Cattle Drive Casserole

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Cattle Drive Casserole, the ultimate comfort food. Layers of cheese, meat, and more cheese make for this satisfying casserole beyond delicious.

Cattle Drive Casserole, the ultimate comfort food. Layers of cheese, meat, and more cheese make for this satisfying casserole beyond delicious.


Cattle Drive Casserole

Okay, so there’s some background explanation behind the name behind the dish:  Cattle Drive Casserole. The story begins with me finding a recipe on Pinterest months ago.

Pinned it, like I do so many recipes but never actually looked at the recipe. The name of it didn’t give you much to go off of: “John Wayne Casserole”, that’s it!

All I know about John Wayne is he’s in a lot of old cowboy movies. I know he’s an icon, but I wasn’t sure he was a casserole maker. I had no idea if you should automatically know what the dish was all about based on the name, I had no clue.

I finally clicked on the recipe one day and it sounded really good. There was some explanation about the name that really still didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

So I did what I normally do for my fussy self…I “Lori-fied” the recipe. In the end, I came up with a great dish that even my littlest daughter surprisingly devoured since it has a tiny kick to it.

Now back to the name of this dish.  While eating it for dinner, my husband (who really enjoyed it) asked me what it was called. I told him “John Wayne Casserole”, but that I wanted to rename it because I didn’t understand the correlation and also because I “Lori-fied” the recipe.  

His response was: “How about Cattle Drive Casserole? Seems like a hearty dish that ranchers might eat after being out on the range all day.”…and so there you have it!

Thank you Steve, Cattle Drive Casserole it is!

Cattle Drive Casserole, the ultimate comfort food. Layers of cheese, meat, and more cheese make for this satisfying casserole beyond delicious.


What exactly is a casserole?

A casserole refers to the type of cooking vessel that is large and deep and used for both cooking and serving a dish. The word also refers to the type of food that is cooked within this style dish.

Other ingredients you can add to this dish:

  • Black beans
  • Roasted corn
  • Pepper Jack cheese
  • Chopped jalapenos





Food is the most primitive form of comfort. Author-Sheila Graham

There’s so much to love about a comforting casserole! Wouldn’t you agree? Casseroles are definitely on a regular rotation in my kitchen and I’m always on the lookout for new recipes to try for my family.

I do hope you enjoy Cattle Drive Casserole, I mean what’s not to love with simple ingredients and comforting layers of deliciousness. With so many chilly days here in Michigan I make Cattle Drive Casserole whenever I feel the need for a hearty and oh so good dish. Enjoy!

Great casserole recipes to try:

If you love a good casserole recipe, we have some recipe recommendations. Comfort food is the best!
King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Get the Recipe
Hash Brown Taco Casserole

Hash Brown Taco Casserole

Get the Recipe

Even more casserole inspiration:

Hash Brown Taco Casserole | Who Needs A Cape?

Easy Meatball Parmesan Casserole | The Kitchen is My Playground

King Ranch Chicken Casserole | Who Needs A Cape?


Yield: 6 servings

Cattle Drive Casserole

Cattle Drive Casserole
Cattle Drive Casserole, the ultimate comfort food. Layers of cheese, meat and more cheese make for this satisfying casserole beyond delicious.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 3/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 taco seasoning packet
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded & divided
  • 1 sm. can (4 oz) diced green chilies
  • 1 (10 oz) can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 1 1/4 cup water, divided


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Brown ground beef, drain off grease. Add in diced onion, bell pepper, taco seasoning and 1/2 cup of the water to pan. Simmer approximately 10 minutes until onion & pepper are softened.
  3. In separate bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and green chilies, set aside.
  4. Stir Bisquick and 3/4 cup water (you may need a tiny bit more water) to make a soft dough. Spray 13X9 baking pan with non-stick spray. Press dough into bottom of pan and bake 5 minutes.
  5. On top of biscuit layer, spread ground beef mixture, next add can of Rotel spreading over ground beef mixture, next spread the sour cream mixture and end with remaining shredded cheese sprinkled over the top.
  6. Bake 30 minutes.
Cattle Drive Casserole, the ultimate comfort food. Layers of cheese, meat and more cheese make for this satisfying casserole beyond delicious.


  1. Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes says

    No matter what it’s called, it sounds great to me πŸ˜‰ Pinned it, Lori!

    • Thanks Jamie πŸ™‚

    • Sorry, Lori! It IS John Wayne Casserole and it’s not new!! I’ve been making it for about 20 years. It’s a favorite for everyone who has ever eaten it.

      • Well everything is new to others at some point in life, isn’t it? Have a great day!

      • She never claimed it to be new, but adapted it. Why are old people so rude? This is on my meal plan this week

      • That’s wonderful K. Miller. Why would you be so rude about this? If I’ve never made this recipe or If someone gives me something that is theirs that they have had , it may not be new to them anymore but it’s new to me. You should apologize for being so ugly for no reason .

  2. This looks delicious! I like the name. It does sound like a hearty meal for a bunch of cowboys.

  3. Sounds very yummy! Pinned it!

  4. This casserole looks so good! Pinned it! I also liked your facebook page and was wondering if you could check out my page and like me back? Thanks!

  5. Sounds great…about to try it!

  6. Mandy's Recipe Box

    Mandy's Recipe Box

  7. Your casserole sounds really good! I love casseroles like this in the fall, they are the perfect hearty, comfort food meals for when it gets chilly outside! This sounds wonderful! πŸ™‚

  8. Hi Lori. Found this through the Linky party. This looks like a great recipe. One of those that I wouldn’t be able to stop eating. I like the name Cattle Drive better than John Wayne. πŸ™‚

  9. Not sure why it was called John Wayne Cassarole, but not sure Cattle Drive Cassarole works because where do you keep the sour cream cold on a cattle drive. I am speaking of the old days before coolers. Maybe it was a recipe John Wayne liked and was given for some fund reaising cookbook many, many moons ago. I grew up with John Wayne movies and he made some really good ones, not just cowboy ones. He was a great American patriot.

  10. I was just wandering do you drain the Rotel tomatoes before adding to the top of the beef? can’t wait to try this looks delicious. Thanks so much.

    • I don’t but you can if you’d like.

      • Hi, if you don’t drain the can of rotel doesn’t the casserole end up soggy? And also what size can because when I buy rotel at Walmart it either comes in a tiny can or a really big one. Thx. Looks delicious btw thanks

        • Hi Britney, I use a 10 oz can of Rotel, which is probably the smaller can. And no, it does not make the casserole soggy by not draining. Hope you enjoy!

  11. G’day! Love what it’s called and looks warm and welcoming too!
    Thanks for sharing at the Foodie Friends Friday Best of 2013 Party!
    Cheers! Joanne

  12. I’m fan of casserole. AND cattle drive’s. HA! Perfect dish to serve here in Texas. Thanks! (#SITS)

  13. This is one I need to try in our home for sure!

  14. I love a good casserole – this sounds great! Visiting from SITS FB Page πŸ™‚

  15. I didn’t like the “John Wayne Casserole”, it was too dry. This sound like it would be much tastier, after being “Lori-fied”.

  16. I did not have much available in the fridge or the pantry. But I happened upon this recipe, and as luck would have it, I had ALL of the necessary ingredients. (I had been wondering what to do with the little can of green chiles we had under the cupboard.) I made it today for our family’s dinner.

    OK. The verdict is in. Family’s response 1) “Did you make it exactly as the recipe states? [I had] It’s interesting.”
    2) “It’s a little too spicy.”

    And I thought it was pretty good. Next time, I might not use any or as many green chiles.

  17. Question: is the RoTel drained? This reminds me much of the old Bisquick Taco Pie recipe I made for years.

    • No need to drain the RoTel! Hope you enjoy!

    • Rose, I have found from experience it’s not usually the canned green chili’s that are hot. Most of the time they use mild unless a particular brand specifically says “hot” on the label. However, the chili’s used in Rotel tomatoes do tend to be hot. In recipes that call for both, I tend to use the can chili’s bease they’re mild & substitute fire-roasted tomatoes in place of the Rotel. I get the same flavor without all the heat for my grandkids.

  18. hmmmm, look yummy
    thankyou for the recipe

  19. I love to cook and I’m always looking for new casseroles. I just made this for me and my husband and after the first bite he said it was Delicious! I totally agree with him. I love the biscuit bottom. I live in Saskatchewan, Canada and we can’t get Rotel tomatoes so I used a can of stewed tomatoes and that was great. I will definitely make this again and I will share the recipe with my friends. Thank you!

  20. I made this yesterday and not only did it come out looking exactly like the picture, it was super good!!!! The only thing I didn’t have was the green pepper but honestly, it was so good we had second helpings which we try real hard not to do! Thank you for such a great recipe!

  21. I made this yesterday and not only did it turn out looking like the picture, it was super good!! I didn’t have green peppers but it was still fantastic. We even had a second helping which we normally don’t do! Thank you for a great recipe!

  22. Do you drain tomatoes

  23. can this be made ahead and frozen?

  24. I make a version of this and it’s great! I prettymuch do everything the same but I use crescent rolls instead of the bisquick and I mix a can of beans in with my meat after it is cooked. It’s my husband’s favorite dish!

  25. Have made this twice. Yummy. Quick and easy prep.

  26. Tastes great with corn bread instead of bisquick too!

  27. Well, guess what…we cattle ranchers love this recipe!! Great modifications and it is really stick-to-your-ribs after a day working outside in the dirt with the cattle. Thanks–and my five kids thank you too!

  28. Deeeelish….Nuff said added a can of black beans. Really scrumptious

  29. Gona make for supper to night. Looks Luscious.

  30. I made this for my family and they LOVED it! thanks for sharing it!

  31. What about making this in a casserole crockpot?

  32. Made this today…I added a can of beans & also only used a couple of TBLs of mayo & the rest sour cream. It was really good-nice for variety to our meals πŸ™‚
    thanks for the recipe!

  33. Thanks for this one, my entire family loved it which is almost impossible to do.

  34. Cathy Carthel says

    Has anyone made this dish and put it in the freezer?

  35. Alyssa Adams says

    Just made this for my hubby to take for work lunch! OMG soooo good! Substituted a few things but was so happy that I had every ingredient at home!

  36. Making for dinner tonight looks yummy

  37. Made this tonight, it is very good. The only thing I didn’t put in was the green chilis.

  38. Have you ever made this in the crock-pot?

  39. Steven W Lancaster says

    I began working at my present employer 8 years ago and John Wayne Casserole was on the menu. 8 years for twice a month it still is on the menu and there is always a line. The recipe is a little different but basically the same. Biscuik on the bottom, cooked taco seasoned beef on top of that, layer of fresh cut tomatoes, sour cream, jalepenos sliced from a jar, taco beef again, tomatoes, sour cream and cheese on top. Everything is cooked so the oven part is just to melt the cheese. Anything on the menu monthly for 30 years is a winner.

  40. Making this now! Going to top it with shredded lettuce, fresh cut tomatoes, and cilantro served with sliced avocado! Can’t wait to taste this!

  41. Has anyone tried replacing the bisquick with elbow macaroni or egg noodles. If so how was it

  42. This is one of our favorite recipes! After finding it, I added it to the monthly recipe rotation. We call it Cowboy Casserole. Don’t ask why. I have no clue. Then I get angry with myself when I can’t find it on my Pinterest! haha!

  43. Rose Doshier says

    I tweeked this and used Mexican cornbread instead of biscuit. The results were awesome! A must try for a quick meal or a cool night.

    • We made it with the Bisquick and thought the Bisquick overwhelmed the rest of the ingredients and made it too dry. I thought a puff pastry or crescent roll crust might be better. My husband thought a cornbread crust would be better and found a recipe using cornbread mix and we are using that base next time we make the John Wayne/Cattle Drive Recipe. Haven’t tried either way yet, but are looking forward to it.

      • Yes, do! I have made it that way. Use a package of Jiffy, 1 egg, half a can of cream style corn and about half a small container of sour cream. Make that before adding the toppings! It is really yummy! On this recipe, I used a very thin layer or Bisquick. It wasn’t too bad made that way.

  44. Drained totes or I drained?

  45. Added alarita Gourmet Foods medium salsa to the hamburger mixture and 1/2 cup of cream cheese to the mayonnaise mix!
    Absolutely delicious!!

  46. Do I need to drain the green chiles and diced tomatoes before adding them to the recipe?

  47. I was on here looking for a recipe for tater tot casserole and came across this and thought it looked good, so I made this instead! It was amazing! I adapted it a little and added corn to it. This reminds me of a recipe that I have made in the past. Instead, I used cornbread. I had the jiffy added 1 egg cream style corn and sour cream. I love them both and will def be making this again! If you are thinking about it def try it! FYI, I didn’t have just mayo I had miracle whip so I used that and it worked great! Thank you for the great recipe! My 1-year-old even liked it, No spicey at all!

  48. Is there a way to make this low carb using almond or coconut flour?

  49. Jennifer T says

    Could i just cut out the rotel? My family treats tomatoes like the plague and I wonder how much it would effect it if i just didnt use the rotel at all. Maybe used some canned green chiles or jalapenos instead for the kick.

    • I’m sure you can, my kids are fussy…trust me I get it. I’d add in a small can of diced green chilies so you don’t lose flavor. Hope you enjoy!

  50. This was SO good! I had people over and had all the ingredients, so I figured I’d give it a try. Everyone absolutely loved it. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  51. Can you freeze this casserole?

  52. Judy Vodila says

    I make this cattle drive casserole and love it. However, I make a double batch of Jiffy cornbread for the base, and double the rest of the ingredients for on top! Fantastic meal!


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