John Wayne casserole is a scrumptious dish that can feed a crowd. It’s full of spice, western flavor, and it’s also easy to make!
Thanks to pre-made and canned ingredients, the hands-on preparation will take you only 15 minutes. The rest is up to the oven!
The result is a beautiful medley of flavors and textures that will make your taste buds go nuts. It’s rich and creamy, hot and spicy, and oh-so-cheesy.
In the mood for comfort food? John Wayne casserole will hit the spot!
John Wayne Casserole
It’s the casserole with an interesting name and an even more interesting flavor.
This beloved dish is packed with several layers that together, create one stunning dish.
At the very bottom is a bed of soft and pillowy biscuit crust. Don’t worry, thanks to a trusty biscuit mix, you won’t have to make it from scratch.
Next up are layers of savory ground beef, onions and green peppers, tomatoes, chilies, and a blend of sour cream and mayo. I mean, talk about the ultimate taco!
Completing the casserole is a generous sprinkling of cheddar cheese. When baked, it turns into a stunning golden crust that’s irresistibly ooey-gooey.
It only takes one bite to realize that this casserole is the one thing missing in your life.
- Biscuit Baking Mix – The tender crust of the casserole. You can use any brand, but I prefer Bisquick and Pillsbury.
- Ground Beef – For that beefy, umami-packed flavor.
- Taco Seasoning – To transform your ground beef from delicious to drool-worthy.
- Tomato – For a juicy, refreshing contrast to the rich casserole.
- Green Pepper – To give it a bit of a kick!
- Onion – This recipe uses sauteed onions, but you can also mix in some raw onion slices for a more pungent flavor.
- Canned Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies and Diced Chilies – For a hot and spicy casserole.
- Sour Cream and Mayo – The rich and creamy elements that balance out the heat from the chilies.
- Cheddar Cheese – An integral part of any casserole. When baked, the top part turns into a crisp golden crust, while the inside is wonderfully melty.
Tips for the Best Casserole
- The baking mix batter will be sticky, so it might be a challenge to spread it into the pan. Here’s a trick: once the batter is in the pan, place a piece of parchment paper over it and give it a good press.
- Like many casseroles, this one is easily customizable. There’s no need to be exact with the measurements! Add more or less of the ingredients to suit your taste.
- Feel free to add whatever mix-ins you like. I’m talking corn, olives, and jalapenos. Use taco or pepper jack cheese for more heat Here’s a simple rule: if it works in a taco, it will also work in this casserole.
- This casserole isn’t the healthiest of dishes, so stay away from it if you’re on a diet. But if you really can’t resist the urge, you can make it a little lighter by using ground turkey or chicken instead of beef. You can also add less cheese, and use low-fat sour cream and mayo.
How Did This Dish Get Its Name?
It’s really simple. The recipe for the casserole was invented by the famous actor himself!
As it turns out, he donated the recipe to a charity cookbook for the American Cancer Society, years and years ago.
However, his original recipe, which was actually called “egg and cheese casserole,” didn’t have meat in it.
Over time, the recipe has evolved into many variations, including this one with beef.
The cookbook, called “Cooking with Love from Cara and Her Friends,” was first published in 1979.
The idea of coming up with a collection of recipes from famous people came from Cara Connery, who had several relatives pass away from cancer.
Here’s the interesting part: she was only 10 when she took on the fund-raising initiative. With the help of her mother, she managed to write to 1,400 famous people in total.
Many were touched by the young girl’s letter and donated their recipes.
Celebrity contributors included Alan Alda, Senator Hubert Humphrey, President Ronald Reagan, and John Wayne, to name a few. Even John Paul II sent in a prayer!
John Wayne Casserole Toppings
This casserole is already super loaded, but you can still make your dinner even more extra by going crazy on the toppings.
Sliced jalapenos, black olives, and chopped green onions won’t just add flavor and texture, but a pop of color, too.
This dish is basically tacos in casserole form, so go ahead and finish it off with salsa and/or guacamole. Yum!
You can top it with sour cream, too, for added richness and a cool contrast to the hot casserole.
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