Effortless Crock Pot Lasagna
Allow me to introduce you to the absolute easiest crock pot lasagna recipe you’ll find anywhere. There’s no need to chop a thing, nor boil any noodles, but you’ll still end up with a bubbly, cheesy, craveable one-pot meal that will satisfy a hungry crowd. It’s a hands-off, make ahead, freezable slow cooker recipe that’s about to become your new staple lasagna recipe!
Visual Guide: How to Make the Easiest Crock Pot Lasagna
Testing Notes from Robyn
If you love homemade lasagna, but avoid it because of the effort it takes to prep and assemble, this recipe is for you!
This slow cooker lasagna is just as delicious and satisfying as the oven-baked version, but so much easier to assemble, and once it’s in the crockpot it’s completely hands-off.
Serve with a fresh green salad topped with balsamic vinaigrette, and you have an easy weeknight dinner or meal fit for company.
P.S. If you’re looking for an easier version of my meat stuffed shells, this recipe has all those yummy elements with fewer prep steps.
Tips for Best Results
While this recipe is super easy to make, there are some tips to follow for best results.
Since marinara sauce is such a prominent flavor in this recipe, make sure to use a marinara sauce you love.
Personally, I like the flavor best when I use a high-quality marinara or my easy homemade marinara sauce, but use whichever marinara sauce you like!
You could also replace the beef and marinara in this recipe for my slow cooker spaghetti sauce (which also can be made and frozen ahead of time).
Now, like you, I’m always looking for a shortcut for quick dinners, and so I tested this recipe without browning the meat first.
Without browning, the sauce still tastes very good, but I personally do not enjoy the texture.
Lastly, I did not need to add any additional water to the assembled lasagna, however if at the end it looks dry or the noodles didn’t cook all the way, you can add ¼ cup water to the assembled lasagna, cover, and cook an additional 30 minutes.
How Long to Cook Lasagna in Slow Cooker
Every crock pot is different, so your lasagna may take more or less time to cook. In my crock pot, this recipe took 2 ½ hours on high, but it could take up to 4 hours on high. Just check your lasagna after 2 hours to see how it’s doing. Keep in mind that if you leave the crockpot on high too long, the cheese will burn on the edges. If cooking on low, it will likely take between 5 to 7 hours.
You can make this lasagna with cottage cheese (as listed) or with ricotta.
Personally, I chose to use cottage cheese because it’s easier to find and has more protein than ricotta, and more affordable, too. The cottage cheese curds end up melting into the lasagna and become virtually undetectable. However if you want to use ricotta, you absolutely can.
And for shredded cheese, I love the flavors of Italian cheese blend, but shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese works as well.
I have tested this recipe with both regular lasagna noodles and oven-ready/no-boil lasagna noodles, and I will say that I much preferred the texture of regular lasagna noodles (which you don’t have to boil ahead of time).
However, if you only have oven-ready noodles, you can use those as well.
For a gluten-free crockpot lasagna, you can use gluten-free lasagna noodles.
Make it Vegetarian
Simply omit the ground beef to make this a simple and delicious crock pot lasanaga.
How to Make Ahead & Freeze
I am a huge fan of make-ahead meals that also freezes well, and this recipe is just that.
To make ahead, assemble the lasagna in the crockpot insert, cover and store in the fridge. But note that when it comes time to cook, it may need to add an additional 30 to 60 minutes on high.
For freezing, transfer the cooked lasagna to a freezer friendly container and freeze for up to 2 to 3 months.
This Recipe Is…
Effortless Crock Pot Lasagna
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon no-salt added Italian seasoning
- 2 (24-ounce) jars marinara sauce
- 1 (1-pound) box box lasagna noodles, uncooked
- 1 (16-ounce) tub low fat cottage cheese, or ricotta cheese
- 2 ½ cups shredded Italian cheese blend
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and beef, stirring to break up into small pieces. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning, then cook until the beef is slightly browned and no longer pink. Turn off the heat, then pour over one jar of marinara sauce and stir to combine.
- While the beef cooks, mix the cottage cheese together with 2 cups of the shredded cheese until well combined.
- Spray with cooking spray (or rub with olive oil) a 6-quart slow cooker. Ladle about ½ cup beef-marinara mixture into the bottom of the slow cooker, then layer on about ⅓ cup of the cottage cheese-shredded cheese mixture, spreading evenly. Add an even layer of lasagna noodles (about 4) to create an even layer (you’ll need to break some into pieces in order to create an even layer.
- Repeat the layering process until all the filling has been used, ending with a layer of lasagna noodles.
- Pour over the second jar of marinara sauce, spreading evenly. Sprinkle on the remaining ½ cup of cheese, then cover and cook on high for 2.5-4 hours, or low for 5-7, or until the sauce is bubbling and the noodles have cooked through. Allow to cool slightly, then serve.