Slow Cooker Lasagna

This slow cooker lasagna recipe is quick and easy to prep, and made with the classic ingredients we all love! This Slow Cooker Lasagna recipe is easy to make in the crock pot, it takes just minutes to prep, and you can customize it with all of your favorite ingredients. | gimmesomeoven.com

A few months ago, I attended my first ever “Lasagna Fest”.  Or as the organizer called it, “Lasagnapocalypse”.

About 30 or so friends gathered in an enormous loft downtown, armed with bottles of wine, side salads, crusty bread, and tiramisu.  And then we gathered around the longest dining table ever (read: 5 folding tables all squished together) and prepared to unleash our inner Garfields on some epic pans of lasagna.  Because at a Lasagna Fest, rest assured — there was so much lasagna.

There was Mike’s famous homestyle lasagna.  There was the meat-lovers lasagna piled high with every kind of Italian sausage imaginable.  There was the vegetarian lasagna chocked full of enough spinach to make Popeye’s day.  There was lasagna with extra sauce.  There was lasagna with extra cheese.  There was so much lasagna.

And as I watched people go back for seconds, and occasionally thirds, it became a very clear reminder to me that people love some good lasagna.

I’m guessing you are some of those people too.  :)

So I made a batch of my own to share with you today.  But since I’m guessing that everyone has headed back to work and school today, I thought I’d make it a wee bit easier to have this on the table by dinnertime without having to thaw and bake a batch when you get home from work.  That’s right — we’re talking Slow Cooker Lasagna.

This Slow Cooker Lasagna recipe is easy to make in the crock pot, it takes just minutes to prep, and you can customize it with all of your favorite ingredients. | gimmesomeoven.com

Crock pot lasagna recipes have definitely been making the rounds on Pinterest these past five or so years, which had always piqued my interest.  (I’ve had a slow cooker lasagna recipe from Recipe Girl sitting in my bookmarked to-make list since 2011!)  But it wasn’t until this past fall that I finally gave a few a try for myself.  And I’ll admit — you don’t get quite the golden bubbly cheese topping and the crispy edges that I love with the oven-baked lasagna recipes.  But getting to layer everything in the slow cooker and then fogetaboutit for hours until it’s ready is definitely a worthy tradeoff.  Especially on busy weekdays, or nights when you’re entertaining and just don’t want to be stuck by the stove while your guests are arriving.  Once again — slow cooker for the win.  :)This Slow Cooker Lasagna recipe is easy to make in the crock pot, it takes just minutes to prep, and you can customize it with all of your favorite ingredients. | gimmesomeoven.com

I just went with my favorite traditional lasagna ingredients with this recipe, including some zesty Italian sausage, fresh spinach, creamy ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and fresh basil.  But really, the sky’s the limit on whatever ingredients you’d like to include.  You can make this vegetarian and nix the meat.  You can go veggie-happy and toss in lots of (thinly-sliced) fresh veggies.  You can layer it up with your favorite kinds of cheese.  You can use whatever jarred or homemade pasta sauces you’d like.

Up. To. You.

This Slow Cooker Lasagna recipe is easy to make in the crock pot, it takes just minutes to prep, and you can customize it with all of your favorite ingredients. | gimmesomeoven.com

This one is definitely more of a “method” than an actual recipe.  But that’s the brilliance of it — the slow cooker method really does work with lasagna!  It can either cook low and slow for 6-8 hours, or quickly on high for 3-4 hours.  Again, up to you.

This Slow Cooker Lasagna recipe is easy to make in the crock pot, it takes just minutes to prep, and you can customize it with all of your favorite ingredients. | gimmesomeoven.com

Then once it’s cooked, just dish it up and you’re good to go.  Perfect for a winter weeknight, or hey, even a Lasagnapocalypse.  ;)

Slow Cooker Lasagna

This Slow Cooker Lasagna recipe is easy to make and customize with your favorite ingredients in the crock pot!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage (I used spicy) or ground beef*
  • 2 (24-ounce) jars of good-quality Italian pasta sauce**
  • 16 uncooked no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 32 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup finely-chopped fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Add the ground Italian sausage (or ground beef) to a large saute pan, and cook over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through, using a large spoon to stir and break up the meet into small crumbles as it cooks.  Remove from heat and drain off any excess grease.  Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, as the meat is cooking, go ahead and get ready to assemble the lasagna.  Begin by spraying the insert of a large 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.  Then layer the ingredients in the following order:
    1. Spread 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce evenly along the bottom of the slow cooker.
    2. Layer about 4 lasagna noodles -- breaking them into smaller pieces as needed to fit -- evenly over the sauce to cover the bottom of the slow cooker.
    3. Layer about 1/3 of the ricotta cheese (a little over 1 cup) evenly on top of the noodles.  (I found it was easiest to do this in small spoonfuls, and then spread them out with a spatula.  It's totally ok if it's messy and uneven!)
    4. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the shredded Mozzarella cheese and 2 Tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese in an even layer on top of the ricotta.
    5. Layer about 1/3 of the cooked ground meat in an even layer on top of the cheeses.
    6. Layer about 1/3 of the chopped spinach in an even layer on top of the ground meat.
    7. Layer 1 cup of pasta sauce in an even layer on top of the spinach.
    8. Repeat with another layer of noodles, ricotta, Mozzarella/Parmesan, ground meat, spinach, and sauce.  Then repeat with another layer of noodles, ricotta, Mozzarella/Parmesan, ground meat, spinach, and sauce.  Then add one more layer of noodles, sauce, and Mozzarella.
  3. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours, or until the noodles are tender.
  4. Turn off the heat, and sprinkle the top of the lasagna evenly with the remaining Parmesan and fresh basil.  Serve immediately.  (Or if you let the lasagna sit and rest for 30 minutes, it will cut into pieces much more easily.)

*Feel free to omit the meat if you would like to make this vegetarian.  You're also welcome to add in a layer of thinly-sliced vegetables if you'd like, such as bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini/squash, onions, etc.

**Also feel free to use your favorite kind of pasta sauce for this recipe.  Just about any red sauce will work!

Adapted from Recipe Girl and Pinch of Yum.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

This Slow Cooker Lasagna recipe is easy to make in the crock pot, it takes just minutes to prep, and you can customize it with all of your favorite ingredients. | gimmesomeoven.com

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Comments

  1. Chelsea@TableForOne — January 6, 2016 @ 9:39 am (#)

    A “Lasagna Fest”?? What a fun idea! I will admit that I also love the crispy, cheesy topping on oven-baked lasagna, but this recipe really does look amazing and so simple for a weeknight meal. I am going to have to give it a try. 

  2. Karen @ Seasonal Cravings — January 6, 2016 @ 2:47 pm (#)

    I’ve never made lasagna in the slow cooker but it sounds like a weeknight win to me.  Looking forward to trying it.  My kids love anything Italian.  

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 7th, 2016 @ 1:35 pm

      Awesome Karen, we hope you and your kids enjoy! :)

  3. Kari — January 6, 2016 @ 5:15 pm (#)

    What a great idea! I’ve never heard of lasagna in a crockpot before!
    Kari

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 7th, 2016 @ 1:34 pm

      Thanks Kari, we hope you enjoy! :)

  4. SandyToes — January 6, 2016 @ 6:01 pm (#)

    Hey Ali,

    My first “slice” of lasagna from the slow cooker always comes out a total mash-up of all the ingredients and the later ones aren’t much better. Is there an easy way to get this stuff out of the pot? I’d sure appreciate some advice.

  5. Barry — January 6, 2016 @ 6:20 pm (#)

    Lasagne was the first ‘real’ dish I learned to make decades ago so your recipe/method felt warm and familiar to me and I can’t wait to try it.  I’ve been using the ‘no boil’ lasagne sheets for years now with great success and what’could possibly be better than tasting a fresh, cool, tablespoon of ricotta when no one is looking?!?

    Thanks for all you share w/us, Ali and I think your food photographs are exquisite and quite exceptional!

    Best Regards, Barry

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 7th, 2016 @ 2:03 pm

      That’s awesome Barry, thanks for sharing with us! And we totally agree with you about the ricotta (so yummy)! We hope you enjoy the recipe! :D

  6. Bita Arabian — January 6, 2016 @ 6:33 pm (#)

    Ali, I’m making this tonight!  Your post came just in time!  I was about to make the same ole’ tired pasta night meat sauce with noodles… this sounds so much better.  I don’t have the exact ingredients so we’ll see how it turns out – I’m using seasoned ground turkey, skipping the ricotta… might grab some fresh basil from the corner market if they have it, would fix it right up I’m thinking.  Thanks for sharing technique 👌🏼 I love my crock pot!! I there everything together in 15 minutes tops 😁 

  7. Joni — January 6, 2016 @ 6:37 pm (#)

    Love this! Can you recommend an awesome slow cooker? Mine is about 12 years old and I’m due for an upgrade. I can’t make out the brand of the one you used for this post. Thanks so much! Your blog is such a fantastic resource. I can’t tell you how many successful dinners I’ve made due to you! :)

  8. Tori — January 7, 2016 @ 6:01 am (#)

    Total yumness! I had no idea you could do lasagna in a slow cooker! Lookout world, this info is revolutionary!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 7th, 2016 @ 1:49 pm

      Thanks Tori, we hope you enjoy the recipe! :)

  9. Christie F. — January 7, 2016 @ 7:17 am (#)

    I am very hyped about this! I love the lasagna version in a frying pan, so that’s another variation from the classic oven baking. I am certain it will taste like heaven.

  10. Chels — January 7, 2016 @ 11:15 am (#)

    I want to go to a lasagnafest! Sounds like my kind of gathering. I’m loving this. It looks just perfect!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 7th, 2016 @ 1:45 pm

      Thanks Chelsia, we hope you enjoy the recipe! :)

  11. Heather @ Bostongirlbakes — January 7, 2016 @ 11:43 am (#)

    I’m obsessed with using my slow cooker lately! This looks fabulous, but I’m been eating gluten free lately but haven’t been able to find any gluten free lasagna noodles..do you know of any that exists?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 7th, 2016 @ 1:59 pm

      Thanks Heather! We know that these exist (we just haven’t tried them), but the shipping is free! :)

  12. Alysha Paulsen — January 9, 2016 @ 10:35 am (#)

    This s so good Lasagne is one of my all time favourite meals and we always have it at my house when we have family over because we all love it so much!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 9th, 2016 @ 6:07 pm

      Thanks Alysha, we hope you enjoy this! :)

  13. Rene — January 13, 2016 @ 12:56 pm (#)

    This came out fantastic! I prepared it exactly as the recipe called for, which is rare for me not to make any adjustments.  Big hit with the family even though I cooked it for 8 hours on low which caused it to scorch around the edges a little,  will set for 6 hours next time.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 13th, 2016 @ 2:49 pm

      Thanks Rene, we’re so glad to hear that! :)

  14. September G. — January 19, 2016 @ 7:40 am (#)

    I made this last night for my family. Everyone loved it and I loved how simple it was to put together.  Thank you for the recipe. 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 19th, 2016 @ 8:05 am

      We’re so happy it was a hit September, thanks for sharing with us! :D

  15. Dee — January 24, 2016 @ 4:47 pm (#)

    I made this last week and my husband and I loved it! I skipped the spinach part because I forgot to get some but still was great and easy! Thank you for the recipe it fed us for 3 days without getting bored! 

  16. Lisa chanh — January 24, 2016 @ 11:29 pm (#)

    Looks awesome! How does onenget invited to these awesome food events like a lasagnapocalyose?!! :)

  17. Kaelyn — January 30, 2016 @ 4:06 pm (#)

    This was an amazing dish. I don’t know how you came up with this, but this is something that I will continue to use throughout my college life. My only critique is to make sure to season the sauce and meat, because it came out a little bland. Thanks Ali for such a great, simple, and quick dinner idea. BTW, I can feed my whole dorm with all of your amazing food ideas.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 1st, 2016 @ 8:56 am

      Thank you so much Kaelyn, we’re happy you enjoyed it! Thanks for giving the recipe a try! :D

  18. Lacey — February 16, 2016 @ 12:15 pm (#)

    This recipe looks fantastic! Just one question; I have a casserole slow cooker. How would one modify this recipe to fit inside?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 16th, 2016 @ 2:44 pm

      Thanks Lacey! Hmmm, this is tough to answer because we haven’t used a casserole slow cooker before, so we’re not familiar with how they work. :/ We’re not sure if you would have to adjust it? How many quarts does yours hold?

  19. Melissa — May 28, 2016 @ 8:26 am (#)

    I made this last night. It came out perfect. I followed the directions word for word except I didn’t use fresh basil. Thanks So much.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 13th, 2016 @ 8:33 am

      Thanks for sharing with us Melissa — we’re glad you enjoyed it!

  20. Melissa — May 28, 2016 @ 8:28 am (#)

    I tried to post a pic but it’s not letting me.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 13th, 2016 @ 8:34 am

      Hi Melissa! You can just use the hashtag gimmesomeoven on Twitter or Instagram and share a pic that way.