allow it to come to room temperature. Cover it with two layers of plastic wrap and foil, then freeze. Defrost it overnight in the fridge and reheat in a 375°F/190°C oven, covered with foil, for 30 minutes or until heated through.

I also like to freeze it in individual servings, by cutting in squares. This way they are quicker to defrost.

The meat sauce on top is peaking through the béchamel sauce and melted Parmesan.

Lasagna Variations

Vegetarian Lasagna

A delicious idea instead of using the meat-based Bolognese sauce is Mushroom Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce. For vegetarian béchamel, just switch out the milk to dairy-free.

Italian Sausage Lasagna

Italian sausage is an easy way to make a meaty Italian Sausage Ragu di Salsiccia that you can also use in this Lasagna.

Yield: 8 -10

Lasagna Bolognese

A slice of lasagna Bolognese on a white plate with a fork

Layers of fresh pasta sheets, Bolognese sauce, bechamel sauce and Parmesan cheese. Perfect for feeding a crowd or freezing.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1 pound (453 grams) lasagna sheets
  • 2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (473 ml) whole milk, warm
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 12 cups (6 pints, 2.8 liters) Bolognese sauce (see note for recipe link)
  • 10 ounces (283 grams) Parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Cook the lasagna sheets a for 8-10 minutes. Drain the sheets and lie flat on towels to cool, then stack between sheets of parchment paper until ready to use. Set aside. Skip this step if using fresh pasta sheets.
  2. To a saucepan add the butter over medium heat. When melted, whisk in the flour and cook for a few minutes until it turns a light golden color. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking. Bring to a simmer until thickened. Turn off the heat and stir in the nutmeg and a little salt to taste. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.
  4. Set all your ingredients up in a line, Bolognese sauce, lasagna sheets, Parmesan cheese and the béchamel (white sauce).
  5. Use unsalted butter to grease a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33cm) casserole dish. Spread a ladle full of Bolognese sauce over the bottom of the pan in an even layer. Divide the ingredients into 5, you will be making 5 layers. Line with lasagna sheets on top of the sauce, slightly overlapping. Spread 1/5 of the Bolognese, sprinkle Parmesan cheese then drizzle a thin layer of béchamel sauce, you don't need to cover the entire area. Repeat, pasta, Bolognese, Parmesan, béchamel until all the ingredients are gone and the pan is full. The last topping being a layer of pasta with Bolognese and béchamel, top with Parmesan. See note for directions to prepare ahead.
  6. Cover with foil, place on a baking sheet in case it bubbles over and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more. Use a small knife to insert into the pasta, it should be tender. If not, place back into the oven until done (cooking times will vary according to your oven and may be quicker if using fresh pasta).
  8. Allow to rest for 30 minutes before slicing.


Bolognese Recipe

To make ahead: Prepare the recipe up to step 5 (all the layers are complete). Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for up to 1 day. The day you're ready to bake, remove from the fridge and bring to room temperature while the oven preheats. Never put a cold ceramic dish in a hot oven. Bake as directed.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 313Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 53mgSodium 1199mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 4gSugar 10gProtein 13g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.