Easy Crockpot Lasagna – No Need to Cook the Noodles Ahead!
My friend, Jeanne, told me about this favorite recipe at their house, and what an easy dinner idea, especially if you’re like me and love slow cooker recipes! We tried it other day and it was a hit here, too. I meant to start it late morning, but forgot until 2:30 in the afternoon. (Why do I always do that?) I turned the crock pot on high and by 5:00 the noodles were done and it was perfect!
It's also a great “kitchen clean out” recipe, because you can add whatever meat, veggies or cheeses you have on hand and it'll taste great.
Easy Crockpot Lasagna
- 1 pound Italian sausage or ground beef – or a combination Find safe sources locally or healthy meat online
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 large jars 26 ounce or so of your favorite organic spaghetti sauce
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder if desired for extra flavor
- 15 ounce container of cottage cheese small curd (homemade or one with a nice short, simple ingredient list)
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Optional: Ricotta cheese and/or Boursin garlic cheese and/or cream cheese or whatever you have in the fridge to get rid of!
- Optional: Chopped spinach or other veggies if your family will go for it all cut small so they'll get soft
- Optional: 1-2 eggs for extra nutrition
- 1 box uncooked lasagna noodles mine was 9 oz. — or sometimes I'll use my new favorite: organic einkorn pasta — I used 2-12 ounce boxes, uncooked (one box would be enough for a small family, there are 6 of us and we're big eaters!)
- For the top: 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and/or more parmesan
- Cook meat and onion over medium heat until browned. Stir in spaghetti sauce, basil and salt.
- In a bowl, mix the cheeses well with the optional eggs.
- Start layering in a buttered crock pot: Meat mixture, a layer of noodles, cheese mixture, optional veggies. Keep going with 3-4 layers, making sure that the noodles are always near some sauce. (OR if you're not using lasagna noodles, just stir it all together, but make sure all noodles are under the surface with some sauce/liquid on top.)
- Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high heat for 2-4 hours until noodles are tender.
- Sprinkle the top of the lasagna with the mozzarella cheese and more parmesan if you love it like we do. Cover while the cheese melts and then it’s ready to serve.
- More simple crock pot meals!
- Need some meatless meal ideas for lent?
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Beth, if you try this, let us know! 🙂
@Flo — what a great guy! 🙂
Woahh! Thanks for the quick response! Will be making tomorrow 🙂
Flo LaDuke Richards says
Big compliment from my hubby yesterday as we were having leftovers from this. “So where are you going to put this recipe so you can find it again?!!”
Usually I don’t hear much enthusiasm about food and so I don’t always remember what we had when someone belatedly tells me they want me to make it again. THIS is a definite keeper. Thanks!
The bonus is that after cooking the meat we ate it in 1-1/2 hours on high. The noodles WERE just a tiny bit chewy but we didn’t get home with the ingredients in time to do better with my husband out the door again for a meeting.
Quick Q. Do you mean no bake lasagna noodles? Or just regular lasagna? Because I’ve regular lasagna noodles, and it would be great if I don’t have to boil them
Kelly the Kitchen Kop says
Nope, just regular noodles are fine, no boiling first!
Candice Carpenter Bairn says
Wondering if the noodles would get gooey and icky if I get it ready the night before, keep it in the fridge, and cook the next day. Anyone try it this way yet?
Oh, how I wish we could do this!!
Sarah, do you mean you can’t make it due to allergies?
Jody C says
My daughter-in-law made this the other night and I told her the only thing I would’ve changed for next time was to make more. It was so good and my 1 yr. old granddaughter enjoyed it for her birthday dinner!
Thanks for the feedback!
Also, *anyone*, if you make this and get a better picture, PLEASE send it to me! 🙂
Lori Schultz says
How much ricotta would I be adding if I were to add it to the cheese mixture?
Just guess, I’d say 1/2 cup to 1 cup.
Oh, YUM! Lanetta and I think very much alike–I brown our 5-lb packages of beef and then split it into 5-6 “portions” to help stretch it out. It’s also a great way to sneak in some liver–1 lb liver with 5 lbs ground beef, and you can’t even tell it’s in there! I don’t even bother to thaw the cooked meat, depending upon what I’m using it for–in fact, I have a similar recipe that I make in my pressure cooker. I try to stay away from pasta, but when I’m in a hurry, I throw in a little oil while the pan is heating, then the meat, then 1 lb mini penne pasta, 1 jar pasta sauce, and one pasta-sauce-jar of water. Bring all to a boil and then pop the lid on, bring to pressure and cook for 8 mins (we’re at high altitude, about 6000 feet), then take off the burner & let it depressure itself. I usually have just enough time to whip up a salad and set the table. I stir in a handful of shredded mozzarella or whatever we have on hand, and VOILA! Of course, as I’m looking at this configuration, it would also probably work in a crockpot, but would require more advance planning than the pressure-cooker version!
I am definitely going to try the lasagna version with the zucchini (and maybe carrot shavings?) “noodles.” Sounds DELISH!
This looks really tasty! I hardly ever make lasagna because it is so time intensive. I’ll have to give this a shot.
I so LOVE my crockpot!
Thanks for the recipe.
This looks great! We are trying to stay away from grains so we will definitely try this with veggies that the commenters suggested.
I love ricotta cheese!!! How much should I use?
Probably about a cup and a half or so. 🙂
This is soooo yummy! This is a make-every-two-week meal at our house!
Then again, I am a major crockpot user! 🙂
I would just say that you NEED at least one egg in this recipe to “bind” all the cheeses.
I would also recommend that you grease that pot w/ some butter first! 🙂
Finally, it is ALSO YUMMY for the gluten free peeps among us to replace the noodles with long skinny slices of eggplant!
Good tips, I’ll add those to the post, thank you!
Kelly, thank you so much for all the work you put into your blog/website! We have recently made a food conversion and I came across your site. You and everyone that has contributed has helped us out tremendously! I want to add that this all started when my husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. So one thing I have done for our crock pot lasagna is replace the noodles with zucchini. It was wonderful and my 6 yr and 2 yr old ate all of it!
thanks for this, Kelly (and Jeanne!).
Our family likes lasagna, but I don’t like (or always have) the time it takes to prepare it. This will be on the menu next week.
For lent, we could use extra veggies and spices and eliminate the meat.
Could you perhaps skip the precooking of the meat and onions to save time? Afterall they will also cook in the crock pot, just wondering:)
Hmmmm, I don’t know. It might work if your meat isn’t too greasy… But I think it would end up more like a big hunk of burger, not broken up into pieces like when you’re browning it in a pan. If you try it, please update us here! 🙂
I’ve read that you shouldn’t put raw ground beef in the crock pot because it doesn’t reach temps high enough to kill bacteria. Since it is ground, that means that more of the meat has touched more surfaces than say a steak, and I think it is also sometimes mixed with extra fat or a different batch of ground beef etc., so there are more opportunities for contamination. Of course, there are supposed to be safeguards in place to prevent this, but mistakes happen.
I prefer to brown several pounds of hamburger at a time, then I divide it into 2 cup packages and freeze. (A pound of raw hamburger yields about 2 1/4 – 3 cups of cooked meat – we have a small family and I try to stretch it a bit besides.) When I want to make something like this, I just pull out a package and thaw it. Admittedly I use plastic ziploc freezer bags to freeze so I can flatten them and they thaw quickly in a sink of hot water, or even more quickly with a short zap in the microwave. (Did I just admit that here? :>)) I also sometimes just leave it on the counter to thaw for an hour or two.