Skillet Lasagna

Lasagna is a comfort meal for me. When I was younger, my first taste of lasagna was from a freezer meal (think On-Cor and Stouffer brand!). My tastes for lasagna has changed drastically as an adult where now I much prefer making it from scratch. Traditional lasagna recipes can be daunting to make with it's many components along with assembling... however making this Skillet Lasagna saves a lot of time without compromising the homemade goodness of a traditional lasagna!...

Who knew you could make a darn good lasagna in a skillet?! Granted, you don't have beautiful layers of cheese, sauce and pasta, but all the components of a traditional lasagna are there. This recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated - a trusty recipe source for me. They have come up with a way to make a delicious lasagna on the stove top and I've taken it a step further to make into a freezer meal that's finished in the oven. However way you'd like to make it, the result is the same - it's delicious, comforting and you save yourself a lot of time!

The original recipe calls for using a meatloaf mix (combination of ground beef, ground pork and ground veal) however I used fresh italian sausage instead. I also like mozzarella cheese incorporated into my lasagnas so I included that into this recipe as well. Since this is a skillet lasagna, I used my cast iron skillet along with a 12 inch fitted lid. You can use any skillet you' have on hand but be sure you have a lid as well. Preparing this dish covered is important so that the pasta cooks thoroughly.

Skillet Lasagna
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound fresh italian sausage, crumbled
10 dry curly edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces
1 (8oz) tomato sauce
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese + more for serving
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Pour diced tomatoes with their juices into 1-quart liquid measuring cup. Add water until mixture measures 1 quart; set aside.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add italian sausage and cook, breaking apart meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Scatter pasta over meat but do not stir. Pour diced tomatoes with juices and tomato sauce over pasta. Cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in cheeses. Season with salt and pepper. Dot with heaping tablespoons ricotta, cover, and let stand off heat for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Serve.

* To make ahead/freezer meal - Prepare recipe above as directed up until you scatter the pasta. Scatter pasta over meat but do not stir. Pour diced tomatoes with juices and tomato sauce over pasta. Cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is barely al dente, about 10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer dish into oven- and freezer safe container. Allow dish to cool and then freeze. When ready to prepare, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Defrost completely and place container on a baking sheet. Dot with heaping tablespoons ricotta and bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with basil and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Serve.


  1. I have to make this recipe this week! It looks so good, yet so much more simple than traditional lasagna!

  2. I have to try this, thanks for the tip!

  3. That is cool. I love making lasagna but I never have the time. This is great.

  4. Thank you for a simpler version of lasagne!! I could make this with béchamel instead of ricotta. How yummy! I also love that this is a freezer meal. I must get some of those containers you have.

  5. I've made this recipe from CI countless times. It is delicious and way easier than my mom's Italian version.

  6. i've made this before too and its delish! its a great one pot, dinner!

  7. Joelen, I love your blog! This Skillet recipe sounds wonderful and I will give it a try as lasagne is a family favorite! Thanks for posting your delights!

  8. That was amazing! We just finished it and as a busy mom of 2 I can't thank you enough for an easy 'lasagne' option! My boys loved it.

  9. When making the freezer version, is it better to add the mozarella at the same time as the parmesan, or hold off until ready to bake? This looks great-- seems a lot easier than traditional lasagna, and I totally want a stocked freezer like you've shown!! Thanks!

  10. Hi Colleen - I've updated the directions to reflect the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses can be added at the same time. Thanks for asking!!

  11. Hi Joelen-- I tried this for dinner tonight, and I thought it was delicious!! I did the make-ahead version, so only simmered lasagna noodles with sauce mixture for about 10-11 minutes, then baked as directed. Next time, I might simmer the noodles a little longer, as I thought they were still a little firm for my tastes. Other than that, I thought this was awesome, and I definitely appreciate the ease and make-ahead instructions for this dish!!

  12. Tried subbing ground turkey for the sausage and was quite bland. Will try again as written

  13. I use ground pork and it's delicious. Do you think I could put some spinach in it without messing it up? I'd love to sneak some extra veg into my kids :)

  14. @BelleAur - I think that's a fantastic idea! By adding in spinach, you turn it into a 'florentine' version!