Last week, I made lasagna for dinner for our family. You should have heard their reactions when it was time to eat.
Yeah, they were pretty happy.
I had to wonder why I don’t make it more often. We typically think of lasagna as a special dinner, but I’ve actually found it to be an extremely easy meal to make.
The key to making it such an easy dinner? The slow cooker! Lasagna is so easy to make in the slow cooker, and it turns out really well, too.
So now that I’ve reminded myself once again just how easy it is to enjoy lasagna for a simple weeknight meal by making it in the slow cooker, I have a feeling lasagna will be appearing on our menu more often again!
My favorite thing about making lasagna in the slow cooker is not boiling the noodles. Boiling noodles isn’t exactly hard, I realize, but it does take time and two extra pans. When you hand wash your dishes, you look for anyway to use fewer!
By eliminating the time spent boiling noodles, all you really have to do to cook lasagna in a slow cooker is to assemble the ingredients and turn the appliance on. A 20 minute investment in my morning turns into an easy and rave-reviewed dinner that night.
Slow Cooker Lasagna
This is a basic lasagna recipe that you can absolutely tweak to fit your family’s preferences. The main concern when making lasagna in a slow cooker is to have the right amount of moisture in it so the noodles turn out cooked, but not mushy.
So feel free to add or subtract ingredients, but be mindful of any extra liquid that you might add to or take away from the recipe. Also, if you add any extra fresh veggies, they will add moisture, so you may need to reduce the amount of water in the recipe.
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- 12 oz. lasagna noodles (I’ve used whole grain, brown rice, and regular semolina pasta to make this with good results for all)
- 1 1/2 jars pasta sauce (26 oz. each), or 1 quart thick homemade sauce
- 2 cups cottage or ricotta cheese
- 2 1/2 cups shredded provolone (or other mild Italian cheese), divided
- 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan (or other sharp Italian cheese)
- 1 egg
- fresh pepper
- 2 cups cooked ground beef
- 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup water
- At the bottom of a slow cooker (5-7 quart sizes work well; I use this one), spread about 1 cup of pasta sauce from the first jar.
- Layer 4 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce, breaking them in order to fit. I typically overlap them to make sure there are enough noodles at the bottom of the lasagna to absorb any moisture that might collect during cooking.
- Next, combine cottage or ricotta cheese, Parmesan, 2 cups of the provolone, egg, and black pepper to taste in a bowl. Spread evenly on top of the noodle layer, reserving about 1 cup of the cheese mixture.
- Layer 3-4 noodles over the cheese mixture, breaking and overlapping as the first layer.
- Spread meat, mushrooms, and garlic over the noodles, then cover with the rest of the sauce from the first jar, but don’t scrape out the jar.
- Layer the final 3-4 noodles over the top of the meat and sauce.
- Add the 1 cup of water to the empty jar, cap it, and give it a good shake to get all the leftover sauce mixed in to the water. Add the remaining 1 cup of cheese mixture to the jar and shake again to mix.
- Pour over the top layer of noodles, then cover the slow cooker and set on low for about 6 hours, or high for about 4.
- 60-30 minutes before serving, spread an extra 1-2 cups of sauce on top, then sprinkle with the extra 1/2 cup of provolone. Cover again and let cook until the top cheese is melted.
- Enjoy your easy dinner with some salad and perhaps some homemade bread, then finish it off with a tasty treat like this Fudgy Mocha Cake!
It really is that easy! The noodles soak up that extra 1 cup of water, and you end up with some super easy comfort food.
I will mention that if your slow cooker has some spots that get a little hot (mine does), the edges can overcook if the slow cooker is on high. I have this thing for those crispy edges though, and I kind of hoard them. If you want to avoid the deliciously-almost-burnt-but-not-quite crispy lasagna goodness, use the low setting.
Have you ever made lasagna in a slow cooker?