The Best Turkey Lasagna

published Apr 12, 2021
The Best Turkey Lasagna

Swapping in ground turkey for the usual ground beef makes for a lighter yet equally satisfying lasagna.

Serves8 to 10

Prep30 minutes

Cook36 minutes to 38 minutes

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

This turkey lasagna is just as cheesy and saucy as the rest of ’em, but swapping out ground beef for ground turkey keeps it feeling light. Better yet, a few smart shortcuts ensure it can be thrown together on even the busiest of weeknights. Expect this tasty twist on the classic to find a spot in your permanent rotation of winning family dinners.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Turkey Lasagna in Under an Hour

Lasagna tends to be reserved for weekends when there’s plenty of time to prepare and assemble the multiple layers of pasta, meat sauce, and cheese. But if you take advantage of a few store-bought shortcuts and smart techniques, you can streamline the process and get the casserole on your dinner table in under an hour. Here’s how/

  1. Soak the noodles. Instead of boiling the noodles (time-consuming) or starting with no-boil noodles (inferior texture), soak the dry lasagna noodles instead. This is a smart tip I picked up from Ina Garten. Soaking the noodles in warm water while you prepare the other components basically par-cooks them. When layered with sauce and cheese, the softened noodles bake up perfectly al dente.
  2. Reach for your favorite store-bought sauce. Considering how close to homemade Rao’s tastes, I fully support this shortcut, and I encourage you to do the same. Here, you’ll enhance whatever sauce you choose with ground meat and extra aromatics so you can be sure your lasagna won’t suffer by taking an assist.
  3. Skip the leanest ground turkey. Opt for 93% lean / 7% fat ground turkey for this recipe. While you can find packages marked 99% lean, you do need some fat for it to cook up moist and flavorful. Trust me: It takes more time and effort to add that fat and flavor back in, so grab the package that has it already in there for you.

The Best Turkey Lasagna

Swapping in ground turkey for the usual ground beef makes for a lighter yet equally satisfying lasagna.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 36 minutes to 38 minutes

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info


  • 15

    dried lasagna noodles (not no-boil, about 2/3 of a 1-pound box)

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 1/4 cup

    loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish

  • 12 ounces

    low-moisture whole milk or part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)

  • 2 ounces

    Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1 firmly packed cup grated on a Microplane or 2/3 cup store-bought)

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 pound

    ground turkey (93% lean / 7% fat)

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, divided

  • 1 (15 to 16-ounce) container

    whole milk ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)

  • 1 (32-ounce) jar

    marinara sauce (3 1/2 cups), such as Rao's


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, arrange 15 dry lasagna noodles in an even layer in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Cover the noodles with hot tap water and let soak while you prepare the cheeses and meat sauce, about 20 minutes.

  2. Dice 1 medium yellow onion. Coarsely chop 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves (plus more for garnish if desired). Grate 12 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese on the large holes of a box grater (about 3 cups). Finely grate 2 ounces Parmesan cheese (about 1 packed cup).

  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch or larger regular or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, 1 pound ground turkey, 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper. Cook, breaking the turkey up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the turkey is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.

  4. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place half of the Parmesan cheese, parsley, 15 to 16 ounces ricotta cheese, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl and stir to combine.

  5. Drain the lasagna noodles and set aside. Spread a thin layer of the marinara sauce from a 32-ounce jar into the baking dish. Stir the remaining sauce into the ground turkey mixture.

  6. Arrange 5 lasagna noodles in an even layer on top of the sauce, breaking them if needed to fit (it’s okay if the noodles overlap slightly). Dollop and spread half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Dollop and spread about 2 cups of the meat sauce on the ricotta, then sprinkle with 1 cup of the mozzarella.

  7. Arrange 5 more noodles over the mozzarella, followed by the remaining ricotta mixture, 2 cups of the meat sauce, and 1 cup of the mozzarella. Top with a remaining 5 noodles and the remaining sauce, spreading the sauce thin so that it almost completely covers the noodles. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella and Parmesan.

  8. Bake uncovered until the cheeses are melted and lightly browned, and the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with more chopped fresh parsley leaves, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The lasagna can be assembled and refrigerated unbaked up to 2 days in advance, or frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw the frozen lasagna for 2 days in the refrigerator before baking.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 days.