Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

meatball lasagna

(10 ratings)
Blue Ribbon Recipe by
Jane Whittaker
Massena (now in FL), NY

Everyone here has a lasagna recipe, and I can tell you just by looking at some of them they are really darned good! My lasagna is made with mini meatballs and chunks of Italian sausage. Why bother to make meatballs? The texture of the lasagna changes from flat layers to big fat chunks of meat layers in a sky-high lasagna. Make your sauce the day before for the best flavor. Using hot sauce makes the lasagna soupy.

Blue Ribbon Recipe

A tasty twist on an Italian classic. It's like a traditional lasagna but with meatballs rather than meat sauce. Super hearty, this main meal is full of meatballs, savory ricotta cheese, and gooey mozzarella. This takes a while to prep and bake, so we suggest reserving it for a special occasion. It will serve a crowd, and the recipe makes a massive lasagna. When assembled, it might have been 10 pounds!

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
(10 ratings)
yield 15 to 20
prep time 45 Min
cook time 3 Hr
method Bake

Ingredients For meatball lasagna

  • 90 oz
    homemade marinara sauce or purchased marinara sauce (my recipe is on file as spaghetti sauce and meatballs)
  • 2 lb
    ground round
  • 2 Tbsp
    grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lg
  • 3/4 c
    Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 lb
    Italian bulk sausage
  • 1 1/2 lb
    shredded mozarella cheese
  • 24 oz
    ricotta cheese
  • 2 lg
  • enough lasagna noodles to cover your lasagna pan 3 times; my pan is just huge

How To Make meatball lasagna

Test Kitchen Tips
Make sure to make your meatballs small. We kept ours a similar size to the chunks of Italian sausage so they cook evenly. If you don't make Jane's sauce, season your red sauce to suit your preference.
  • Formed meatballs on a baking sheet.
    Make meatballs by combining ground round, Parmesan cheese, egg, and Italian bread crumbs. Make small meatballs just under one inch around. Line 2 cookie sheets with aluminum foil, and spray with Pam (no cleanup). Place meatballs in a single layer. Go ahead and chunk your sausage in chunks the size of the meatballs and put them in a single layer too.
  • Partially baking the meatballs.
    Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  • Sauce in a large pot.
    At this point, put my sauce or store-bought sauce on the stovetop or in a slow cooker lined with a disposable liner.
  • Meatballs and sausage added to the sauce.
    Submerge the cooked meatballs and sausage in the sauce. If making in the slow cooker, cook on low for 8 hours. If using a store-bought sauce, simmer for about an hour on the stovetop.
  • Draining cooked lasagna noodles.
    Cook lasagna noodles and drain.
  • Ricotta and egg in a bowl.
    Mix ricotta and eggs; set aside.
  • A layer of sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan.
    Spray the lasagna pan with Pam and put a layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan.
  • Layer of noodles on the sauce.
    Cover with a layer of lasagna noodles.
  • Layer of sauce, meatballs, and sausage added.
    Put a layer of sauce, meatballs, and sausage on top of the lasagna noodles.
  • Drops of ricotta added.
    Drop blobs of ricotta mixture randomly.
  • Mozzarella cheese added.
    Sprinkle a third of the mozzarella cheese.
  • Another layer of lasagna noodles added.
    Top the cheese with a layer of lasagna noodles,
  • Repeating layering process.
    Repeat the meat mixture, ricotta mixture, and another 1/3rd of the cheese. End with a layer of lasagna noodles and sauce.
  • Lasagna pan covered in foil and baking.
    Cover tightly and cook on low 325 degrees for 3 hours. In the last 10 minutes, sprinkle the remainder of the mozzarella.
  • Baked lasagna resting.
    When you remove from the oven, allow to set for 15 minutes before you cut into it.
  • A bite eaten from a slice of Meatball Lasagna.
    One more thing. I always make my sauce and meatballs the day before. Putting hot sauce on hot noodles might result in watery lasagna. Make sure the lasagna noodles are well drained.