I’m not here to rank comfort foods (yet), but if I was, it would be impossible to not put lasagna in the top five. Lasagna is a perfect dish—yes, even frozen lasagna.
Recite a lasagna’s layers out loud: “Pasta, cheese, sauce, pasta cheese, sauce.” It’s a holy prayer to the patron saint of comfort food (his name is Guy Fieri, ever heard of him?). A great lasagna is strong and condensed, but also light and layered. Lasagna is a tower of flavor; its thoughtfully structured layers combine to form dinner-cakeTM. The way a lasagna congeals and fortifies after it rests is like some sort of Bill Nye science lesson. When a lasagna properly sits, it compacts and compresses to form a giant flavor bomb. What other food does that? Lasagna is a modern marvel.
It also freezes well without losing quality. So, frozen lasagna from the grocery store should, in theory, taste just like (or, at least, close to) the stuff made at home—if the company uses the right ingredients. We put that theory to the test, sitting down with Mythical’s director of short form, Greg Johnson, to search out the best store-bought frozen lasagnas. We wanted a tangy bite from the red sauce. We also looked for our lasagna noodles to be on the thinner side. Lasagna is best when the bites of pasta, cheese, and sauce are similar in thickness. Also, when the lasagna advertised “meat sauce” we wanted to see chunks of onion and hunks of ground meat. And any quality cheese-pull acquired bonus points here; using good mozzarella went a long way with us. All in all, we wanted our lasagna to be warm, filling, flavorful, and we wanted it to honor Italian traditions well.
So here’s our list of the best store-bought frozen lasagna.
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- Giovanni Rana Meat Lasagna
Giovanni Rana understands the art of lasagna. Theirs is tasty, rich, meaty, and cheesy. It looks like homemade lasagna. The mozzarella comes already browned on top, so you get those desirable little pockets of crispy cheese. They also use ricotta (most store-bought lasagna uses cottage cheese), mascarpone, fontina, and cheese sauce. There’s a creamy layer of bechamel here that the others lack. The edges of this lasagna curl up, too, giving it that homemade look and nice crispy edges. The sauce is flavorful, and there’s a good coating of meat ragu. All in all, it’s perfectly layered and cooks perfectly after just 20minutes in the oven (the shortest time by far on this list). This is everything lasagna should be. Giovanni Rana does it all right and doesn’t miss.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Target
- Marie Callender’s Lasagna with Meat Sauce
This lasagna has the most layers of any lasagna on this list. The meat sauce is on point and it features a trio of beef, pork, and Italian sausage, giving it a dimension of flavor. It’s incredibly creamy, too. They also use a blend of parmesan and romano cheese so you get a salty bite throughout. Marie Callender’s also uses ricotta cheese rather than cottage cheese, scoring higher points. This one is meaty, cheesy, and warm. “It makes me think of the Midwest,” says editor-in-chief of Sporked, Justine Sterling. This is, indeed, on the heavier side, but that’s what we want out of lasagna. Marie Callender’s is a bit more like a casserole, but what’s more satisfying than a casserole? The portion comes out perfectly for two people. Pair it with a salad and call it a day.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Pavilions
- Kroger Meat Lasagna Party Size
It’s crazy, but this meat lasagna is actually the best cheesy lasagna. This one is made with a very generous helping of low moisture mozzarella. It has a good, hefty cheese pull. The noodles are a tad bit too thick and there’s not a whole lot of meat to be seen, but the flavor here was just too good to ignore. A lot of lasagnas suffer from blandness, but not Kroger. It’s deep with a sharp tomato flavor and there’s good herb specklage throughout. The sauce here feels a little more homey—like somebody actually made it. Plus, this thing is gigantic. I’ve actually never heard of “party size” lasagna before. Are people bringing lasagnas to parties? I mean, you do you.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Kroger
- Stouffer’s Veggie Lovers Lasagna
I ran into Mythical Kitchen madman Josh Scherer while I was baking this Stouffer’s vegetable lasagna in the oven and he lit up about it. “That s**** slaps,” said Josh. “It’s all one flavor. You get a piece of cauliflower and it tastes like pasta, you get a piece of pasta and it tastes like cheese. You have to let it sit. It needs to congeal.” He’s right, Stouffer’s Veggie Lovers Lasagna is all one beautiful homogenous mixture. It’s undeniably creamy and delicious. A lot of veggie lasagnas use breadcrumbs, which can dry them out, but Stouffer’s manages to strike the perfect balance. The alfredo is creamy, the cheese is stretchy, and the breadcrumbs provide a nice texture. It’s cozy, substantial, tasty, cheesy, textured, and creamy. Stouffer’s Veggie Lovers rules.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart
- On-Cor Lasagna with Meat Sauce
This lasagna is one of the few that feels like it was made with bechamel (even though it isn’t), that’s how creamy it is. This one is on the sloppier side, so it’s important to let it rest a bit after cooking. The sauce is almost like a vodka sauce. You’ll notice the pink color—it’s from the cheese and red sauce melding together to form one homogenous river of flavor. Seriously, it’s very saucy. It lost some sporks because it somewhat lacks in the meat department and the flavor is a tad bland. Justine suggested adding some dried pepper flakes to spice it up. I would consider a drizzle of olive oil as well. It should also be said that Sporked staff writer Jordan Myrick went to bat for On-Cor. She goes hard in the paint for a lot of sauce, so if you do too, you’ll love this.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Instacart
- Rao’s Meat Lasagna
For as good as Rao’s marinara sauce is, it should be said that this lasagna was underwhelming. Now, that is us being hard on a company we love, but nonetheless the product is a bit disappointing. Still, even with the letdown, it’s a worthy addition to this list. The main thing saving Rao’s meat lasagna is their iconic sauce. It lacks a strong flavor outside of that, though. The meat is scarce and what is there doesn’t have a great bite. They use great ricotta cheese, though, and the romano provides some extra bite. The lasagna itself is soft, slightly sweet, and creamy in both texture and taste. The top of the lasagna gets nice and browned in the oven, and the sheets themselves get crispy edges. It just needs more…flavor. This is another one that could use some crushed red pepper and olive oil on top. It’s good, not great, but the quality of ingredients is high.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Target
- Great Value Five Cheese Lasagna
Dude, this isn’t bad. Look, I’m an Italian food snob, but there is absolutely a place for something like Great Value Five Cheese Lasagna. It reminds me of Lean Cuisine but just a little better. The sauce is sweet and speckled with dry herbs, which I usually hate, but the lasagna sheets are thick enough to stand up to it. It’s got tang, too! Walmart out here balancing flavors—who knew? I’m sure this is definitely an abomination by the standards of a lot of Italian-Americans, but I get the appeal of a Great Value Five Cheese lasagna. The cheese isn’t high quality or anything, but it has that deliciously processed Cheez-It quality to it. There’s something super stonerish about this that I enjoy with my whole heart and I wasn’t alone. Plus, $2.48 for a solo-size lasagna? That’s huge. Great Value is five out of 10, but this is a strong five.
Credit: Ryan Martin / Walmart
Best of the Best
Best Lasagna for Two
Best Cheesy Lasagna
Best Vegetable Lasagna
Best Quality Ingredients
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