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As you can see there is a lot of liquid that assembles at the sides. This lasagne has bechamel and marinara sauce. The bechamel is reduced, with a chunky (but watery) red sauce. The lasagne pages were boiled and drained (but not pat dried).

What could be done to reduce the liquidity of the lasagne and make it more gooey and stable?

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    Please give us more information. How are you making your lasagne? Are you using conventional dry noodles that you boil first, are you using fresh pasta? No boil noodles? What type of sauce base are you using (tomato or bechamel?) Please give us more information!!! – Catija May 22 '17 at 19:29
  • Do you have a guess as to where the moisture is coming from? – Brian Colavito May 22 '17 at 21:59
  • @Catija edited + pics! – Bar Akiva May 23 '17 at 12:14
  • As @moscafj mentioned, resting is important ... but also drying the pasta would've reduced the amount of liquid your're starting with. And you want a thick sauce, typically. My great grandmother would use a ragù that's cooked down 'til it's closer to slightly wet meat & vegetables, rather than a marinara sauce. When I've done tomato sauce, I've gone with something thick with the tomato pectin activated. See cooking.stackexchange.com/q/63780/67 – Joe May 23 '17 at 13:02
  • I don't focus too much on whether the ingredients are too wet. My rule of thumb is cooking low and slow. Cover with foil (tented by toothpicks) for a long time, remove foil to brown. – Jason P Sallinger Nov 2 '17 at 18:03
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Moisture comes from several source. Meat, cheese, sauce, noodles (if preboiled). There a variety of things you can do to address each of these. As mentioned in my answer to your previous question, letting the lasagna rest prior to service will help. So too, using dry noodles, without boiling, will cause the noodles to absorb some of the liquid, leaving you with a still firmer result.

Lasagna is a dish with such a wide variety of recipes that there is no 'one' answer to resolve your issue. But, in addition to the input from your other recent lasagna questions I would add these points to address, in general terms, your question:

  • To deal with 'water'(or myoglobin) from the meats, brown the meat separately and thoroughly so as to 'boil off' these liquids.
  • If your meats are particularly 'oily' (say 70/30 ground beef or sausage) you can add some flour (2-3 tablespoons) after the water is boiled off and continue to cook the browned meat to for at least two more minutes while stirring the meat. This will form a roux on the meat that will both absorb the oils and then thicken the sauce as it cooks into it. Then build your sauce on top of your meats. Once your roux is formed begin to add the sauce elements to the meat. First add any broth, wine (or beer) to the meat pot to deglaze the pot and get up those wonderful bits of flavor that have caramelized to the bottom of the pan. After that add your tomatoes followed by the seasonings. (note: do NOT rinse/strain your meats, this will carry away far too much flavor)
  • For moisture coming from the sauce (tomatoes, broth, wine...)allow your sauce to simmer longer before adding it to the lasagna dish. Again this 'reduces' the sauce and will leave you with less liquid at the end.
  • Cheeses, choose well aged cheeses over some of the cheaper alternatives. (Ricotta over cottage, real mozzarella over that pregrated stuff in a bag, etc.) these cheeses are 'relatively' drier and will leave you with less liquid at the end.
  • On more thing... if you still want to tighten up your lasagna some more, add a quarter to a half cup of panko to the sauce just before you begin to construct the lasagna. This will help absorb some of that moisture as well.

(a word of caution: your milage may vary...use these techniques sparingly to reach your desired outcome. If you over do it, you will end up with a 'too dry' dish)

  • Vegetables can also give off a lot of liquid, so it might be worth adding a section for that to your answer, too :) – Catija May 23 '17 at 19:57
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    good point, but I would include the liquid that veggies give off as 'water' if the veggies are included in the sauce then the same instructions apply. If you are using the veggies to 'replace' the noodles then the panko may be the best alternative, though I consider that to be a last resort. – Cos Callis May 23 '17 at 20:30
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When I bake a lasagna, I begin with the pan covered with foil. 350 - 375F for 45 minutes. Then remove the foil. Bake another 15 -25 minutes so that the surface browns and edges crisp. Remove from the oven. Rest for 30 - 45 minutes (this is critical for your specific question). Portion and serve. If you still find the end product runny, reduce the amount of condiment in the lasagna.

  • Doesn't covering with foil trap steam, keeping moisture in the lasagna? That seems to be the opposite of what the OP is looking for. – senschen May 23 '17 at 11:09
  • @senschen sure. I don't think anyone wants a dried out lasagna. I want my lasagna to heat through and cook before the outermost layer browns/crisps too much. Thus the two step process. It does take some practice, but in time one learns how much condiment to layer into a lasagna so that it is not too watery...then this problem becomes less of an issue. – moscafj May 23 '17 at 17:50
  • Sounds like we have different starting points then-- I simply start out with the right amount of sauce that I don't need foil to prevent dryness. A few minutes under the broiler at the end of cooking browns and bubbles the top nicely-- I've never had an issue with the top getting too brown. – senschen May 23 '17 at 18:56
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If the sauce is to wet. I add some dry fine ground cheese to absorb the extra water in the sauce. Cheaper sauces seem to be more water. Also dry spice added will absorb some.

  • How sharp should the ground cheese be? – Bar Akiva May 23 '17 at 12:14
  • 'dry spice' may absorb some moisture, but at the expense of flavor. IMHO a bad trade-off. – Cos Callis May 23 '17 at 14:28
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    That is up to you. I use the ends of cheese that part dry out in the fridge. Then dry them & grind them. Save to use. There is some different in cheese. Our cheese is drier than in America. Usually farm made. From waterbufflo milk. So a little extra moisture in the sauce is needed here to melt the cheese right. Sharp or type of cheese is up to you make as you like, – J Bergen May 23 '17 at 19:41

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