Lasagne must be one of the most famous dishes of all time. A rich ragu is layered between sheets of pasta and a creamy white sauce. Delicious and moreish, what’s not to love?! This slow cooker lasagne recipe offers an easy and tasty way to make this classic dish.
Lasagne is a firm family favourite in our house and one of the only meals where we can be guaranteed to see a clean plate from our toddler. He just loves his “Basagne!” and because it’s such a crowd pleaser I do make it fairly regularly.
I sometimes vary the ingredients either using just vegetables or different meats however, the classic beef version goes down best in our house, so that’s the recipe I have here.
Where does Lasagne originate from?
Believe it or not lasagne is quite an ancient Italian recipe. A few variations of it existed throughout the years but the meat and white sauce version we recognise today is thought to originate from 14th century northern Italy. So this taste combination has certainly stood the test of time!
What pasta should I use for Slow Cooker Lasagne?
Whilst I do enjoy making my own pasta, I wouldn’t recommend using freshly made pasta in the slow cooker. In my experience its softer consistency doesn’t stand up well to hours of cooking.
Instead I use the dried lasagne sheets from the shop. When I want to add a touch of colour or slight variation of flavour, I opt for the spinach lasagne sheets which are a lovely mellow green colour.
Tips for making the perfect slow cooker lasagne
- Use good quality tomato passata. This is important to make a beautifully balanced ragu sauce. A bitter passata or can of tomatoes can require sugar and herbs.
- Add grated carrot to the sauce. It acts as a natural sweetener, blends in well with the mince and makes the sauce stretch that bit further without adding more meat. Tasty and economical!
- Add flavour to your bechamel sauce. I like stirring through a clove of garlic and some bay leaves.
Ensure your mince meat is well broken apart before you cook it. This will avoid very lumpy layers in the lasagne!
Be aware stated cooking times may need to be adjusted to account for different brands of slow cooker because the pasta can cook quite quickly. If it’s overdone it can turn tough and the sauce may dry out, especially around the edges of the dish.
What other ingredients can be included in Lasagne?
Depending on what I have in the fridge, I sometimes add any of the following to the meat sauce. Ensure they are finely diced so the consistency of the layers is fairly smooth.
- Diced red peppers
- Finely chopped mushrooms
- Bacon lardons, fried and finely chopped add a real depth of flavour to the ragu!
Additionally you can vary the cheeses you use, Parmesan and mozzarella are popular types – but cheddar and other types will also work.
What do you serve with Slow Cooker Lasagne?
I think lasagne is best served with a fresh green salad and garlic bread!
How long will Lasgane keep for?
The lasagne can be kept in an air tight container in the fridge for up to three days.
You can plan ahead by batch cooking and freezing portions of the ragu and bechamel sauces to use for next time you make lasagne. Allow to thoroughly defrost and layer between the pasta. Great if you are in a rush!
Slow Cooker Lasagne
- 500 g beef mince finely ground
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1 celery stick finely diced
- 1 carrot grated
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 500g tomato passata
- 4 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 1 tbsp basil
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp Worcester sauce
- 1 beef stock cube/pot
- 100 ml water hot, for the stock cube
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp oil
- 80 g butter
- 80 g flour plain
- 750 ml milk
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp salt
- 400 g lasagne sheets
- 200 g grated cheese e.g. Cheddar, Parmesan, Mozzarella
- Separate the minced beef well and brown in a pan over a medium heat, drain away any excess fat.
- Add the oil and then the diced and grated vegetables (onion, celery, carrot), garlic, herbs and seasonings. Cook through until the onion and celery are soft and translucent.
- Add the tomato paste, tomato passata and Worcester Sauce stirring through continuously.
- Melt the stock cube in the hot water, add to the pan, mix through and cook for a further 10 minutes on a medium heat. The sauce should be nice and thick but do not simmer it down too much as the moisture is needed to cook the pasta sheets in the slow cooker and keep the lasagne moist. Set aside whilst making the bechamel sauce.
- In a pan melt the butter and then gradually add the sifted flour whilst stirring continuously. This will make a 'roux', which is a thick paste and forms the basis of the sauce.
- Turn down the heat to low and pour in the milk slowly stirring throughout to avoid lumps forming in the sauce.
- Once all the milk is added, season with ½ tsp of salt, then add the peeled garlic clove and bay leaf. Stirring throughout, cook the sauce on low for another 5-10 minutes to allow the garlic and bay flavours to permeate.
- Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves and cloves of garlic.
Construct the lasagne
- Fill the bottom of the slow cooker with a thin layer of ragu sauce then arrange pasta sheets over the top to form a complete layer. Spoon over a covering of bechamel sauce and a sprinkle of cheese. Then begin repeating the layers by spooning over more of the ragu sauce.
- On the final layer of pasta add a thick layer of the bechamel to ensure the dried pasta is completely covered in sauce. Sprinkle over the remainder cheese and set the cooker to high for 2 to 2½ hours or low for 4 to 4½ hours.
- Cook until the pasta is soft, this can be checked by prodding a skewer into the middle of the lasagne.