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Beefy John Wayne Casserole

This has to be the world’s best casserole. It seriously ticks all the boxes: it’s beefy, cheesy, a bit spicy, and loaded with flavor. Plus, this is a no-pasta casserole. Instead, it’s made with Bisquick, and this tasty layer holds up all the rest of the goodies in this amazing John Wayne Casserole.

A square of John Wayne Casserole on a black plate.

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With 2 teens in the house, we eat casseroles often. My son, eats and eats and eats, so casseroles are economical and an easy way for me to fill him up without cooking all day. The whole family loves this John Wayne Casserole because it has familiar Tex-Mex flavors, a bit of spice, and loads of tasty flavors.

This is an easy layered casserole, and the whole thing finishes cooking in the oven in about 30 minutes. You make it in a 9×13-inch casserole dish, so it makes plenty for the family, even if you have hungry teenagers in the house.

It’s also a vintage casserole recipe that’s come back into culinary fashion. Bisquick has been around since the 1930s, and it didn’t take long for someone to incorporate it into a casserole. 

Like all my casseroles, there is no canned soup in this casserole. Just honest-to-goodness ingredients and loads of flavor. I just know you’ll love it as much as we do!

A casserole dish with cheese and meat in it.

What you’ll love about John Wayne Casserole


  • It’s a meaty, cheesy, veggie-filled casserole that’s packed with flavor.
  • You can assemble it ahead of time and just bake it when ready.
  • There are no canned soups in this casserole! It’s scratch-made goodness you can really dig into.

Ingredients

  • Bisquick baking mix – You’ll need about 3 cups of baking mix in total.
  • Water
  • Cooking oil – Olive oil or vegetable oil is fine.
  • Onion – Yellow or white onion; diced.
  • Ground beef
  • Ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder – Make sure your spices are fresh! Fresh spices make all the difference.
  • Bell pepper – I like green bell pepper in this recipe, but you could use any kind. For a spicier kick, use a jalapeno instead. Seed and dice the pepper.
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes – Drained. You can use original or mild; whichever you prefer.
  • Tomato – Diced. I use roma tomatoes because they’re meatier. The fresh tomato really lightens up the dish and makes a big difference with the flavor.
  • Frozen corn niblets – Thawed.
  • Canned green chilis – A 4.5 ounce can is all you need.
  • Cream cheese – Softened. Pop it into the microwave for a few seconds if it’s too hard to mix.
  • Mayonnaise – Any kind works.
  • Cheddar cheese – Use sharp or extra sharp cheddar. Pre-shredded is fine.
A list of ingredients for John Wayne casserole.

How to Make John Wayne Casserole

  1. Preheat your oven to 375-F and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set this aside.
  2. Combine the Bisquick mix with 1 cup of water in a large bowl. Mix until combined. Set aside.
  3. Add the onions and cooking oil to a large skillet and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until the onion starts to soften.
  4. Add the ground beef to the onions and continue to cook, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain off the fat.
  5. Add the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and a good pinch of salt and pepper to the ground beef and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes more. Transfer the beef mixture to a bowl.
  6. Combine the drained Rotel tomatoes, corn niblets, fresh tomatoes, and canned green chilies in the empty skillet you cooked the beef in and mix well to combine. Heat over medium heat until heated through.
  7. Combine the softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, and 2 cups of cheddar cheese in a bowl until well mixed.
  8. Spread the Bisquick dough mixture into the bottom of your prepared baking dish. Use an offset spatula to help spread it around into an even layer.
  9. Top with the ground beef mixture.
  10. Top with the tomato-vegetable mixture.
  11. Spread the cream cheese, mayo, and cheddar mixture over the top and finish by sprinkling the rest of the cheddar cheese over the top.
  12. Bake at 375-F for about 30-35 minutes or until the baking mix has set on the bottom and the casserole is hot.

Chef Jenn’s Tips

  • You can use any ground meat in this recipe. Try it with ground turkey or chicken, or even sausage.
  • I love a dollop of sour cream on top – it adds a pop of freshness!
  • Don’t hesitate to customize the spice levels to your liking. More chili powder or a dash of cayenne pepper can kick it up a notch.

Recommended

Make It A Meal

John Wayne Casserole is a feast in itself, but it can be turned into an even more satisfying meal with a few simple additions. A side of crisp green salad or roasted vegetables can balance the richness of the casserole. For a heartier meal, serve with a side of garlic bread.

A piece of a casserole on a plate.

Storage

This casserole stores wonderfully, making it great for leftovers or meal prep. Keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze portions in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven or microwave until heated through. Always ensure the casserole is covered while reheating to retain moisture.

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A square of John Wayne Casserole on a black plate.
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5 from 2 votes

Beefy John Wayne Casserole

Beefy, cheesy, spicy, and with a Bisquick base, John Wayne Casserole is just about the perfect casserole!
Course Casseroles, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword breakfast casserole, ground beef, john wayne casserole, vintage casserole
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 760kcal
Author Chef Jenn

Ingredients

  • 3 cups bisquick
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspooon garlic powder
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • 1 4-5 ounces can green chilis
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn niblets
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar divided

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 375-F and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set this aside.
  • Combine the Bisquick mix with 1 cup of water in a large bowl. Mix until combined. Set aside.
  • Add the onions and cooking oil to a large skillet and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until the onion starts to soften.
  • Add the ground beef to the onions and continue to cook, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain off the fat.
  • Add the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and a good pinch of salt and pepper to the ground beef and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes more, then transfer the beef mixture to a bowl and set aside
  • Combine the drained Rotel tomatoes, diced bell peppers, corn niblets, fresh tomatoes, and canned green chilies in the same skillet and mix well to combine. Heat over medium heat until heated through.
  • Combine the softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, and 2 cups of cheddar cheese in a bowl until well mixed.
  • Spread the Bisquick-water mixture into the bottom of your prepared baking dish. Use an offset spatula to help spread it around into an even layer.
  • Top with the ground beef mixture.
  • Top with the vegetable mixture.
  • Spread the cream cheese, mayo, and cheddar mixture over the top and finish by sprinkling the rest of the cheddar cheese over the top.
  • Bake at 375-F for about 30-35 minutes or until the baking mix has set on the bottom and the casserole is hot.

Notes

Chef Jenn’s Tips
  • You can use any ground meat in this recipe. Try it with ground turkey or chicken, or even sausage.
  • I love a dollop of sour cream on top – it adds a pop of freshness!
  • Don’t hesitate to customize the spice levels to your liking. More chili powder or a dash of cayenne pepper can kick it up a notch.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 760kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 1152mg | Potassium: 488mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1542IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 445mg | Iron: 3mg

A Note on Nutritional Information

Nutritional information for this recipe is provided as a courtesy and is calculated based on available online ingredient information. It is only an approximate value. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site cannot be guaranteed.

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