Making a lasagna from scratch is one of those hallmarks of adulthood that I always feel like I should know how to do, but I'm reluctant to even try it. (Some of the other things in that same category include consistently moisturizing my neck, realizing that I need a retirement plan other than my Princess Diana Beanie Baby, and flossing.)
I just can't imagine a time when I would either want or need to spend two-plus hours making sauce, layering noodles, and spreading ricotta cheese — partially because I'm lazier than a heavily sedated tree sloth, and partially because restaurants exist.
But on the occasions when I can't bother going out (what, you think I'm good to go out in public? With this dry neck?), I will open both my heart and my microwave to a frozen lasagna. The problem is that a lot of fro-las are ... not good, with too-sweet sauces, runny filling, and a flavor that reminds you of your third-grade cafeteria.
There are some very good options in that supermarket freezer case, though. In fact, I ate my way through a bunch of them (like, a bunch!) and came up with this list of the best frozen lasagnas for several very common scenarios.
For When You Need Dinner to Be Ready Fast
Hands-down, the best frozen lasagna you can buy is Michael Angelo's. My Italian grandmother has gone to that big trattoria in the sky, but I can imagine her reaching down and placing their Lasagna with Meat Sauce directly on my plate, right before she asks me if I'm ever going to get married. Although the preferred cooking method is to bake it for 40+ minutes, you can microwave it in a pinch, and it's still delicious. What I love about Michael Angelo's is that the ingredient list doesn't have any weird chemicals: its first five ingredients include tomatoes, pasta, ricotta cheese, beef, and mozzarella cheese.
For the Dark Times When You Can't Find Michael Angelo's
Evol's Lasagna and Meat Sauce is a reasonably close runner-up. I tend to stick with brands that use real ricotta (STANDARDS!) and this one doesn't skimp on the ricotta or the mozzarella. Plus, I'm making a chef's kiss gesture just thinking about the sauce. And like all of Evol's frozen offerings, the meat is sustainably raised and antibiotic- and hormone-free.
For When You're Feeding a Crowd
You know where this is going, right? Also Michael Angelo's. The brand offers a two-pound Family serving, a 2.87-pound Large Family serving, and a massive 5-pound Party size (and I like that they don't specify that a Lasagna Party has to involve other people). Kitchn staffers also really love Stouffer's Party Size Vegetable Lasagna, which happens to be six pounds and is good when you have to please an assortment of eaters.
For When You're Watching Your Weight
Amy's Light and Lean Spinach Lasagna is made with organic spinach, tomatoes, and pasta, and only has 250 calories per serving. It also has 11 grams of protein, 40 grams of carbs, and a respectable 5 grams of fat. I'm normally a huge fan of All Things Amy's, but their frozen lasagnas tends to be kind of meh. This one is an exception — and it's definitely a step up from your sad desk salad.
This is a three-way tie between Evol's Butternut Squash Lasagna, the 365 Everyday Value Spinach Ricotta Lasagna, and the Stouffer's Vegetable Lasagna. (The second one is also certified organic). As a non-vegetarian, my grading scale is based on answering the question "Does this make me miss meat?" and all three of these have enough flavor to make me (briefly) forget about the beef.
Do you have a favorite frozen lasagna to add to this list? Tell us about it in the comments below!