Have you ever heard of John Wayne Casserole? Delicious layers of ground beef, cheese mixture, fresh vegetables and Jalapeno peppers baked on top of a biscuit crust make for an amazing weeknight dinner!
Want to try this in the slow cooker? Try our Crockpot John Wayne Casserole!
John Wayne Casserole Recipe
Like my taco empanadas, this recipe is one of my top picks for dinner ideas that use ground beef. Casseroles are really popular, but it’s taken me up until the last ten years to really embrace them. This is one of my favorites, along with my Hamburger Casserole!
Why is it called John Wayne Casserole?
Apparently, this John Wayne Casserole recipe has some interesting origins, including information on why it’s named what it is. Regardless of its origins, it’s a tasty dinner that your family will love. The jalapenos do not make this too hot, so don’t be too concerned about that. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Ingredients you will need:
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 packet taco seasoning (or you can use my homemade taco seasoning)
- 1 16-ounce can large biscuits (or homemade biscuits)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 8-ounces cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
- 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, halved and sliced
- 1 (4-ounce) can sliced Jalapeno peppers
- 13×9 baking dish (I just bought two of these and LOVE them!)
Making this casserole
I used Pillsbury Grands biscuits. I’m sure a generic or store brand would be fine as well. I don’t think I would bother making biscuits from scratch for this since they are just going to get buried, but if you prefer to do that, here’s a recipe for homemade biscuits you can use.
Place biscuits in greased 13×9 pan in a single layer and press into the pan, joining them together, pressing the dough halfway up the sides of the pan. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake dough in preheated oven on the center rack for 12-15 minutes at 350 F; checking every few minutes after 15.
The dough should be very light brown where the edges are just starting to get color. Remove from oven and set aside, leave oven on.
In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, half of the cheddar cheese, and half of onions. Stir well and set aside.
Combine the browned ground beef with the taco seasoning and water, and cook according to packet instructions. Transfer cooked taco meat to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out pan.
Saute remaining onions and bell peppers on the taco meat pan until slightly tender.
On top of baked biscuit crust, layer ingredients in the following order: taco meat, tomato slices, bell pepper and onion mixture, Jalapeno peppers, sour cream mixture and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.
Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until edges of dough are lightly browned and cheese is melted.
Hope you enjoy it, I know we did!
John Wayne Casserole
IMPORTANT – There are often Frequently Asked Questions within the blog post that you may find helpful. Simply scroll back up to read them!Print It Rate It
- 2 pounds ground beef browned and drained
- 1 ounce packet taco seasoning plus water listed on the back
or my homemade taco seasoning
- 16 ounce can large biscuits
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese shredded and divided
- 1 medium onion halved and sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes sliced
- 1 medium red bell pepper halved and sliced
- 4 ounces canned sliced Jalapeno peppers
- Preheat oven to 350 F and place your oven rack in the center. Spray a 13×9 glass baking dish.
- Place biscuits in pan in a single layer and press into the pen, joining them together, pressing the dough halfway up the sides of the pan. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake dough in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes; checking every few minutes after 12. The dough should be very light brown where the edges are just starting to get color. Remove from oven and set aside, leave oven on.
- While biscuits are baking, combine the browned ground beef with the taco seasoning and water, and cook according to packet instructions. Transfer cooked taco meat to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out pan.
- In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, half of the cheddar cheese, and half of onions. Stir well and set aside.
- Saute remaining onions and bell peppers on the taco meat pan until slightly tender.
- On top of baked biscuit crust, layer ingredients in the following order: taco meat, tomato slices, bell pepper and onion mixture, Jalapeno peppers, sour cream mixture and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until edges of dough are lightly browned and cheese is melted.
Expert Tips & FAQs
More Casseroles you might like:
A lot of people have commented below saying they love this John Wayne Casserole and it’s become a regular part of their recipe rotation. I have some more casseroles you’ll like as well. Try some of these and let me know!
- A very popular ground beef or lamb recipe is Shepherd’s Pie. It’s one of those comforting recipes, and one that’s been around for a long time. There are so many different versions of Shepherds and Cottage Pie. This is my take on the classic, and it’s one the whole family loves!
- One of our most popular dinners is this Mexican Chicken Casserole, hearty and full of delicious flavors.
- Beef stroganoff casserole is a hearty weeknight dinner the whole family will love thanks to its rich flavors and creamy sauce.
- Not only is this 7 Layer Casserole affordable but it’s quick and easy to make in a pinch.
- This creamy Chicken Noodle Casserole is a satisfying comfort meal.
- Cabbage rolls are a true comfort dish stuffed with a variety of different flavors and textures.
- Easy chicken tetrazzini is the creamiest, most satisfying pasta bake to date piled with parmesan, cheddar, and mozzarella cheese.
- Lasagna roll ups are perfect for prepping ahead of time and freezing, making weeknights a breeze!
This post was originally published here on Apr 22, 2015.
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Curious if this could be made with tater tots instead of biscuits?
Amanda Formaro says
We have not tried that, but if you decide to experiment we would love to hear how it goes!
Rochella Simpson says
Hi Amanda, The John Wayne Casserole recipe did not work for me at all. I must have missed something along the way. The dish turned out to be very dry in my opinion. There are a few things I would need to do differently to make this the way I am accustomed to it tasting. I would save some of the drippings from the ground beef and I would not precook the biscuits. That might help to retain the moisture. I also feel like I did not have enough of the sour cream mayo topping to cover the entire dish. I don’t know but this was a total fail.
I used thinly sliced potatoes as the base instead of biscuits. Also, I didn’t have fresh tomatoes, so I used a can of fire roasted tomatoes. Salsa was added as a topping on each serving. Delicious! My husband ate three helpings.
I love this recipe. My husband and I eat it all the time. He is a picky eater. Instead of taco mix I add extra hot taco mix which makes it extra hot which my husband prefer.
Beth Davis says
I added garlic because we won’t eat anything without it, LOL! Very tasty, thanks for sharing.
We dont do mayo, only miracle whip. What can I sub instead of mayo.
Amanda Formaro says
You can use Miracle Whip.
This was amazing! I cooked the biscuits for 15 minutes on a cookie sheet, turned out perfect. I did cook my peppers and onions with the beef, I added a can of hot habanero rotel, and some sliced olives, little garlic salt and it turned out better then I could expect. I will be making this alot. Thank you for a great recipe.
Melynda W says
I took this to a family function. Everyone loved it. I added more salt, garlic, and pepper to the recipe.
I made this tonight for dinner. I have to say, I was apprehensive of how the final product would turn out… it was so good! My entire family raved about. I made it exact to the recipe except I didn’t have any whole tomatoes so I used a large can of Rotel diced tomatoes (drained) instead. Worked great. I really liked this recipe and will definitely make it again! Thank you for sharing it!
Absolutely delicious!! Took the advice and didn’t cook the biscuits for more than ten minutes. Used two cans of diced tomatoes and green chilis instead of fresh. Cooked the peppers and onions with the beef. Season with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, ancho chili powder and Chipotle powder. And added olives to the sour cream mix and doubled the jalapeños . Thank you everyone for the suggestions. Will be making again for sure!