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Deep-Fried Lasagna Bites

Cook Time:
45 mins
Prep Time:
35 mins

Chef notes

This recipe is the perfect way to enjoy pasta at a tailgate. Because — let's face it — eating a full piece of lasagna with a plastic fork while standing up isn't pretty. These bite-sized, flavor-packed bites have the full experience of mouthwatering lasagna with some added crunch.

Technique tip: Make a big batch in advance and freeze them before they are fried. Then you grab them and fry them any time.

Swap option: Short on time? Skip making the meatballs from scratch and smoke your favorite frozen or pre-made butcher variety instead.

Special equipment: Smoker and deep-fry thermometer.


Smoked Meatballs
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • kosher salt, for seasoning
Tomato Sauce
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed or whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • kosher salt, for seasoning
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Ricotta Mixture
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • kosher salt, for seasoning
Lasagna Bites
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages fresh pasta sheets, about 12 sheets
  • 2 cups grated, low-moisture mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 quart vegetable oil


For the meatballs:


Heat a grill or smoker to medium high heat, aiming for about 400 F.


Combine the beef, egg, breadcrumbs, milk, Parmesan, parsley and garlic in a large mixing bowl. Season with a hefty pinch of salt. Use clean or gloved hands to work the mixture together. Try not to overmix. Make tablespoon-sized rounds and roll into smooth balls. Arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet.


Smoke the meatballs until they reach 145 F, about 30 minutes. When the meatballs are cooked through, remove them from the heat and cool for 15 minutes before assembling the bites.

For the tomato sauce:

Place the canned tomatoes, olive oil, salt, basil and red pepper flakes can be combined in a small mixing bowl and set aside.

For the ricotta mixture:

Combine the ricotta, Italian seasoning, garlic, 1 egg and a pinch of salt in another small bowl. Whisk until smooth.

For the lasagna bites:


Assemble them one lasagna sheet at a time. Lay one sheet of pasta with the narrow edge closest to you. Spread a few spoonfuls of the ricotta mixture down on 3/4 quarters of the sheet. Add a few tablespoons of tomato sauce on top of the ricotta, sprinkle on a few tablespoons of both shredded cheeses. Add two meatballs on the narrow end and roll up the fresh pasta sheet. Repeat with the remaining pasta sheets.


Set up a breading station: Add the flour to a shallow dish and season with salt. Add the remaining eggs to another shallow dish, beat and season as well. Finally, move the panko to a shallow dish and season with salt.


Bread the lasagna bites by first dipping them in flour, followed by the beaten egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat to 350 F.


Fry the lasagna rolls for 4 to 5 minutes. You can fry 2 to 4 rolls at a time as long as you don't crowd the pan. Remove the lasagna bites to a cool rack and cool for 5 minutes. Serve with the remaining tomato sauce for dipping.