THE BEST CAST IRON SKILLET LASAGNA || SO EASY TO MAKE

Cast iron skillet lasagna is an Italian comfort food classic, that everyone loves. It’s so easy to make, and the leftovers make a lunch to die for.

overhead view of homemade cast iron skillet lasagna

This dish is saucy and delicious. And it satisfies even the most die hard cheese fan with it’s herbed ricotta parmesan filling, and generous amounts of mozzarella too.

If you’ve been around the blog for awhile, you know I adore things that are a labor of love, both in and out of the kitchen.

This skillet meets the mark there too. Not because it’s hard, as I’ve already mentioned it’s easy. But it does have quite a few steps.

So, prep for it the day before you want to make it, put it together, and put it in the refrigerator.

Then when you walk in the front door from work the next day, take it out of the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for an hour or so. Just to let the skillet warm up a bit before it goes in the oven.

It can go in the oven after that, and you can put your feet up and relax while you wait for it to bake.

Ingredients Needed To Make Cast Iron Skillet Lasagna

If your pantry looks like my pantry you probably have to do a little shopping to make this cast iron skillet lasagna. Ingredients like ricotta, mozzarella, lasagna noodles, and fire roasted tomatoes are not usually on hand in my kitchen.

But grab yourself a pen and paper and make a list of what you need to pick up because this recipe is going to change the way you make lasagna forever. Promise.

Here’s what you’ll need for the sauce …

ingredients for cast iron skillet lasagna sauce
  • OLIVE OIL – The best quality olive oil you can get is recommended for this recipe.
  • ONION – I like to use a yellow onion in this dish. The flavor compliments it nicely.
  • GARLIC – Fresh garlic cloves are the best way to go when making this recipe.
  • CRUSHED RED PEPPER FLAKES – There are just enough crushed red pepper flakes in this recipe to season the sauce nicely. There is not enough of this spice to give the sauce a bite. You can double the amount of red pepper flakes if you want the sauce to have a bit of a bite.
  • SWEET ITALIAN SAUSAGE – I prefer sweet Italian sausage in this dish. I’ve offered suggestions for substitutions for this ingredient further down in this post.
  • FIRE ROASTED DICED TOMATOES – These tomatoes have more flavor than unseasoned diced tomatoes, and the recipe is tailored for them. They also add a light smoky flavor to the sauce.
  • HALF & HALF – A little half and half is added to the sauce to make it ever-so-slightly creamy. This ingredient is not absolutely necessary to make this dish. But, in my opinion, it is one of the things that takes the dish to a new level.

Here’s what you’ll need for the herbed ricotta parmesan filling …

ingredients for cast iron skillet lasagna herbed ricotta filling
  • RICOTTA CHEESE – Whole milk ricotta cheese is the best way to go for this recipe.
  • PARMESAN CHEESE – It is best to freshly shred the parmesan cheese that you need to make this dish.
  • EGG – Always use farm fresh eggs when you can.
  • BASIL, THYME, OREGANO, SALT, & PEPPER – High quality spices are best when making any recipe, use the very best that you can.

This is what you’ll need to put it all together …

  • LASAGNA NOODLES – Regular lasagna noodles are needed to make this dish. Many of the lasagna skillet recipes on the net call for no cook noodles. This recipe is not designed for them, using them may have poor results.
  • MOZZARELLA CHEESE – Whole milk mozzarella is the best choice when making this dish.
  • PARSLEY – A good quality dried parsley is used to garnish the top of this skillet.

How To Make Cast Iron Skillet Lasagna

When there are a lot of steps to a recipe it can feel overwhelming. But, I assure you, this recipe is very easy to make. And exponentially better than the cast iron skillet lasagna recipes out there that are just sort of layering things in a pan without prepping any ingredients.

So, get yourself in the kitchen, put on your favorite youtube channel, and get started.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is get a pot of water boiling for the noodles. You will prep the noodles as you are working on the other ingredients.

Simply cook them until they are al dente, drain them, and then put them in cold water. The cold water will stop the cooking process, so they don’t become soggy, and keep them from sticking together as well.

Next, you’ll want to make the sauce. Place the oil in a the skillet you will be using for the lasagna and saute the onion, garlic, and red pepper in it, until the onion starts to become translucent.

onions and spices frying in a pan on the stove

Add the sausage and cook through. Then remove from the heat, and pour in the fire roasted tomatoes and the half and half.

sauce for a homemade recipe in a pan on the stove

While the onions are cooking you can mix up the herbed ricotta parmesan filling. This is as simple as placing all of the ingredients in a bowl and mixing them well. Ricotta, parmesan, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and thyme are the ingredients used for the filling.

herbed ricotta filling prepared in a bowl

Finally, you will use the sauce, noodles, ricotta filling, and mozzarella cheese to layer the lasagna in the skillet. And then you’ll bake it off in the oven.

How To Layer This Recipe

To layer your cast iron skillet lasagna you’ll want to remove all of the sauce you prepared in the skillet except for one cup. Leave that cup in the skillet to cover the bottom of it.

cast iron skillet lasagna prepared and ready to go in the oven

Then create a layer of lasagna noodles in the skillet. Cut the lasagna noodles to fit nicely in the pan, a pair of kitchen scissors can come in handy for this task. But, if you don’t have them, a sharp knife works as well.

Next you’ll want to layer in the ricotta filling. It is easiest to do this by dropping heaping teaspoonfuls of the filling on top of the noodles. Then gently spread it evenly over the noodles.

Finally you’ll want to spread some mozzarella cheese over the ricotta filling.

You will create 3 layers using this pattern; sauce, noodles, ricotta filling, mozzarella. But, before you put your last layer of mozzarella cheese in the skillet place a light layer of sauce on top of the ricotta filling, this is mostly to add color to the top of the dish.

This means that you will portion out your ingredients in thirds to use them for the layers of the lasagna. Apart from the sauce which will be portioned in quarters, as there is an extra layer on top.

Finally, to add a bit more color to the top of the dish, sprinkle some parsley lightly over it.

Make This Recipe Ahead Of Time

There are several different methods you can use to make this cast iron skillet ahead of time. Choose the one that works best for you and run with it.

homemade cast iron skillet lasagna on a plate

Here are the methods for you to consider …

  • Prep the noodles, sauce, and ricotta filling ahead of time. The noodles will keep in the refrigerator for a few days if you lightly roll them in oil.
  • You can put the skillet together and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before you bake it. Just keep in mind that you will need to remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for at least an hour before you bake it. This is to prevent any damage that may be caused to the skillet by going from the refrigerator directly into the oven.
  • This dish can be prepared in a traditional lasagna pan, covered tightly, and stored in the freezer to make another time. It will last in the freezer for up to 3 months if it is properly covered.
  • The sauce and the ricotta filling both freeze very well on their own too. You can make batches of these ingredients, and freeze them to use for this dish in the future. Then when you want to make a lasagna using a cast iron skillet it will considerably cut down the time it takes to put it together.

Substitutions For This Recipe

There are plenty of ways that you can alter this cast iron skillet lasagna recipe to suit your own personal tastes.

homemade italian dish being served on plates

You can switch out the parmesan cheese with romano or asiago cheese instead. Or you can use any combination of these cheeses that you prefer.

You can replace the sweet Italian sausage with ground beef, ground pork, hot Italian sausage, ground turkey, ground chicken, or chopped meatballs. Or you can use any combination of these meats as well.

If you want to make the dish vegetarian, or if you just like your veggies like I do, you can replace the meat with thinly sliced eggplant or zucchini. You should lightly cook it before using it in the lasagna to remove some of the water content, otherwise your dish will be soupy.

Mushrooms or spinach can also be added to this dish if you want to get some veggies in there. The mushrooms, like the eggplant and zucchini, will need to be lightly cooked in order to remove some of the water content.

And the diced tomatoes can be replaced with spaghetti sauce. This is not nearly as good in my personal opinion. But not as good does not mean not good at all. It still makes a great lasagna.

And finally, if you are fortunate enough to have fresh herbs use them. Thinly sliced basil leaves can be used instead of parsley on the top of the skillet. They have great eye appeal, and go perfectly with the rustic charm of the dish.

How To Serve Cast Iron Skillet Lasagna

This classic Italian comfort food is best served with classic Italian side dishes, like; a garden salad and some crusty homemade garlic bread.

homemade pasta dish ready to be served on a plate

At least that’s how I have always served lasagna to guests. Having lived around American Italian culture for most of my life, these are the sides I expect to see with a good pasta dish.

However, I have on occasion served pasta dishes with a hot vegetable on the side. This is particularly nice in colder weather, when salad is not nearly as appealing, because garden fresh ingredients are not available.

And, if you’ve made your skillet with vegetables instead of meat, it is really nice to serve a side of sausage or meatballs with the dish.

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY THESE MAIN DISH RECIPES …

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overhead view of homemade cast iron skillet lasagna
Yield: 8 servings

CAST IRON SKILLET LASAGNA

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

This amazing cast iron skillet lasagna is made with a fire roasted tomato sauce, herbed ricotta filling, and sweet Italian sausage. It has outstanding flavor, unlike any other lasagna you've ever tasted. It's the ultimate Italian comfort food. You won't be able to get enough!

Ingredients

  • 12 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, medium, chopped medium
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb sweet Italain sausage, without casing
  • 3 14.5 oz cans fire roasted tomato sauce
  • 1/4 c half and half
  • 15 oz ricotta, whole milk
  • 1/2 c parmesan, freshly shredded
  • 1 egg, large, beaten
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 2 1/2 c mozzarella, whole milk, shredded
  • parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place olive oil in a cast iron dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper in the pan just until the onion starts to turn translucent.
  2. Add the sausage and break it up as it cooks. Cook it most of the way through.
  3. Drain the water from one of the cans of fire roasted tomatoes. Then add all three cans to the pot, along with the half and half.
  4. Immediately remove the pot from the heat, and set aside.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, egg, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and thyme.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Remove all of the sauce from the dutch oven except for 1 cup.
  8. Place a layer of noodles in the dutch oven over the sauce. Followed by a layer of ricotta filling, and a layer of mozzarella cheese.
  9. Repeat this pattern once.
  10. Then complete the lasagna with a final layer; sauce, noodles, ricotta, sauce, mozzarella.
  11. Garnish the top with parsley.
  12. Cover and bake for 35 minutes.
  13. Remove the lid and place under the broiler for 5 minutes.
  14. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  15. Slice and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 587Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 1006mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 29g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 1/4/2023. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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2 Comments

  1. Maybe it’s just a matter of semantics, or region… but, when I was learning to cook [ I am in my 70’s] a cast iron skillet & a dutch oven [ while made of the same material] were NOT the same thing… Maybe you could clarify….. I certainly don’t see [ while they look amazing] all those ingredients fitting in any Cast iron skillet I have & I have at least 6 [ a few dating back to the 1800’s…’family hand me downs’].. Could you clarify or post a link to the size/make/depth that you used to assemble & bake in?? Thanks so much, it looks delicious & hope to try the recipe soon.

    1. I have not found a difference between a skillet and a dutch oven apart from what can be made in them. However, I have only been cooking with cast iron for a few years. I’m certain you have more experience than I do. These ingredients will fit in a 15″ skillet. The dutch oven I used for this post is a 3.2 quart combo cooker. I hope you do try the recipe. AND I hope you love it!

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