Slow Cooker Lasagna made with lasagna noodles, beef, mozzarella, ricotta and Parmesan cheese is the ultimate comfort food in just 20 minutes of prep time.
Slow Cooker Lasagna
Lasagna doesn’t have to be a dish you cook only on the weekends. With just a little prep you can enjoy this slow cooker lasagna for weeknight meals.
Easy Weeknight Meal:
The process of making lasagna on weeknights can be hard. Between assembly, baking and cooling it could be a multi-hour process before you’re ready to eat. The magic of this lasagna is you prepare it in the morning, come home and remove the insert from your slow cooker to allow it to cool gently.
Update: This recipe has been tested by a number of readers who have successfully assembled the recipe the night before and just set it to cook in the morning. Please review comment section for details.
Note: Be sure you do not cool the insert directly on a heat sensitive surface like granite or marble. Please cool it on your stove-top surface.
If you’ve just arrived home:
- Go straight to the kitchen and remove the insert.
- Unwind, change, get kids settled, etc.
- Make a side salad like our Classic Wedge Salad and bake some Garlic Bread.
- By the time you’ve done this your lasagna will be cool enough to serve in slices.
Total Time to dinner from arriving home? 30 minutes.
More Slow Cooker Recipes:
The miracle of this Slow Cooker Beef Lasagna is that it takes almost no time at all!
- No boiling of noodles – using a classic lasagna noodle but you still don’t have to boil it ahead! This takes a step out of your recipe with no effort at all.
- No long simmer times for the tomato sauce because the flavors in this recipe build all day long as it cooks low and slow!
- Prepare the meal filling ahead the night before.
- Cooking the beef and onions then letting them cool and refrigerating them will make this a quick preparation in the morning.
Bonus: The smell in your kitchen will remind you of a Sunday sauce you’ve been working all day on.
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FAQs for Slow Cooker Lasagna:
- Marinara Sauce: Homemade Quick and Easy Marinara is a super flavorful and easy sub recipe you’ll want to have for this dish. I make batches and freeze them so I can have them ready to go. If using jarred sauce, use two jars and thin with water.
- Use Enough Liquid: The lasagna will stay moist and not dried out, but if you find your sauce is not enough to rise to the level of the pasta, add some water around the edges until it does.
- Beef vs Sausage: I use all beef in this Slow Cooker Beef Lasagna, but the sausage flavor in most restaurant lasagnas is one I love duplicating. To do that easily here without using sausage, I add in some fennel seeds with goes a long way in making it taste like a Slow Cooker Beef and Sausage Lasagna.
- Know your Slow Cooker: Make sure you know if your slow cooker has hot spots. Some of them can be severe leading to part of your pasta drying out. With a roast this is less important but for pasta dishes this could ruin the dish.
- Check the Lasagna Early: Check the doneness at the lower end of the times given, if not quite done cook for the additional hour.
- Garnish: In the picture above I sprinkled on a bit extra of dried basil just for the look. You can do this or garnish with fresh parsley at the end of cooking.
More Classic Italian Recipes:
How long does it take to make Slow Cooker Lasagna: The prep time is just 20 minutes, but the cook time is 3-4 hours on high as there is a lot of pasta in the slow cooker that has to cook through.
Can you cook pasta in the slow cooker? Yes, absolutely. This is one of my favorite ways to cook pasta, just adjust the cook time to about half of your normal slow cooker recipes so the pasta doesn’t dry out.
HOW TO STORE SLOW COOKER LASAGNA
- Serve: After cooking this recipe don’t leave it at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Do not leave on keep warm function, this will continue to cook the pasta and dry it out.
- Store: Once the lasagna has cooled to room temperature you can remove it in pieces from the slow cooker and store it in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Freeze: This is also a great recipe to keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. To reheat the meal after freezing, let it thaw in the fridge overnight, then bake or microwave pieces with a bit of additional cheese on top.
Slow Cooker Lasagna
- 2 pounds ground beef , (85/15)
- 1/2 yellow onion, , diced
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 6 cups marinara sauce , (or two bottles of pasta sauce with two added cups of water)
- 1 box lasagna noodles , don't use the no-boil variety
- 8 ounces ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
- 6 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese
In a large dutch oven or skillet, add the beef and onion on medium high heat, breaking it apart into small crumbles as it cooks, about 6-8 minutes.
Drain any excess fat from the pan.
Add in the basil, oregano, fennel seeds, Kosher salt and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add in the marinara sauce and stir to combine.
- Add enough sauce to cover the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Into your slow cooker evenly layer in the following order (take care to make sure the layers are as flat as possible):
• Lasagna noodles broken to fit the shape of your slow cooker (a little overlap is totally fine here).
• Spoon a third of the meat sauce.
• Add a third of the ricotta in small spoonfuls along with a third of the mozzarella and Parmesan.
Cook on low heat for 5-6 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours.
If you want the slices to come out clean, as with any lasagna you would have to wait 15-20 minutes for it to cool a bit. Remove the insert from your slow cooker and place on a heat-safe surface.
- You will likely have some noodles left over, using them all in the slow cooker would be difficult.
- If your liquids are not fully covering the noodles, add more water to just cover them.