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John Wayne Casserole

This John Wayne layered casserole will have your family running to the table.

John Wayne Casserole
John Wayne Casserole
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We're not exactly sure where this John Wayne Casserole recipe got its name, but we're pretty sure that this dish is something the rugged American icon would have loved eating. Packed with great hearty flavors and ingredients like ground beef, biscuit mix, pepper and onion and then topped with a delicious mixture of sour cream, mayo, and Cheddar cheese, this is one of those beef casserole recipes that's nearly impossible to resist. When you serve this cowboy recipe to your family for dinner, you're sure to get asked to serve up some second helpings!

More About John Wayne Casserole: Where Did It Come From?

As we mentioned above, it's hard to know exactly where a casserole like this one gets its name. But there is one origin story that we love! The 1979 cookbook, Cooking with Love from Cara and her Friends, included a recipe submitted by the actor John Wayne for a cheesy casserole. We don't know where Wayne got the recipe (or if it's his original creation), but it was a generous addition to the cookbook, which was published to raise money for cancer research.

The casserole that was submitted for the cookbook was more of a breakfast dish. It was crustless, vegetarian, and included eggs. You'll notice that ours is quite a bit different!

The southwest-inspired casserole recipe was first served at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Cafeteria. The recipe included ground beef and a Bisquick crust, and it was also called John Wayne casserole. It became a frequent request from patients and staff at the medical center, and its popularity has continued to grow. Our recipe is based on this one, and when you make it yourself, you'll immediately see why it's so popular!

You can learn more about the history of this cowboy-inspired casserole here.

John Wayne Casserole Recipe

Preparation Time30 min

Cooking Time40 min

Cooking Vessel Size9x13-inch baking dish


  • 2 pounds ground beef, cooked and drained
  • 1 (1.25-ounce) packet taco seasoning
  • 4 ounces sour cream
  • 4 ounces mayonnaise
  • 8 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 (4-ounce) can sliced jalapeno peppers
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Brown ground beef and add taco seasoning and water, according to packet instructions; set aside.

  2. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, 4 ounces of Cheddar cheese, and half of the onions; set aside.

  3. Stir Bisquick and water together to form a soft dough. Pat dough on the bottom and one-half inch up the sides of a 9x13-inch greased casserole dish.

  4. Saute remaining onions and bell peppers until slightly tender.

  5. On top of biscuit mix, evenly distribute ingredients in the following order: ground beef, tomato slices, green peppers, onions, jalapeno peppers, sour cream mixture and end with remaining shredded cheese.

  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until edges of dough are lightly browned.

John Wayne Casserole
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This looks really good! My husband, however, does not like spicy/hot foods. Would this still be good without the jalopeno peppers?

This looks like a pretty tasty comfort food. Whether or not John Wayne actually made (or ate) this doesn't really matter to me. I'll give it a go, pilgrim.

This looks like a recipe that my dad and brother would enjoy. Cheese, meat, and veggies... what more could you want in a main meal?

Apparently the John Wayne casserole that's directly associated with the actor is, of all things, a vegetarian dish. It was contributed by him to a celebrity cookbook, but if he is the originator is unknown. I honestly think of a recipe like this with beef and jalapenos when I think of the actor. This looks absolutely delicious and I'm planning on making this up for dinner soon.

This recipe looks like a delicious and hearty meal that everyone will enjoy! I love simple casseroles that are easy to prepare ahead. Casseroles always make great leftovers too and are the perfect thing to bring to a party or potluck. The biscuit mix gives this a bit of a southern flair too, which I love! I'm sure you could add extra veggies in or switch it up a bit depending on what you have in your pantry and in the fridge. I can't wait to try this - it looks like a real crowd-pleaser!

OK, I admit, I changed this recipe just a tiny bit. I used shredded chicken instead of ground beef. And it was WONDERFUL! The taco seasoning added just the right amount of flavor and spicyness without being overbearing. The sour cream mixture is a little tangy and very creamy. Its one of those well make it all the time recipes.

This would be good to have leftovers or for when company is over. This year was a bad year for bell peppers for me, but I harvested a ton of Anaheim chili peppers so I used that instead. And I used canned chopped tomatoes since it was going to be be cooked anyway. Good with an extra dollop of sour cream after it comes out of the oven.

Your version sounds delicious too! I'll have to try that. Thank you!

This looks like a very filling dinner with sour cream, mayonnaise, and cheddar cheese. I would leave out the green pepper. I liked some of the comments about making this more of a dip than a main course recipe. I'll consider that because as a dinner it might be too heavy and rich.

I haven't made it as yet, but it looks to make a goodly amount. Other comments state that it's good, so I'm looking forward to make it for guests.

Another one we loved! I have used as a dip without the Jiffy mix and it was very good with chips and extra salsa. Also good without Jiffy and added homemade bread and real butter. Was Awesome.

I just made this and while tasty, I didn't care for the texture of the bis quick. I think next time I will make it minus the bis quick and just use it as a sort of dip.

No access to the recipe. :(

Haven't made it yet

This is VERY good! I have made it several times and each time we love it more. I even made it for my dad and he also loved it and wanted me to make it so he could freeze individual portions.

This going to be my favorite recipe from now on. It was so tasty and everyone in my family came back for seconds. My son in law came back for thirds. I think next time I may try a different crust. I may try a small layer of Hash browns. I am also going to make two and freeze one. Thanks for sharing

I love this, it is so good & easy to make as well !

I love anything with ground beef - will definitely try this. I actually used to get this on "potluck" night at the Navy Base, but it had the corn tortillas as a base. Very good! Thanks, Mercedes!

looks good. but I wont try it cause of the peppers and onions and the sour cream.. I don't like peppers at all and I cant stand sour cream. but I know people that would love it. I printed it out for other people I know that would love it.

it sounds good. but i dont like green peppers, onions, sour cream, or jalapeno peppers

I just tried this recipe, I love it, I myself cannot eat green peppers, onions or jalapeno peppers.. so I substituted onion powder, left out the green peppers n jalapeno peppers. I used drained diced tomatoes as no fresh tomatoes. I will truly make this again!

This is basically a baked taco casserole. I am thinking of using corn tortillas for the "crust". Lightly fry the tortillas and line the dish with them. Add the layers of meat and veggies, then another layer of tortillas and then top with the mayo/sour cream/cheese mixture. Has anyone tried this variation?

You don't have to own Bisquick. Make your own bisquit mix. It's easy to do, you know what's going into the mix. It stores in the fridge for months, ready when you need it!

probably easier to get a small box of Bisquick!

I do not own bisquick. Would I make a drop biscuit dough and spread it on the bottom of the casserole?

Sounds very good and cant hardly wait to try.

Sounds great!!!


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