Ina Garten’s Clever Lasagna Noodle Hack Will Forever Change the Way You Make Lasagna

published Sep 21, 2023
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someone is lifting a square of lasagna from the tray
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

There are very few dishes that spread joy quite like a traditional lasagna. Since the dish often requires a lot of patience and precision — especially if you make the sauce from scratch — it’s the best way to impress family and friends.

When testing Ina Garten’s recipe for turkey lasagna, however, we discovered a super smart hack for cutting down on the prep time. The key is to soak the lasagna noodles in the baking dish with hot water rather than boiling them in a large pot. This method helps the noodles cook just enough without having to spend extra time waiting for water to boil.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

The Best Way to Cook Lasagna Noodles

You’ll often find that lasagna recipes don’t call for boiling or heating lasagna noodles at all. While this may work for some recipes, not heating the lasagna noodles in any way can sometimes compromise the texture of the finished noodles. Conversely, if you accidentally over-boil the noodles, they simply fall apart. Think of Ina’s method as a happy medium between these two circumstances.

Not only did we try this method out in Ina’s own recipe, but The Kitchn’s Senior Contributing Food Editor, Sheela Prakash, says that this method works for just about any lasagna recipe out there. In fact, Prakash also borrowed this method in her recipe for turkey lasagna. While there are a number of ways to use this technique, Prakash recommends simply putting noodles in the baking dish you plan on making the lasagna in, soaking them in hot water and draining them before assembling.

If you plan on making any type of lasagna, whether it’s with your favorite vegetables, a mix of ground beef and pork, or even shredded chicken, you can put this noodle hack to use and be sure the noodles are perfectly cooked without even having to pull out a pot for boiling water!