Ina Garten’s Turkey Lasagna
The best turkey lasagna from Ina Garten! Packed with so many delicious layers. It’s rich, flavorful, and exactly what you want in a lasagna.
Serving Tip! Pair it with Greek Chickpea Salad with Arugula and Cheese Bread for an ultimate comfort meal.
I’ve been making Ina Garten’s turkey lasagna for years now. It’s the only lasagna recipe I make at home, besides our Chicken Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna. It is truly the best in my opinion and very different from what I’ve had in the past.
The funny part is that I’m not even a huge pasta or lasagna fan but what caught my attention was the fact that this recipe called for Italian sausage and four different kinds of cheese! And who can ever say no to cheese?!
I came across the recipe in the Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook. I absolutely love this lasagna because it’s made with sausage instead of plain turkey meat. So all the guesswork of seasoning the meat sauce is done for you.
It’s rich, flavorful, and exactly what you want in this comfort meal. Perfect for a cozy family night dinner or even your holiday table. Your guests will love it!
I’ve adapted the recipe over the years with only a few slight changes but otherwise, it is perfection.
What are the Ingredients for Turkey Lasagna?
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make the turkey lasagna:
- White onion
- Italian turkey sausage
- Crushed tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Fresh parsley
- Fresh basil
- Lasagna noodles
- Ricotta cheese
- Goat cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Fresh mozzarella
- Pantry staples – olive oil, salt, and pepper
There are a few substitutions you can make. For example, the recipe calls for mild/sweet Italian turkey sausage but you can swap it out for spicy sausage. The finished lasagna does not taste spicy at all. Between all the ricotta and cheese, it’s actually a nice balance of flavors.
For the lasagna noodles, you can use no-boil (also called oven-ready) lasagna noodles or traditional boiled noodles. With no-boil noodles, you’re saving a step of having to prep them.
But either one works. All the details of how to make the lasagna with both types of noodles are in the recipe card below.
More Ina Garten’s Recipes! Try Ina Garten Scalloped Potatoes or Ina Garten Tomato Soup.
Turkey Lasagna Q&A
Before we get to how to make the turkey lasagna, let’s answer some frequently asked questions! If you have a question that’s not included, let me know in the comments below.
Can you Make Lasagna without Boiling Noodles?
Yes. Simply use no-boil (or oven-ready) lasagna noodles.
How Do You Keep Lasagna Noodles from Sticking Together?
After you drain the noodles, lay each noodle flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Or skip the parchment and spray the sheet with non-stick spray. It takes a little extra time, but it’s worth it.
How Long to Bake Lasagna and at What Temperature?
You’ll need to bake the lasagna at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, uncovered.
Does Lasagna Have to be Covered with Foil?
No. Lasagna does not have to be covered with foil. It is baked uncovered.
Should You Leave Lasagna to Rest?
Yes. Ideally, you want the lasagna to rest for about 15 minutes, uncovered, before cutting and serving. Otherwise, it will be a sloppy mess if you cut into it right away.
How Do You Tell Lasagna is Done?
When the noodles are cooked through, the sauce is bubbling around the edges, and the cheese is melted that’s when lasagna is done.
Insert a toothpick into the lasagna and if the toothpick goes in easily without a lot of resistance, the noodles are done, and your lasagna is ready.
Why is My Lasagna Soupy?
To make sure your lasagna is not a runny mess, drain the lasagna noodles thoroughly before layering. Use Italian turkey sausage and not Italian pork sausage. Pork sausage has more fat content, therefore, it tends to be more “oily” when baked.
Allow your sauce to simmer until reduced and thickened so any and all moisture can evaporate.
How to Make Turkey Sausage Lasagna
- Step 1: Make the Meat Sauce – in a large heavy-duty skillet or sauté pan, cook the onions in olive oil until translucent.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in sausage, breaking up with a spoon. Cook until no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of parsley, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer until reduced and thickened, for 15-20 minutes.
- Step 2: Prepare the Lasagna Noodles – fill a large rectangular dish with hottest tap water. Add lasagna noodles and soak for 20 minutes.
Make sure to move the noodles around with a pair of tongs so they don’t stick. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. If using no-boil noodles, skip this step.
- Step 3: Make the Ricotta Filling – in a bowl combine the ricotta cheese, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, egg, and remaining parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
- Step 4: Layer the Lasagna – you’ll need a 9X13 -inch rectangular baking dish for this lasagna. The first layer is going to be the sauce. Not only does it help keep things moist, but it also ensures that the noodles won’t stick to the pan.
First, you want to spoon 1/3 of the meat sauce into the baking dish, spreading over the bottom of the dish. Layer half of the lasagna noodles, half of the mozzarella, half of the ricotta, and 1/3 of the sauce.
Next, add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan.
- Step 5: Bake the Lasagna – bake the lasagna, uncovered for 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the noodles are tender. Rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
How to Prepare Lasagna Ahead of Time
You can prepare and assemble the lasagna the night before. I would recommend you cool the meat sauce to room temperature and then assemble the lasagna. Tightly cover and keep refrigerated until ready to bake.
To freeze the lasagna, prepare and assemble the lasagna in a freezer and oven-safe pan. Tightly wrap the pan with plastic wrap and then follow tightly with aluminum foil. I like to double wrap to avoid freezer burn.
You can cook the frozen lasagna, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 45-60 minutes. Or thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F.
What Side Dishes Go With Lasagna?
You really can’t go wrong with a side dish for lasagna. Some type of vegetables, such as Roasted Garlic Green Beans or your favorite green salad is always a winner.
We love creamy Greek Cucumber Salad as it pairs amazingly with this carb-loaded comfort food. Kale Caesar Salad is a great option if you’re looking for something more traditional.
Or make this 5-minute Parmesan Arugula Kale Salad with Pine Nuts for an easy side.
Video: How to Make Ina Garten’s Turkey Lasagna
More Comfort Food Recipes
- Simple Whole Roasted Chicken
- Creamy Mushroom Pasta Sauce
- Pumpkin Sausage Pasta
- Easy Chicken Marsala Recipe
- Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
Ina Garten’s Turkey Lasagna Recipe
- Prep Time: 50 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 mins
- Yield: 8–10 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian
The best turkey lasagna from Ina Garten! Packed with so many delicious layers for an ultimate comfort food.
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 lbs. mild Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
- 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 3/4 tsp. Kosher salt, divided
- 3/4 tsp. fresh black pepper
- 8 oz. dry lasagna noodles
- 15 oz. ricotta cheese
- 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup for the top
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 lb. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- Heat olive oil in a large heavy-duty skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until no longer pink.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes or until thickened and reduced.
- Fill a large rectangular dish with hottest tap water. Add the lasagne noodles and soak in water for 20 minutes. Move the noodles around occasionally with a pair of tongs so they don’t stick. Drain and lay flat on a parchment lined baking sheet. Don’t leave the noodles in a colander or they will stick together.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, egg, remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Spoon 1/3 of the sauce into a 9X13-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Next layer half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan.
- Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the noodles are tender. Optional, broil the lasagna for 1-2 minutes. Rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Sausage: I’ve made this lasagna with both mild and spicy Italian turkey sausage. Both are delicious. The spicy sausage has a slight bite and compliments the sweet ricotta and creaminess of the cheeses really nicely. Lasagna does not taste spicy. I do not recommend using plain ground turkey meat for this lasagna.
- Lasagna Noodles: Traditional boiled noodles or no-boil (or oven-ready) lasagna noodles both work in this recipe. If using no-boil noodles, then skip step 3. Also, the no-boil noodles tend to cook a little quicker than the traditional noodles. So start checking lasagna for doneness around 23 minutes.
- To Make Ahead: Lasagna can be prepared and assembled up to 1 day ahead. Tightly cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.
- To Freeze Lasagna: Assemble the lasagna in a freezer + oven safe baking dish. Do not bake it. Tightly cover the dish with plastic wrap, then go over with a layer of aluminum foil. I like to double wrap to avoid freezer burn. To bake frozen lasagna – discard the plastic wrap and aluminum foil and bake, uncovered, at 400F for 45-60 minutes. You can also thaw the frozen lasagna in the refrigerator overnight and bake it at 400F for 30 minutes.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 462
- Sugar: 7.1 g
- Sodium: 1567.1 mg
- Fat: 19.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 31.9 g
- Protein: 40.5 g
- Cholesterol: 79.8 mg
Keywords: Ina Garten, comfort food, winter, fall
Recipe originally published February 2015.
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This was probably the best lasagna I have ever had. Love the texture of the soaked noodles. The flavors are incredible!
Thank you Candace. I so appreciate that!
If I use Italian pork sausage instead of turkey sausage, do I have to adjust the salt – or any of the other seasonings?
Should be fine to use. No need to adjust seasoning.
My local store doesn’t have the goat cheese or the turkey sausage. Any suggestions for substitutions
You can use Italian pork sausage and simply leave out the goat cheese
I’m looking forward to making this, but I was wondering if I could add drained frozen spinach to the cheese mixture. Thank you!
You certainly can!
Hi, I only see you use 2/3 of the sauce mix, what happened to the other 1/3?
It goes part of the last layer. Step #6
If someone doesn’t like goat cheese, can you taste it in the recipe? Or does it blend in? I have a few picky eaters. Thanks! I want to try this!
Goat cheese is very mild. You can’t really taste it. My kids don’t like goat cheese but never complain when I make this lasagna.
Great! Gonna make it for my son’s birthday! Thank you!
Does the ground turkey work well – taste/consistency for someone who traditionally eats beef lasagna?
Very much so! It’s Italian turkey sausage so it’s seasoned very well.
Hi, first, I love this recipe! I’ve made it a couple times already! Definitely my new go-to!
QUESTION: The only change I’ll make in the future is topping with mozzarella cheese. The directions don’t end with mozzarella but it looks like you did layer some mozzarella on top. Do you save some mozzarella to go on the top? (It looks like it but wanted to ask.)
Hi Kay: So glad you’re enjoying this lasagna. We love it too! As far as the cheese, I only use the Parmesan on top. I think the images look like there’s more to it but it’s only Parmesan on top ( I think I used a little more than what the recipe called for just for purposes of images).
Ok great. Thank you!
If using no cook lasagna noodles, does need to be covered when baking? I read not to cover but just want to double check. Thank you!
You’re correct. No need to cover when using no boil noodles.
I have doubled this recipe with your scale set at 2X. Should I use a larger pan and increase cooking time? The directions don’t change when you double it. Thank you.
Yes, you’ll want to use a larger pan. As far as the cooking time, it shouldn’t change much. I would check the lasagna after 30 minutes and add 5-8 more minutes if needed.
I am not sure about the lasagna noodles- If I use fresh lasagna noodles – should I still soak them ? Is it better to use the hard ones?
I haven’t tried fresh lasagna noodles so I can’t really answer with certainty but I’m assuming there’s a way to use them
Hi, can you use fresh lasagna sheets instead of the hard ones?
You mean freshly made lasagna sheets? I would image yes…I just never made it with fresh sheets.
If making this lasagna a day ahead, do you think 30 minutes at 400 degrees is still the right cooking time or will it take longer? I’m thinking it make take a tad longer. Have you ever made it a day or two ahead and if so, what baking time worked?
Hi Terri: are you baking the entire lasagna day ahead? I’m sorry…I’m not sure I’m understanding exactly what you’re asking.
Yes, I made it ahead and it’s in the refrigerator. I’m thinking it is going to take longer than 30 minutes because the sauce is now cold ….30 min doesn’t seem like enough for a 9 x 13 pan of cooled down lasagna.
I’d like to make this ahead for Christmas Eve dinner and freeze it. Will that work?
Hi Denice: yes you can freeze raw lasagna and then bake when needed.
Hello Katya: I love this recipe…I have made it once and am ready to make it again. My six year old grandson loves it and he’s very picky! My only question is do you use regular lasagna or the no boil lasagna? I used the regular the first time and the pasta was a little overcooked….I think I goofed! Please advise. Thank you!
Hi Jan: I use regular lasagna noodles and always followed the directions exactly and the lasagna turned out just perfect but it could be a little less for you just depending on the type of the oven. You can always start off with baking time set to 20 minutes instead of 30 and just do a little taste test before adding any more time. HOpe that helps! Glad you and your grandson love this lasagna. We love it too and it’s the only one I make ever.
I want to make this a day ahead. Should I bake it and then reheat on the day I’m serving it, or put it together a day ahead without baking it, refrigerate it and and bake the day of serving.
I would put it together and bake the day of serving.
I always requested lasagna as my birthday meal growing up and I’m pretty sure my mom loooved making it for me with all the time and layers. Oops! I love making lasagna and I’m totally in the mood for an ooey gooey cheesy comfort food this weekend when it’s going to be freezing here. Brrr! Wine + lasagna to warm up.
It’s a definite comfort food Bri! I agree. Don’t you love when mamas cooked for us 🙂
Growing up , my mom’s lasagna was my favorite meal, and once I left the house I loved making lasagna, myself. I haven’t made it for ages and your post is making my mouth water! So perfect for a chilly winter evening! Ina Garten is one of my favorite people on the cooking network…anything made by her always looks so great, and you certainly did the recipe justice!
I completely agree Julia! Anything by Ina is always great. I don’t make lasagna often either but when I do, this is my go to
I’ve come to realize that Ina always knows best…especially when it comes to comfort food like lasagna! This looks amazing.
Yes she does Jaanne! Can never go wrong with her recipes 🙂