Be safe! Always cook with an adult. Don’t touch sharp knives or hot stoves and ovens! And always wash your hands before and after cooking. [Editor’s note: We think more kids’ books ought to divulge recipes, like this one from blogger and home cook The Pioneer Woman. Publishers, what say you? And moms, bear in mind, the recipe is geared towards pleasing kids—and ranch hounds—in both its wording and its ingredients. Woof!]–Ree Drummond

Pioneer Woman’s Lasagna FAQs

Can I make this lasagna ahead of time?

Definitely. Prepare the lasagna up to the point of baking. You can cover and refrigerate the unbaked lasagna for up to 2 days. Or, the unbaked lasagna can be frozen for about three months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then cook as directed.

What can I substitute for cottage cheese?

Ricotta can be subbed 1-to-1 for cottage cheese. They’re very similar in texture and taste, although ricotta is slightly creamier. You’ll notice no difference in the final taste of the dish.

How can I chop canned tomatoes without making a mess?

If you’re not feeling up to fishing the whole tomatoes out of the can to chop or crush, use your food processor. Empty the can into the bowl, give it a few quick pulses, and voila…chopped tomatoes.

A metal baking dish filled with the Pioneer Woman's favorite lasagna on a wooden table.

The Pioneer Woman’s Lasagna

4.64 / 38 votes
The Pioneer Woman's lasagna recipe highlights how easy it can be to make a crowd- (and kid-) pleasing lasagna. No unusual ingredients, just meat, cheese, noodles, and more cheese. It's doggone delicious.
David Leite
Servings8 generous servings
Calories693 kcal
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time2 hours 15 minutes


  • One (10-ounce) package lasagna noodles
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 pound breakfast sausage
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Two (14 1/2-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained, coarsely chopped or crushed
  • Two (6-ounce) cans store-bought or homemade tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus 2 additional tablespoons
  • 10 to 12 basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 pound sliced mozzarella cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
  • Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Drain them and lay them flat on a sheet of aluminum foil or a baking sheet. Smile and wink at your doggie.
  • In a large skillet or saucepan, combine the ground beef, sausage, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until the meat is browned. Drain off about half the fat. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1/4 cup of the parsley, the basil, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Take your doggie for a walk.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the cottage cheese, eggs, 1 cup of the Parmesan, the remaining 2 tablespoons minced parsley, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir together well.
  • To assemble the Pioneer Woman's lasagna, arrange 4 of the cooked noodles in the bottom of a deep rectangular baking pan, overlapping them slightly if necessary. Spoon 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles and spread it evenly. Cover the cottage cheese with a layer of mozzarella slices. Spoon 1/3 of the meat sauce mixture over the top. Repeat the layers, ending with the remaining meat sauce mixture. Sprinkle the top generously with extra Parmesan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is hot and bubbly. (If baking the lasagna straight from the refrigerator or freezer, you'll need to allow additional time, up to twice as long or more. If the top begins to brown, cover the pan loosely with foil.) Tell your doggie it won’t be long!
Charlie the Ranch Dog

Adapted From

Charlie the Ranch Dog

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 693 kcalCarbohydrates: 5 gProtein: 53 gFat: 50 gSaturated Fat: 22 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 207 mgSodium: 1618 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 3 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2011 Ree Drummond. Photo © 2021 Kelly. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

We loved this lasagna by the Pioneer Woman. I didn’t think my family would like it as we’re not big cottage cheese fans but the combination of cottage cheese and mozzarella made the creamiest mixture. I followed the recipe exactly and wouldn’t change a thing.

As a father of five who regularly has one of my kids in the kitchen cooking with me, I was very excited to try The Pioneer Woman’s lasagna recipe from her new book for kids. I had one of my gang help me pull this dish together, and while I can’t claim that it’s the best lasagna I’ve ever had, it was quite good and a big hit with all the kidlets around our table. There’s not a lot of nuance to the dish, but if you like your lasagna heavy with meat and cheese, as we do around here, then you’ll love this one.

My adult palate would have enjoyed more of the garlic, basil, and parsley (not to mention some onion), but if we remember that this is a recipe from a kid’s book, I think Ree has delivered a dish perfect for her target audience.

I used canned whole tomatoes with their juices and gave them a quick pulse in the food processor to break them up. It yields a rich, thick ragu with a deep tomato flavor. The recipe doesn’t specify between breakfast sausage links, patties, or just ground meat, so I used what I could easily find—the links. I cut them into small medallions and liked the textural contrast they added to the dish.

The layering worked beautifully, with there being plenty of filling to offer great flavor in every bite, without so much that the whole thing was an over-sauced, sloppy mess as is often the case with lasagna.

This is a straightforward, but very tasty lasagna that my kids have already asked that we make again. Sounds like a TC to me.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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    1. Lane, we haven’t tried it with oven ready noodles, so we can’t say if it would work. The lasagna may not have enough sauce for them to soften properly.