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This John Wayne Casserole Recipe is the ultimate hamburger casserole. Layers of ground beef, cheese, and seasoning is baked on a biscuit layer.

Close up of John Wayne Casserole in a baking dish
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This hamburger casserole is the perfect weeknight meal. It is rich and hearty and after a long day of school activities, this is the perfect meal to feed my large family.

I love making Casserole Recipes for my family. I usually just add a side salad or roasted veggies and it becomes a complete meal. If you like this casserole, try Easy Taco Casserole Recipe, Easy Pizza Casserole, and King Ranch Chicken Casserole.

What is the Story behind the John Wayne Casserole?

John Wayne contributed to a recipe cookbook back 1979, Cooking with love from Cara and her friends. The original casserole was made with egg and cheese. Over the years, the casserole has changed into a hearty ground beef casserole.

The many layers makes this beef and biscuit casserole hearty and delicious.

Why Make this Casserole:

This cowboy casserole is loaded with amazing flavor. The ground beef mixture is cooked on a biscuit crust and topped with a layer of cheese and sour cream. It is hearty and delicious and the perfect weeknight meal.

This casserole is perfect to feed a crowd or for a family dinner. Serve as a main dish at your next potluck, family gathering and more. The ingredients are simple and can easily be prepared ahead of time. This casserole is the ultimate comfort food.

Ingredients:

Ingredients needed for John Wayne casserole - Biscuits, beef, taco seasoning, water, onion, bell pepper, diced tomatoes, sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese

Serves: 8 

  • Large Biscuits (16 ounces)  
  • Ground Beef 
  • Packet Taco Seasoning (1 ounce) 
  • Water 
  • Onion (diced) 
  • Red Bell Pepper (diced) 
  • Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles 
  • Sour Cream 
  • Mayonnaise 
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese (divided) 

Scroll to the bottom of the post for the full instructions and ingredients in the recipe card.

Variation Ideas:

  • Biscuit Mix – We used canned biscuit to make this recipe. But you can also make the biscuits from bisquick mix. Feel free to use a crust that meats your diet restrictions.
  • Taco Meat – Feel free to use other types of meat to make this easy casserole recipe. You can make it with ground turkey or use half beef and half ground turkey. You can also use cooked shredded chicken.
  • Cheese – Cheddar cheese is a great option to top this casserole. Top the casserole with other types of cheese. Try pepper-jack cheese, Colby Monterey Jack Cheese and Mexican Cheeses.
  • Taco Seasoning – Feel free to make Homemade Taco Seasoning or use store bought taco seasoning. We love using homemade seasoning blends as they taste better and no added ingredients.
  • Diced Tomatoes – We used canned diced tomatoes on this recipe, but you can layer the casserole with tomato slices. You can also use Rotel to mix into this casserole.
  • Toppings – When serving feel free have toppings available to top the casserole. Add more pepper jack cheese, remaining cheese, green chilies, green peppers, or jalapeño peppers.
  • Seasoning – Instead of using fresh onions, you can use onion powder. Season with salt and pepper for added flavor.

Step by Step Instructions: 

Spreading the biscuits into the baking dish

Step 1 – Place the large biscuits into the bottom of the pan. Place in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Make sure to place halfway up the sides of the pan. Then bake biscuits until they are lightly browned.

Cooking the ground beef in a skillet

Step 2 – Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Drain off any excess grease. 

Adding the seasoning and veggies to the cooked ground beef

Step 3 – Stir in the taco seasoning, water, diced onions and diced red bell pepper. 

Layering on the biscuits in the baking dish

Step 4 – Then pour the beef mixture on top of the biscuit layer in the baking pan. 

Spreading the diced tomatoes over the beef layer

Step 5 – Spread the diced tomatoes with green chiles over the beef layer.  

Combining the sour cream and mayo with the cheese in a bowl

Step 6 – In a separate bowl, stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise. Mix in half of the shredded cheese. 

Spreading the sour cream mixture over the top of the beef layer

Step 7 – Spread this mixture on top of the tomatoes in the baking pan.  

Topping the cheese

Step 8 – Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake in a preheated oven until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown slightly.

Recipe Tips:

  • Prepared Baking Dish – Before layering the biscuits, make sure to spray with cooking spray. This helps to for cleanup and for serving.
  • Biscuit Dough – This biscuit dough needs to be cooked before layering the ground beef. Make sure to press the biscuits across the bottom of the baking dish. When cooked this creates a delicious biscuit layer.
  • Ground Beef – Cook the ground beef in a skillet until no longer pink. Make sure to remove the excessive grease before mixing with the onions and bell peppers.
  • Simmer Ingredients – Make sure to let the beef mixture simmer to softened the peppers and onions.
  • Spreading Layers – Spread the beef mixture, tomato mixture and sour cream mixture over the top of the biscuits. Make sure it complete covers the biscuits.
  • Baking Casserole – After topping with cheese bake the casserole. Bake the casserole until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
  • Resting Casserole – After removing the casserole allow the casserole to rest before serving.
Serving of John Wayne Casserole on a spatula

Can Casserole be Made ahead of Time?

Yes, you can make this beef casserole ahead of time. Bake the biscuit crust as the recipe indicate and cook the ground beef mixture. Layer the ingredients and top with cheese.

The place in the fridge for up to 1 day. Another option is to go ahead and cook the ground beef mixture. Then it is ready when you want to make the casserole.

Make sure to cover with plastic wrap when storing in the fridge.

John Wayne Casserole in a baking dish

Can you Freeze Casserole?

If you want to double this recipe, you can easily freeze this John Wayne Casserole. Layer the ingredients in a disposable plan and place in the freezer.

Make sure to cover with aluminum foil so that it is stored properly. It will last about 3 months in the freezer.

When ready to serve, allow it to thaw in your refrigerator overnight and cook according to directions above. If it is still frozen in the middle cook with it covered for 1 ½ hours and then 30 minutes uncovered.

Cooking time will vary, so make sure it is heated thoroughly before serving.

How to Store Leftovers:

Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.  

More Easy Ground Beef Casseroles:

If you try this John Wayne Casserole, make sure to leave us a comment. We love hearing from you.

John Wayne Casserole

5 from 22 votes
This John Wayne Casserole Recipe is the ultimate hamburger casserole. Ground beef, cheese, and seasoning is baked on a biscuit layer.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Let Sit 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Calories 703

Ingredients

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Instructions

  • Preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9X13 baking pan with a non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place the large biscuits into the bottom of the pan in a single layer on the bottom of the pan and halfway up the sides of the pan.  Make sure to press the biscuits together to form a single layer.
  • Bake the biscuit layer for 12-15 minutes until the dough is lightly browned.  Remove from the oven but leave the oven on.
  • Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Drain off any excess grease.
  • Stir in the taco seasoning, water, diced onions and diced red bell pepper.
  • Bring the mixture to a low simmer and cook, covered, for 8-10 minutes until the onions and peppers are soft.
  • Then pour the beef mixture on top of the biscuit layer in the baking pan.
  • Spread the diced tomatoes with green chiles over the beef layer.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise and half of the shredded cheese.  Spread this mixture on top of the tomatoes in the baking pan.
  • Top with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown slightly (20-25 minutes).
  • Let the casserole sit for 10-15 minutes.  Then it’s ready to slice, serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 703kcal, Carbohydrates 35g, Protein 27g, Fat 50g, Saturated Fat 16g, Polyunsaturated Fat 11g, Monounsaturated Fat 18g, Trans Fat 1g, Cholesterol 110mg, Sodium 1156mg, Potassium 613mg, Fiber 3g, Sugar 6g, Vitamin A 1178IU, Vitamin C 27mg, Calcium 184mg, Iron 5mg

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Eating on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you cook delicious meals without busting your budget. Together we are going to cook real food… for real families!

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Comments

  1. Jamie Thompson says:

    5 stars
    Carrie, thank you very much for this recipe! My daughter and I just prepared it, and it was a hit for the whole family. Super easy and delicious! Will definitely be making it again!

  2. Jackie Pittman says:

    5 stars
    My husband loved this. He said was definitely a keeper.

  3. Diana Rae Knox says:

    Most Xcellent
    Easy and delicious