John Wayne Casserole Recipe


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This John Wayne casserole is a delicious hamburger dinner casserole. It’s layered with a biscuit crust, ground beef, cheese and sour cream mixture, and slices of fresh tomatoes and freshly shredded cheddar cheese.

John Wayne Casserole

John Wayne casserole is the best, easy biscuit casserole that is perfect as a main dish for any potluck, gathering, or family dinner. Casseroles for a crowd have never been this simple and satisfying!

The Bisquick base is soft, yet has a light crisp, the mayo and sour cream combine to make this delicious creamy sauce, and the ground beef mixture is so flavorful. Our homemade taco seasoning is so tasty, and the mild RO-TEL gives it just the right amount of kick. This recipe will definitely be welcomed into our meal rotation.

This family favorite casserole is perfect for busy weeknights when you need a satisfying, comforting meal that’ll fill your home with mouth-watering aromas.


Taco Seasoning: A homemade blend of spices adds bold flavors to the ground beef, making each bite delicious. You could use a store-bought taco seasoning packet, but the flavor is so much better with a homemade blend. If you prefer a spicier dish, add some diced jalapeños or a dash of hot sauce to the ground beef mixture.

Ground Beef: Ground beef provides a hearty and filling base that’s perfect for a comforting dinner. You could use ground chicken or ground turkey for a lighter dinner. You could also swap out the ground beef for black beans and corn to make a vegetarian version.

Bell Pepper and Onion: These veggies add a touch of natural sweetness and a little crunch to the casserole, complementing the savory beef. You could try using poblano peppers instead of bell peppers for a mellow kick.

RO-TEL: This canned mix of tomatoes and green chilies brings a mild heat and acidity to the dish, enhancing its overall flavor profile.

Biscuit Mix: Bisquick is a convenient and versatile ingredient that creates a tender and flaky crust, perfectly complementing the flavorful beef filling.

Mayonnaise and Sour Cream: These combine to create a creamy and smooth layer that’s not too rich.

Cheddar Cheese: A classic choice for casseroles, cheddar cheese adds a sharp, savory note that ties the dish together. Instead of cheddar cheese, you can try using Monterey Jack, pepper jack, or a Mexican cheese blend for a different flavor profile.

Tomatoes: Fresh, juicy slices of tomatoes provide a pop of color and add some freshness to this hearty casserole. You could try using tomatillos for a tangy twist.

The labeled ingredients for john wayne casserole.

How To Make John Wayne Casserole

Brown the ground beef in a skillet, then drain the excess fat and add the taco seasoning spices. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)

Cooking beef in a skillet until almost cooked then draining the grease and adding the spices.

Add the water, onions, red bell pepper, and RO-TEL to the beef mixture, and let it simmer for a bit to the flavors meld.

Mixing the beef and spices then adding onions, tomatoes and peppers.

While the beef mixture simmers, prepare the biscuit crust by mixing the Bisquick and water together, forming a sticky dough.

Adding the bisquick and water together and mixing to form the dough.

Prepare the casserole dish by greasing it with cooking spray. Press the biscuit dough into the prepared casserole dish, covering the bottom and bringing it up the sides about 1 1/2 inches. If the dough pulls apart, pinch it together to seal.

Spreading the dough out to cover the bottom of the casserole dish and roughly one inch up the sides.

In a separate bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, and some of the shredded cheese.

Mixing the sour cream, mayo and cheddar together to make a sauce.

Spoon the beef mixture onto the biscuit crust and spread it out evenly.

Once the vegetables are softened transfer to the tops of the crust in a casserole dish.

Layer the thinly sliced tomatoes over the beef mixture. Spread the sour cream mixture over the tomato layer.

Layering the top of the meat with thin sliced tomatoes then layering with cream sauce on top.

Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top to complete the casserole. Place the casserole into a preheated oven and bake until the edges are lightly browned and the cheese is melted and bubbly. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.

Sprinkling the remaining cheddar over the casserole and baking in a preheated oven.

Why Is It Called A John Wayne Casserole?

The origins of this delicious casserole can be traced back to a cookbook called “Cooking with Love from Cara and Her Friends.” John Wayne contributed an egg and cheese casserole recipe to that book. Over the years, the recipe has morphed into this popular version that includes ground beef and a biscuit crust.

A piece of meaty john wayne casserole with melted cheddar and tomatoes on top.

Pro Tip

Since the biscuit mix is very sticky, it can be a little hard to spread out across the bottom and sides of the prepared baking dish. Once you transfer the mix to the center of the dish, you can wet your fingers to spread it out more easily. You could also place parchment paper on top of the mix, and press it down through the parchment paper.

Side shot of a full casserole with gooey melted cheese and a layer of tomatoes.


Feel free to get creative with additional toppings! Consider adding sliced jalapeños, black olives, or even crushed tortilla chips for some extra crunch and flavor.

Can I Make This Casserole Ahead Of Time?

Yes, you can prepare the casserole in advance and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it. Just be sure to allow it to come to room temperature before putting it in the oven to ensure even cooking.

A piece of john wayne casserole with a bite missing and a fork taking its place.

Keep In Touch

I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime

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A Pinterest pin image with a picture of john wayne casserole, with title text at the top.

Bisquick Recipes

I love using this baking mix as a way to make some of my favorite recipes super quick, easy, and tasty. Some of my favorite recipes using Bisquick are:

Hamburger Casserole Recipes

If you love this recipe, be sure to check out our entire section of easy casserole recipes! Some reader favorite ground beef casseroles are:

Yield: 8 servings

BEST John Wayne Casserole Recipe

The best john wayne casserole recipe.

John Wayne casserole is an easy dinner casserole. Layers of biscuit crust, ground beef, cheese, sour cream, and slices of fresh tomatoes.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 53 minutes
Total Time 58 minutes


Taco Seasoning

  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 medium onion (sliced then cut in half, about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper (sliced then cut in half, about 1 cup)
  • 1 can mild RO-TEL (drained)


  • 2 1/2 cups Bisquick
  • 2/3 cup water


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided)**
  • 2 roma tomatoes (sliced thin)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Use cooking spray to grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13 casserole dish. 
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, then add the ground beef. Cook and crumble the ground beef until browned (about 8 minutes). Drain away the excess fat, then return the pan back to the stove top. While the beef is cooking, prepare the crust.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix the Bisquick and water together, creating a sticky dough. Transfer the dough to the prepared casserole dish, then evenly spread it across the bottom and bring it up the sides about 1 1/2”. Where the dough pulls apart, pinch it together to seal it. 
  4. Once the beef is cooked and drained, turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the taco seasoning ingredients to the beef and mix in. Next, add 1/2 cup of water, onions, red pepper, and the RO-TEL. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. While the beef is simmering, make the topping. To a small bowl, add the mayonnaise, sour cream, and 1/2 cup cheese. Stir together and set aside.
  6. Put the beef mixture on top of the Bisquick dough and spread it out evenly. 
  7. Spread an even layer of the sliced tomatoes over the beef mixture, then spread the mayonnaise topping over the tomatoes, and then top it with the rest of the shredded cheese.
  8. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 35-40 minutes.


*This is a spice blend sold in the US and Canada that’s much more mild than the pure chili powder sold in the UK or other parts of the world.

**I recommend using freshly shredded cheese because pre-shredded cheese is coated in an anti-caking agent that stops it from melting smoothly.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 503Total Fat: 32.4gCarbohydrates: 30.6gFiber: 2.2gSugar: 5.8gProtein: 24.1g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.


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With its hearty flavors and satisfying layers, this John Wayne Casserole is sure to become a family favorite. Serve it alongside a green salad or with some warm tortilla chips for a delicious and comforting meal that’ll have everyone asking for seconds of this cowboy-inspired cuisine!

The best john wayne casserole recipe.

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