Frozen Lasagna Brands Ranked From Worst to Drool-Worthy

It's been a long day at work--a long week, even--and the last thing you want to do is cook a full meal for yourself. You walk through the frozen food aisle in the grocery store, hoping to find some inspiration. You don't need a whole frozen pizza to yourself, but the Lean Cuisines and other individually sized frozen entrees don't tend to be hardy and filling--better suited to lunch rather than dinner. Then it hits you: frozen lasagna.

The perfect, comfort-filled, easy-to-make Italian specialty. They might not be exactly what Nona makes, but it's hard to go wrong with the delicious trifecta of noodles, sauce, and melted cheese. And would it really hurt you to have a family size or party size? Serving size aside, you can at least get calcium from all that parmesan cheese. But which to choose? There are so many options these days.

That's where we come in--we gathered a panel of expert tasters to rate their favorite frozen lasagnas from worst to best. It's a hard job, but somebody has to do it!

Each has a cooking time of roughly 40 minutes, leaving you with extra time to take a shower, do some laundry, or kick back, and enjoy having dinner made for you. Just check the cooking instructions, preheat the oven, place it on a baking sheet, and set a timer. Dinner will be ready in no time!

Best Frozen Lasagna by Brand

3. Michael Angelo's Lasagna with Meat Sauce

Michael Angelo's lasagna
Michael Angelo's

Michael Angelo's describes its signature lasagna as "Homestyle meat sauce and creamy ricotta cheese smothered between layers of pasta then topped with mozzarella cheese." While this description is by no means incorrect, smothered ends up being the most important word.

Immediately after taking the lasagna out of the oven, it was obvious that the tomato sauce would overtake the dish. It appeared soupy in the container (the word "bisque" was thrown around) and had a watery taste to match. For how much sauce there was, it was surprisingly bland and un-spiced.

The cheese, unfortunately, had the opposite problem: The ricotta clumped together and remained very dry, even when swimming in sauce, leading to textural oddities. The dish left the impression of being wet, but flavorless--not the end-of-day treat we were looking for. Reheating the dish uncovered may have helped this problem, but when you're eating a frozen meal for dinner, the last thing you want to do is use your brain to figure out how to make it taste better.

2. Stouffer's Meat Lovers Lasagna

Stouffer's meat lovers lasagna
Stouffer's

Stouffer's Lasagna was a childhood favorite of mine, and therefore the frozen meal I was rooting for. However, my young memories let me down. While the lasagna noodles were thick and hardy with a great texture, the cheese was chunky and unevenly melted. While the ground beef was abundant, the consistency of the meat was off, tasting more like "space meat" than anything you could purchase at a butcher. Because of this, even though there was a good cheese-to-sauce ratio, finishing a plate leaves you with a cottony sensation in the mouth--not exactly what we're looking for.

Finally, the density of the noodles and cheese made it hard to retrieve the lasagna from the plastic packaging--meaning it had to be eaten in the container it cooked in, or else it would fall apart. You want to feel comforted, not sloppy--but sloppy is the feeling you're left with after trying to pry lasagna from a warm plastic container.

1. Rao's Made for Home Meat Lasagna

Rao's Meat Lasagna
Rao's Meat Lasagna

I'll just come out and say it: Rao's was a cut above the rest of the other lasagnas sampled and by far our panel of judges' favorite. The cheese was evenly distributed across the top and perfectly melted, forming a delicious crust that comes with homemade versions.

The sauce was flavorful, well-salted, and rich, like a hearty tomato sauce enriched with dairy. The ricotta was soft and velvety rather than chunky and dry. The ingredient ratios were well-balanced so nothing felt overwhelming.

Rao's also had a secret the others didn't: it includes beef meatballs and sausage, making it an Italian sausage lasagna. The blending of flavors and textures meant that Rao's will be my choice whenever I'm in the freezer aisle.

Honorable Mention: Amy's Organic Vegetable Lasagna

Amy's vegetable lasagna
Amy's

The only vegetable lasagna available at my local grocery store, Amy's did not suffer from not including meat. Topped with both mozzarella and parmesan, it was filled with organic veggies and had the best seasonings of the group. One of our tasters even declared Amy's to be his favorite of the bunch, which was initially surprising since upon taking them out of the oven, the meat-less option looked the least appetizing. ("It looks like cafeteria lasagna made with fake cheese," one of our panelists commented.)

With no preservatives included and lasagna stuffed with spinach, carrots, and zucchini, Amy's is easily the healthiest of the bunch--although you always want to check the individual ingredient information if you have concerns about cholesterol or other dietary restrictions.

Unfortunately, it was in need of both more cheese and more sauce, which made the overall experience drier than preferred. However, Amy's remains a solid option when it comes to frozen lasagnas, especially if you're a vegetarian.

While there's something to be found for everyone in the frozen lasagna section, remember that you can always fancify your meal if you're feeling creative. Add a few spices or toss some extra cheese on top to give your meal that extra punch. But remember: always choose part-skim over real mozzarella cheese, as the latter will contain too much water for this cooking scenario.

Ciao, bella!

READ: How To Freeze Lasagna for Later

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