Discover the undeniable comfort of my Crock Pot Lasagna recipe—a foolproof culinary delight that relies on the ease of uncooked lasagna noodles. Layers of tender noodles cocoon a cheese medley, all bathed in a rich, herb-spiced, homemade meaty red sauce. The slow-cooking process elevates this easy Lasagna recipe into the epitome of cozy satisfaction, making it the ultimate comfort food for your family’s soul.
My repertoire of comforting dishes extends to a plethora of soul-soothing flavors. From Puff Pastry Chicken Pot Pie to Homemade Chicken and Noodles my collection of comfort food recipes is a journey through heartwarming cuisine. You'll also find my signature Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, the ultimate side dish for any occasion. These recipes are more than just food; they're a passport to a world of culinary contentment.
Recipe for Crock Pot Lasagna
Main Ingredients for this Easy Lasagna:
- The Aromatics: Sweet Onion & Garlic. These are the bedrock of this recipe with their fragrant essence infusing every layer.
- Hot Italian Sausage. A delightful addition to lasagna because it infuses the dish with a robust, spicy kick that complements the other flavors. You can use sweet Italian if you prefer.
- Canned Crushed Tomatoes: My favorite tomatoes are Glen Muir Fire Roasted ones.
- Spices: Onion and Garlic Powder. This is in addition to the sautéed fresh onion and garlic.
- Fresh Herbs: Basil & Oregano. Fresh is always better when you are adding herbs to a meaty red sauce. They often provide a more vibrant and aromatic burst of flavor compared to their dried counterparts.
- Brown Sugar. The inclusion of brown sugar adds a subtle and delightful touch of sweetness, which gently kisses each bite of the dish.
- Parmesan Cheese. Don’t buy the pre-grated packages. Grate it just before using, to get the full, fresh, robust flavor.
- Regular Dry Lasagna Noodles. There’s a difference between regular and no-boil noodles. Regular lasagna noodles tend to be thicker than no-boil noodles. I prefer this texture because they hold up better to robust, chunky sauces and fillings.
- Fresh Mozzarella Cheese. I love fresh because it provides a distinct creamy texture along with an authentic Italian flavor profile that differs from its processed counterpart. You can if you wish though substitute the low-fat mozzarella..
- Ricotta Cheese. This has a creamy, smooth texture and it blends well with other ingredients and creates a soft, silky layer within the lasagna. You can use cottage cheese in its place if you prefer.
How to Make This Recipe for Lasagna in a Crock Pot
SAUTÉ ONIONS AND GARLIC
Use a large heavy-bottomed pan like a Dutch oven to distribute the heat evenly while sautéing the chopped onions. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, and turn the heat to medium. Sauté for six to eight minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.
Adding the garlic after the onions have softened is the best practice. It only takes one minute for these amazing gems to release their aroma and permeate your kitchen. Be careful not to burn the garlic as it tends to become bitter.
Cook the Hot Italian Sausage
Add the sausage to the onions and garlic and continue to cook over medium heat until browned. Stir it occasionally to ensure the meat cooks evenly.
Drain the Meat
There's a lot of greasy juice that is collected at the bottom of the pan while cooking the sausage. Once the meat is browned, use a large metal sieve to drain it. You can also blot it with paper towels to get any excess grease out.
Make the Red Pasta Sauce
Throw all the sauce ingredients into the pan: crushed tomatoes, spices, herbs, and brown sugar. This homemade sauce, in my opinion, is the BEST component of the recipe. A moment where all the magic collides to create a glorious meaty red sauce that will ultimately encase the lasagna noodles. There’s no need for it to simmer since it will slow cook for hours in the crockpot.
Usually, I want my "spaghetti" sauce to simmer for hours to let all the flavors meld together. But because this sauce will "simmer" in the slow cooker for six to eight hours, it will have the same desired results.
Combine all the Cheeses
Cheese, and lots of it! That’s what delivers the "comfort" and "cozy" side of this dish. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the grated cheeses and add the ricotta. Mix until all of the cheeses are combined. Cheese and lots of it is what delivers on the “comfort” and “cozy side of this dish.
Layer the Lasagna - Bottom Layer
The initial layer at the base of the crockpot consists of two cups of sauce. On top of this sauce layer, arrange the "uncooked" noodles. As we're not using a rectangular baking dish, you may need to break the noodles slightly to ensure they fit (refer to the photo for guidance).
Layer the Cheese Mixture, More Noodles, and Sauce
After placing the noodles, evenly dot half of the cheese mixture in small dollops, and gently spread it over the noodles. Then, add two cups of sauce over the cheese layer. Repeat with another layer of noodles, cheese, and sauce. Finish with noodles and sauce for the top layer.
If it seems confusing, let's clarify. The finished layers consist of one layer of sauce, one layer of noodles, and one layer of cheese, repeated in that order. Finish with a final layer of sauce, a layer of noodles, and, lastly, another layer of sauce. In total, there are four layers of sauce, three layers of noodles, and two layers of cheese.
COOK THE CROCK POT LASAGNA. HOW LONG SHOULD IT COOK?
Set the crockpot to low and let it work its magic for 6-8 hours. In the meantime, why not indulge in a good book or perhaps savor a glass of wine, relishing a day of pure relaxation? The challenging part is behind you, and it's the slow cooker's turn to take the reins. Just be mindful not to overcook the lasagna, as that can result in overly soft noodles.
TOP WITH FRESH MOZZARELLA
When the noodles are tender carefully remove the crockpot insert. Add fresh mozzarella cubes and melt them in a 400°F preheated oven or under the broiler. Sprinkle with basil leaves for an elegant touch. If your crockpot doesn't have a removable insert, simply add the cheese and cover with the lid until it melts.
LET THE LASAGNA REST BEFORE SERVING
After the lasagna is finished cooking, allow it to rest for 20-40 minutes. This resting period helps it firm up and cool down, preventing any risk of it being too runny and ensuring that your first bite won't scorch your mouth.
CAN YOU MAKE SLOW COOKER LASAGNA AHEAD OF TIME?
Absolutely. It is what makes this meal so convenient. Prepare and layer all the ingredients up to the point of cooking the lasagna. Cover and place the removable crock in the fridge the night before you are planning on serving it. Pull it out the next day and cook as directed.
If your crockpot lacks a removable insert, prepare the meat sauce and combine the cheeses in advance, storing them in the refrigerator. This will significantly reduce your prep time on the day of serving.
HOW TO STORE Crock Pot Lasagna LEFTOVERS
This recipe yields a generous portion of lasagna, ensuring you'll have ample leftovers.
For refrigeration, allow the lasagna to cool entirely. If you have a removable crockpot, cover it with plastic wrap and then with the glass lid. If it's not removable, cut it into individual portions and store them in an airtight container. The cooked lasagna can be refrigerated for three to five days.
For freezing, the best method is to first let it cool completely. Once cooled, portion it into individual servings and arrange them on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Freeze until solid, then transfer them to plastic freezer bags. This frozen lasagna will stay good for up to three months.
HOW TO REHEAT the LEFTOVERS
When you're ready to reheat, if the lasagna is frozen, allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Then, remove it from the refrigerator and cover it with foil. Once fully thawed, reheat in a 300°F oven for approximately 30 minutes or until it's heated through.
What to Serve with this Lasagna in a Crock Pot
The ideal accompaniment to this dish is a serving of toasted, crusty garlic bread. To enhance your lasagna experience even further, consider pairing it with a fresh garden salad or a glass of robust red wine.
This indulgent harmony of textures and flavors is a masterpiece in culinary creativity It’s a fail-proof Slow Cooker Lasagna recipe that has been my trusted companion through countless dinners over the years. It has earned rave reviews from friends and family, who often declare it the “best” lasagna they've ever tried. Now, I may be slightly partial, so I'll tread lightly on the boasting, but in all modesty, I might have to concur (with a playful wink, of course).
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Crock Pot Lasagna Recipe
No-fail lasagna that is super simple and you don't have to pre-cook the noodles. It is loaded with flavor through and through. This is a tried and true recipe that I have cooked many times over the years.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 4-8 hours
- Total Time: 53 minute
- Yield: 10-12 servings 1x
- Category: Pasta Dishes
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: Italian
- 1 ½ large Sweet Onion, chopped
- 6 large Garlic Cloves, chopped
- Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste
- 2 lbs Hot Italian Sausage, bulk
- 2 - 28 oz cans Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ cup Fresh Basil, chopped
- 3 tablespoons Fresh Oregano, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Fennel Seeds
- Meat Sauce (see above)
- Approximately 16-20 Lasagna Noodles, dry
- 20 oz fresh Mozzarella Cheese, divided (12 oz grated) (8 oz cubed)
- 1 ½ cups Parmesan Cheese, grated
- 3 cups Ricotta Cheese
- Saute 1 ½ large onions (chopped) in large dutch oven over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes until tender and translucent. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 6 cloves garlic (chopped) and continue cooking for 1 minute.
- Add 2 pounds Hot Italian Sausage and cook until browned. Drain.
- Add 2 -28 ounce cans Crushed Tomatoes, 1 teaspoon Onion Powder, 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder, ½ cup Fresh Basil (chopped) 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar and 1 tablespoon Fennel Seeds. Set aside until ready to assemble the lasagna.
- Combine 12 oz of grated Mozzarella, 1 ½ cups Parmesan Cheese (grated), and 3 cups Ricotta Cheese.
- In a 6-quart, removable crockpot, add 2 cups of meat sauce and 4-5 dry noodles (broken to fit).
- Layer - ½ the cheese mixture, 2 cups sauce, and 4-5 noodles for 2 times. End with the meat sauce. You should have 4 layers of sauce, 3 layers of noodles, and 2 layers of cheese mixture.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
- When noodles are tender, remove the ceramic pot from the slow cooker and add the remaining 8 oz cubed mozzarella to the top of the lasagna. Place in a 400°F preheated oven or under a broiler until the mozzarella cheese melts. Remove from oven and add small basil leaves for garnishment (optional).
- Throw the chopped garlic in after the onion has become tender. If you let them cook from the beginning, they will cook too long and burn which will leave a bitter taste in the recipe.
- There's a lot of greasy juice that is collected at the bottom of the pan while cooking the sausage. Once the meat is browned, use a large metal sieve to drain it into a bowl. Use paper towels to dab up any additional grease on the meat.
- Never buy pre-grated parmesan cheese. It's always fresher and best when grated right before needing it.
- Using fresh mozzarella instead of shredded mozzarella adds a deeper, richer dairy flavor. It not only gives a nice texture to the dish but brings with it more taste.
- When buying lasagna noodles for this recipe, don't grab the pre-cooked ones.
- The noodles need to be broken a bit to fit into the crockpot.
- Serving Size: 1/12 of Pan
- Calories: 640
- Sugar: 20 g
- Sodium: 1414 mg
- Fat: 21 g
- Saturated Fat: 11 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 2 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 85g
- Fiber: 15 g
- Protein: 33 g
- Cholesterol: 71 mg
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