Lasagna For Two
Love lasagna but hate leftovers? Lasagna For Two baked in a loaf pan is a small baked pasta dish that makes only 4 slices. Made with a beef and ricotta cheese filling.
Back in 2015, I posted my buffalo chicken lasagna for two and talked about how I learned how to make loaf pan lasagna from a local cooking class.
I’ve been meaning to post my Lasagna For Two recipe using beef and ricotta cheese, but I was avoiding it because it’s difficult to photograph well.
Here I am 6 years later and think I’ve grown enough to shoot it without it looking like poo.
As I shared behind the scene stories on Instagram, a lot of you were really excited for it.
Lasagna is one of those dishes that is universally loved but almost always baked in a large 13×9 pan. That’s not going to work for us small households, now is it?
That’s why I’m thrilled to (finally) bring you my Lasagna For Two. It’s a beef lasagna recipe with ricotta cheese filling baked in a bread pan.
Even though it’s not a fancy dish, people tell me they often make lasagna as an easy date night recipe, especially for Valentine’s Day.
I find lasagna for 2 to be one of those dishes everyone loves but don’t make it often because it takes time to assemble. What better way to show someone you care than by taking the time to cook a homemade meal?
Don’t have time to make loaf pan lasagna? Check out my Skillet Lasagna and One Pot Lasagna Soup.
Serve your lasagna with Green Onion Salad and Small Batch Dinner Rolls.
What size pan do I need for lasagna?
I baked my lasagna recipe for two in a 9×5 loaf pan. This is the perfect size for a small batch lasagna because it makes 4 slices.
Leftovers will depend on who’s eating dinner and how large your appetite is. If two people eat two slices each, there won’t be leftovers.
However, if you only eat one slice each or if you’re serving only one person, then you’ll have extra for lunch the next day.
What is the difference between no boil noodles and regular?
As the name states, no boil noodles means you can layer them uncooked in your lasagna. They’ll absorb the sauce and soften while baking.
Regular lasagna noodles usually require boiling ahead of time before assembling.
I like to use no boil noodles simply to save time, but there’s no right or wrong answer. Just as long as you prepare your noodles properly.
How To Make Lasagna For Two
If you’re using traditional lasagna noodles, first you need to cook them according to the package directions.
This means bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the noodles and a big handful of salt, and cook until al dente. You don’t want to overcook your noodles since you’ll be cooking them again while baking.
Next, brown the meat along with the onion, garlic, and carrot. I chose to use all ground beef for my lasagna.
However, some people like to use a mixture of ground beef and Italian sausage. As long as you use 1/2 pound meat total, you can use what you like.
Once the meat is cooked, stir in the sauce. I used jarred sauce to help save on time and energy. However, you can use your favorite homemade spaghetti sauce.
While the meat is cooking, stir together the ricotta, egg, mozzarella, parmesan, basil (or homemade basil pesto), and salt for the cheese filling.
Ricotta cheese is traditional, but feel free to substitute cottage cheese (drained of any excess liquid).
Do you add egg to ricotta for lasagna?
When I first started cooking, I didn’t add egg to my ricotta filling. Mostly because I didn’t know better.
As I improved my cooking skills, I learned adding an egg helps bind the filling so it doesn’t ooze out everywhere when cutting.
Plus the egg adds some extra creaminess from the yolk.
I highly recommend using an egg in your lasagna filling. However, you can leave it out and make an eggless ricotta filling.
How To Make Lasagna in a Loaf Pan
Once both fillings are done, it’s time to assemble your lasagna.
First, add about 1/4 cup sauce into the bottom of your loaf pan. This helps prevent sticking and keeps the noodles from drying out.
Next, add your noodles. The tricky part about assembling lasagna in a loaf pan is the length of lasagna noodles.
Noodle length depends on which brand you use. The no boil noodles I used were the same length and width as traditional. They were a touch too long for a loaf pan, so I cut off the one end to fit.
I also had to use two noodles per layer due to the small width
However, I’ve seen no boil lasagna noodles that are shorter in length but bigger in width. Those only required one noodle per layer.
After adding your noodles, add your ricotta cheese filling then top that with the meat and sauce. Make sure the noodles are fully covered so they cook properly while baking.
End your layer with 1-2 more noodles. Repeat this one more time, using up the remaining meat and ricotta filling.
Once you get to the very top, finish it off with the remaining sauce then sprinkle with cheese. Cover with foil then bake as directed.
How long do you cook lasagna in loaf pan?
Bake time for lasagna will depend on whether you used traditional or no boil noodles.
If using no boil noodles, you’ll cook at 375F until the noodles are soft and tender, about 30 minutes then remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes until browned.
If using traditional noodles, they’re already mostly cooked so you may need less time, about 20 minutes before removing the foil and browning.
Can I assemble the lasagna and cook later?
Cooking lasagna takes time. You have to make both the meat and ricotta fillings. Sometimes even homemade sauce if you go that route. Then you need to spend time assembling it before finally baking it.
Good news – you can assemble lasagna ahead of time! Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. If you need more time, you’re better off freezing it.
Before refrigerating, make sure everything is cooled to room temperature. This includes the meat and sauce (if homemade).
This is due to food safety. You want the lasagna to become cold as soon as possible in the refrigerator. If you put it in while hot, it takes longer to cool down.
The longer it takes to cool down, the more likely bacteria may grow. It’s a similar concept to why you don’t leave perishable foods out on the counter for more than 2 hours.
How To Freeze Lasagna Before Baking
If you’re freezing lasagna before baking, assemble as written. Make sure it’s fully cooled if it’s hot from the filling.
If you freeze warm lasagna, not only may it melt other frozen foods around it, ice crystals are more likely to form.
First, wrap the entire pan in plastic wrap and remove as much air as possible. Next wrap it all up in aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months.
How To Freeze Lasagna After Baking
Even though this is a small batch recipe, sometimes you may have a slice or two leftover.
If you want to freeze leftover lasagna for a future dinner, first cut the remaining lasagna into one serving slices. Make sure it’s completely cool first.
Next, wrap the slice with plastic wrap then again with foil. Place it in a freezer-safe plastic bag. Freeze lasagna for up to 3 months.
How To Reheat Frozen Lasagna
To reheat frozen lasagna, transfer it to the refrigerator and thaw overnight. If thawing slices, you may only need a few hours.
When ready to bake, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and plastic wrap then cover with new foil.
Bake a full pan at 375F until hot, about 30-45 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake another 10-15 minutes or until the top is brown.
To bake individual slices, place them in a baking dish (either back in the loaf pan or 8×8 pan) and bake at 375F until hot, about 20-30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake until brown, about 10 minutes.
Lasagna For Two
Lasagna For Two baked in a loaf pan is a small baked pasta dish that makes only 4 slices. Made with a beef and ricotta cheese filling.
- 3-6 uncooked lasagna noodles (preferably no boil)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 1/4 cups your favorite spaghetti sauce
- 1 cup full-fat ricotta cheese
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil plus more for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 375F. Have a 9x5 loaf pan ready.
- If using no boil lasagna noodles, you don't need to cook them.
If using traditional noodles, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles and a big handful of salt. Cook until al dente, about 5-8 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain and cool.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil. Once hot, add the ground beef, onion, carrot, and a big pinch of salt. Cook until meat is brown and no longer pink, about 5-8 minutes. Drain off excess grease.
- Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Taste and adjust for salt. Stir in 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce then bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the ricotta, egg, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 2 tablespoons parmesan, basil, and salt.
- Spread 1/4 cup sauce onto the bottom of the loaf pan into a thin layer. Add 1-2 noodles to cover the bottom, depending on noodle width. If the noodles are too long, cut off the ends to fit.
- Spread half of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles then add half of the meat mixture on top. Top with 1-2 more noodles
- Repeat the layering one more time, using up the remaining ricotta and meat mixture.
- Top with the last 1-2 noodles then cover with the remaining 1/2 cup sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup parmesan cheeses.
- Cover tightly with foil. If using traditional noodles, bake for 20 minutes or until noodles are tender (use a toothpick or small sharp knife to test). If using no boil noodles, bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes or until the top is browned. Let sit about 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with basil, if desired.
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I am thrilled to see any of your recipes and eager to make this lasagna.
Let me know what you think of the recipe!
Hi Carla, My husband and I are on low carb diet – can we use a vegetable instead of past?
I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why not! Just make sure to cook until the vegetable layers are tender.
Thank you for sharing. Will try this recipe!
Let me know how it turns out!
Very good enough for 4.Will freeze or eat TOMORROW
Let me know what you think!
If I am reading the instruction right the amount of spagehetti sauce does not equal the amount in the recipe. Could you please clear up one or the other. Thanks Linda
1 1/2 cups sauce stirred in with the meat + 1/4 cup spread onto the bottom of the pan + 1/2 cup spread on top of lasagna = 2 1/4 cups
This Lasagna is great, just te right amount for two!
Glad you enjoyed it!
How much cottage cheese would I use instead of Ricotta cheese?
You can use the same amount. Just make sure it’s drained of any extra liquid.
I made this recipe and I enjoyed it. My only mistake was I used no boil noodles for the first time and I forgot to add the water as recommended on the noodle box.
Glad you enjoyed it! I also used no boil and made sure there’s plenty of sauce so no need to add extra water outside of the recipe. Just make sure every inch of the noodles are covered with sauce. Any dry spots won’t cook.
Thank you for the recipe. It was a great way to use up some leftover ricotta. I never make lasagna because it’s just my husband and the recipes usually make way too much.. This was a good amount for us. We each ate our fill along with a salad and have enough for another meal. I used the no boil noodles. I would recommend adding extra liquid as they recommend on the box. My noodles weren’t quite done enough for me though they were fully covered in the sauce.. I suppose it depends how much moisture is in the sauce you use. My husband still thought it was great. I’m sure as it sits in the fridge, they will soften further. Next time I’ll just add some water to the sauce before I make the recipe.
Thank you for the feedback! I tested it with no boil noodles, but perhaps it does come down to the sauce you use. I’ll have to look into it.
This was delicious and easy and fun to make. I looked at a few other small batch lasagna recipes but they seemed complicated.
Thank you Carla
Glad you enjoyed the lasagna!
Recipe is terrific for two, as given, We love it and the precooked noodles make it easy!
Wonderful! Glad you enjoyed the lasagna.
I’ll be making this for my husband, for Father’s Day. He loves lasagna and I never make it enough.
Let me know how it goes!
Great recipe! I added a cup of fresh chopped spinach to the ricotta mixture. There was plenty of moisture for the pasta.
Adding spinach is a great idea!
Made this and it fed 4 of us and there is enough left to feed the 4 of us again. Had it with caesar salad and sordough garlic knots.. Very tasty
Oh wow I’m surprised you got that many servings out of it, but regardless glad everyone enjoyed the lasagna!
Hi Carla, I love that you are doing recipes for 2. I have made this twice now and it makes enough for the two of us to have 2 meals and a portion for me to share with my 90-year-old-mother. I hacked the meat by using a half a pound of frozen chicken and pork Italian meatballs. Cooked them in the sauce then mashed them with a fork. Yummy! Love the loaf pan idea. Will adapt to other recipes.
Hey that works for the meat too! Glad everyone enjoyed the lasagna.
Thanks for this great recipe. I have a family of 3 so I love using your trimmed down recipes (I just made 6″ bday cakes recently). I’m going to make this lasagna vegan for my family using “beef” crumbles, and some non-dairy alternatives for the cheeses, but otherwise, following your measurements and directions. Thanks, Carla! You make cooking easy and affordable!
I just had another idea to buy the disposable loaf pans and make a couple of these at once (or more!). One (or more) to freeze, one to eat. How great to have a homemade hearty meal ready to go on a week night!
Smart idea with the disposable loaf pans!
Yes so many possibilities with the filling!
OMG. LASAGNA for 2??.lol. 4!!!
I mean, if you want to be literal with 4 pieces. I know plenty of people (including myself) who usually have two helpings of dinner. And if it’s an issue, you can eat it for lunch the next day.
This is great! In my version, I sub a sm zucchini for the carrot, use 1 box of Pomi marinara sauce (which is exactly the right amount), and up the temp to 400º for the second bake. This def makes more than 2 servings, but that’s great because it reheats beautifully.
Glad you were able to make the recipe work for what you had on hand! And yes I point out this makes 4 slices/servings (even says so on the recipe card) but most people eat second helpings of dinner. But if you literally want two servings, the other two servings make an excellent lunch for the next day.
Going to make this for tonight. I have time to make it this afternoon. Can it be made ahead and baked later? Using no boil noodles……conserved they might suck up the moisture?
Great question! I haven’t personally tried it, but I’ve seen similar recipes for overnight lasagna using no boil noodles. Please report back if you try it. I’m sure others have the same question!
Easy to make but if you use 1/2 of the meat sauce for the first layer, and half of the sauce for the second layer, where do you get the 1/2 cup of sauce for the top layer???
1 1/2 cups in Step 4 + 1/4 cup in Step 6 + 1/2 cup in Step 9 = 2 1/4 cups found in ingredient list.
This was so good! I used Italian sausage but it was so nice to have a small amount! One meal and leftovers for one meal. And I used only 3 precooked noodles! Next time, I might try homemade sauce. Thank you!
I like the Italian sausage idea! And yes there are certain loaf pans that are narrow enough to hold 1 noodle as 1 layer. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!
This is maybe the best thing I’ve ever made!! I mixed hamburger and Italian sausage which doubled the meat/sauce mixture…darn, double the deliciousness with a second pan! This will be my signature dish! Thank you!!
Glad you enjoyed the recipe! Ground beef and Italian sausage sound like a great combo.
Great recipe! I I used Italian sausage instead of ground beef and is was very good. Looking forward to making more of your recipes.
Great idea with the Italian sausage!
Do you have any nutritional information?
You can use a nutrition calculator online and enter the info. This one looks easy to use: https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076
Can this recipe also be done in an 8×8 pan?
Yes although you’ll need more ingredients. You’ll likely want to increase everything by 1.5 then make adjustments from there to fit your pan.
Scrumptious! I used cottage cheese and extra sprinkles of cheese in between layers. Will definitely make often and spread the word on how good this is 😊
Happy to hear you enjoyed it!
Made this last night. Very yummy! It was great to have a smaller portion but I agree others, for me it was 3 small portions. My picky eater doesn’t like ricotta so I substituted small curd cottage cheese. Still not s fan. Is marscapone a logical substitute?
I haven’t tried it but I think it’ll work.