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Lasagna with White Sauce

I'm an old-fashioned country cook and I love preparing simple recipes like this lasagna. White sauce, tomatoes and beef are kitchen staples I normally keep on hand, so it's simple to make this dish on weeknights. —Angie Price, Bradford, Tennessee
  • Total Time
    Prep: 40 min. Bake: 40 min.
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1-1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 10 to 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • Minced fresh parsley, optional


  • In a Dutch oven, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, breaking it into crumbles; drain. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, bouillon and seasonings. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan; stir in the flour, salt and pepper until blended. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in half the cheese; set aside.
  • Pour half the meat sauce into an ungreased 13x9-in. baking dish. Layer with half the lasagna noodles and remaining meat sauce. Top with remaining noodles. Pour white sauce over noodles. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  • Cover and bake at 400° until bubbly and noodles are tender, 40 minutes. If desired, uncover and broil 5-6 inches from heat until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley as desired.

Lasagna with White Sauce Tips

Why is my lasagna watery?

To avoid watery lasagna, make sure your noodles are drained properly before layering. Once they are cooked and drained, do not rinse with water but immediately place in a single layer on a lightly oiled tray. This will allow the sauce to cling to the starches on the noodle. Be sure to check out these sauce thickening tips if the white sauce is too thin for your liking.

How many layers should the lasagna be?

Most lasagna recipes have layers of noodles, sauce and cheese-and-meat filling. At a minimum, you should have two layers of each to make a delicious lasagna.

Does traditional lasagna have bechamel?

Yes, traditional lasagna contains bechamel! It's actually one of the French mother sauces. But over time, people have turned to ricotta or cottage cheese as a replacement for the bechamel sauce.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 232 calories, 10g fat (5g saturated fat), 38mg cholesterol, 639mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 1g fiber), 14g protein.

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  • clairemail3
    Nov 11, 2020

    For the béchamel, use parmesan cheese instead of mozzarella in it, use either heavy cream or half and half instead of 2% milk, and add a pinch of nutmeg. For the meat sauce, use 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 Italian sausage and saute a clove of garlic with the onion and meats. You will find it to be more flavorful this way.

  • SheCooks
    Aug 26, 2020

    This is the way they make lasagna in England. This particular recipe is as good as it gets but as an Italian-American it's much too bland for me and my family. But that said, I repeat, this recipe is as good as it gets for a white sauce lasagna, even though it's as far removed from real lasagna as it can get. Didn't like it in England either.

  • Lori
    May 29, 2020

    Our family felt like this needed more flavor. Will definitely add garlic next time. And I have to use weird gluten free noodles so I might try corn tortillas next time.

  • April
    Dec 19, 2019

    I was really excited to try this recipe since I had done a similar one many times, but used all store bought white sauces. Unfortunately it didn't have the flavor profile I was looking for. I did up the salt and included garlic powder since it seemed very bland. At the end it just tasted like homemade mac n cheese sauce, not what I was aiming for. The rest of the recipe was amazing. Maybe someone has some pointers? Overall good, just missing something.

  • Chris
    May 1, 2018

    I have made this quite a few times over the years. My family loves it. So easy and so good.

  • 2124arizona
    May 7, 2017

    The white sauce is a unique twist on classic lasagna! Love it!

  • rllewis7
    Dec 19, 2016

    Fantastic recipe! My family loves this white sauce version. Quick, easy and full of flavor!

  • Rosestar17
    Sep 23, 2015

    I have been making this dish for years, my family loves it, it's just me and my husband now and he wants only this lasagna recipe!

  • Sue Zappa
    Dec 26, 2013

    My family of eight has been asking for this delicious & easy dish since it was first published in TOH in 1994. They just asked for it for New Year's Day! Because it's filled with ingredients I always have on hand, I can always satisfy their request. Sometimes I add sliced pepperoni to make it a little more special. And, I always use a full cup of mozzarella cheese in the sauce & for the topping. We like lots of cheese in Italian dishes.

  • kshea
    May 25, 2012

    Make this once in a while. Everyone loves.