Gluten-Free Lasagne

This Gluten-Free Lasagne is unbeatable. Rich beef ragu is layered between gluten-free pasta and a creamy cheesy sauce. Topped with mountains of grated gruyère and mozzarella then baked until golden. Here are all the tips and step by step advice to make your favourite lasagne indistinguishably gluten-free.

gluten-free lasagne on a plate

Every time I share a lasagne in company there ensues a hotly contested debate over the best kind of lasagne. Do you prefer it ultra saucey? Really cheesy or overly meaty? Do you like it to stand proudly upright so you can see all the layers or melt into a puddle of its own deliciousness.

It’s usually agreed that whichever lasagne you grew up eating as a child is the measuring stick to which all future lasagnes should be held accountable to.

gluten-free lasagne with a slice taken out

Lasagne or lasagna?

Let’s begin with the spelling. My spell check does not like fact that I spell lasagne with an ‘e’ at the end. However, I’m not being difficult.

The Italian word ‘lasagna’ really refers to a singular sheet of lasagna pasta. Lasagne is the plural and since the dish in question uses many sheets of pasta, Lasagne alla Bolognese, is the full Italian name of the dish in question.

In the UK we shorten the dish to ‘Lasagne.’ However in the US the same dish is spelt Lasagna.

But is it the same dish?

What is lasagne?

The Italian Lasagne alla Bolognese

The Italian version is of course is the basis for all other incarnations of lasagne. It generally refers to wide flat pasta sheets layered with a classic béchamel (white) sauce, a meaty ragu then topped with grated parmesan and baked in the oven. Made authentically it can easily be cut into portions.

The British Lasagne

Like many British I grew up with something similar. Well, most of the ingredients are the same anyway. The main difference was the copious amount of cheddar cheese added to the béchamel. Probably quadruple the amount of cheese sauce one might consider appropriate. When my mum made it the whole dish cascaded into a meaty cheese feast with a few layers of pasta hiding somewhere inside. Sublime but you pretty much need a spoon to eat it.

The American Lasagna

In another variation on lasagne, popular with American cooks, the béchamel is replaced with a mixture of ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Since this version eschews the béchamel it is easy to make gluten-free. I have tried this method before and thought it was lovely though quite different from what I was used to.

Let’s face it, any kind of lasagne is always pretty great. However, for my favourite Gluten-Free Lasagne I tend to rely upon the best bits of all these different versions.

gluten-free lasagne on a plate

What makes this Gluten-Free Lasagne so brilliant?

  • Rich and tomatoey beef ragu. Made even more flavourful by the inclusion of a smattering of chopped chicken livers to enhance the meatiness.
  • A really good cheese béchamel. I use the Best Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce for between the layers. It’s smooth, creamy and deeply cheesy thanks to the use of nutty gruyère.
  • Mozzarella topping! This is a new addition to my go-to lasagne and it gives the top layer an ultra gooey cheesy crown.
  • Blanching the dried pasta sheets. This extra step really makes a difference to the finished texture of the lasagne.

Speaking of…

Do you have to pre-boil the lasagne sheets?

This is a new step that I have started taking when making lasagne and I wish I had always made time for it. Even though the packets of lasagne may say that no pre-cooking is required, just a minute of blanching the pasta sheets in boiling water really improves the finished texture. Especially the case with gluten-free lasagne sheets which are often a little tougher.

How do you blanch lasagne sheets?

Choose a saucepan which is wide enough to fit a sheet of lasagna then fill up to a third with water and a pinch of salt.
Whilst you are bringing the water up to boil spread a large sheet of baking parchment on your work surface ready for the blanched pasta to rest on.
Once the water is boiling place in one lasagna sheet with a pair of tongs. Boil the pasta for 1 minute then remove with the tongs and place on the baking parchment to rest whilst you blanch the remaining sheets.
Repeat with 9 sheets of lasagne, blanching one at a time.
Blanching the pasta sheets one at a time ensures they don’t stick together.

PRO TIP

Boil the pasta concurrently with assembling the lasagne. By the time three pasta sheets are blanched then it should be about time to layer into the lasagne.

How do you make Gluten-Free Lasagne?

  1. Saute onions, carrots and celery in a wide bottomed saucepan until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the beef mince and chicken livers with garlic and seasoning and stir in until the beef has crumbled and browned.
  3. Pour in a glass of red wine, let bubble for a couple of minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato puree, thyme, bay leaves and passata.
  5. Place a lid on the ragu and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Whilst the ragu is simmering you can make the cheese sauce. For detailed instructions on making the Best Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce visit my post here.Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce in a saucepan on a wooden board
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan / gas mark 4.
  8. Choose a 30cm x 20cm x 7cm baking dish and begin to assemble the lasagne.
  9. Start with spreading a third of the ragu at the bottom of the dish.
  10. Then arrange three blanched pasta sheets on top.
  11. Spread a third of the cheese sauce over the pasta sheets, making sure to totally cover them right to the edges of the pasta.
  12. Layer the ragu, then the pasta then the cheese sauce again.
  13. Assemble a final layer of ragu, pasta and cheese sauce. Sprinkle over some torn mozzarella and grated gruyère.gluten-free lasagne in a white dish before baking
  14. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

gluten-free lasagne in a white baking dish on a wooden board

PRO TIPS

  • If you are really averse to the inclusion of the chicken livers then simply replace the livers with diced smoked streaky bacon.
  • If you err on my Mum’s side of the more saucy lasagne then you just need to increase the amount of cheese sauce, by even as much as half again.
  • Blanch the pasta sheets. This step is simply a must.
  • Make sure you top your lasagne generously with the cheese sauce. Pay particular attention to the top layer. The pasta sheets need to be well covered with sauce and then cheese to stop the pasta from drying out.
  • Rest the lasagne for 15 minutes before serving – it will hold its shape better and you won’t scorch your tongue on the cheese
  • Serve with a simple salad.

How do you make bolognese ragu in the Instant Pot?

By making the bolognese ragu in the Instant Pot you can get a deeper flavour quicker. I suggest below that you might want to make the lasagne ahead so the flavours can really develop. If you make your ragu in the Instant Pot there is no need for that at all.

  • Follow the instructions for making the ragu as written in the method below just switch up the wide bottomed saucepan for the Instant Pot.
  • Instead of simmering the ragu for 30 minutes after you have added the passata you will need to seal the lid of the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
  • Naturally release for 10 minutes before switching to quick release and removing the lid.
  • Assemble the lasagne as instructed.

gluten-free lasagne on a plate

Can you make Gluten-Free Lasagne ahead?

Absolutely and actually I usually do. Lasagne is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day after the flavours have had a bit of time to rest and deepen. Just place in the oven with foil over the top to stop the cheese from over-browning for 40 minutes at 180°C.

Can you freeze Gluten-Free Lasagne?

Yes! And in fact I making a couple for my freezer to have up my sleeve for the first few weeks of the twins being born. There is no way I’m going to be up for cooking meals whilst looking after 4 children, enduring the sleepless nights and recovering from a probable c-section. Lasagne is the perfect freezer meal as it’s all there in the dish.

Wrap the lasagne up well in cling film and tin foil to freeze for up to two months. Remove from the freezer to defrost overnight. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes at 180°C/ 160°C fan / gas mark 4.
All you need is a little side salad to accompany. And I intend on delegating that to my husband.

Would you like some ideas for more gluten-free family meals?

Gluten-Free Shepherd’s Pie
Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese
Gluten-Free Fish and Chips
Simple Salmon Fishcakes
Bangers and Mash
Chicken and Leek Pie
Barbecue Spare Ribs

If you make Gluten-Free Lasagne then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own culinary creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Gluten-Free Lasagne

This Gluten-Free Lasagne is unbeatable. Rich beef ragu is layered between gluten-free pasta and a creamy cheesy sauce. Topped with mountains of grated gruyere and mozzarella then baked until golden.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 814kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large white onion finely diced
  • 2 sticks celery finely diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and finely diced
  • 1 kg beef mince
  • 50 g chicken livers finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 125 ml red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 400 g passata
  • 9 sheets gluten-free lasagne
  • 1 portion of Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce see notes
  • 75 g mature cheddar or gruyère cheese
  • 150 g mozzarella torn

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil for a couple of minutes in a large wide bottomed saucepan.
  • Add in the onion, celery and carrots and fry on a medium heat until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the beef mince, chicken livers, the crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Fry together until the mince has browned.
  • Pour in the red wine and stir together until the red wine begins to bubble.
  • Add the tomato puree, thyme and bay leaves. Stir in the passata and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Turn the heat down and simmer with a lid on for 30 minutes whilst you prepare the cheese sauce.

Cheese Sauce

  • For detailed instructions on the cheese sauce see notes.

Blanching the Pasta

  • Fill saucepan, wide enough to fit a lasagna sheet, up to a third with water and a pinch of salt.
  • Whilst you are bringing the water up to boil spread a large sheet of baking parchment on your work surface ready for the pasta to rest on.
  • Once the water is boiling place in one lasagna sheet with a pair of tongs. Boil the pasta for 1 minute then remove with the tongs and place on the baking parchment to rest whilst you blanch the remaining sheets.
  • Repeat with 9 sheets of lasagne, blanching one at a time.

Assembly

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan / gas mark 4.
  • Choose a 30cm x 20cm x 7cm baking dish and begin to assemble the lasagne.
  • Spread a third of the ragu at the bottom of the dish.
  • Then arrange 3 pre-blanched pasta sheets on top.
  • Spread a third of the cheese sauce over the pasta sheets, making sure to totally cover them right to the edges of the pasta.
  • Layer the ragu, then the pasta then the cheese sauce again.
  • Assemble a final layer of ragu, pasta and cheese sauce. Sprinkle over the torn mozzarella and grated gruyère.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Notes

Chicken Livers - If you are really averse to including chicken livers then change for 50g diced smoked streaky bacon which also adds a good depth of flavour.
Blanching the Pasta - I recommend using dried pasta for this recipe. Even if the pasta packet says you don’t need to pre-cook I advise blanching the pasta sheets before adding into the lasagna for better texture.
The Best Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce - see the detailed recipe here 
More cheese? For a more saucy lasagne then you just need to increase the amount of cheese sauce, by even as much as half again.
Topping the lasagne - Make sure you top your lasagne generously with the cheese sauce. Pay particular attention to the top layer. The pasta sheets need to be well covered with sauce and then cheese to stop the pasta from drying out.
Rest the lasagne for at least 15 minutes before serving – it will hold its shape better and you won’t scorch your tongue on the cheese.
Serve with a simple green salad.
Make Ahead – You can make the lasagne up to three days ahead and keep in the fridge. To heat cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes at 180°C/ 160°C fan / gas mark 4.
Freeze – You can freeze the finished lasagne. Wrap the lasagne up well in cling film and tin foil to freeze for up to two months. Remove from the freezer to defrost overnight. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes at 180°C/ 160°C fan / gas mark 4.

Nutrition

Calories: 814kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 180mg | Sodium: 681mg | Potassium: 935mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 4997IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 271mg | Iron: 6mg

The Best Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce

The Best Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce has a full-bodied flavour which can be used in a variety of meals from pasta sauce to cauliflower cheese and is velvety smooth thanks to the use of sweet rice flour.

Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce in a saucepan on a wooden board

I have to be completely honest with you. At the moment I cannot get enough cheese. I am managing to incorporate it into most of my meals and desserts. Any excuse for cheesecake though, right? It must be something to do with needing more calcium during my pregnancy but for me my food choices are all about cheese cheese cheese.

If there is one gluten-free recipe that has become invaluable to me at the moment then it is this amazingly versatile cheese sauce. You can use this gluten-free cheese sauce recipe for pasta, cauliflower cheese or a delicious lasagne. I even mixed a spoonful into cooked peas and spinach the other night to encourage my 4 year old to eat his greens. It worked! This cheese sauce is magic.

Why is this Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce so brilliant?

  • Gorgeous depth of flavour thanks to a bay and nutmeg milk infusion.
  • Nutty gruyère provides a deep cheesy flavour.
  • A pinch of Dijon mustard amplifies the cheesiness.
  • Smooth luxurious texture that is indiscernible from a regular cheese sauce.

One of the most popular recipes at From The Larder is Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese which is made with milk, cornflour and cheese for a very simple every day cheese sauce.

The gluten-free cheese sauce we’re talking about today though is a little bit different. It is made the more traditional way by making a roux with flour and butter before adding the milk and cheese. It’s about 10 minutes more work but the flavour and texture is so much richer and more velvety.

Ingredients for Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce on a wooden board

So what’s the secret to the Best Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce?

Sweet Rice Flour

For this recipe we swap the usual plain flour for the same amount of sweet rice flour. You will be amazed by the results and I guarantee you won’t be able to tell the difference.

Sweet rice flour is such an underrated flour. Used prolifically in Asian baking it can be incredibly versatile for all manner of sweet and savoury dishes. Its gelatinous texture means it is invaluable when making gluten-free sauces and gravies. It provides a silky smooth texture, totally unlike the thin graininess you might achieve from regular rice flour or a plain gluten-free flour.

You can buy sweet rice flour in Asian supermarkets (where it’s not necessarily certified gluten-free but is very good value) or from Amazon.

If you would like to know more more more about sweet rice flour then visit my comprehensive guide at this link. You will be a total convert.

What cheese do I use for a cheese sauce?

You want to use a cheese that has a robust rich flavour and has a good melting consistency.

  • Gruyère – this is what I like use, it has a great rounded flavour, melts like a dream and what is recommended here for this recipe
  • Fontina – not always easy to get hold of but melts beautifully with lovely depth.
  • Cheddar – let’s face it you can never go wrong with a good mature cheddar. You know what you’re getting, you’ve probably already got it in the fridge and it gives good sauce.
  • Mix n’Match – Why not walk on the wild side with a mixture of cheeses? Try a combo of cheddar and parmesan. Or crumble in a bit of blue cheese for a really special broccoli pasta sauce.

How do I make Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce?

  1. Pour the milk, bay leaf, salt, pepper and nutmeg into a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.Infusing milk for gluten-Free cheese sauce. In a saucepan.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the sweet rice flour, whisk together to make a smooth roux.making a roux for gluten-free cheese sauce in a saucepanThe roux for Gluten-Free cheese sauce in a saucepan
  3. Remove the bay leaf from the milk then pour the milk into the roux very slowly. Whisk all the time until the milk has fully combined and the sauce is thick, smooth and bubbling.Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce in a saucepan on a wooden board
  4. Add the cheese and Dijon mustard and stir until the cheese has completely melted.
  5. Turn off the heat and use the sauce in whichever way you fancy.

Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce in a saucepan on a wooden board

Pro Tips

  • For a cheese sauce with deep flavour allow the infused milk to rest for at least an hour.
  • Conversely if you are pressed for time then you don’t have to let the infused milk to rest at all – the flavour will still be top notch.
  • Transfer the milk into a jug to make it easier to pour into the roux, then you can use the same saucepan you used for the milk to make the roux.

What do I do if my sauce is lumpy?

Don’t worry, it can be easily fixed. Check your sauce for consistency before you add the cheese. If the sweet rice flour isn’t dissolving into the sauce here are your options:

  1. Whisk vigorously on a gentle heat.
  2. Sieve – use a fine Moulin sieve.
  3. If the whisking and sieving doesn’t do the trick then add 50ml of cold whole milk to the sauce and bring to a gentle simmer whisking all the time. It will soon thicken up again. The flour just probably needed more liquid.

Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce in a saucepan on a wooden board

Make Ahead or Meal Prep

This cheese sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead of when you need to use it. Do you want Mac n’Cheese for Tuesday supper? Well prepare this cheese sauce the Sunday before and cut down on your dinner prep mid-week.

What can I use Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce for?

  • Any pasta dish – mac n’cheese, lasagne
  • Cauliflower or Broccoli Cheese
  • Fish Pie
  • Smothered over Chicken Schnitzel and served with salad.

Variations on Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce

  • I have been known to swap out the salt for a bit of crumbled bacon salt for extra savouriness.
  • Have you tried Honey Dijon Mustard? It really takes this cheese sauce to the next level. It adds just a touch of sweetness.
  • Vegan Cheese Sauce – swap out the whole milk for a dairy-free alternative (cashew milk works well), then use vegan butter and vegan cheese.

Need more cheese in your life?

Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese
Cheesy Brussel Sprout and Leek Gratin
Brazilian Cheese Rolls
Cheesy Oat Bacon Breakfast Muffins
White Chocolate Ginger Cheesecake

If you make The Best Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own culinary creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce in a saucepan on a wooden board
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5 from 1 vote

The Best Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce

The Best Gluten-Free Cheese Sauce has a full-bodied flavour which can be used in a variety of meals from pasta sauce to cauliflower cheese and is velvety smooth thanks to the use of sweet rice flour.
Cook Time15 mins
Resting Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 201kcal

Ingredients

  • 550 ml whole milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 25 g sweet rice flour
  • 100 g gruyère
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Instructions

  • Pour the whole milk into a saucepan along with the bay leaf, white pepper, salt and nutmeg.
  • Heat to a very gentle boil then turn to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for at least an hour to infuse.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the sweet rice flour. Mix together until a smooth roux has formed.
  • Remove the bay leaf from the milk then pour gradually into the roux. Whisk all the while until all the milk has been incorporated. The sauce will begin to bubble and thicken.
  • Add the cheese and the mustard and stir in until melted.
  • Remove from the heat and use however you wish.

Notes

  • Cutting Corners: If you don’t have the time then you don’t need to let the milk rest but can use straightaway.
  • Lumpy Sauce: If your white sauce seems lumpy before adding the cheese then whisk vigorously on a low heat. If you still can’t get rid of the lumps of flour then try sieving in a fine mesh sieve. Finally if that still hasn’t done the trick then slowly pour in 50ml of cold whole milk whisking it in firmly. This should sort it out.
  • Cheese Choice: Gruyere is not your only option for this cheese sauce. You can use fontina, mature cheddar, a mixture of cheddar and parmesan or a bit of blue cheese.
  • Make Ahead: You can make this cheese sauce at least 3 days ahead of when you need it. Store in the fridge.
  • Serving Suggestions: Use this sauce in mac n’cheese, lasagna, fish pie or cauliflower cheese.

Nutrition

Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 203mg | Potassium: 135mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 515IU | Calcium: 274mg