Slow Cooker Lasagna

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.

A classic Italian recipe get a Slow Cooker Recipe twist with this lasagna. Looking for a more traditional version, try our Ultimate Beef Lasagna.

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:

  1. Go straight to the kitchen and remove the insert.
  2. Unwind, change, get kids settled, etc.
  3. Make a side salad like our Classic Wedge Salad and bake some Garlic Bread.
  4. 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:

Prepare Ahead:

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.

 

Crock Pot Lasagna with almost none of the effort of normal lasagna.

 

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.

 

You'll LOVE this slow cooker beef lasagna, it is so easy to make!

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.

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Slow Cooker Lasagna

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.
Yield 10 Servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Notes:
  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 1226mg | Potassium: 782mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 925IU | Vitamin C: 10.3mg | Calcium: 209mg | Iron: 3.8mg
Keyword: Slow Cooker Lasagna

Crock Pot Lasagna with almost none of the effort of normal lasagna. Your slow cooker does all the work!

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. DELICIOUS- I will never make lasagna the old fashioned way again! This was SO EASY – I halved the ingredients & since I didn’t have any ricotta cheese I substituted with Greek yogurt & a little olive oil. I only used a total of 6 lasagna noodles because I could only fit 2 per layer and I didn’t want to overlap for fear it wouldn’t completely cook. My crockpot runs HOT so my noodles were a little mushy after 2 hrs on high but it didn’t stop the family from demolishing this.

  2. Love this recipe! However, my top noodles always get hard and burn at the edges. ? I’ve added more cheese hoping that would work but it doesn’t. What can I do? I use 2 jars of sauce and only do 2 layers.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the dish. It sounds like your slow cooker might run a bit hot. You can always line the slow cooker with foil to help avoid this or add water in with your sauce. Hope this helps for next time.

  3. I used 1lb hamburger and 1lb Italian sausage and 15 oz of ricotta cheese. It was DELICIOUS!! I took to work and there was no leftovers!! Two people asked for the recipe I used!!

  4. Made this recipe loved it. If I cut the recipe in half I cut the cooking time down? Made it no long ago my husband requested again.
    Thanks

    1. I’m so glad you all loved it! You’ll need to use a smaller slow cooker to cut the recipe in half and not have it dry out during cooking.

  5. family loved it!! I love the addition of the fennel seed! so easy AND it was the first lasagna I have ever made

  6. Sabrina your recipe is the best recipe I have ever found for lasagna. It is so easy , I do not think you could go wrong. I have been eating it for three days now and it taste just as good as day one. Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. I am kind of confused, so if I use (2) 24 ounce jars of sauce, I still should add 2 cups of water? Do I just pour that over at the end?

  8. Super excited to try this!!! I am not a fan of Ricotta cheese (call me crazy). Is it ok to use another type of cheese (cheddar or more mozzarella) or would it be ok without? Or any other recommendations. Thank you so much in advance!

  9. I followed the recipe exactly as written and it was amazing! I have never made lasagna in the slow cooker so I was a little nervous. It came out in perfect layered pieces! I can’t wait to try it with my family spaghetti sauce recipe in the future when I have more time. Thank you!

  10. We had a power failure that killed my stove and repairs took a couple weeks before the parts ordered were delivered and put in by the technician I hired. I wanted something hot and gooey to eat. Lasagna is always a favorite so I tried this recipe since I have a nice large crock pot. It didn’t disappoint. It tasted every bit as good as a lasagna baked in the oven. I may never go to all the bother again of the boiling noodles, making sauce and so on and so on wasting my day. This was so easy and oh so gooey good.

    1. How awesome!! So glad to have been able to help with your craving. Hopefully everything gets back up to running again soon for you.

  11. Would I be able to cook the ground beef let it cool than set up the lasagna in the Crock-Pot and let it sit in the fridge over night then cook it?

    1. You can make the ground beef ahead of time but I wouldn’t layer it in the slow cooker until you’re ready to cook. Enjoy!

    2. I actually put all the ingredients in my crock pot and refrigerated overnight. The next day I cooked it and it was fabulous. So I found it was fine to do all the prep and refrigerate over night. I loved this recipe. I think next time I will add a sauteed onion. Also half sausage and half ground beef. A little more cheese next time. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

    1. This recipe doesn’t use toasted sesame oil. If you’re just asking for a different recipe, then yes, they do make toasted sesame oil. I have found it at my local grocery store, Target or even Amazon sells it now too. Hope this helps!

  12. Hi, just wanted to say there are sites that post most helpful critical review and most helpful positive review. I did find Page’s review helpful. I’m very inexperienced at cooking lasagna, and some of Page’s comments allowed me to think twice about some of the things I was doing. I think this recipe is awesome and I think critical reviews help people like me not burn my food, or in some cases, help me make it more tasty.
    All the best to Sabrina, thank you for a lovely recipe. 🙂

  13. Hello. Most lasagna recipes call for 16 ounces of ricotta and mozzarella. In your opinion was there enough cheese. Did you do three layers of each? I would think you would run out of ricotta. Please let me know. Thank you

  14. I’m not understanding 4, 5 & 6. In #4 I’ve combined all my stuff. Than #5 says to add sauce to cover the bottom of my cooker, what sauce is this? Than #6 says my first layer is pasta. I just need to know what goes in the cooker first.

    1. Sorry for the confusion.
      You’ll want to put down a layer of sauce first to cover the bottom of the slow cooker and then start layering the rest. You should end up with 3 layers.

  15. Hi..I know you said not to use no boil variety,but if i use the oven ready lasagna..do you think it will come out well in this slow cooker recipe?

  16. BEST LASAGNA EVER!!! For years I’ve used what I considered to be a phenomenal lasagna recipe…then I tried this one, which put the other to shame. Absolutely delicious and the sauce was so good I ended up eating it by itself with a (huge) spoon. This is now my go-to lasagna dish.

  17. Most likely the tastiest (and easiest) lasagna I’ve ever made. The only adjustments I made were: Substituted 1 lb. ground Italian sausage for 1 lb. of the ground beef & only added a litttle Italian seasoning; used (2) 24oz. jars Classico Tomato-Basil sauce & 1 jar water (no time to make homemade marinara) & used lowfat Ricotta. It only took 3.5 hrs on low in my crockpot – def my go-to recipe hereafter!

  18. I have made this once before and it’s actually cooking now for dinner as we speak. It’s an amazing recipe full of flavor and real easy to put together. We follow the directions to a T and add in Italian Sausage with the hamburger for extra flavor. The whole family loves it and it makes enough for 2 meals in my household. One of our new families favorites that will definitely be cooked a few times a month.

  19. My jars of pasta sauce are 24oz each. So I’m putting in 2 jars according to the recipe and then an additional 2 cups of water? That would be 64oz of pasta/water liquid vs. 48oz if I used marinara. Just want to make sure I’m not putting in too much liquid with using the pasta sauce method.

  20. This recipe had some good information, which I augmented by reading several other online recipes for the same slow cooker lasagna idea. It would have been ideal to clarify, in the recipe, which size slow cooker was used. I am assuming a regular size round slow cooker was intended. I have a much larger oval slow cooker. REALLY good thing I increased the ingredients by a lot. Used almost 3 times the amount in the recipe for a large size slow cooker.I have made lasagna in the past, and thus know that you top your layers (which end with the cheese) with a final layer of lasagna noodles and some additional sauce. The recipe does not tell you that, and thus the recipe could be improved.Recipe gave good advice to find out if your slow cooker has hot spots, as many of them do, in which case using the higher setting would quite possibly make some of the lower layer of lasagna burn. Would strongly recommend the longer cook time on low setting.Recipe calls for adding water to the top if more liquid is needed. REALLY??? How about topping with some plain tomato based sauce cooked with no meat? I always have a jar of that on hand, so using some of that might be a bit more flavorful than water.I also found the prep time to be rather more than 20 minutes, so plan for that extra needed time. Can always prep and assemble the whole thing the night before in the ceramic “crock” part, cover with lid and refrigerate over night, then pop the whole thing into the cooker part earlier in the morning for a nice slow cook (8 hours) on low setting.

    1. I found your comment extreeeemly pointless. I followed the original recipe to a t and came out delicious. No need to know the size of the crockpot.

    2. Page: maybe you should have a crock pot masters recipe blog. I would love to critique your recipes like you did Sabrina’s. You’re a total bitch and am sorry for anyone who has to eat or share a meal with you. Get a life!

  21. I’d prefer to make this on Low over a longer period of time (so it can cook while I’m at work.) How long would it take to cook on Low setting?

  22. My husband lives this new method of doung lasagna!! We used onepound of ground beef and 1pound of ground Italian sausage! My tweak on this might eliminate need for red peppe and maybe even other spices! I used parsley flakes, garlic powder and Italian seasoning with oregano is all that is needed!? Better than heating up the house!

  23. My husband lives this new method of doung lasagna!! We used onepound of ground beef and 1pound of ground Italian sausage! My tweak on this might eliminate need for red peppe and maybe even other spices! I used parsley flakes, garlic powder and Italian seasoning with oregano is all that is needed!? Better than heating up the house!

  24. If using 13 x 9 casserole dish should I double recipe? If I do how about cooking time? How many layers did u do I’m going to try this this week for having family over

  25. This came out lovely. I used a torch and browned the top cheese layer. Our oven bit the dust last week and being summer, we cook outside often, and just haven’t decided on the our next stove yet. I forgot that when i bought all the fixens for lasagna. oops. I found this recipe and all turned out well. thank you for sharing.

  26. I made this last night and it was absolutely wonderful. It was even good re-heated in the microwave for lunch, which you can’t say about too many things.

  27. This is the dinner I was looking for. Came out great. I also added Italian sausage cut into slices. Cooked with meat.

  28. Since you didn’t mention what size slow cooker you used, what about an 8 Qt? Would there be enough ingredients to fit or should I double? The 8 Oz. of Ricotta and Mozzarella doesn’t sound like its enough.

      1. Hi. Would the recipe work in a 6 quart crock? Also I purchased Whole Foods organic marinara pasta sauce. Each jar is 25 ounces. Do I need to add the water? It says pasta and marinara? Thank you

        1. Yes, you can make this in a 6 qt slow cooker. You’ll only need to add water to the slow cooker if after pouring in the pasta sauce, it doesn’t rise to the level of the pasta. If it does, you’ll be fine. Enjoy!

    1. I would suggest checking out the Lasagna Soup over at Skinnytaste. That would definitely be a better fit if you’re counting points.

  29. As a single person, I’m wondering if making half a recipe in the crock pot would be possible without affecting the outcome in a negative way? Or would I be better off making the full recipe and freezing the leftovers?

    1. I’m sorry but I’ve never tried it so I’m not sure what the timing process would be. I’m sure you could look online and find another recipe similar and follow those instructions.

  30. Do you think I could use a drop of fennel essential oil I already have on hand instead of the seeds? The oil comes from the seeds.

    1. Oils tend to be much stronger so I’m not sure you need a whole drop. I’ve never tried it but I always err on the side of caution with using less and then adding more to taste. Let me know how it works out.

  31. I have never tried making lasagna in my slow cooker before! This looks absolutely delicious. 🙂