This Lasagna Dip is loaded with spicy Italian sausage, plenty of seasonings, and three different kinds of cheese! It tastes just like your favorite pasta dish, but in dippable appetizer form. Even better, this meaty, cheesy marinara dip is ready in just 30 minutes, and it goes from stove to oven to table all in the same skillet!
Savory meat, tangy tomato sauce, and ooey gooey cheese — those three are always the perfect flavor combination. Although, I may be biased. It’s in the name, after all!
Now, you can enjoy the comforting taste of this classic pasta dish without spending hours in the kitchen.
Sure, it’s missing the noodles, but that’s what the dippers are for. Food always tastes better when shared at a table with friends and family!
Party dips are such a hit around here that we sometimes gobble them up for dinner too.
Whether it’s loaded with shrimp, buffalo chicken, or our favorite pizza toppings, there’s a dip for every craving!
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Italian Sausage – Any variety will do, though I tend to use hot or spicy sausage for my lasagna dip!
If you want to tone down the heat all the way, use a sweet or mild blend instead. And for something in the middle, use a mix of both!
- Cheese – You’ll need three different cheeses for this lasagna dip recipe: ricotta for creaminess, mozzarella for the gooey factor, and parmesan for extra flavor.
While tubs and bagged shreds are fine for saving time, you’ll get the best texture (and flavor!) with freshly grated cheese.
And if you’re feeling ambitious, make the ricotta yourself!
- Marinara – This is another ingredient where you have room to play. Use your favorite jarred variety or make it from scratch.
And if you want that homemade flavor in a snap, whip up my 5-minute pasta sauce instead!
- Seasonings – It wouldn’t be a true Italian sausage dip without Italian seasoning, would it?
Freshly minced garlic and red pepper flakes add some extra heat, while chopped basil leaves add loads of herbaceous flavor.
Don’t forget the salt and pepper either — a little goes a long way to enhance all of the different flavors in this marinara dip.
Variations of Italian Sausage Dip
- Try a different protein.
You can easily swap out the Italian sausage with ground beef, ground chicken, or ground turkey if you prefer.
Chorizo would even work in a pinch, though I’d shy away from breakfast sausage as it’s much too sweet.
Keep in mind that ground meat is just that — no added flavor or seasonings like Italian sausage.
So you’ll need to increase the amount of seasonings if you go that route, or your lasagna dip will be a bit bland.
- Add some veggies.
Sprinkle sliced olives or diced bell peppers over the top of your marinara dip before it goes in the oven.
Mushrooms or onions would be tasty too, but it’s best to sauté them first.
Onions especially need that extra time to soften, and mushrooms release liquid as they cook. Be sure to drain those so your lasagna dip stays thick and gooey.
What to Serve with Cheesy Marinara Dip
The real question is what can you not serve with this gooey, meaty dip?!
Obviously, crackers and toasty baguette slices are a top choice, but sliced veggies make excellent dippers as well.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Allow the dip to cool, then cover with a lid or wrap tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. You can also transfer leftovers to an airtight container — the cheese will just get mixed in with everything else.
Refrigerate lasagna dip for up to 3 days. Warm the entire dish in the oven or reheat individual servings in a bowl in the microwave.
Kitchen Tools You Will Need
- Cast Iron Skillet – There are a ton of brands out there, but this is my trusty inexpensive go-to.
- Wooden Spoon – Use this to break up the sausage and stir everything together. It’s much better at scraping the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan than plastic utensils.
- Cheese Grater – Fresh cheese makes this recipe even better! Skip the bagged shreds and buy a block to grate yourself.
Lasagna Dip Recipe FAQ
Using a cast iron skillet makes this a one-pan dish and guarantees you don’t lose a single drop of flavor.
That said, you can still make this recipe if you don’t have an oven-safe skillet!
Cook the sausage with seasonings and marinara as directed, then transfer everything to a greased casserole dish. Top with cheeses and bake as instructed.
You can easily feed 6-8 people when serving this as an appetizer.
As a meal, you’ll get fewer servings — or you can double the recipe and make it in a shallow Dutch oven instead!
You sure can! Prepare and bake as directed, up to 24 hours in advance, then cover the skillet tightly with foil and store it in the refrigerator.
When you’re ready to serve, pop it back in the oven until warmed through. Watch for the cheese to become melted and bubbly once again.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Amazing Dip Recipes
- 1 pound hot Italian sausage
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 5 basil leaves, chopped
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- In a large oven safe skillet (such as cast iron), cook the hot Italian sausage over medium heat until browned and cooked through. Break up the sausage into small crumbles while cooking.
- Add the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and minced garlic to the skillet. Stir well to combine and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Pour in the marinara sauce and stir to incorporate the sausage mixture with the sauce. Allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir the fresh basil into the sauce.
- Dollop the ricotta cheese all over the sauce mixture.
- Sprinkle on the shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Sprinkle on the grated parmesan cheese.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Serve the Lasagna Dip warm with bread, pasta chips, or breadsticks. Enjoy!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published November 2023
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