Maybe there is a fantastic lasagna recipe in every household. But if you’re here right now, it’s likely that you’ve also had lasagna that was too watery to eat. But why — why have you experienced this tragedy? The recipe has never turned out watery despite being prepared a hundred times! Why now in particular? It is surprisingly simple to wind up with soggy lasagna, and there are a number of different reasons why this can happen.
So why is your lasagna soggy exactly? The main reason why your lasagna is watery is that it started off with too much liquid. Runny sauce, high-fat ground meat, undrained noodles, overfilling the baking dish, using the wrong baking time and temperature, and failing to rest the dish before slicing and serving can all contribute to this.
So much to handle! Don’t worry; we have put together a thorough, in-depth guide that will help you understand every detail of this meaty, rich, and creamy dish. Today, we’ll examine the precise causes of watery lasagna, along with solutions for both fixing it after the fact and preventing it altogether.
What Makes Lasagna Watery?
Today, we’re diving right in! What causes a lasagna to be watery? To be perfectly honest, there are numerous reasons! However, making lasagna is still not difficult. It’s just that a few factors can make it, well, not as amazing as it could have been. So, in order to better understand how to avoid watery lasagna (and even how to avoid it), let’s first examine what causes it.
1. Too Much Liquid
Okay, we get that this may sound obvious given that we are literally talking about wet lasagna. But rather than the outcome, this point mostly concerns the consistency of the ingredients you use to make your lasagna. For instance, utilizing a ground meat that is high in fat could result in an abundance of liquid. Or, if you use a very thin sauce in place of a thick, chunky sauce, you’ll undoubtedly have too much liquid.
It’s also possible that the lasagna sheets contain too much liquid by unintentionally. They may contribute water to this layered dish if you don’t let them drain and cool a bit before stacking them. These are the most typical methods by which people accidentally incorporate extra moisture. But don’t worry, the solution is rather simple! See more below on that.
2. Overfilling The Baking Dish
This is another common issue that is simple to resolve. There are two methods to overfill a baking dish with lasagna. The first is if they add too many layers that are too thin. The second scenario is that they add fewer layers, but the layers are far too thick. Both of them prevent moisture from evaporating in the oven, causing the filling and sauce to become richer and thicker instead of sitting between the layers.
3. Using Incorrect Baking Techniques
This captures several methods used to make soggy lasagna. They usually wrap it with aluminum foil, which is why. Once more, if you do so, the moisture will not be able to escape, and to make matters worse, you will be trapping the steam. When the steam condenses, it gives the food even more moisture.
If your lasagna wasn’t covered with foil and you are certain that none of the other factors indicated above are the problem, it could be that you are baking it at a low temperature or for a brief period of time. The moisture in the lasagna won’t be able to evaporate using either of these methods, and cooking it at a low temperature encourages additional liquid and fat to leak out of the ingredients.
4. Not Resting Before Serving
Here’s a scenario you may have encountered: you’ve created the ideal lasagna that looks stunning and smells delicious! However, when you slice and serve the lasagna, the runny liquid leaks out of nowhere. Chaos. This is because the ingredients (and the sauce) were not given enough time to rest and solidify. When you prepare a piece of meat, the same thing happens (which is why it is left to rest after it has been cooked). Allow your lasagna to rest so that the flavors and liquids can properly absorb!
How To Fix Watery Lasagna
If you’re reading this, it means that you were powerless to stop a wet result. However, is there a remedy for soggy lasagna? You can attempt a few things that might be able to help you get rid of some extra fluid. Sadly, it is a challenging procedure, and it isn’t always effective. Try first to remove any extra sauce with a spoon. As much of the runny liquid as you can remove. After that, bake the lasagna for an additional 10-15 minutes. However, avoid wrapping it in aluminum foil!
Try to carefully remove and set aside the top cheese layer if you are concerned that it will burn. Re-adding the cheese will allow it to reheat as well during the last five minutes of cooking. Even additional cheese is an option if you so choose. To remove extra oil off the top of the lasagna, you might alternatively use a piece of paper towel.
Finally, after the second baking, let the lasagna rest for about 10 minutes. Don’t cut it before the allotted time has passed. You can always attempt to repurpose the dish if none of the aforementioned methods work. Make fried lasagna portions, for instance! Alternatively, try spreading mashed lasagna on some toast!
How To Prevent Watery Lasagna
Now that you know what causes watery lasagna and how to potentially remedy it, let’s look at how to completely avoid it. Caution: there are a lot of points here, but they are all quite simple!
1. Only Use Lean Ground Beef
For lasagna, this is essential. Because it “adds additional flavor and richness,” utilizing fatty ground meat is a favorite among many people. We cannot contest that. However, it’s a death sentence for lasagna! More fat is forced out of the meat as it cooks and enters your dish. Therefore, for lasagna, only use lean ground beef. Even extra-lean is acceptable! Once it has finished cooking in the pan, use some paper towels to absorb any extra oil.
2. Measure Twice
Before moving on to the other components of the dish, make sure you use the exact measurements, especially when making the lasagna sauce. If your sauce is overly watery (due to incorrectly measuring the liquid ingredients), your lasagna will be soggy. Thicken your sauce before using it to make lasagna – any excess sauce may be saved for another batch of lasagna.
3. Cook The Sauce Well
Today, even jarred lasagna sauce can lack the necessary consistency. The sauce should always be precooked, simmered for 10-20 minutes. For as long as it takes, if at all! The sauce should be quite thick and devoid of excess liquid. Use only a few teaspoons of sauce each layer when building the dish. Too much sauce is often added.
4. Only Use Fresh Or Fully Thawed Ingredients
If you’re using frozen veggies, meat, or garnishes, be sure they’re thoroughly thawed before you start cooking. If the ingredients are not fresh or totally thawed, they will continue to exude water while baking in the lasagna dish!
5. Drain Your Lasagna Sheets
Lasagne sheets that have been previously cooked must be entirely drained and only slightly dried before being layered. Here’s something we do rather frequently. Add uncooked no-bake lasagna sheets to the layers. The sheets will gradually cook in the sauce and even pick up some flavor and moisture in the process. This is not a common tactic, and some people even disapprove of it. However, that is how our family does things, and it has never let us down!
6. Pre-Cook The Vegetables
Pre-cooking the vegetables you intend to use in your lasagna layers will help eliminate excess moisture. It just forms a seal that holds the moisture in some cases. It adds time to an already lengthy process, but it’s well worth it! Layering with high-moisture components, such as zucchini or tomatoes, is very important. Seasoning the ingredients ahead of time is another trick that goes hand in hand with pre-cooking. Adding salt to fresh veggies helps absorb more moisture, resulting in less liquid in your tiered meal.
7. Don’t Overfill The Baking Dish
There are two ways that people fill their bowls to the brim, if you recall from before. First, by creating too many layers that are too thin, and second, by putting too much space between the layers (making them too thick and too few). When creating lasagna, you should have no more than 3–4 layers. A few teaspoons of sauce each layer, but not more than that, should be added between them. That is fine even if your baking dish isn’t completely full. Simply prepare another lasagna dish and freeze it if you have extra ingredients.
8. Use The Correct Baking Temperature And Time
This cannot be overstated. Lasagna must be baked at a high temperature for about an hour! Always bake lasagna at 400oF (200oC) – it should bake for 40-50 minutes on average, and sometimes even longer. Check that the oven temperature is correct and that a timer is set.
9. Rest The Lasagna Before Serving
Finally, it is vital to let your lasagna rest for 10 minutes after it has been baked, as we have already frequently stated. This resting time will assist the ingredients adhere to one another, keep them sealed in their layers, and stop extra liquid from seeping out.
When you pull your lasagna out of the oven, it probably looks appealing and is filled with mouthwatering aromas. However, give it some time to rest while you make a side dish or arrange the table. You’ll be glad you did.