John Wayne Casserole
John Wayne Casserole is layers of biscuit, meat, and cheese all baked together into an easy casserole recipe that will be a new family favorite!!
The John Wayne Casserole is an easy casserole recipe that is perfect for families. With its rich layers of savory meat, creamy sauce, and a delicious biscuit crust, all topped off with a golden cheese topping, it’s a hearty meal that promises to satisfy everyone.
Originally shared by Hollywood’s legendary cowboy, this casserole is as robust in flavors as The Duke was on screen. Whether it’s a weekday dinner or a special family gathering, the John Wayne Casserole is your ticket to a hassle-free, mouthwatering meal that’ll have everyone asking for seconds.
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Ingredients You’ll Need
- Bisquick Mix – This biscuit mix makes a simple dough that you press into the bottom of a prepared baking dish as the base of your casserole.
- Diced onion – We recommend a sweet yellow onion for a mild flavor.
- Bell pepper – The original recipe calls for a green bell pepper but feel free to add a red bell pepper , or even a mix of red, green, and yellow peppers to change things up!
- Ground beef – We use 80/20 ground beef and drain the excess fat off before combining it with the rest of the ingredients. You can also use ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer.
- Taco seasoning – You can use a packet taco seasoning or your own homemade taco seasoning.
- Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles – This mix is mildy spicy so everyone can enjoy it. Buy and extra can and make some Rotel dip to go along with the casserole!
- Sour cream – slightly tangy sour cream blends with the mayo for a delicious sauce.
- Mayonnaise – Creamy mayonnaise makes the perfect sauce.
- Shredded cheddar cheese – Sharp cheddar cheese gives this dish the best flavor!
Step 1- Prepare the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare the baking dish by lightly spraying a 9×13 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
Step 2 – Biscuit layer. In a bowl combine Bisquick baking mix and 8 ounces of water and stir together until well mixed to make the biscuit dough.
Spread the biscuit dough over the bottom of the baking dish and pat it out so it covers the entire bottom of the dish. Set aside.
Step 3 – Veggies. In a skillet over medium high heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook the onions and green peppers until they begin to soften.
Step 4 – Meat. Add the ground beef to the pan and cook until it is browned.
Remove the ground beef from the heat and drain off any excess grease. Then return the ground beef mixture to the skillet and add the taco seasoning and Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies (undrained). Stir together and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
Step 5 – Sauce. While the ground beef finishes cooking, in a small bowl combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, and 4 ounces of cheddar cheese. Stir together.
Step 6 – Assemble. Begin assembling the casserole by spooning the ground beef mixture over the biscuit dough in the baking dish.
Spread the sour cream mixture evenly over the ground beef layer.
Top with the remaining 4 ounces of cheddar cheese.
Step 7 – Bake. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling on top.
Step 8 – Cool and serve. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
What is the Story Behind the John Wayne Casserole Recipe?
In 1979, Cara Connery published her cookbook, “Cooking with Love from Cara and Her Friends” as a fundraiser for cancer research. To create the book she contacted celebrities she knew and asked for their favorite recipes.
Among the many stars that contributed to Connery’s cookbook, John Wayne stood out with his own submission: the now-famous John Wayne Casserole. A dish that combines robust flavors with hearty ingredients, it’s a true reflection of Wayne’s larger-than-life persona.
The original John Wayne casserole recipe has evolved over the years and thanks to the staff at the University of Mississippi Medical Center cafeteria the version we all know and love now includes a delicious biscuit crust.
What to Serve as a Side Dish
This casserole is a meal all on its own but if you’re looking for a few easy sides try these.
- Salads: A fresh mixed green salad, with a simple Italian dressing, can cut through the richness of the casserole.
- Breads: From garlic toast to freshly baked rolls, they are perfect for soaking up those delectable juices.
- Roasted Veggies: A side of roasted or grilled vegetables complements the meaty casserole beautifully.
Can You Freeze John Wayne Casserole?
Yes! Whether you are freezing leftovers or making the casserole ahead of time to serve to your family on a busy weeknight, it’s simple to freeze a John Wayne casserole. It can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to Store It
Ensuring that your John Wayne Casserole retains its delicious flavors and stays fresh requires proper storage. Here’s a quick guide on how to store your casserole leftovers in both the refrigerator and freezer:
- Cool Before Storing: Allow the casserole to cool to room temperature after baking. This prevents the buildup of condensation which can make the casserole soggy.
- Use Airtight Containers: Transfer the casserole to an airtight container or, if it’s in a casserole dish, tightly cover it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- Label and Date: To keep track of freshness, label the container or wrap with the date of storage.
- Consume Promptly: For best quality, enjoy the refrigerated casserole within 3-4 days.
- Cool Before Freezing: As with refrigeration, ensure the casserole is completely cooled before proceeding.
- Portioning (Optional): If desired, divide the casserole into individual or family-sized portions. This makes for easier thawing and reheating later.
- Wrap Tightly: Use freezer-safe wrap or aluminum foil to cover the casserole dish or portions thoroughly. You can also transfer portions to freezer-safe bags.
- Use Airtight Containers: If not using bags, placing the wrapped casserole in an airtight container offers an added layer of protection against freezer burn.
- Label and Date: Mark the storage date and contents on the wrap or bag for easy identification.
- Long-Term Storage: The casserole can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. While it can be kept longer, flavors and texture are best enjoyed within this timeframe.
Remember, when you’re ready to enjoy your stored John Wayne Casserole, always reheat it thoroughly, ensuring it reaches a safe internal temperature before serving.
How to Reheat
One of the best things about casseroles is that they can easily be reheated!
From the Refrigerator:
- Preheat the Oven: Set your oven to 350°F (175°C) and let it preheat.
- Transfer to Oven-Safe Dish: If the casserole isn’t already in an oven-safe dish, transfer it to one. This ensures even reheating.
- Cover with Foil: Place aluminum foil over the dish. This helps retain moisture and ensures the casserole doesn’t dry out.
- Reheat: Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. If it’s a larger portion, it may require a few extra minutes.
- Check Temperature: Ensure that the center of the casserole reaches a safe temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).
- Serve and Enjoy: Once thoroughly heated, remove from the oven, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and serve.
From the Freezer:
- Thawing (Recommended): For best results, transfer the casserole from the freezer to the refrigerator at least 24 hours before you plan to reheat it. This ensures even reheating.
- Preheat the Oven: Set your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Transfer to Oven-Safe Dish: If the casserole isn’t already in an oven-safe dish, ensure it’s placed in one.
- Cover with Foil: Tightly cover the dish with aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out.
- Reheat: Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes. If the casserole was pre-portioned, it might require less time.
- Check Temperature: Before serving, ensure the casserole reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).
- Serve and Relish: Remove from the oven, let it stand for a few minutes, then dig in!
For those in a hurry, microwaving is always an option! We recommend cutting into individual portions before reheating in the microwave.
John Wayne Casserole
- 2.25 cups Bisquick Mix
- 8 ounces Water
- ½ cup Diced onion
- 1 Green bell pepper, diced
- 2 pounds Ground beef
- 2 tablespoons Taco seasoning
- 10.5 ounces Rotel Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
- 4 ounces Sour cream
- 4 ounces Mayonnaise
- 8 ounces Shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
- In a bowl combine Bisquick baking mix and 8 ounces of water and stir together until well mixed to make the biscuit dough.
- Spread the biscuit dough over the bottom of the baking dish and pat it out so it covers the entire bottom of the dish. Set aside.
- In a skillet over medium high heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook the onions and green peppers until they begin to soften.
- Add the ground beef to the pan and cook until it is browned.
- Remove the ground beef from the heat and drain off any excess grease. Then return the ground beef mixture to the skillet and add the taco seasoning and Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies (undrained). Stir together and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- While the ground beef finishes cooking, in a small bowl combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, and 4 ounces of cheddar cheese. Stir together.
- Begin assembling the casserole by spooning the ground beef mixture over the biscuit dough in the baking dish.
- Spread the sour cream mixture evenly over the ground beef layer.
- Top with the remaining 4 ounces of cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 40 – 45 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling on top.
- Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.