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Mexican lasagna is a twist on an Italian classic that swaps some of the standard ingredients with Mexican flavors. Ricotta and mozzarella cheeses are substituted with cheddar and Pepper Jack, but you’ll still enjoy the thick tomato-based meat sauce and noodles you expect in this dish.
Layered the same way as traditional lasagna, this Mexican lasagna is easy to assemble and a definite crowd pleaser. One pan can feed a party or become a tasty weeknight meal with leftovers for the next day! Check out the video to see how this is made below.
The flavors and ingredients used in this recipe will create a whole new family favorite, without overshadowing the traditional lasagna that you know and love.
Use your favorite salsa or try my classic fire roasted salsa recipe made with fresh, charred veggies. Need a side dish to round out your plate? Pair wholesome one-pan meal with a side of cilantro lime rice!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Ground Pork & Ground Beef – I use 80/20 ground beef to avoid too much fatty grease, but you could use a leaner blend. Ground chicken and turkey and good lean substitutes as well.
- Beef Stock – This will create a deeper flavor in your meat sauce than water alone.
- Tomato Paste – Helps to thicken the sauce while also deepening the flavor.
- Salsa – I prefer the heat and textures of Pace Picante Medium Salsa in my Mexican lasagna, but use your favorite!
- Chili Seasoning – A blend of traditional spices that pair perfectly for a little heat and a lot of taste. I make my own homemade chili powder to store and use in many of my recipes!
- Cumin & Garlic Powder – Infuses subtle hit and savory flavor into the dish.
- Mexican Oregano – Lemon, citrus, and a hint of licorice set Mexican oregano apart from regular oregano, which has a mintier flavor profile.
- Lasagna Noodles – No-boil noodles are often a little smaller than traditional lasagna noodles, but either variety will soak up and bake in the flavors of this tasty dish.
- Corn – You can use either a drained can of kernels or frozen kernels that have been thawed.
- Refried Beans – Any variety of ready-to-eat refried beans will work. Or, cook up your own classic refried beans if you have the time!
- Cheese – Use freshly shredded cheddar and Pepper Jack deli slices for the Mexican lasagna layers. For garnish, use cotija and queso fresco.
Video: making Mexican lasagna
As with any lasagna recipe, there’s a bit of assembly required. Trust me though; it’s worth taking the time to make it!
To see the process of making this dish from start to finish, watch the video located in the recipe card, down below.
HOW TO MAKE MEXICAN LASAGNA
- Prepare Sauce. Add ground pork and beef to a large pot and brown over medium heat, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Add beef broth, scraping bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in salsa, tomato paste, and spices, then simmer over low heat for 1 hour.
- Soak Noodles. Add your noodles to the baking pan and cover completely with hot water. Soak for 30 minutes, then drain and discard the water.
- Prepare For Baking. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease the bottom and sides of your dry baking pan.
- Start Layering. Add 1 ½ cups of sauce to the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Layer 4-6 noodles over the sauce, then spread half of the refried beans over noodles. Next, add half of the corn.
- Add Cheese. Add another 1 ½ cups of sauce followed by 4-6 more noodles. Instead of beans and corn, add half of the cheddar and Pepper Jack cheeses.
- Repeat Layers. Add another 1 ½ cups of sauce, 4-6 noodles, the remaining refried beans, and the remaining corn. Finally, add 1 ½ cups of sauce, 4-6 noodles, and the remaining cheeses.
- Finish & Cover. Add 4-6 more noodles and another cup of sauce. Top with the remaining cheese and loosely cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake. Bake the Mexican lasagna, covered, in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes to brown the cheese.
- Rest & Serve. Remove the finished dish from the oven and let it rest for at least 5 minutes. Garnish with your choice of crumbled cheese and serve hot!
👨🍳 Pro Tip
For a smoother sauce, pulse the meat and salsa mixture a few times in a food processor.
Can I Freeze Homemade Lasagna?
You can easily freeze leftover Mexican lasagna or freeze an entire pan for later! I recommend you portion leftovers into single servings to thaw just as much as you need at a time. Once cooled, wrap each portion in several layers of foil or transfer to an airtight container.
Cooked lasagna will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in the oven.
To meal prep, assemble the lasagna as directed in a foil baking dish. Wrap in two layers of foil, then freeze unbaked. It will keep for 3-4 months. Bake from frozen as directed, adding 20-30 minutes to the baking time.
👨🍳 Pro Tip to save freezer space
If you plan to freeze the Mexican lasagna, use a generous amount of non-stick cooking spray in the casserole dish. After it’s frozen solid, invert the casserole dish onto a double-thickness sheet of aluminum foil.
Wrap the lasagna in the foil and label it before putting it back into the freezer.
What Is Queso Fresco?
Queso fresco is a soft, fresh cheese that is often described as something between mozzarella cheese and goat cheese. While queso fresco is softer than mozzarella, it does not melt as easily. It can be made strictly of cow milk or a combination of cow and goat milk. The signature flavor of queso fresco makes it the perfect garnish for Mexican lasagna.
Why Is My Lasagna Watery?
Watery lasagna could be the result of noodles that were not drained well, overly wet sauce, or not letting your cooked lasagna rest long enough before cutting. To avoid this dilemma, add 5 more minutes to your uncovered cooking time to help your lasagna firm up. Also, try letting your Mexican lasagna rest for as much as 15 minutes when you take it out of the oven. Any excess juices will absorb as the dish cools.
This post, originally published on Kevin is Cooking Jan. 15, 2018, was updated with new content, photos and/or video in March, 2023.
Mexican Lasagna Casserole + Video
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 lb lean ground beef (See Note 1)
- 1 cup beef stock
- 4 cups salsa (See Note 2)
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano or original oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 pound lasagna noodles
- 30 oz refried beans (Two 15 oz cans)
- 15 oz corn canned or thawed from frozen
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 lb pepper jack cheese (deli slices)
- In a large pot over medium heat, add ground pork and beef. Break up the meat with a spoon and cook until meat is well browned, Stir in beef broth, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of pan. Add the salsa, tomato paste, spices, salt and pepper. Stir to mix thoroughly and lower heat to simmer. Cook for 1 hour adding more beef broth if it gets too thick.
- Meanwhile, place lasagna noodles into the bottom of your baking pan. Pour hot water over the noodles, making sure the lasagna noodles are completely covered with water. Let soak for 30 minutes, then drain and discard water.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a deep 9×13″ baking pan.
- Layer 1: Spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan. Place 4-6 noodles on top (enough to cover meat sauce). Spread with half of the refried beans. Top with half of corn.
- Layer 2: Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over corn. Place 4-6 noodles on top (enough to cover meat sauce), then sprinkle with half cheddar and pepper jack cheese.
- Repeat Layer 1 and 2. To finish, place a final layer of lasagna noodles, topped with another 1 cup of meat sauce to cover the pasta. Top with remaining cheese.
- Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake additional 20 minutes for cheese to brown.
- Remove from oven, allow to rest 5 minutes and crumble queso fresco or cotija cheese and chopped cilantro on top (optional). Serve hot.
- I use 80/20 ground beef, but you can go leaner if you prefer.
- I use Pace Picante Salsa (Medium)
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.