This classic beef lasagne recipe is my all time favourite – it’s the one I come back to time and time again, the one I make when I really want to treat my family and friends. And I want to share it with you!

There are many different types of lasagne recipes. I’ve shared lots here myself – Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne, The Tastiest Courgette Lasagne, Asparagus, Pea and Pesto Lasagne, Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagne. What can I say, I’m a lasagne fan. But often, the lasagnes I share are weeknight ones – lasagnes you can whip up at the end of a busy day. This is not that.

This classic beef lasagne requires love, care, attention and – most of all – time. If you are in a hurry, I’d suggest you look at one of my other lasagne recipes. This is not one to be rushed.

There are shortcuts you could take to make it more quickly – but I’d really recommend that you don’t do that. The incredible taste comes from the long, slow cooking. If you’re going to make a classic beef lasagne, you might as well make it right.

A little anecdote before I dive into the recipe – I made this lasagne the night before my daughter was born. She wasn’t due for another week, but I like to think that the lasagne was so good that she thought she’d make her entrance to the world early!

Ingredients, Substitutions and Variations

  • Smoked pancetta – most classic lasagnes are made with a mix of beef and pork, and for my pork element I use smoked pancetta. It brings the most incredible depth of flavour. You could substitute for a very good smoky bacon.
  • Onion and garlic – a necessary base. Up the amount of garlic if you like.
  • Beef mince – use the best one you can – you deserve it. Don’t use frozen if you can avoid it.
  • Red wine – this is optional but adds a lovely flavour.
  • Bay leaf, oregano and thyme – use fresh if you can, but dried (particularly dried oregano) will work fine.
  • Passata – passata works much better than chopped tomatoes here – it makes the beef sauce richer and smoother.
  • Beef stock cube – this just adds another element of flavour to the sauce. You can leave it out if you like.
  • Chestnut mushrooms – I love the added flavour and texture of mushrooms in my lasagne, but you can leave them out if you wish.
  • Butter, plain flour and milk – these are the ingredients for your bechamel – try to stick to the quantities as best you can, otherwise your sauce could be too thick or thin.
  • Lasagne sheets – use dried for this recipe. Fresh will cook too quickly.
  • Parmesan – we use plentiful Parmesan for the topping. You can switch for any other Italian hard cheese.

Top Tips

  1. Cooking the meat sauce

    Give it time. I’ve recommended cooking low and slow for an hour – but the longer you can give it, the better. This would be great to pop in the slow cooker at the start of the day.

  2. Cooking the bechamel

    The key to a good thick bechamel without lumps is to whisk it! Keep whisking, even if you see lumps. I don’t add any cheese to my bechamel for this lasagne (honestly, you don’t need it).

  3. Cooking the lasagne

    Give your lasagne enough time in the oven. Make sure the lasagne sheets are cooked thoroughly (you can test with a sharp knife – stick into the lasagne, you shouldn’t feel any resistance.

Get the cook books:

Classic beef lasagne With a serving on a blue plate

Beef Lasagne

Save This Recipe
Harriet Young
A flavour powerhouse of a beef lasagne, cooked low and slow.
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 People


  • 200 g smoked pancetta diced
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 500 g beef mince
  • 150 ml red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp oregano leaves
  • 500 g passata
  • 250 g chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 50 g butter
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 1.5 pints milk
  • 80 g grated parmesan
  • 300 g lasagne sheets dried


  • Put the diced pancetta in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Cook gently for 5 minutes until the fat has begun to melt out and the pancetta has started to turn golden.
  • Peel the onion and dice. Peel and chop the garlic. Add to the pancetta pan and cook for another minute.
  • Add the mince. Cook for another five minutes until the meat is starting to brown.
  • Tip in the red wine, bay leaf, oregano and thyme. Stir, then allow to reduce down by half.
  • Pour in the passata and 200ml water. Add the beef stock cube. Chop the mushrooms into 1cm chunks and add them too.
  • Turn the heat down to low and cook gently, uncovered, for at least an hour, stirring every ten minutes.
  • To make the bechamel, put the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. When it is melted, add the flour. Use a whisk to combine them, then turn off the heat.
  • Gradually add the milk, whisking all the time. When all the milk has been added, turn the heat back on to medium. Continue to whisk as the sauce thickens, until it is as thick as Greek yoghurt. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper.
  • When you are ready to cook the lasagne, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  • Take a large ovenproof dish and put one ladleful of the beef sauce at the bottom. Spread it evenly over the surface.
  • Cover this with an even layer of lasagne sheets. Top with half of the remaining beef sauce, then another layer of lasagne sheets.
  • Add half of the bechamel and spread evenly. Top with another layer of lasagne sheets, then the remaining beef sauce. Add a final layer of lasagne sheets, then top with the remaining bechamel. Spread so that it creates an even layer over the entire top surface. Sprinkle over the Parmesan.
  • Put in the oven for 45 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
Keyword lasagne, pasta

5 responses to “Beef Lasagne”

  1. 5 stars
    This looks so hearty and satisfying!! It’ll be perfect to make for my family for dinner this week!

  2. 5 stars
    The smoked pancetta really adds so much flavor to this lasagna, serious comfort food! Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    Oh wow – lasagne is absolutely everything! It is a great weekday meal but it is also a wonderful dish to make over the weekend. Always a stunner!

  4. 5 stars
    Comfort food to the max! I love that this delicious lasagna recipe has pancetta and mushrooms in it–two of my favorite ingredients that really amp up the flavor in this dish. Great recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    This beef lasagne was absolutely delicious! The perfect family meal.

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Hi there!

I’m Harriet, writer and cook, and I’m so pleased to have you here! I love nothing more than cooking delicious food and sharing it with the world. You can find out more about me here.