Is Lasagna a Casserole?

Lasagna and casserole. They are both delicious oven-baked meals. Both combine veggies, sauce, and other ingredients to create a flavorful dish. They both make great leftovers. But is Lasagna considered a Casserole?

slice of lasagna with blue banner and text "is lasagna a casserole?"

The two dishes have so much in common. To me, lasagna and casserole are each the ultimate comfort food. They are also both great freezer meals. It’s so easy to store unbaked casserole or lasagna in the freezer for an easy dinner on busy nights or busy weeknights.

At first glance, lasagna might seem like it belongs to the casserole family. The two dishes share so many comforting qualities and use similar ingredients.

Despite being prepared in the same dish and evoking similar memories of warmth, I believe there is one characteristic that sets lasagna and casserole apart. 

As you will see, lasagna can technically be classified as a casserole, but they way the two dishes are prepared sets them apart. Casserole generally mixes ingredients while lasagna uses layered ingredients. In my opinion, this distinction puts lasagna in its own mouth watering category.

Want to learn more, check out this post on the difference between a casserole and a hot dish!

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overhead picture of lasagna

What’s the difference between a casserole and a lasagna?

The two dishes may look the same, be prepared in the same dish, and maybe even share some similar ingredients. The difference between casserole and lasagna lies in how the ingredients are prepared together.

A casserole is a dish that is made with cooked items that are mixed together then baked in the oven.

A lasagna is and Italian dish made of uncooked pasta sheets and other ingredients that are layered on top of one another then baked.

So, mixed ingredients vs. layered ingredients is the main difference that makes me believe casserole and lasagna are two different types of dishes.

Other people may argue that lasagna, since it is baked in a casserole pot, can be classified as a type of casserole, I think that the way the ingredients mix with one another makes a huge difference. 

Both dishes require an even distribution of ingredients. Casseroles do this by mixing them together. Lasagna gets an even distribution of items by layering them evenly on top of each other.

spatula of square of lasagna

What is considered a casserole?

A casserole is defined as a dish in which food can be baked and served. So technically, casserole is the dish itself, not the meal.

Anything prepared in a casserole dish would be a type of casserole. By this definition, someone could argue that lasagna is a type of casserole because it is prepared in a casserole dish.

A casserole is also a one-dish meal of mixed ingredients that is made in the oven. Most casserole contain a protein like beef, chicken, beans, or fish as well as a mix of veggies and starch. Common ingredients in casseroles include potatoes, green beans, pasta, and cheese.

What is lasagna classified?

Based on the definition of casserole being anything prepared in a casserole dish, lasagna could be considered one as well.

On the other hand, if we look at the definition of lasagna, it is a type of pasta made in wide, flat sheets. So, the definition of traditional lasagna actually refers to the type of pasta and not the dish overall.

These lasagna sheets are often layered with tomato sauce, ground beef or another protein, and ricotta cheese. The layering between the flat sheet of pasta, pasta sauce, cheese and meat differs from a classic casserole that mixes them together.

Lasagna can also be layered with white sauce (like bechamel sauce), meat sauce, italian sausage, and other veggies. Lasagnas are often topped with parmesan cheese, parsley flakes, and italian seasoning. They are then served in the baking dish like a casserole is.

square of lasagna on a plate

Is Lasagna a Casserole?

The answer to “is lasagna a casserole?” depends on your interpretation of both definitions.

According to the definition of the word casserole being a meal made in casserole dishes, then yes, lasagna is a type of casserole.

If you follow the definition of lasagna being the type of pasta, then pasta dishes using lasagna are considered lasagna.

With those in mind, lasagna is both a casserole and a lasagna. In my opinion, I believe the definition of these two dishes should include how the ingredients are combined.

Since casserole dishes are made of mixed ingredients and lasagna dishes are made of pasta layered with sauce, meat, cheese, and vegetables, I consider them to be different. No matter how you classify the two dishes, what we can all agree on is that each one makes a delicious, family favorite one-dish meal.

fork of lasagna on a white plate

My Favorite Lasagna Recipe

On my sister site, I share my mom’s Classic Lasagna Recipe. Similar to a Baked Spaghetti Casserole with a few minor changes.

It’s full of layers of pasta cooked al dente, sandwiched between a creamy ricotta mixture, and a hearty and savory ground beef mixture.

Some prefer an Italian sausage mixture but I do love ground beef and it’s easier to find and use.

Serve it with a green salad and a large bowl of garlic knots tossed in fresh garlic and olive oil!

If you love this recipe as much as I do, pin this to your favorite casserole Pinterest board and share it on your favorite social media channels!

slice of lasagna with blue banner

Good casserole and classic lasagna never seem to disappoint. They are great make-ahead meals and make great leftovers the next day. Whether you believe lasagna is a casserole or not, the most important thing to remember is that foods often fit multiple different definitions.

It all depends on how you define different types of dishes and that what really matters is that we enjoy the meals we make and enjoy the people we share them with.

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