Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

Prep: 15 mins

Cook: 59 mins

Rest Time: 5 mins

Total: 79 mins

Servings: 6 to 8 servings

Also known as John Wayne casserole, this dish is a delicious mix of ground beef, vegetables, pickled jalapeños, and cheese, all layered atop a biscuit crust. This recipe is quite different from the original: It contains no eggs and adds a biscuit crust and ground beef but keeps the original southwestern inspiration by including the pickled jalapeños, tomatoes, and cheese.

Note: This recipe was renamed because the Hollywood actor it was originally named for had publicly expressed racist views not aligned with Dotdash Meredith values.

“This casserole made a great-tasting, satisfying everyday meal. It was easy to put together and bake, and the flavors were excellent. The jalapeno peppers flavored the sour cream, and you could replace them with mild peppers if you prefer less heat. I’ll probably cut back to a smaller can of tomatoes when I make it again. ” —Diana Rattray

Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 (16-ounce) can large biscuits

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 pounds ground beef, preferably 85% lean

  • 1 (1-ounce) packet taco seasoning

  • 1/3 cup water

  • Kosher salt, as needed

  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 medium green bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 8 ounces shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided

  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced jalapeños

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 F. Spray a large baking dish generously with cooking spray.

    Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

  3. Place the biscuits in a single layer in the baking dish, pressing them together to create one layer of dough.

    Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

  4. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden, about 12 minutes.

    Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

  5. While the biscuits bake, add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large heavy-duty skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally until no longer pink, about 10 minutes.

    Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

  6. Drain most of the excess fat from the skillet. Add the taco seasoning, water, and salt to taste. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the water evaporates, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

    Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

  7. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. When the oil shimmers, add the onions, bell peppers, and salt to taste. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until tender, about 10 minutes.

    Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

  8. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are warmed through, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

    Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

  9. Combine the sour cream, half the cheddar, and the jalapeños in a medium bowl.

    Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

  10. Layer the ingredients evenly on top of the baked biscuit crust in this order; ground beef, onion-pepper-tomato mixture, sour cream-cheddar mixture, then top with the remaining cheese.

    Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

  11. For two layers, divide the mixtures in half, layer twice as directed above, leaving the cheese for the top layer only.

    Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

  12. Bake until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown slightly, about 20 minutes.

    Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

  13. Remove from the oven, let sit 5 minutes, and serve.

    Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole Recipe

Recipe Tip; Make Ahead

This is a great make-ahead casserole that can be frozen fully baked (be sure to use a foil baking pan to be safe going from freezer to oven). Once baked, cool completely, then tightly wrap in plastic. Freeze for up to three months. Reheat in a 350 F oven until warmed through.

Recipe Variations

  • For a tangier topping, replace 1/2 cup of the sour cream with mayonnaise.
  • Replace the ground beef with ground turkey.
  • Instead of canned tomatoes, arrange a layer of sliced tomatoes—about 2 to 3 fresh tomatoes—over the ground beef layer.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Refrigerate leftover casserole in a covered container within 2 hours of preparing, and eat within 3 to 4 days.
  • To freeze, transfer leftovers to a freezer container and label with the name and date—freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 744
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 48g 61%
Saturated Fat 19g 93%
Cholesterol 148mg 49%
Sodium 920mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 43g
Vitamin C 56mg 279%
Calcium 413mg 32%
Iron 6mg 31%
Potassium 747mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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