Cooking With Confidence
lasagna_feature
Beef, Economical, Main Dishes, Pasta, Pork, Stuffing Stuff

How to Freeze Lasagna

by Nick

When I was coming up for meals to make for my frozen week I did a lot of research on what types of dishes freeze well.

Lasagna came up on almost every google search and forum that I read as the best frozen meal.

The problem was that everyone had a different opinion about how to freeze lasagna correctly.  Some said you shouldn’t freeze meat versions, some said you should freeze the lasagna before cooking it, some after.

I compiled all of this info in my noggin and came up with a great lasagna recipe that freezes very well. Also, I’m pretty sure that I came up with the best way to freeze the lasagna.  Feel free to debate if you want, but I’m pretty sure I nailed it.

Yield
Serves 6-8.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Mushroom, Beef, and Sausage Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 24 ounces cottage cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 package (10-12 ounces) lasagna noodles
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Directions

1) Add a good drizzle of olive oil (2 tablespoons) to a large, high walled skillet or pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the mushrooms, onions, and garlic along with a pinch of salt. Cook until mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes.

2) Remove veggies and add ground beef and sausage to the pan. Cook until the meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Tilt pan and spoon out most of the fat that has collected. Then stir veggies back into pan.

3) Add tomato sauce and paste to the pan and stir to combine. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

4) Add half of the fresh basil and parsley to the filling and turn off the heat.

5) In a separate bowl, combine cottage cheese, eggs, and remainder of fresh herbs.

6) Cook noodles according to package in heavily salted water with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil added in.

7) In a large baking dish or lasagna pan, add a layer of noodles followed by half of the meat filling. Top with half of the cottage cheese mixture, then half of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

8) Top with another layer of noodles, then the last of the cottage cheese mixture, then the rest of the meat filling. Top the whole dish with the remainder of the grated cheeses.

9) Bake the lasagna at 350 for 30-40 minutes until it's hot in the center.

10) Serve immediately.

11) TO freeze, let lasagna cool to room temperature then transfer to fridge to cool and solidify.

12) Slice lasagna into individual servings and remove them from the pan. They should stay perfectly together if they are cold.

13) Wrap each serving in plastic wrap and then store all the individual servings in freezer safe plastic bags.

14) To reheat, microwave frozen lasagna on high for 4-5 minutes.

Making Lasagna

I didn’t really understand why a meat version wouldn’t freeze just fine and it turns out I was right.  This version contains meat and it freezes just fine, but if you wanted to make a vegetarian version, it would also freeze well.  If I were going to make a veggie version of this lasagna, I would double or triple the mushrooms and add in some crumbled tempeh or tofu along with some spices like cumin and red pepper flakes to make up for the spice that would be in the sausage.

Assuming you are making the above recipe though, start by adding a good drizzle of oil to a high-walled pan (or use a pot).  Get your pan hot over medium heat and then add the mushrooms, onions, and garlic.

Cook these until they are soft, about 6 minutes.

shrooms

Love mushrooms in lasagna.

Once the veggies are cooked, remove them from the pan and add the beef and sausage.  Cook those things until they are well-browned and cooked through.  If there’s a lot of fat in your pan at this point, spoon out as much of it as you can.

Then stir the veggies back in along with the tomato sauce and paste.

filling

Fantastic filling.

Stir this all together and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, then kill the heat and season the filling with salt, pepper, and half of the fresh herbs in the recipe.

Besides the meat filling, you need to make the creamy half of the filling.

Normally, this is ricotta cheese, but I used cottage cheese for this version and loved the result.  Just stir the cottage cheese together with the eggs and the rest of the fresh herbs.

cottage

Yep. Cottage cheese.

Obviously, you’ll also need some lasagna noodles.

Just cook yours according to the package.  Make sure to salt your cooking water well (1 tablespoon kosher salt per gallon of water) and also add a drizzle of olive oil to the water to keep the noodles from sticking together.

noodles

You’ll need some noodles!

There’s no real right way to stack all these things into a large baking dish, but this is the order I did:

Layer of noodles –> Layer of 1/2 the meat filling –> Layer of 1/2 the cottage cheese mixture –> Half the mozzarella and Parm –> Another layer of noodles –> The rest of the cottage cheese mixture –> The rest of the meat mixture –> Top everything with the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan.

Get it?

build it

If you build it…

You’ll be left with this beautifully thick baked casserole that’s ready for the oven!

bake

Ready to bake!

Bake this whole thing at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until the middle is bubbling and hot and the edges are nice and browned.

This is one big dish of delicious.

baked

Eat it and freeze it.

Freezing the Lasagna

Some people advocated for freezing the lasagna before you cooked it.  This makes approximately zero sense to me.

You just spend all this time making a lasagna.  Why wouldn’t you want to eat it immediately?

So bake the thing, eat it, and then deal with the leftovers.

What I don’t recommend doing is freezing the lasagna in one big chunk.  You’ll have a heck of a time getting it thawed and cooked correctly.

Instead, let the lasagna cool to room temperature for an hour or so and then store the lasagna in your fridge overnight.  As the lasagna chills, it will solidify and make it really easy to cut.

Once the lasagna is cool, just chop it into individual servings. This recipe will get you about 8-10 large servings of lasagna so even if you ate some, you should have a bunch of servings to freeze.

chopped

Easy to chop when cold.

Then wrap each serving in plastic wrap.  Make sure it’s wrapped very tightly.

wrapped

Wrapped.

Then store all the individual lasagna pieces in a large freezer-safe plastic bag.

These will freeze beautifully and be very easy to thaw.

bagged

Double wrapped.

Reheating the Lasagna

The best way to reheat this lasagna is in the microwave, honestly.  Just cook it on high for 4-5 minutes and it’ll be perfect.  This might sound strange but I actually thought the frozen and reheated lasagna was better than it was on day one.

Maybe that’s just my pain meds talking though!

I can’t think of a lasagna recipe that this freezing method wouldn’t work for.  Give it a shot the next time you need to stock up on frozen meals!

The correct and best way to freeze lasagna in individual servings! Via Macheesmo

Share this post!

42 comments on “How to Freeze Lasagna

  1. This is how I’ve always frozen lasagna and you’re right, it’s perfect every time! I have two little kids and one large piece is generally enough for them to have for dinner, which is so convenient for me.

    I do have to call you out on the cottage cheese, though–that’s just wrong!

    1. I always use 1/2 cottage cheese and 1/2 ricotta cheese together so that it is not so dry tasting but tends to not slide all over as with straight cottage cheese so I definitely agree with the cottage cheese. I also use the same cottage cheese and ricotta cheese mixture in my stuffed shells (which I have a tendency to make at the same time so that I have twice the meals to freeze). I have always made it is aluminum loaf pans because that is the perfect size for a family meal. Then I would take it out of freezer to thaw and pop it in the oven for an hour before dinner time that way everyone smells it cooking and gets their appetite up and is able to finish off the pan of lasagna so no leftovers. I just don’t know which is a better way to freeze, before or after cooking.

    2. I use both ricotta cheese and cottage cheese as well as mozzarella , provolone, and 4 cheese taco style shredded cheese. Everyone loves mine and I think it’s the ricotta/cottage cheese combination that does it. It’s the best thing to add.

  2. You will probably spark an intense debate on the cottage vs. ricotta cheese issue. I am firmly in the cottage cheese camp, though. I grew up on lasagna made with cottage cheese. I know the ricotta cheese is the “real” way to go, but it kinda overpowers the dish a bit to me. I also like that you can sub low-fat cottage cheese w/o giving up any discernable taste quality.

    September—I totally agree with you on Press and Seal though! I have found a million uses for the stuff!

  3. I always use cottage cheese too, because my husband can’t stand ricotta cheese. I’ll be darned if I’m gonna work to make a lasagna for him to turn his nose up at it, so cottage cheese it is.

    As for the freezing the lasagna before cooking it, I think that’s more for the people who make up several pans at once (like my grandma). She freezes them unbaked, and then she can deliver them to neighbors in need of comfort and such. :-) I usually put it in the fridge overnight, cut it into squares, and then freeze it. Maybe not quite as easy to use as your version, but I hate plastic wrap. And it’s not too hard to pop out the frozen squares.

    1. Great points. I can see how it makes sense to freeze them before cooking if you are giving them away or making a bunch at once.

      Awesome tip on freezing them whole. I never thought to cut them up before freezing them so when I did it I just had a frozen block that was pretty impossible to work with. Thanks for the comment as always!

  4. Agree that the Glad Press and Seal works much better than Saran Wrap. Anytime I freeze stuff I use it now.

  5. I do not doubt the frozen could have tasted better. I think if you use a recipe that starts, with raw noodles you will have the flavor go through the pasta without freezing and re heating. Just mix you favorite jarred sauce with rue cooked meat a new raw veggies and spices. Skips two steps, cooking the pasta and sUtingg veggies and tastes better. Just check out any no boil lasagne recipe for a n idea of ratio of sauce to raw pasta and still make your own recipe in essence.

    1. Ps..still use thesame spices. The Jared sauce is not spicy enough withit getting absorbed by the pasta

  6. My brother hates ricotta so I can see the cottage cheese as something he would like (and I have a secrete love of cottage cheese anyway). I will say a few months ago I finally bought a foodsaver. Best thing I have ever done. Makes freezing stuff super easy :)

  7. My mother-in-law has always made lasagna with cottage cheese because one of her kids hates ricotta. The first time I had her lasagna, back when my husband and I were first dating, I was instantly hooked. I started using cottage cheese whenever I make lasagna, and I’ve never looked back. So delicious!

  8. I am definatley going to try the cottage cheese option. I also freeze my lasange like that and it comes out just great! I add a layer of butternut or sweet potato in my mince lasanga which makes a nice change which I lust loved. Going to try it this weekend with the cottage cheese though.

  9. This looks like the perfect recipe and the perfect freezing method. We are expecting a baby in a few months and I want to make sure there are enough meals for the new dad (the hospital stay for moms is longer in Belgium) and also so we have enough for the first week or two after we get home. This is definitely going on my list!!! Thank you so much for posting this and hope you feel better soon!

  10. Made this tonight for friends and it was a huge hit! Thanks for the recipe – looking forward to getting my hands on your book.

  11. Update-made and loved it! I did half the recipe and put foil under the noodles because I wasn’t sure how a half recipe of lasagna would hold up in the pan (Half of a recipe filled my pan nicely anyway). I also put foil over the pan during baking so that I didn’t have to boil the noodles. The foil keeps the moisture in and I didn’t need to make any extra sauce. It takes about a full hour to bake. It ended up great, especially with the easy clean up with foil under the noodles and doing it no-boil style. And yes, definitely cottage cheese.

  12. Very useful, as I am making frozen take-away foods for my guests, and Lasagne is always a hit . I,m going to try the cottage cheese, sounds delicious!!

  13. Great idea on freezing individual portions! I will try that. Sometimes, though, I take casseroles to sick people at church and I usually try to take a frozen casserole that they can keep until they need it.

  14. Thanks for the advice. The reason that I would (and do) occasionally freeze my lasagna before baking it is to avoid turning on the oven on hot summer days. When we get vegetables from our garden (Kale, Swiss Chard, Garlic, etc.) I like to get everything prepared, assembled and ready to freeze so it can be used in the colder winter months.

    I typically freeze a 8×8 square pan. When I’m ready to eat it, we thaw it in the refriderator for 2 days and then bake as normal. It comes out wonderful.

  15. Thank you so much for the detailed play by play! I am going to a baby shower this weekend and instead of doing all of the typical “games” we are preparing freezer meals for mommy! Granted most of this will have to be done before I get there, however I think this recipe will fit the ticket perfectly! Thank you again for taking the time to post all of this and sort out all of the differences between cooked vs not, meat vs not, and plastic wrap vs foil !! ;D

    1. PS: I have ALWAYS used cottage cheese in my lasagnas. I’m sure my italian great grandmother is cringing but my mother started using it followed up by my auntie and now my sister and I do the same. 100% advocate from this italian girl

  16. Hi Nick–
    For this recipe & advice: you can only freeze the recipe for one night, or could you freeze it for longer? If you can freeze it for longer, how long does it keep? Thanks for the advice, & Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

    1. Hey Katherine,

      Oh no. If you are just keeping it for a night you can just stick it in the fridge. :) This method is for much longer storage. It should keep for at least 3 months and will probably be fine up to 6 months later if you wrap it nice and tight. Good luck!

  17. Thanks Nick!
    How do you defrost a piece when you want to eat some of the lasagna ( I can’t wait to try this)!
    –Katherine.

  18. (sorry)– i failed to read the last paragraph. 4-5 minutes in the microwave. thanks for your research, tips, & recipe Nick. You should do more dishes/ foods.

  19. i meant more freezing food recipes if you have any. did see one you had of breakfast bowls, also sounds excellent. how long does that one freeze for, & how do you defrost it please? thanks

    1. Hey Katherine, I try to keep info like that in each post just so it’s easier to find for other readers. Most frozen recipes will keep for at least three months in my experience and you can move those straight to the microwave to thaw/reheat. :)

  20. oh ok. got it now. hope i didnt bother you. im new to macheesmo, but am i glad to have found it.

  21. Hi Everyone, I really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. I’m new to lasagna and have a small family. I like to make large batches of things (mostly soups) and freeze them.

    One thing I am confused about though regarding freezing.
    If you assemble and freeze without cooking the whole lasagna first, are the noodles cooked first and then assembled, then frozen? Assuming I use regular noodles – not the no boil ones. I have never used no boil noodles. Some places suggest just adding more water to the recipe, but how much? How do you do it so it doesn’t get watery?

    So many places on the internet suggest no boil noodles, but I tried it once and it didn’t work for me. Naturally, I believe it’s the cook, I’m sure the noodles do work!

    Also, so many things I have read frown on freezing cooked lasagna at all. Some say the cheese gets weird after it’s cooked and frozen, some say the noodles get too mushy. It seems like so many of you have cooked, had leftovers, have frozen and feel it works well. Am I missing something here? I’m inclined to believe it would work well as all of you say.

    Basically, I want to freeze lasagna. I’m confused about the noodles, pre-cooking or not (the noodles themselves and the lasagna in general).

    I’m sure you’ve all covered this, so sorry if I make any of you say it again!
    THANKS!
    Erika

    1. I cooked it last night. Came out great. Did it just as you said: cooked, ate. It’s now in the fridge. I’ll freeze it today… Thanks for your recipe

  22. This post was a little bit of a put down. I was looking for a recipe to premake lasagna for my 2 yr old so that I could make a few of them, freeze them and cook them for her dinner so I’d have more time with my daughter instead of preparing dinner every night with everything else happening. Glad you found something that worked for you and many other followers, though it probably won’t work for me the way I was intending.

    1. Hey Aleisha,
      Almost any lasagna recipe will freeze just fine. If you wanted to make them in bulk you can just buy the disposable lasagna pans, make the lasagna, and freeze them in full pans. I would recommend covering them in a double layer of plastic wrap and foil to prevent freezer burn. Everything should be cooked already in your lasagna so you would then just be reheating the frozen ones in the oven until they are gooey and delicious. Hope that helps! Good luck!

  23. I must be the laziest cook around. You don’t have to cook your noodles, but don’t use the pre cooked ones as they taste awful.. I just use uncooked regular noodles, starting with a layer of sauce on the bottom so the noodles don’t stick to your pan and just build your lasagne. One of the layers is always spinach with cottage cheese on top of the spinach when I make lasagna. Trust me your kids will not mind it at all. When my kids were growing up and in high performance sports, I made meat sauce in a canner! yes, a canner! Then froze the sauce in the larger yogurt containers and used it as the base for chili, lasagne or spaghetti. I usually would freeze a pan of lasagne with the noodles uncooked when I made a casserole for supper. Your noodles needs to be covered with a foil so the steam cooks the noodles! Then add the cheese when noodles cooked and bake until the cheese is a golden brown.

  24. This IS the perfect way to freeze lasagna! I’ve been doing it this way for 30+ years and it works great. In fact, when I make lasagna, I make 2 pans so that there is almost always some in the freezer. The only difference between yours and mine? I don’t cook the noodles. They go into the layers uncooked. They soak up lots of the juice from the sauce and the cottage cheese and come out perfect every time!

Leave a Comment