Classic Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce (without ricotta)
There’s nothing as comforting and satisfying as this classic lasagna with béchamel sauce. That’s right, white cheese sauce layered in with pasta and bolognese meat sauce, and without ricotta.
Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce….the best lasagna!
I am obsessed with lasagna.
Especially when it comes to lasagna with creamy béchamel sauce.
Nothing against ricotta. In fact, I love ricotta in a lot of things! Like this Baked Ziti recipe, or even in sweet items like this yummy cheesecake recipe.
But lasagna with béchamel sauce…is definitely the far superior lasagna.
Something about that creamy, yet still fairly light cream sauce sandwiched between chewy pasta and tomato meat bolognese sauce just takes lasagna from good to amazing.
One bite into it and it feels like you are floating in heaven.
Lasagna with béchamel sauce is also the more traditional Italian way of making lasagna.
One of our favorite special-occasion restaurants that we go to growing up is this cute little Italian place in town with dim lighting, soft music, and white table cloths.
My favorite thing on their menu is their melt-in-your mouth lasagna (yes, lasagna made with the best béchamel sauce). And I still remember how amazing it tasted today.
I modeled this lasagna with béchamel sauce recipe after that lasagna I have known and loved for such a long time. And I’m in love!
For the longest time I refused to publish a lasagna recipe. It just feels like the most basic, can-find-it-anywhere-on-the-internet kinda recipe.
And also, I figured it would be a beast to photograph. And it totally was.
But I decided to just do it. Publish it. Share it. Because I love this Lasagna béchamel sauce recipe too dang much to worry about whether the internet needs another lasagna recipe or not.
And most importantly, it is not just another lasagna recipe. It’s one with the my beloved béchamel sauce, not the usual ricotta business. Something you do not see that often.
Which is unfortunate because I personally believe béchamel sauce takes a lasagna from good to great.
How to make it
Lasagna may seem like a daunting task to take on, but let me assure you it is not as difficult as it seems!
My goal is to break this recipe into a few key parts so you will find this more digestible (pun intended).
In all seriousness, follow along and you will see that you can totally make this delicious Lasagna Béchamel Sauce. And when you taste the fruits of your labor, you will know why I say this is totally worth it!
There are basically three key components when making Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce:
- béchamel sauce
- bolognese meat sauce
Béchamel Sauce (White Sauce) for Lasagna
So what is béchamel sauce?
It is basically a white cream sauce. Some makes it with cheese and some make it without. I actually prefer without but will be adding cheese to top off the lasagna.
It is a simple sauce made with:
Béchamel sauce is cooked on the stovetop in a pot. When making it, it is important to whisk the sauce and keep stirring while it cooks.
Whisking will remove the clumps formed by the flour and continuous stirring will prevent Béchamel from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Even though this lasagna recipe is without ricotta, I promise you this béchamel sauce will make you forget about any ricotta lasagna you’ve ever had. 😉
Bolognese Meat Sauce
Ah bolognese sauce, a.k.a. red meat sauce. This also plays a super important part in our Béchamel Lasagna recipe. It helps balance out the creaminess in the Béchamel sauce.
This is a simple, thick red sauce filled with ground beef, and infused with herbs. It is made with:
- Peeled tomatoes (canned)
- tomato paste (canned)
- beef bouillon
- salt and pepper
We are using tomato paste to give it an intense tomato flavor without creating too much liquid because you do not want your lasagna to sit in a pool of liquid when it bakes. So definitely use tomato paste and avoid substituting with something else.
And of course, we can’t make Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce without the pasta…
There are typically two types of pasta:
- Pre-boiled lasagna noodles – unless specify, most lasagna noodles will need to be boiled briefly before layering into the casserole. Be careful not to over-boil the lasagna noodles!
- Oven-ready lasagna noodles – these noodles are still hard but can be layered into the casserole without pre-boiling or even soaking them. I love using these because they are so much easier! It is what I used in this Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce recipe. Make sure these noodles are well covered in sauce when layering them if not it will not be fully cooked in the oven.
I am using the oven-ready kind because it is much faster and there will be one less pot to wash! 😉
Once the béchamel sauce, meat sauce and pasta are prepared, it’s time to start assembling your Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce!
You will need a deep 9″ x 13″ casserole dish for this. If lasagna is filled up to the brim, place a cookie sheet underneath the casserole dish in the oven to catch drippings.
Start with a thin layer of red sauce to coat the bottom of the casserole dish.
Then add on these layers (in this order):
- Lasagna noodles (bottom)
- Bolognese sauce
- Béchamel sauce (top)
Then repeat the layers.
There should be a total of three sets of the noodle-bolognese-béchamel layers.
Once all the layers are completed, last but not least, sprinkle the top with shredded mozzarella cheese before sending it into the oven to bake.
When it is done, Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce should be bubbly, gooey, slightly charred on the top. 😍
Let it sit for 20 minutes so that the layers would settle and the lasagna cools.
Takes a little patience to wait on this yummy Béchamel Lasagna, but it’ll be easier to cut into it that way – trust me. 😉
Yes you can layer everything ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to two days before cooking it in the oven. Let it sit in room temperature for an hour or two before baking. If it is still cold when you bring it to the oven you will need to extend the cook time.
You can also layer and freeze, but with how large the casserole is it will take a while to defrost completely, and you want to defrost completely before baking the lasagna.
If you have leftovers, cut out slices you want to eat and reheat in the microwave. Good news is lasagna keeps and reheats in the microwave really well!
Here’s the truth, my favorite thing to serve along side lasagna is red wine. 😉 Something about wine and pasta just makes the most perfect match in foodie heaven. In addition to that, breads and salads are classic options as well.
And if you want to go above and beyond, here are some other sides and appetizers that would go marvelously well with it:
– Roasted Lemon Garlic Broccoli
– Cheesy Garlic Rolls
– Honey Butter Rolls
– Bruschetta with Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinegar
– Italian Caprese Salad (by Savor The Best)
A few things to note while you make this classic Béchamel Lasagna:
- Bolognese sauce should be nice and thick so that lasagna will not turn out watery. A fattier ground beef can bring access liquid to the sauce. Cook bolognese sauce it longer if it is runny.
- When making Béchamel sauce, whisk continuously using a whisk so that lumps are removed and sauce will be smooth. Whisking also prevents burning at the bottom of the pot. Once sauce thickens, remove from heat promptly to prevent it from thickening further.
- When layering the lasagna, if using oven-ready lasagna sheets, make sure they are well covered in sauce if not they will not soften when baked
Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce. It’s dreamy, cozy and life-changing.
Sink your teeth into this beauty and get ready to be amazed. ❤️
Other delicious Italian Recipes
If you like this lasagna recipe, you will probably enjoy these as well!
- The Best Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
- Creamy Tomato Pasta with Italian Sausage
- Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta
- Bruschetta with Tomatoes, Basil and Balsamic Vinegar
- Lemon Garlic Parmesan Pasta
- Baked Ziti
- Skillet Chicken Parmesan
DID YOU ENJOY THIS RECIPE? Please comment below and give us a 5-star rating! This will help others find this recipe on Google and Pinterest. We very much appreciate your help! 🤍
Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce (without ricotta)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 5-8 cloves garlic
- 1 medium white onion
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 cup carrot finely minced
- 1 cup celery finely minced
- 28 oz canned peeled whole tomatoes
- 6 oz canned tomato paste
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp beef bouillon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 6 cups 2% milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 9 lasagna sheets boiled or oven ready
- 8 oz mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1 tbsp parsley chopped, garnish
- Heat a large pot under medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic and onions. Saute until fragrant, for a minute or two, avoid browning. Then add ground beef
- Saute ground beef until it is no longer pink. Add carrot and celery, and saute for about one minute.
- Add the liquids – peeled tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Heat it on medium high heat and let it come to a boil.
- Add the rest of the seasonings – basil, oregano, beef bouillon, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Lower heat to medium heat and let it cook for another ~10 minutes, or until sauce thickens.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Add butter to a medium pot and heat under medium heat.
- Once butter is melted (avoid browning butter), add flour to pot. Using a whisk, whisk to combine. Mixture will be slightly clumpy.
- Immediately add milk into the pot and bring to medium high heat so that it comes to a boil. Whisk continuously until mixture is smooth and thickens.
- Once mixture reaches desired thick consistency, add salt and pepper. Stir to combine, then remove from heat.
- Pre heat oven to 375°F
- Bring a thin layer of bolognese sauce to the bottom of a deep 9" x 13" dish.
- Start layering with three sheets of rectangular lasagna sheets (see Note 1), then add 1/3 of the bolognese sauce, and then 1/3 of the béchamel sauce.
- Repeat Steo 2 two more times. There should be a total of three sets of lasagna sheets/bolognese sauce/béchamel sauce layers.
- The top layer should be béchamel sauce. Sprinkle it with mozzarella cheese to top it off.
- Bring casserole dish to oven and place a cookie sheet under the casserole dish to catch any potential drippings. Bake for 45 minutes, then (optional) broil for 2 minutes to brown the top.
- Remove dish from oven and let it sit for 20 minutes before cutting into lasagna.
- Garnish with parsley and serve! Enjoy!
it was very good, my children loved it because it wasnt that cheesy, it was delicious and wasnt overly strong in taste it was perfect,, i thought at first it was too much meat but in the end it was just right.
thank you , you have helped me be a good cook.( sorry for my english)
That’s great! I am so glad to hear that! Happy to hear you all enjoyed it! 🙂
Oh. My. Goodness. That bechamel sauce most definitely elevates this lasagna. We loved everything about it — so very delicious!
Bechamel sauce is the BEST! So glad you enjoyed it!
My husband loved this lasagna; he only gets meaty lasagna occasionally, so this was a treat!
Yay! Glad to hear that! Thank you so much! 🙂
Love this fantastic lasagna! My husband can’t stand ricotta cheese so the bechamel sauce is a game changer for us!
Yesss LOVE that bechamel goodness!!!
The world DEFINITELY needs this lasagna recipe! What a delight it was–so comforting and delicious for Sunday night dinner. I’m already looking forward to the leftovers! 😉
Leftovers are the BEST! 🙂 Glad you like it!
What a delicious recipe, I have never had lasagna with bechamel, but wanted to make this because our youngest hates melty cheese (weird I know), and he loved it! Well We all did!
So glad you gave it a try! 🙂
We absolutely loved this lasagna recipe. What few leftovers we had were just as good the next day!
Yay! Love me some good leftovers!! 🙂
I have never been a big fan of ricotta cheese, so when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to try it! This is our new go-to lasagna recipe!! SO GOOD!
Yay! Gotta love that bachemel sauce! Thanks for leaving a review!
I just made this tonight, and it is absolutely delicious! That bechamel sauce is everything!!
I cannot agree with you more! So glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for letting me know! 🙂
You might like the Greek version of lasagna, pasticcio, which uses a bechamel enriched with egg and cheese. Not as light, but also delicious.
Sounds delicious, Suzanne!
Scrumptious Lasagne recipe!!! I will definitely make this dish again for me and my family. It went down a treat!
Can’t wait try out your other dishes too! Everything looks amazing!
Thank you so much for your kind review, Preet! Give the others a try and let me know how you like it! 🙂
The Bechamel is everything!
I cannot agree more!!! 😀
Amazing! One of my favorite special occasion dinners!
Glad to hear Sheila! 🙂
Do the whole tomatoes break down in the sauce on their own or do you need to do it “manually”?
Yes, you can do it manually to ensure it fully breaks down and breaks down faster. Let me know how the dish turns out! 🙂
This was a keeper. The only changes I made were to sub 1 lb ground turkey and 1 lb. italian sausage for the beef, and to add 1/2 tsp nutmeg to the bechamel. My husband hates ricotta cheese so I never make lasagna. He LOVED this.
That’s wonderful Kayla! And thanks for sharing your modification – it sounds so delicious! Happy to hear you both enjoyed it so much 🙂
Absolutely perfect. It’s hard to get my daughter to eat vegetables. When she tried this, she said, ‘I know this has vegetables but I dont care because it’s so delicious’!. This meal was a big success for our family.
That’s wonderful, Jackie! Thanks so much for sharing! It’s our favorite too and I made it for our Christmas Eve dinner this year 🙂
Do you bake it covered or uncovered?
I bake it uncovered.
Why do I always have so much Bechamel sauce left? I mean I ain’t complaining cause I add cheese and noodles to the leftovers but I was just wondering. Thank you!
Delicious! Didn’t change a thing.
Glad to hear that you liked it!