Beef/ Hearty Dinners/ Pasta

The Lasagne of your dreams!

June 19, 2019 (Last Updated: February 16, 2021) by Chris Collins

This Lasagne is made with an easy Homemade Bechamél Sauce, a rich and tender Beef Ragù and Cheese as far as the eye can see. What’s not to love?

For some, the thought of making a lasagne might be a little daunting. But here I’ll share with you some tips and tricks to making lasagne an absolute breeze. PLUS, this just happens to be one of the most delicious lasagne recipes in the world. Follow me…

overhead shot of lasagne in baking dish fresh out the oven with spatula digging into it

Homemade Lasagne

First of all, let me just get my food snobbery out the way – I have never found a store bought lasagne that comes even close to a homemade lasagne. There, I said it.

The main thing to note about homemade lasagne is that whilst the steps are fairly straight forward, it takes time. There is no such thing as a quick lasagne, not one worth eating anyway! (sorry, the snobbery stops there). In terms of what are the layers of lasagne, here’s what we’re working with:

Lasagne Layers

  • Beef Ragu
  • Pasta (lasagne sheets)
  • Bechamel Sauce
  • Cheese

Also, just one more elephant to address before we sink our teeth in:

Lasagne vs Lasagna

Unlike the American style version (Lasagna with an ‘a’ at the end), this version uses a homemade bechamel sauce, in contrast to a ricotta based layer. Before we get to that, let’s talk Ragu. Follow me…

one serving of lasagne being lifted from the baking dish with cheese hanging off

Beef Ragu Sauce for Lasagne

A beef ragu in Italian cuisine, just simply means a meat based sauce (often served with pasta). This truly is the heart and soul of every lasagne. On the flip side, this is the part that really takes time.

My number one tip for the best lasagne is to slow cook your ragu.

It makes the world of difference in terms of developing the flavour of the meat sauce AND allows the sauce to reduce. This is important so your lasagne doesn’t end up too watery and sloppy at the end.

How to make Ragu sauce for Lasagne (quick summary)

  1. Add olive oil to a large pot over medium heat with ground beef.
  2. Brown beef, then remove from pot.
  3. Add pancetta and fry until it begins to brown.
  4. Add carrot, celery and onion, and continue to fry.
  5. Add tomato puree, then deglaze the pot with red wine.
  6. Add beef back in and coat.
  7. Pour in beef stock, passata and seasoning.
  8. Simmer for 1 hour 30mins with the lid on, then 30mins with the lid off.
What is Passata? – Tomato passata is essentially pureed tomatoes. The tomatoes are cooked and strained to make a thick tomato sauce. Perfect for a ragu.
Lasagne with Red Wine – The red wine adds a gorgeous depth of flavour and pairs beautifully with the beef. Most of the alcohol will burn off and I highly recommend using it.

How to make Ragu Sauce - 8 step by step photos

Lasagne with Bechamel Sauce

For those of you who aren’t sure, Bechamel sauce (otherwise known as ‘white sauce’) is a roux made of butter, flour and milk. It adds a nice creamy layer to the lasagne. For a Bechamel sauce in a lasagne I add a hefty amount of parmesan and nutmeg, just for extra flavour.

When it comes to making the Bechamel sauce, you’ll want to make it whilst the ragu is simmering.

How to make Bechamel Sauce (quick summary)

  1. Melt butter into a suitably sized pot.
  2. Stir in flour to form a paste.
  3. Gradually whisk in milk until thick.
  4. Stir in parmesan, nutmeg and seasoning.
Top Tip – Ensure your milk is at room temp for the best chance of the sauce having no lumps.

How to make Bechamel Sauce - 4 step by step photos

Tips for the Best Lasagne

Ragu:

  • Add Pancetta for extra richness (can sub bacon).
  • Grate your carrot on a box grater. This will allow the carrot to disintegrate into the sauce and add gorgeous sweetness to the Ragu.
  • Simmer the Ragu for a good length of time, this will develop the flavours and make the beef really tender.
  • Make sure you reduce the sauce so most of the water disappears. Too watery and the lasagne will come out sloppy.

Bechamel Sauce:

  • Simmer the sauce until it thickens enough to comfortably coat the back of a spoon. Any less and the lasagne will come out watery.
  • A heavy seasoning of salt, black pepper and nutmeg will really help the sauce stand out in the lasagne.

Lasagne:

  • Finish with a layer of cheese, just so it goes beautifully golden and crispy in the oven.
  • Let it rest! As frustrating as it is to spend all that time making a lasagne and then have to wait, the lasagne will need to rest and reform shape after it’s taken out the oven. Plus, you won’t burn the roof of your mouth off, which is also a plus.

half of a lasagne in the baking dish with ragu spilling out

Can I make Lasagne in advance?

Absolutely! Just ensure the ragu and bechamel sauce cool before layering the lasagne (or the sheets will start to cook). Cover and store in the fridge up to 24hours before cooking. You might need to add 5-10mins mins onto baking time or allow to come back up to room temp. You can also store in the freezer, then thaw in the fridge overnight and bake accordingly (make sure centre is piping hot!)

Fresh vs Dried Lasagne Sheets

I always go fresh. I prefer the texture and the lasagne stays intact better. If you’ve got dried then check the packet to see if you need to cook before hand. If you don’t then don’t reduce the ragu so much (the dried sheets will suck up more liquid than fresh).

What to serve with Lasagne?

And breathe. We made it and I’ve officially leaked all my lasagne knowledge out 🤣 Time for you to take the reins!

Hey, whilst you’re here why not check out my other recipes?

For another delicious lasagne recipe check out my Epic Vegetable Lasagne or Sausage and Fennel Lasagne!

Family Comfort Food Recipes

Okay, let’s tuck into the full homemade lasagne recipe shall we?

one portion of lasagne served on a plate with baking dish and garlic bread blurred in the background

How to make Lasagne (Full Recipe and Video)

one serving of lasagne being lifted from the baking cheese with cheese hanging off

Simply The BEST Homemade Lasagne Recipe

This Lasagne is made with an easy Homemade Bechamel Sauce, a rich & tender Beef Ragu and Cheese as far as the eye can see. What's not to love?!
5 from 16 votes
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Servings (click & slide): 8
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Calories per serving: 646kcal
Cost per serving: £3 / $4

Equipment:

  • 9x13" baking dish
  • Large Pot or Dutch Oven with Heavy Lid (for Ragu)
  • Medium Pot (for Bechamel)
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Box Grater (for carrot and cheese)
  • Serving Spoon (to spread layers)

Ingredients (check list):

Ragu

  • 2.2lb / 1kg Ground Beef (see notes)
  • 3.5oz / 100g Pancetta, finely diced
  • 2 cups / 500ml Tomato Passata (Pureed Tomatoes in USA)
  • 2 cups / 500ml Beef Stock
  • 1 cup / 250ml Red Wine
  • 2 ribs of Celery, finely diced
  • 2 medium Carrots, grated on a box grater
  • 1 large White Onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in USA)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1/4 cup each: Fresh Basil, Fresh Parsley, finely diced (plus extra to garnish)
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1.5 tsp Sugar, or to taste
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Olive Oil, as needed

Bechamel Sauce

  • 4 cups / 1 litre Milk, at room temp
  • 5 tbsp Plain Flour
  • 4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 small Nutmeg, grated
  • 3.5oz / 100g Parmesan, grated (save some to top)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Lasagne

  • 12oz / 350g Fresh Lasagne Sheets (see notes)
  • 2 cups / 200g Mozzarella, shredded

Instructions:

Ragu

  • Drizzle around 1 tbsp olive oil into a large pot over medium heat. Add beef, break it up with a wooden spoon and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Continue to fry until fully browned, then pour into your lasagne dish (discarding any excess fat).
  • Add Pancetta and fry until it releases fat and begins to brown. Add onion, celery and carrot, and continue frying until they soften and begin to brown. Add garlic at the last minute, then add your tomato puree (tomato paste).
  • Fry tomato puree for a few mins, then deglaze with your wine. Allow the wine to reduce for a few mins, then add back in your beef. Stir to coat beef.
  • Pour in your beef stock, tomato passata, parsley, basil, oregano, bay leaves, 1 tsp sugar, salt & pepper (to taste). Turn heat to low, pop on a lid and allow to simmer for at least 1 hour 30 mins, stirring occasionally. Then take off lid and allow the sauce to reduce, another 20-30mins should be fine. Meanwhile...

Bechamel Sauce

  • Melt your butter in a suitably sized pot over medium heat. Add flour, then stir into a paste.
  • Gradually pour in your milk, whisking as you go to ensure lumps don't form. Allow the sauce to simmer away for 5-10mins to thicken, then add your nutmeg, parmesan and salt & pepper (to taste). Stir to combine, taste for seasoning, then remove from heat.
  • You want the sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, but not so thick it won't pour.

Lasagne

  • Pre heat oven to 356f/180c
  • In a 9x13" (or close to) baking dish, spread a few spoons of ragu. This is so the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom.
  • Your layers will then go as follows: Pasta sheets, Ragu, Bechamel Sauce, Mozzarella. The last layer will be pasta sheets, then Bechamel, then mozzarella and parmesan to top. That's 4 layers of pasta, 4 layers of Ragu (including very bottom layer), 4 layers of Bechamel and 4 layers of mozzarella.
  • Pop in the oven for 30-40mins or until the surface is deep golden (Some 'burnt' parts are fine, extra flavour). Let it sit for at least 15mins. This is important or it will be too liquidy. That and it'll burn the roof of your mouth off.
  • Serve with an extra sprinkle of basil or parsley. Enjoy!

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Pancetta Sub - If you're struggling to find pancetta, finely diced bacon will work fine instead.
b) Sugar - Start off with 1 tsp, then taste test after it's simmered and reduced. You'll find the flavour changes quite drastically after the ragu is fully cooked, so adjust accordingly then.
c) Consistency - It's imperative that you reduce the Ragu AND the Bechamel sauce. For the Ragu, if there is a layer of water on top whilst it simmers, it needs more reducing. For the Bechamel sauce, you need to be able to comfortably coat the back of a wooden spoon. If both are too watery, the lasagne is going to come out the oven overly sloppy. 
d) Baking Dish - 9x13" is a great size for lasagnes and gives you 4 pasta layers. Feel to use a smaller, but deeper dish and add more layers.
e) Fresh Lasagne Sheets vs Dried - I always go fresh (find in fresh pasta section in supermarket. I prefer the texture and the lasagne stays intact better (not so wavey). If you’ve got dried then check the packet to see if you need to cook before hand. If you don’t need to cook them then don’t reduce the ragu so much (the dried sheets will suck up more liquid than fresh).
f) Beef - I usually go for 10-12% fat. Gives a bit of fatty flavour but not so much the ragu goes oily. If you've only got very fat beef, say 20%, drain away most of the fat after it's fried.
g) Heavy Top Lid - Needs to be heavy so the steam doesn't escape otherwise it'll reduce too quickly.
h) Make Ahead - This is perfect to make in advance! Just make sure the ragu and bechamel sauce cools before you assemble, or the pasta will start to cook and come out super soft and mushy after it's baked. Cool, cover and store in the fridge 24hours before needed then bake at same temp. You might need to add 5-10mins mins onto baking time or allow to come back up to room temp. You can also store in the freezer, then thaw in the fridge overnight and bake accordingly (make sure centre is piping hot!).
i) Leftovers - Store in the fridge for 2-3days or freezer and reheat in the oven at the same temp until piping hot through the centre (if freezing thaw in fridge over night then bake).
j) Calories - per serving (divided by 8)

Your Private Notes:

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Simply The BEST Homemade Lasagne Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 646 Calories from Fat 312
% Daily Value*
Fat 34.64g53%
Saturated Fat 14.027g70%
Trans Fat 0.997g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.536g
Monounsaturated Fat 10.821g
Cholesterol 143mg48%
Sodium 876mg37%
Potassium 1162mg33%
Carbohydrates 33.29g11%
Fiber 3.3g13%
Sugar 12.46g14%
Protein 44.6g89%
Vitamin A 7500IU150%
Vitamin C 10.7mg13%
Calcium 430mg43%
Iron 5.2mg29%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
Tried this recipe?Show me how you got on by tagging @dontgobaconmyheart_ on IG and #dontgobaconmyheart!

If you loved this Homemade Lasagne Recipe be sure to Pin the recipe for later! Already made them or got a question? Give me a shout in the comments below and pick up your free ecookbook along the way!

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Recipe Rating




48 Comments

  • Reply
    eddie kirk
    June 2, 2022 at 9:03 am

    5 stars
    Defo the best, better than I’ve had in a restaurant! Is a right faf but well worth it! Thank You : )

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      June 2, 2022 at 10:25 am

      Great to hear! It is a fair bit of prep, but glad to hear it was worth it! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jeanette Whittleton
    March 16, 2022 at 5:51 pm

    5 stars
    Perfect! Lovely recipe. Usually use dried lasagne sheets but much preferred the fresh ones. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      March 16, 2022 at 10:18 pm

      Thanks, Jeanette!

  • Reply
    Janie
    January 15, 2022 at 7:01 pm

    I made everything last night as my friend was coming for dinner tonight. Everything was ready then she asked if we could reschedule for tomorrow night. I don’t know if I should leave the lasagna in the fridge for another night or if I should bake it tonight and reheat tomorrow. What are your thoughts?

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      January 16, 2022 at 10:09 am

      Hi Janie! Either way is fine. Either store unbaked then bake as instructed (preferably bring close to room temp or add another 10mins or so to cooking to make sure it heats right through the centre). Or bake it, cool and store then either reheat in the microwave or bake again (just cover with foil so it doesn’t brown too much). Hope this helps! C.

  • Reply
    christina demetriou
    December 10, 2021 at 2:26 am

    Made a giant one using 1 and half recipe for friends , hands down best lasagne ever! Never write reviews but this needed to be said.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      December 10, 2021 at 10:09 am

      That’s so great to hear, Christina! Thanks for popping back for a review 🙂

  • Reply
    Madhuri
    November 20, 2021 at 12:39 am

    5 stars
    Thanks for a wonderful recipe – the first time I made lasagne, and it came out finger licking good … I replaced beef with pork mince, and that was also great … doubled the wine (smelled so good) … and doubled the carrots and onions (veggies yay!), replaced beef stock with chicken bouillon cubes … just to personalise stuff and based on what was in my pantry … yummy in my tummy !

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 20, 2021 at 10:37 am

      So awesome to hear! The subs sound great. Thanks for popping back for a review 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    leena
    October 7, 2021 at 9:54 am

    Thinks looks delicious I’d really like to try it, but I dob’t drink wine, is there is something that I can substitute it with instead?

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      October 14, 2021 at 2:23 pm

      Just add more stock 🙂

  • Reply
    Nick Brown
    October 4, 2021 at 11:20 am

    5 stars
    Found and followed this amazing recipe today! Have tried a number of lasagna recipes but this one provided the goods! I don’t like my lasagna too moist but I love a deep rich flavoursome ragu. I omitted all but the last layer of bechamel and used half of the beef mince the result was perfect, moist lasagne, rich ragu, thick consistency and crispy bits in all the right places! Fantastic!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      October 14, 2021 at 2:34 pm

      So great to hear it went down well, Nick! Thanks so much for the review 🙂

  • Reply
    Andre
    June 10, 2021 at 8:05 am

    5 stars
    Chris, you’re a cook after my heart. I’ve been browsing some of your recipes and, like this one, they’re pretty close to how I approach comfort food. I’m getting great extra tips to improve my dishes!
    For lasagne, I make the bechamel with stock instead of milk. It’ll still turn out creamy (maybe I use a bit more butter), and I find you get an extra little dimension and saltiness. And definitely nutmeg, I’ve always done it myself, no idea where or when I picked that up.
    Great blog, thanks for the inspiration!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      June 11, 2021 at 8:47 pm

      Ooooo I’ll definitely have to give the bechamel sauce with stock a go – sounds like a game changer! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a review! C.x

  • Reply
    Emma
    February 7, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    Hi I’m making this lasagne for dinner tonight, I don’t have fresh basil or parsley but I have dried how many tsp would you recommend? Thanks

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      February 7, 2021 at 3:06 pm

      Hey Emma! Use 1 tbsp of each (1 tbsp dried basil and 1 tbsp dried parsley). Enjoy! Chris.

  • Reply
    Julie
    January 20, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    5 stars
    Fantastic! First time making lasagne from scratch. Will never go back to shop bought sauce. This was so flavoursome. My husband who was very sceptical wants me to make it again at the weekend.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      January 21, 2021 at 5:46 pm

      Ah that’s awesome to hear! Thanks for choosing this recipe to do your first ever homemade form scratch! Happy to hear it went down well and thanks for the review. Chris x

  • Reply
    Elle
    December 14, 2020 at 11:57 am

    5 stars
    I don’t like lasagne, or at least I didn’t until i tried this recipe. I thought I’d treat my husband as its one of his faves and very rare in our house (see first sentence lol) so I found this recipe and gave it a shot a couple of weeks ago, and I’m about to make it again now as i loved it so much!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      December 14, 2020 at 5:24 pm

      This is so awesome to hear! There’s no going back now! Festive wishes to you and your husband. Chris x

    • Reply
      Natalie
      December 16, 2020 at 9:26 pm

      Is the bechamel sauce thick enough to make this into lasagne rolls? Or would it be safer to just make the full pan of lasagne?

      • Reply
        Chris Collins
        December 17, 2020 at 11:03 am

        I’d definitely give it a go as a full lasagne first. After that experiment around with the bechamel sauce and lasagne rolls. The sauce as it’s written probably isn’t thick enough to use in rolls, so you might need to thicken it further either with a bit more flour or a longer simmering time to reduce. Hope this helps 🙂

  • Reply
    Katie Ainsworth
    November 7, 2020 at 9:16 pm

    5 stars
    So tasty , whole family impressed, the best lasagne I’ve ever made. Recipe saved forever more thank you

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 8, 2020 at 10:59 am

      That’s so awesome to hear! Glad it went down well. Thanks for popping back and leaving a review 🙂

  • Reply
    Emma Killeen
    October 27, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    5 stars
    Made this yesterday to kill the lockdown boredom and it was amazing! Perfectly cheesy and saucy! Everyone loved it and we had enough for leftovers which is always a bonus! Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      October 28, 2020 at 9:52 am

      That’s awesome to hear, Emma! Thanks so much for popping back for a review 🙂

  • Reply
    Aurora
    October 17, 2020 at 12:34 am

    5 stars
    Made this yesterday – absolutely fabulous as with all of your recipes! Family loved it, fought over last servings. It was even more fantastic the next morning!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      October 17, 2020 at 9:34 am

      Amazing! So glad it went down well! I’m also VERY guilty of mopping this up for breakfast the next day

  • Reply
    nathan
    July 15, 2020 at 4:38 pm

    5 stars
    This is a great recipe!!

    The only thing I changed which I have done in the past is substitute sugar for couple of squirts of ketchup, concentrated tomato and sugar in one.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      July 15, 2020 at 6:01 pm

      I’d be lying if I said I haven’t done the same!! Glad the recipe went down well

  • Reply
    Carol Lai
    May 15, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    It’s super yummy !! My first time making Lasagna in my life!!! Everyone loves it !! Three of us finished the portion of 4!!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      May 15, 2020 at 4:33 pm

      Awesome! So happy to hear it went down well! 🙂

  • Reply
    Maria
    September 17, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Made this today and turned out ah-mazing!!! Its flavourful, its saucy, its cheesy, what not to like!! I tasted the ragu before adding it to the lasagne and I can image in it also on the top of a simple pasta like spagettini. Definitely 5 stars!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      September 19, 2019 at 10:19 am

      That’s so awesome to hear! Glad it went down well, thanks for coming back and sharing your feedback 🙂

  • Reply
    Rose
    June 25, 2019 at 12:18 am

    5 stars
    Olá Chris… Minha lasanha é quase igual a sua, nunca coloquei o bacon e o aipo para preparar o ragu, mas farei agora . E no meu molho branco, faço um tantinho assim diferente dos demais inclusive do seu, porque coloco uma colher ou duas de cebola raladinha e um dentinho de alho também raladinho, dou uma leve douradinha e acrescento a farinha de trigo daí pra frente é igual. Ah fiz o ão de alho e ficou uma delícia e bem suavinho.
    Obrigada.
    Rose – Rio de Janeiro- Brasil

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      June 25, 2019 at 10:08 am

      Hey Rose! I’ll have to try the onion and garlic in the white sauce, sounds delish! So glad you liked the garlic bread too 🙂

  • Reply
    Sara Welch
    June 19, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    5 stars
    I know what I will be having for dinner tonight! What a savory and flavorful recipe!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      June 20, 2019 at 5:57 pm

      Enjoy! 🙂

  • Reply
    Taylor Kiser
    June 19, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    Total comfort food win! Making this for dinner this weekend!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      June 20, 2019 at 5:57 pm

      Enjoy!!

  • Reply
    Kate
    June 19, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    5 stars
    Made this last night and I’m in love! Such a great comfort food recipe!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      June 20, 2019 at 5:56 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it Kate 🙂

  • Reply
    Anita @ Daily Cooking Quest
    June 19, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    5 stars
    I have yet to try making a lasagne from scratch. Your recipe with the step-by-step photos and instructions make it all look so easy. I guess this coming 4th of July pot luck is as good as any to start learning how to properly make this. 🙂

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      June 20, 2019 at 5:56 pm

      You should totally give it a go! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kristina
    June 19, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    5 stars
    Wow, this dish is really making me hungry! Love the crispy edges!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      June 20, 2019 at 5:56 pm

      Thanks Kristina 🙂

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