Dutch Oven Lasagna
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Layer after layer of melty cheese, marinara sauce, Italian sausage and noodles, this Dutch Oven Lasagna is guaranteed to be one of the most satisfying camping meals you’ll ever try!
Can anything come close to the mouthwatering perfection that is lasagna? Some foods satisfy our stomachs, some foods spark our intellect, but lasagna speaks directly to our hearts. It’s like a big loving hug from the Italian grandmother neither one of us ever had.
For this one pot Dutch Oven Lasagna, we streamlined the ingredients and simplified the assembly to make it easier and faster to make a campsite. All it takes is a handful of ingredients and about 30 minutes of active preparation to get this meal started. After that, you can kick back and let it bake in the embers until it’s ready!
We developed this recipe to be made in a 10” 4-quart Dutch oven, which makes enough for food to feed six people (or over-feed four). You can also double the recipe and it will fit inside a 12” 6-quart Dutch oven.
If you’re looking for a heart-warming meal to make at your campsite, give this Dutch oven lasagna a try!
Barilla Oven-Ready Flat Lasagna Noodles: We don’t often recommend a specific brand, but you definitely want to use this no-boil noodle from Barilla. We tried other styles (frilled edges) and they don’t rehydrate nearly as well in the sauce.
Marinara Sauce: This recipe calls for a standard 25 oz jar of marinara sauce—use your favorite!
Sausage: We used Impossible Sausage in this specific recipe, but you can use crumbled pork sausage if you prefer.
Ricotta: We developed this recipe to use a standard 15 oz container. Store it in your cooler, and then use the entire thing in this recipe as it spoils quickly after being opened.
Egg: The egg really improves the texture of the ricotta (by making it less crumbly) and helps bind it together.
Parsley: If you want some green in your lasagna, flat leaf Italian parsley is vastly superior than spinach.
Italian Cheese Blend: A nice blend of pre-shredded Asiago, Parmesan, and Romano cheese. All of which are fairly melty, but not overly stringy like mozzarella.
Italian Seasoning: Easiest way to get a great all-around Italian flavor without bringing the entire spice rack with you!
Dutch oven: For this recipe we we used a 10” 4-quart Lodge Dutch oven. You can double the recipe and it would fit inside a 12” 6-quart Dutch oven.
Lid Lifter: We use this Lodge 4-in-1 lid lifter tool to help us remove and reposition our Dutch oven lid once the coals are on.
How to Make Dutch Oven Lasagna
Start the Coals / Prepare your Fire
The first step of making Dutch oven lasagna is to start your fire or charcoals. You will using them to both brown the sausage first and then bake the lasagna, so you will want to make sure you have plenty on hand.
If using embers, get a large fire going using (preferably) hardwood and let it slowly burn down. This process from start to finish can take upwards of an hour.
If using charcoals, fill a large chimney starter and light. This process will take approximately 20 minutes to get all the coals hot and ready. You will likely want to have some charcoals available in reserve.
Make the Ricotta Cheese Blend
While the fire charcoals get going, now is a great time to make your ricotta cheese blend. Crack an egg into a large bowl and beat thoroughly. Add the ricotta cheese, chopped parsley, Italian seasoning, salt and mix until combined. Set aside until you are ready to start assembling the lasagna.
Brown the Sausage
Even before your embers/charcoals are ready, you can begin browning your sausage over direct heat. Place the Dutch oven over the heat, add a little cooking oil, and then add in your crumbled sausage.
For this recipe we used Impossible Sausage, which is the best vegan-sausage alternative we’ve tried. When mixed in to the lasagna, you would never be able to tell the difference. However, you can also use crumbled pork sausage as well.
Allow the sausage to brown undisturbed on one side, then use a metal spatula to break it apart into smaller bite-sized pieces. Once the sausage is uniformly brown, remove the Dutch oven from the heat and transfer the cooked sausage to a bowl.
Assemble the Lasagna!
Now for the fun part: assembling the lasagna layers. You will need to break the some of the lasagna noodles to get them to fit properly. Make sure all noodles are fully coated in sauce to allow them to rehydrate.
Starting from the bottom and working upwards, here is the layering order:
Base Layer: Olive oil (as needed if bottom of Dutch oven is dry) + Marinara sauce (½ c.)
First Layer: Lasagna noodles + Marinara sauce (½ c.) + Ricotta blend (half) + Italian cheese blend (½ c.) + Sausage (half)
Second Layer: Lasagna noodles + Marinara sauce (½ c.) + Ricotta blend (half) + Italian cheese blend (½ c.) + Sausage (half)
Top Layer: Lasagna noodles + Marinara Sauce (remaining) + Italian cheese blend (½ c.)
Bake the Lasagna
The last step is to bake the lasagna! Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and place it on top of spread out pile of charcoals. Then load up the lid of the Dutch oven with additional coals. We fill up the entire lid.
Ideally you are aiming for the internal bake temp to be around 375ºF, although achieving that via an exact charcoal count is near impossible. Hover your hand over the coals to gauge the intensity of their heat. You are looking for them to be quite hot, but not molten lava hot.
Thankfully, since there is so much moisture in the lasagna, it’s a very forgiving recipe. So even if you’re a little hot, it will still turn out fine.
Rotate the lid and Dutch oven occasionally to even out any hot spots. After about 30 minutes over the coals, it should be ready! Take a peek inside—the cheese on top should be melted and lightly browned.
Remove from heat and allow a few minutes to cool down, which makes it easier to cut. Then slice it and serve. Enjoy!
Dutch Oven Lasagna
- 14 oz sausage, Impossible Sausage or pork
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, fresh, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 25 oz pasta sauce, (approx 2 ½ cups)
- 9 oz Barilla Oven-Ready Lasagne, divided into 4 sets
- 1½ cup Italian cheese blend (shredded)
- Prepare your coals: Either light charcoals (recommended) or start a campfire for cooking. Coals will take about 20 minutes to light, a campfire will take up to an hour to burn down to embers.
- Prep the ricotta filling: While the fire charcoals get going, make the ricotta cheese filling. Crack an egg into a large bowl and thoroughly scramble. Add the ricotta cheese, chopped parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, and mix until combined. Set aside.
- Brown the sausage: Place the Dutch oven over the campfire (or over a camp stove) and heat a touch of oil. Add the sausage. Brown, undisturbed, on one side, then use a metal spatula to break it apart into smaller bite-sized pieces. Once the sausage is uniformly brown, remove the Dutch oven from the heat and transfer the cooked sausage to a bowl.
- Assemble the lasagna: Layer the ingredients as follows. You may want to break the lasagna noodles to better fit the shape of the Dutch oven.– Base Layer: Olive Oil + Marinara sauce (½ c.)– First Layer: Lasagna noodles + Marinara sauce (½ c.) + Ricotta blend (half) + Italian cheese blend (½ c.) + Sausage (half)– Second Layer: Lasagna noodles + Marinara sauce (½ c.) + Ricotta blend (half) + Italian cheese blend (½ c.) + Sausage (half)– Top Layer: Lasagna noodles + Marinara Sauce (remaining) + Italian cheese blend (½ c.)
- Bake: Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and place it on top of spread out pile of charcoals. Then load up the lid of the Dutch oven with additional coals. Rotate the lid and Dutch oven occasionally to even out any hot spots. After about 30 minutes over the coals (see note*), it should be ready! Take a peek inside—the cheese on top should be melted and lightly browned.
- Serve: Take the Dutch oven off the heat. Carefully remove the lid and set aside. Cool for a few minutes before cutting into serving portions.
Nutrition (Per Serving)
This recipe was originally published 2/2016 and was updated 9/2022.
Beautiful photos! This dish looks so delicious! Plus everything made outdoors in a Dutch oven just tastes better too!
Isn’t that the truth?! Thanks for the kind words, Andrea 🙂
Yum…this makes lasagna seem like so much less of an “event” to make, but just as satisfying!
We are all about the looks-and-tastes-impressive but easy to make camping meals around here!
Tried this recipe. Wasn’t even enough for three people! Need to use double the sauce. Tasted great! Just wasn’t enough.
Thanks for the feedback, Sharon! We might need to tinker with the filling ratios…
Thank you so much for your site! We recently camped for a week around Vancouver Island, BC with our 3 year and dined solely on your recipes. Everything was amazing and my favorite was this lasagna dish. Thank you very much for your efforts and we look forward to many more camping trips with your recipes and tips!
Good one. it is a very interesting blog. Thanks for sharing this article.
I’m a farm wife in Alberta, Canada & was trolling thru Pinterest for something easy and fast to feed my hubby & father in law in the field. AMAZING!! I used all the ingredients along with a small red & fellow pepper I roasted on the grill first, cut up and added to the layers. (We like it a little spicier! ????) They loved it!! Thanks so much for all your experiments with awesome recipes! Keep it up, please!
Thanks, Gina! Glad they enjoyed it!
can i change the spinach into meat?
Absolutely! In that case, I’d recommend browning the meat a bit in a pre-heated dutch oven. Then take it out, build the lasagna, substituting the spinach layer with the meat, and bake!
Is it possible to use the dutch oven on a camp stove?
Yes, but in order to get top-down heat, you’ll need to put coals on top of the lid. Otherwise, you’ll get an overcooked bottom and an undercooked top.
We cook a lot of Dutch oven recipes however we usually use parchment paper to line the Dutch oven. Do you recommend that for this lasagna recipe?
We haven’t tried it with the lasagna recipe before, but we don’t see why it wouldn’t work.
I have made this several times while camping. It is fantastic and easy! We add different substitutions sometimes, like fresh basil or zucchini. It has always turned out fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing.
I love the recipe, best lasagna I ever made!
I added some lentils though, it gave a nice bite and improves nutritional value.
Now off to try some more of your Dutch oven recipe!
This looks good but I don’t understand why this is labeled lasagna without ricotta or cottage cheese. We don’t happen to like the cottage cheese filling and only use ricotta but that is a personal taste thing. Not trying to be negative or anything just curious.
It still looks awesome!
Hey Brianna! Since ricotta is one of those cheeses that can spoil easily we adapted this recipe to use a heartier cheese that could withstand a few days in a cooler at the campsite. If you’re on a shorter camping trip or cooking this at home, it would definitely work with ricotta!
A lasagna without ricotta – thank you. Now to figure out how to fix it for a Girl Scout troop of 7 girls and 2 adults. Sugggstions?
I’d suggest a 6qt (12″) Dutch oven and use at least double the ingredients. We haven’t tested it that way so I can’t tell you with total accuracy but that seems like it would be a good place to start! Hope you and your troop have fun 🙂
This is a super dooper recipe – I’ve used it several times with and without a dutch oven. Ok I don’t really like buying meat sauce so I make my own but apart from that I stick to the recipe and using spinach just gives that extra moisture to it – and makes the white or cheese sauce completely unnecessary. Really great taste and texture. Thank you.
Could you use embers from a wood fire instead of coals?
Yes, you absolutely could use wood embers! It will take a bit of approximation to get the heat right since embers are irregular in size compared to charcoal briquettes, but Dutch oven cooking is a bit of an imperfect science to begin with 😉
Could you use wood for heat instead of the coals?
Yes, you absolutely could use wood embers! It will take a bit of approximation to get the heat right since embers are irregular in size compared to charcoal briquettes, but Dutch oven cooking is a bit of an imperfect science anyway 😉
This was delicious! I added some ricotta cheese and it was a bit messier – it didn’t hold together as well – but it was delicious! It will be a regular meal when we go camping!
At least it still tasted good. We’ve been meaning to test a few variations on this recipe for a while. We’ll look into a way to incorporate ricotta.
Having trouble finding fresh lasagna noodles. Can you substitute the no cook noodles? If so, would you need to add some water?
You should be able to substitute with no-boil lasagna. They will be more rigid, so you might need to crack them into pieces. As per the instructions on the box, you shouldn’t need to add more water. But be sure to use a healthy amount of tomato sauce in your layers. That’s what’s going to cause the steam.
This looks delicious. What would be a good replacement for fresh pasta noodles?
It should be possible with “no-boil” dried lasagna noodles you can buy at the store. You will probably need to break the sheets to make them fit. Just make sure you add a little extra sauce on the bottom layer, the trapped steam should take care of the rest!
Super easy to make. Choose a quality spaghetti sauce. This was truly delicious and loved by all. We didn’t have spinach so used ground beef as a substitute. Thank you! Easy clean up too. (Use a Dutch oven liner!)
Love the hint about the frozen GF noodles – thank you!
Used this recipe with my scout troop this weekend. I added sausage & doubled the sauce, plus added Ricotta cheese. Cooked for about 45 minutes and it was perfect. The report was “we should make this again”. I take that as a win. Thanks for the recipe.
This recipe and method is everything it says it is. It has become a ‘must’ on our camping trips.