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Slow Cooker Lasagna

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Leave the oven off and make Slow Cooker Lasagna tonight! Layers of meaty sauce, noodles, and cheese make this easy, comforting crockpot dinner a winner.

slice of lasagna being lifted from the slow cooker

Crockpot Lasagna

Slow cooker lasagna is so easy to put together. The best part, to me, is that you don’t even have to boil the noodles first! Have you ever boiled lasagna noodles, had them stick together, then you rip them trying to untangle them? Just me? Can’t be.

None of that hassle in this version.

You’ll start this crockpot lasagna by making the meaty sauce (or skip the meat and make it vegetarian) on the stove, then layering everything together in the slow cooker. Let it cook for a few hours and then dinner is ready!

I like to serve it with garlic knots or dinner rolls, a salad, and roasted veggies.

If you need an even easier version, try my slow cooker ravioli lasagna!

close up shot of slice of lasagna on a white plate

INGREDIENTS

You don’t need anything fancy to make a delicious lasagna, mainly just pantry staples.

Below is a list of ingredients with some helpful tips and suggestions for substitutions. Scroll all the way down for the full, printable recipe card with amounts & instructions.

GROUND BEEF – Any time I use ground beef in a recipe, I use sirloin. It is lean and has great flavor. I look for 93/7.
ONION – I use white onion here but yellow can be used if you prefer milder onion flavor.
GARLIC – I’ve been buying peeled garlic (Kroger, Meijer, Sam’s Club all carry it). It is great to have on hand & a slight time saver. Another option is minced garlic packed in oil.
SEASONINGS – Salt, pepper, and oregano are all you need to season the beef but a Montreal Steak Seasoning will also be good.
RICOTTA CHEESE – Ricotta is a fine, almost grainy, cheese that comes in whole milk or low fat varieties. Either will work in this recipe or you can use cottage cheese if that is your preference.
EGG – Using an egg in the cheese mixture helps to bind it together.
CHEESES – In addition to the ricotta, you’ll add grated parmesan cheese and shredded mozzarella. You can also add fresh sliced mozzarella to the top layer.
MARINARA SAUCE – Use your favorite jarred marinara sauce (I look for one low in salt & sugar – I like Rao’s) or you can make homemade marinara.
LASAGNA NOODLES – I prefer regular lasagna noodles, not the oven-ready kind.

Some optional additions are: garnishing with fresh basil for additional flavor, or if you want to add some green to your lasagna, you can also chop up fresh baby spinach and add it to the cheese layer.

overhead shot of ingredients laid out to make slow cooker lasagna

TOOLS FOUND ON AMAZON TO HELP YOU

  • SLOW COOKER – You’ll need a 6 qt slow cooker for this recipe. I have used this one for years & highly rec it.
  • MEAT CHOPPER – This little gadget makes browning the meat so easy.
  • VEGETABLE CHOPPER – I haven’t cried while dicing onions since getting this bad boy. I use it for way more than onions.

HOW TO MAKE SLOW COOKER LASAGNA

STEP ONE: Make the sauce. You’ll start this dish by sautéing the onion and garlic and then adding the ground beef and seasonings. Cook until no longer pink, pour in the sauce, and let simmer until warmed through.

STEP TWO: Mix the cheeses. To a large bowl, you’ll add the ricotta cheese, half of the grated parmesan, and half of the mozzarella with an egg. Season to taste with salt & pepper and stir until fully combined.

STEP THREE: Assemble in the slow cooker. Add a layer of sauce to the bottom of your slow cooker. Top with uncooked noodles – break them to fit. Top that with a layer of the cheese mixture. Repeat until you’re out of ingredients. Finish with the remaining cheeses, making sure all the noodles are tucked under the sauce. If not, they won’t cook properly and will dry out.

STEP FOUR: Cook. Cover and cook on LOW for 3.5 hours. Slow cookers vary so yours may take a bit longer, some take 4-5 hours. Once your cook time is up, remove the lid, and let sit for approximately 10 minutes before slicing. Resist the urge to check on it and risk releasing the steam – it’s necessary for cooking the noodles.

Garnish with chopped basil and serve!

collage layers of lasagna in the slow cooker

CAN I PUT DRY PASTA IN THE SLOW COOKER?

YES. You can can put dry pasta into the slow cooker. As I mentioned, this is one of my favorite things about this recipe – you don’t have to pre-cook the noodles. Make sure you get classic noodles, not oven-ready.

HOW MANY LAYERS SHOULD LASAGNA HAVE?

There is not a traditional number of layers to lasagna but three to four is pretty average. I wind up with three layers in this recipe.

overhead shot of lasagna in slow cooker topped with chopped basil

WHY IS MY LASAGNA WATERY?

There are a couple reasons why your lasagna might be watery. First, you sauce may be too thin. As noted in the recipe, I add a bit of water to my jarred sauce to thin it out because I personally prefer it that way. If you like a thicker sauce, skip the water.

Another reason your lasagna might be watery is because the pre-cooked noodles may be too wet. In this recipe, you use dry noodles so this shouldn’t be an issue here.

CAN I MAKE IT AHEAD OF TIME?

Since this recipe doesn’t take as long to cook in the slow cooker as some, you can prep the meat sauce and cheese mixture a day ahead of time and then assemble in the slow cooker when you’re ready. Making the night before and assembling the next day will work well.

HOW TO STORE IT

Cooked lasagna will keep, stored in an airtight container, for 3-5 days in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven in an oven safe container.

CAN YOU FREEZE IT

Any leftover lasagna can be placed in an airtight, freezer-safe container and stored for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat it, move the frozen lasagna to the fridge to thaw overnight. If reheating in the microwave, give the lasagna a splash of water to prevent it from drying out.

overhead shot of plates of lasagna with sliced bread

MORE TIPS & SUGGESTIONS

  • I haven’t had any issues with clean up, but to prevent sticking, you can lightly grease the pot with nonstick cooking spray.
  • If you use something other than ground sirloin, you may need to drain off excess grease after browning the meat.
  • If you want to make a double batch of this lasagna, you’re going to need a pretty large slow cooker. The standard 6 quart, shown here, will not have room to double.
  • If you like a thicker sauce, you can skip adding the water. I like to add the water to the jar, closing, shaking, and using that water. That way you’re getting every bit of sauce from the jar without wasting any.
  • I cook lasagna in the crockpot on LOW. You can try the high setting, but it will be key to make sure that all of the noodles are covered in sauce because you run the risk of it drying out. I recommend sticking with the low setting for the best results.

NEED MORE PASTA RECIPES? TRY THESE:

Crockpot Chicken Parmesan with Tortellini
Pizza Pasta Bake
Rosa Chicken Pasta Bake
Baked Mostaccioli

NEED MORE SLOW COOKER RECIPES? TRY THESE:

Slow Cooker Stuffed Shells
Slow Cooker Garlic Parmesan Chicken
Crockpot Bourbon Chicken
Crockpot Turkey Meatballs
Slow Cooker Chicken Spinach & Zucchini Pasta

Click here for my entire collection of slow cooker recipes.

scoop being taken out of a slow cooker of lasagna

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slice of lasagna being lifted from the slow cooker

Slow Cooker Lasagna

Melissa Williams
Leave the oven off and make Slow Cooker Lasagna tonight! Layers of meaty sauce, noodles, and cheese make this easy, comforting crockpot dinner a winner.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 50 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 703 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ground beef use a lean cut like 97/3
  • ½ cup chopped white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 15 ounces Ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese divided
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
  • 25 ounces marinara sauce
  • 16 ounces lasagna noodles uncooked

Instructions
 

  • In a large skillet, over medium high heat, saute the chopped onion until translucent. Add in the minced garlic and stir until fragrant.
  • Add in the ground beef, salt, pepper, and oregano. Brown the meat until no longer pink.
  • Pour in the jar of sauce. Add approximately ½ cup of water to the jar, cover and shake, then pour into the skillet. Let simmer until warmed through.
  • While the sauce is cooking, to a large bowl, add the ricotta cheese, egg, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese, and salt & pepper to taste. Stir until fully combined.
  • To the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker, add approximately 1 ½ cups of the meat sauce. Top with uncooked noodles. Break to fit into a single layer (mine took 3 noodles). Top with spoonfuls of the ricotta mixture then spread evenly. Repeat layers (sauce, noodles, cheese) ending with sauce.
  • Top with remaining shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 3.5 hours or until noodles are soft. Uncover and let set for approximately 10 minutes before slicing.

Notes

Depending on the size of your slow cooker, you will likely only use half of the box of lasagna noodles – mine used 9 noodles.
Each slow cooker cooks differently. Mine was done in 3.5 hours on LOW. Yours may take 4-5 hours.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 703kcalCarbohydrates: 69gProtein: 48gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 151mgSodium: 1454mgPotassium: 943mgFiber: 5gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1204IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 465mgIron: 5mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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This recipe first appeared on Yellow Bliss Road.

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  1. Jen says

    5 stars
    So, so, so great! I used to never make lasagna because it was time consuming and didn’t like the way it turned out but THIS is so awesome!! Will be a new favorite at my house!!

    • Melissa Williams says

      That makes me so happy, thank you for reporting back!

  2. Linda R says

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! It’s straightforward, reliable, delicious! The only change I’d make is to make a second batch of sauce to spoon over the top of individual servings. I made it with a lot of fresh spinach layered in as suggested, and the optional mozzarella slices on top. I used Paul Newman’s Own Sockarooni Sauce, with a generous amount of fresh garlic. It may have cooked a little longer than 3.5 hours the second time I made it.. This recipe is a keeper – thank you!

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