This classic lasagna recipe is made with béchamel and bolognese for the perfect hearty and cheesy comfort food everyone will enjoy. This is the ultimate family dinner recipe.
Most of the lasagnas I've had have been made with ricotta cheese, but I made this one with béchamel sauce because it's so much better in my opinion. Once you use béchamel in lasagna, you'll never go back.
In this béchamel lasagna, I used my bolognese recipe, but it can also be made meatless, with a traditional tomato sauce. You are going to love this classic lasagna recipe.
What is béchamel?
Béchamel is a building block of French cooking and is comprised of butter and flour that has been cooked together to make a roux with milk, salt and nutmeg. The sauce is thick and creamy and can be used as a base for other sauces, and in dishes such as mac and cheese and lasagna.
You can find the full ingredient list in the recipe card below, but here are a few ingredient notes:
- Ground turkey- makes for a lighter bolognese sauce. However, ground beef and ground pork are also great options.
- Red wine- gives the sauce added richness and robustness. Leave out if you prefer to cook without alcohol. Optional to add in 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar instead.
- Crushed tomatoes- use a can of crushed tomatoes and not diced tomatoes because they are more sauce-like.
- Flour- all-purpose flour and a gluten-free 1:1 flour both work.
- Milk- any unsweetened dairy or non-dairy milk will do.
- Nutmeg- adds vibrant flavor to the béchamel.
- Lasagna noodles- use white, wheat or gluten-free lasagna noodles. Follow the preparation instructions on the box. Some noodles do not need to be pre-boiled.
Begin by making your bolognese sauce. You'll want a large pot or Dutch oven to make the bolognese.
Next, you'll make the béchamel sauce. The first step is to make a roux with butter and flour. Start by heating the butter and whisk in equal parts flour, cooking it just until it turns a light golden color. Next, gradually whisk in milk and stir until it thickens into a silky, pourable sauce, about 10 minutes or so.
Now, you'll assemble the lasagna. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and spoon a thin layer of bolognese on the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan or casserole dish.
Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Then, spread a layer of bolognese over the layer of noodles, then add a layer of béchamel. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
Then, repeat the layers two to three more times. Top the final layer of lasagna noodles with the last of the béchamel, remaining parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
Finally, bake until golden and the cheese is slightly bubbling. Let rest and enjoy!
I've used both gluten-free lasagna noodles from Jovial Foods and traditional lasagna noodles. Make sure you follow the preparation directions on the box of whatever kind of noodles you use. Some noodles need to be pre-boiled and some do not. I recommend no-boil noodles for less work.
You can prepare lasagna ahead of time and store it in the fridge or freezer depending on how long you want to store it. It can be frozen cooked or uncooked for 2-3 months. This is also perfect if you have leftovers. If you are freezing the lasagna uncooked, leave lasagna noodles raw. If cooking after freezing, defrost in the fridge overnight or on the counter for up to four hours before baking. Then bake as normal.
Yes. I know you want to cut right into the lasagna as soon as it comes out of the oven. However, letting it rest, helps each piece to hold its shape. Let it rest for at least 20-30 minutes, before serving, preferably longer.
Storage and Reheating
If you have leftovers, they can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for about 4 days. Reheat by the slice in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
You can also freeze leftover lasagna as a whole or as individual pieces. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat in the microwave.
5 Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipes!
Classic Lasagna with Béchamel
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 3-4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 pound ground turkey ground beef or ground pork
- ½ cup dry red wine optional
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons dried or 2 tablespoons fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon dried or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk of choice
- salt and black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- Lasagna noodles
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese
- Heat olive oil & butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots & celery and sauté until the onion is translucent about 5 minutes.
- Next, add in the 2 teaspoons of salt & minced garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Add the ground turkey (or meat of choice) and cook for 10 minutes, until browned, crumbling and stirring occasionally.
- Pour in red wine (optional), deglaze the bottom of the pot & allow to cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the can of crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme & basil and stir to combine everything.
- Bring the sauce to a boil, cover, turn the heat down to medium-low & simmer for 45 minutes.
- Once the bolognese is done, cook lasagna noodles (if they need to be pre-boiled) according to package directions
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes until it turns a light golden color. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer and whisk regularly until it thickens, about 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and nutmeg & then stir in parmesan cheese.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Using a 13x9 inch baking pan, spoon a thin layer (about ¼-1/3 cup) of bolognese on the bottom of the pan.
- Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Spread a layer of the bolognese over the layer of noodles, then add a layer of béchamel (approximately ⅓ cup). Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese on top.
- Repeat the layers two to three more times until you run out of noodles. Layer the top layer of lasagna noodles with the last of the béchamel sauce, remaining parmesan cheese and ½ cup of mozzarella cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 45 minutes until golden and cheese is slightly bubbling. Let rest for at least 30 minutes and enjoy!
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.