Soupy lasagna? Don’t fret! I’ve got just what you need. From fixing a watery lasagna to preventing one in the first place, this blog post has got you covered. So, tune in to find out how to fix that watery vegetable lasagna!
How To Fix A Watery Lasagna
What Causes A Watery Lasagna In The First Place?
There are many different steps when making a lasagna that can lead to a soupy final product, but the main culprits are usually sauce, cheese, and meat. Before anything else, the most important thing to do is identify where it’s going wrong.
A few other common causes for wet lasagnas include using more layers than there should be, over-filling, using too much sauce, vegetables expelling excess moisture while cooking, and not letting your lasagna cool for long enough before slicing.
How Do You Thicken Lasagna?
How do you make a lasagna thicker after cooking? Well, this one’s a little bit tricky. Fixing a thin sauce in an already cooked lasagna is very difficult, but luckily there are still a few tricks you can try!
Lasagna leftovers tend to be drier than a fresh-made lasagna. Keeping this fact in mind, a great way to try and reduce the wateriness of your lasagna is by emulating what lasagna leftovers go through!
The most effective way to do this (at least, when you need to get dinner out NOW) is to leave your lasagna to dry out in the oven straight after cooking. The safest way to do this is by turning off your oven, uncovering your lasagna, and leaving the oven door open while it cools down.
This works by using the heat of the oven to dry out your lasagna, while not overcooking or burning it. It’s a great method as it heats up pretty quickly when you want to serve it.
Some other methods include leaving your lasagna in the fridge overnight or for a few hours, then reheating. You could also freeze your lasagna, and heat it again from frozen – although if you try this, make sure to dry out the lasagna before freezing too). Although these methods are less timely, they are more likely to reduce the liquidity of your lasagna to a greater extent.
And finally, of course, the last method is to not make a watery lasagna at all! To avoid succumbing to the same fate again, be sure to read through the rest of my lasagna tips!
How Do You Make Lasagna Less Watery: Prevention
The first step in preventing future soupy lasagnas is finding out what went wrong – many different roads lead to the same Watery Lasagna Lane after all, so if you can find out which one tripped you up it’s much easier to avoid next time.
Preventing Watery Meat
To handle the water that sizzles off your mince, make sure to fry the meat separately from your other ingredients and cook it thoroughly to ‘boil off’ or reduce this liquid.
If your meat is particularly oily even after boiling, try adding a tiny bit of flour to the pan. Proceed by cooking the meat on low heat, making sure to stir constantly so as to dissolve the flour and keep it from burning.
By following this process, you will be creating a roux. The function of a roux is to absorb any oils produced in the cooking process and thicken them up, adding to the flavor of your sauce. If you end up using the roux method, the best way to cook your sauce will be by using the mince as a base. More flavor and less washing up? Sounds like a great plan to me!
Note: NEVER rinse off or strain your meat. This will make your lasagna filling a tenfold blander.
Preventing Watery Sauce
If you choose to make your sauce in the same pot as the meat, use the sauce to deglaze the pan. For me, that means adding in some tomato paste and passata, then gently scraping at the bottom of the pan and mixing in with the roux. If your lasagna has any other liquid elements like wine, add this in first and make sure to reduce it well before adding in any tomato sauce. I like to use a mixture of tomato paste and passata so that it doesn’t come out too thin and is faster to reduce. By the end of it, your results should be more meat than sauce.
If you’re not doing this, you can make a separate roux for your sauce or simply leave it to simmer so it can reduce until you’re happy with it.
When adding béchamel sauce to your lasagna, it’s important to not add too much. However, if you’re still struggling with a watery lasagna regardless of how much sauce you’re using, a quick look at these tips may help.
Much like the meat trick or the passata, you can also make a roux for your béchamel! In a separate pot make a roux base and add your béchamel sauce to it. Stir to make sure it incorporates fully and your sauce should thicken up in no time!
Alternatively, you can reduce your sauce. As this sauce is dairy-based and already quite thick, it is more prone to burning and curdling so make sure to keep the heat low and stir constantly. This method takes a fair bit longer than the others, but the results are just as good!
Preventing Watery Vegetables
Vegetables being watery is something you might not notice when actually making the lasagna, but it will definitely affect how runny your lasagna turns out.
If you are using vegetables, your best bet is to actually precook them before putting them into the lasagna. This way, you avoid any excess moisture that the vegetables expel during the cooking process, and catch it before it ever gets into your lasagna dish.
The easiest way to do this is by sautéing your vegetables and cooking them until you have reduced the liquids as much as possible. For spinach or other greens, you can use an old tea towel or a potato ricer to squeeze out the excess water after cooking – this method WILL stain fabric, so be careful!
Preventing Watery Cheese
Cheese is one of the least likely culprits when it comes to watering down a lasagna – however, it still happens.
If you suspect cheese is the cause behind your watery lasagna, choose a dry, well-aged cheese and skip out on the cheaper stuff where possible. If you can, try to use full-fat cheese and squeeze out as much moisture as you can muster before adding it to your lasagna.
Sprinkling a little shredded parmesan or grana padano on top of your lasagna can also help in absorbing some moisture – and adding flavor!
If you’re still finding your lasagna’s cheese to be too moist, you can whip some eggs into cream cheese and use this to fill and top your lasagna instead.
Additional Tips And Tricks for the Perfect Lasagna!
The Panko Process
If you’d like to thicken up your lasagna even further, you can add a quarter of a cup of panko to your sauce before starting to build.
Panko is a Japanese variation on breadcrumbs. Its traditionally used to coat deep-fried foods, but also works great (in small amounts) to thicken sauces!
Soak Up Your Sauce!
Use uncooked pasta sheets in your lasagna to soak up any leftover liquids! This is a great method to use as long as you make sure that there’s enough sauce to cook your lasagna. If you decide to go this route, bake the lasagna for longer at a slightly lower temperature.
For a little over the first half of the baking time, keep your lasagna covered with foil. After, remove the foil and continue to bake. You can also poke some holes in the foil to prevent your lasagna from steaming up and souping out.
It’s also important to note that this method will likely give you a more al dente lasagna, so keep that in mind before making it. If you’re worried about the top layer of pasta not cooking enough, simply pre-boil those pasta sheets before building your lasagna.
Watery Lasagna – Is It Fixable?
A watery lasagna may be fixable to an extent, but there are so many variables that go into a soupy lasagna that it can be hard to say for sure. In any case, I hope that reading through this article armed you with the knowledge needed to make a perfect creamy lasagna next time! Or a working fix of course.