This recipe for Lasagna with Cottage Cheese is one of the easiest versions of homemade lasagna. It delivers the flavors of classic lasagna, complete with a hearty meat sauce, creamy filling, and tons of cheese. Yet with this easy lasagna recipe, you don't even have to parboil the noodles or use special no-boil noodles!
I grew up enjoying homemade lasagna made with cottage cheese. I know it is not classic, as most lasagnas are made with ricotta cheese, but my mom's cottage cheese lasagna was my all-time version of lasagna.
In fact, this homemade lasagna, along with homemade garlic toast and my Nana's Cheesecake, was my request year after year for my birthday dinner. And I still love making lasagna with cottage cheese to this day.
Reasons to Love This Cottage Cheese Lasagna
- More Affordable. My mom once told me she made lasagna with cottage cheese as it was less expensive than ricotta. That still holds true today.
- Not Quite as Heavy. The cottage cheese is tangier and less thick than ricotta cheese. That lends to a lasagna that is still creamy and cheesy, yet doesn't feel quite as rich as a lasagna made with ricotta cheese.
- Easy Lasagna Recipe. Classic lasagna has a reputation for being complicated and time-consuming. But this recipe uses jarred spaghetti sauce and does not require the noodles to be parboiled, making it easy enough for busy weeknights.
Notes on Ingredients & Equipment
- Meat: Use lean ground beef, ground turkey, ground Italian sausage, or ground chicken.
- Spaghetti Sauce: Use your favorite store-bought or homemade spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce.
- Cottage Cheese: Use full-fat or reduced-fat cottage cheese, not fat-free cottage cheese which does not have the same consistency or flavor.
- Lasagna Noodles: This recipe uses regular lasagna noodles, not no-boil noodles. Use whole wheat or regular lasagna noodles.
- Egg: The egg will help the cheese filling to set up.
- Spices/Herbs: Italian Seasoning, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and fresh parsley add just the right combination of spices to flavor this lasagna. Feel free to omit or reduce the red pepper flakes if you are sensitive to heat.
- Cheese: I use a mixture of mozzarella and parmesan for the best combination of flavor and melting factor.
- Water: A bit of water is added to the meat sauce, which will help soften the noodles as they bake.
- Baking Dish: A 9x13 pan is the best pan to use for this lasagna recipe. This is not an overly thick lasagna, so need to use a deep casserole dish or lasagna pan.
- Meatless: To make a Meatless Lasagna, omit the meat or use your favorite veggie crumbles.
- Pepperoni: Instead of browning up ground beef or sausage, add layers of sliced pepperoni to the layers of the lasagna. The pepperoni will add a hearty, meaty taste, and make this recipe even easier!
- Cottage Cheese: I know cottage cheese is controversial in lasagna recipes. So if you don't have cottage cheese, or you think it is a sin to use cottage cheese in lasagna, use ricotta cheese in place of cottage cheese. Even tofu, plain Greek yogurt, or cream cheese works in this easy lasagna recipe.
- Gluten-Free Lasagna: Gluten-free lasagna noodles release a lot of starch when they cook and therefore must be parboiled before layering in the lasagna. Boil the noodles per package instructions, omit the water from the sauce, and layer the lasagna as directed.
How to Make an Easy Homemade Lasagna
The following tips are provided to help you achieve perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step One: Brown the meat. Unless you are opting to make a meatless lasagna or use pepperoni as your added meat, this recipe starts by sauteeing the ground beef, turkey, or sausage until fully browned, breaking it up into bite-sized pieces as it cooks.
Step Two: Add water to spaghetti sauce. The key to making this lasagna without the need to parboil the noodles is to add a bit of water to the sauce. That extra moisture is needed for the noodles to cook fully. I like to add the sauce and water the skillet with the browned meat to cut back on the dishes used.
Step Three: Prepare cottage cheese filling. While this is a lasagna recipe using cottage cheese, you can certainly substitute the cottage cheese for ricotta if that is what you prefer or have on hand.
Step Four: Layer the lasagna. Part of what makes this lasagna recipe so easy to make is that there is no need to boil the noodles. It is as simple as layering the meat sauce, uncooked lasagna noodles, cottage cheese filling, and shredded cheese together in repeated layers in a greased baking dish. Use caution to not overlap the lasagna noodles when layering, as this will help ensure the noodles cook evenly.
Step Five: Bake the lasagna. In order for the noodles to cook through, the lasagna must be covered with foil for the first 45 minutes of baking time. This will let the noodles steam and soften perfectly. Then remove the foil for excess moisture to evaporate and for the cheese to brown to perfection!
Just like all classic lasagna recipes, it is best to allow the lasagna to rest prior to slicing and serving. This will allow everything to be set up.
How to Assemble Lasagna in Advance
You can assemble this lasagna up to 24 hours in advance before baking. Layer the lasagna as directed in a prepared casserole dish. Tightly cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, remove the casserole dish from the refrigerator as the oven preheats, to take the chill off the lasagna and prevent your pan from cracking due to the extreme change in temperature. Remove the plastic wrap, cover with foil, and bake for 55 minutes, instead of 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 15 minutes to brown.
Storage & Reheating Instructions
- Refrigerate: Allow the lasagna to cool, then cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap, a lid, or transfer the lasagna to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place a serving of lasagna onto a heat-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave in 30-second intervals until warmed through.
- Freezing Portions of Lasagna: If you won't enjoy the leftovers within 3 days, wrap individual portions in plastic wrap and then place them into a freezer-safe container or bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and then unwrap the lasagna, place it onto a heat-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave in 30-second intervals until warmed through.
- How to Freeze a Whole Lasagna: I often prepare two lasagnas at once. One to enjoy immediately and one to freeze for dinner another night. To do this, bake the lasagna as directed in a freezer-safe pan or disposable foil pan. After baking, let the lasagna cool completely. Wrap tightly in 2 layers of foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To bake the lasagna from frozen, remove the freezer and remove one layer of foil. Bake covered at 350 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until warmed through.
More Lasagna Recipes
- Pierogi Lasagna
- Ravioli Lasagna
- Mexican Lasagna
- Easy Skillet Lasagna
- Instant Pot Lasagna
- Lasagna Soup
If you enjoyed this recipe for cottage cheese lasagna, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Easy No-Boil Homemade Lasagna with Cottage Cheese
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef or Italian Sausage
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt omit if using Italian Sausage
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano d
- 12 regular lasagna noodles uncooked
- 2 cups cottage cheese
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 cups spaghetti sauce
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese divided
- Preheat oven to 375℉ and brush a 9x13 pan with olive oil.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the ground meat and begin to brown, breaking it up as it browns. Once the meat is about halfway cooked, season with 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon oregano. Continue to cook until fully browned. Turn off the heat, drain off any excess grease if needed, and return the meat to the skillet.
- To the browned meat, add the prepared spaghetti sauce and 1 cup of water, mixing well to incorporate. (If you are not adding ground meat, simply combine the water with spaghetti sauce in a large bowl at this point.)
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cottage cheese with parsley, minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, egg, and ¼ cup parmesan cheese until well combined.
- To layer the lasagna, spread a thin layer of the meat sauce on the bottom of the prepared pan. Lay 4 noodles down over the meat, breaking the noodles if needed to fit. Remember it is important to not overlap the noodles, to allow them to cook evenly.
- Evenly top the noodles with ½ of the cottage cheese mixture. Top with 1 cup of the meat sauce. Repeat the layers.
- Finish layering the lasagna, by adding the final 4 lasagna noodles to the lasagna. Top with the remaining meat sauce, spreading to fully cover the noodles. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese and the remaining parmesan cheese evenly over the sauce.
- Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove the foil and return to the oven to bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and the noodles are tender.
- Remove the lasagna from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.