Skillet Lasagna – A Better Hamburger Helper

Skillet Lasagna is a great alternative to Hamburger Helper. Are you ever looking for an inexpensive meal to prepare on a weeknight? I know I am, and I have a solution for you.

lasagna in a bowl and a skillet.

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Budget Friendly Skillet Lasagna

Recently some of my CopyKat Youtube folks were looking for inexpensive meals to prepare. I wanted to come up with a recipe that was inexpensive to make, and very hearty. I always enjoyed Hamburger Helper as a child, and I wanted to recreate this favorite childhood recipe.

What Is Skillet Lasagna? 

This one-pan meal has all the flavor of lasagna and the ease of making regular pasta. It’s a great recipe to make if you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking or cleaning up but still want to serve your family something nutritious and tasty. 

Why This Easy Skillet Lasagna Is So Much Better Than Hamburger Helper Lasagna 

What’s not to love when it comes to this skillet lasagna recipe? It’s an incredibly easy and tasty way to use any leftover lasagna sheets or pasta in your pantry.

And unlike Hamburger Help or other boxed lasagna meals that use powdered or condensed mystery ingredients, you know exactly what you are feeding your family. So, skip the overly processed box, and make this one skillet lasagna recipe instead. 

Hamburger Helper Lasagna Recipe Ingredients

Here’s a list of what you need for making one skillet lasagna:

  • Ground Italian Sausage or Ground Beef
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Canned Chopped Tomatoes
  • Water
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Lasagna Noodles or Pasta
  • Ricotta Cheese
skillet lasagna ingredients on a baking sheet.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Choose your favorite ground meat or even a mixture. Ground beef is good, but Italian sausage adds more flavor to this dish. But you don’t have to use red meat. Ground turkey or even soy crumbles also work well in this recipe. 

Although you shouldn’t miss this chance to use up those few sheets of lasagna noodles left in the box, any short pasta you have, like bow ties or penne, will work in this recipe. If you only have no-bake lasagna noodles, you will need to add a little more water to the pan, about a quarter cup. 

I use fresh onions and garlic. If you happen to have some bell peppers in your fridge, you could toss in one of those if you like. This recipe is very flexible.

I use ricotta cheese to add some flavor. If you like, you could swap this out for cottage cheese as either one will work. I personally prefer the ricotta because I like the taste and texture more when the cheese is heated.

skillet lasagna in a bowl in front of the skillet.

How to Make Skillet Lasagna

Here are the simple steps for this easy skillet lasagna recipe:

  1. Pour a little oil into a large skillet and warm over medium-high heat.
  2. Brown the ground meat in the pan. Pour out any excess grease, leaving about a tablespoon behind in the pan.
  3. Add the garlic and onions to the pan and cook until the onions become translucent. 
browned Italian sausage for skillet lasagna.
  1. Stir in the water, tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
meat sauce for skillet lasagna.
  1. Break the lasagna sheets into two-inch squares and add to the pan. Stir well.
adding broken lasagna noodles to a skillet with meat sauce.
  1. Cook uncovered until the pasta is al dente. The timing can vary depending on the type of pasta you are using. You may need to add more water if the pan is getting a little dry. 
  2. Add spoonfuls of ricotta cheese to the top of the skillet lasagna and cover to allow the cheese to melt slightly.
  3. Serve immediately. You can also top it with grated Parmesan or Romano if desired.
closeup of lasagna in a skillet.

Recipe Variations 

Lasaga is like the pizza of pasta dishes. People love it, there are about a million different ways to make it, and everyone has their own favorite. Here are three ways to modify this lasagna skillet if you want to try something a little different. 

  • Make easy skillet lasagna with cottage cheese, instead. Save calories and fat by replacing the ricotta cheese with cottage cheese. 
  • Slip a few vegetables into the pan. Roasted eggplant, sauteed broccoli rabe, and cooked peppers are great additions. 
  • Garnish with basil. Fresh, chopped basil adds a wonderful flavor and aroma to this dish. 

What To Serve With Skillet Lasagna 

This may be a favorite recipe for many busy cooks because it needs only one pan, but that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to dirty a few more to make some great side dishes:

  • Garlic bread. This recipe for cheesy garlic toast from the Pasta House Company is perfect. 
  • Spinach salad. Dress with a simple balsamic vinegarette, or get fancy with a warm bacon dressing
  • Sauteed broccoli rabe. The vegetable’s slight bitterness pairs so well with the richness of the lasagna, so if you are not adding it to the main course, why not serve it as a side dish? 

How To Store Leftover Skillet Lasagna

Go ahead and save any extra lasagna in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for up to two months. Take the remaining lasagna out of the pan and put it in a freezer-safe container with a firm-fitting lid. 

How to Reheat Skillet Lasagna 

The best way to reheat leftover lasagna is to put it back in the skillet with some tomato sauce on the bottom to keep it from sticking. Cover the pan and heat it over medium-low until the lasagna is warmed through. Make sure to thaw frozen lasagna overnight in the fridge or do a quick defrost in the microwave before reheating. 

overhead view of lasagna in a bowl and a skillet.

Inexpensive meals do not have to be flavorless they can be both filling and delicious. Cabbage roll casserole is made with fresh cabbage, ground meat, and rice.

More Italian Recipes

Favorite Budget-Friendly Meals

Check out my easy dinner recipes and the best Italian recipes here on CopyKat!

lasagna in a bowl and a skillet.

Skillet Lasagna

You can make flavorful homemade lasagna in a skillet that's better than Hamburger Helper lasagna.
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Hamburger Helper Lasagna, Skillet Lasagna
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 277kcal


  • 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage or ground beef
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 14.5 ounce canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces lasagna noodles or other type of pasta
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese


  • Brown the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion and garlic, and cook over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are translucent.
  • Add the tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, water, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Break the lasagna noodles into pieces, add them to the skillet, and stir to combine.
  • Cook for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pasta is done. If the liquid cooks out, you may need to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water.
  • Place dollops of ricotta cheese on top. Stir in the cheese if desired. You can top with additional cheese.



Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 602mg | Potassium: 384mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 310IU | Vitamin C: 9.1mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 1.6mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. L. Todaro

    The “skillet” dinners were by Hunt’s and not Hamburger Helper. They came in a box with noodles, sauce and for the lasagna, a packet that had ricotta solids. Thanks for making at attempt at replicating Hunt’s Skillet Lasagna.

  2. Rach's Recipes

    5 stars
    I love lasagna and I do believe in using pork sausages too as it helps create a richer sauce as compared to ground beef. I generously added mozzarella, ricotta, and chopped basil for this too. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Janeane Davis

    This seems like a good recipe that will be tasty and that the entire family will enjoy having. It is nice because there is lots of room for interpretation and creativity.

  4. Michael k meske

    I would like to say that you do a very great job of bringing us simple food That looks great and taste fantastic thanks

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