Creamed chipped beef is an easy recipe combining chipped beef gravy over toast. It comes together in minutes with a few everyday ingredients. This hearty recipe for chipped beef is an American classic that your family will love.
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What is creamed chipped beef?
Creamed chipped beef is a hearty, filling dish with a touch of nostalgia. A creamy bechamel sauce flecked with dried beef and served over toast. It’s pure comfort food.
This recipe has been around since World War II and was served to troops because it was cheap, filling, made with primarily shelf-stable ingredients and served 100 men. Here’s the original recipe from a 1945 Navy cookbook.
It was known to my Dad, when he was in the navy, as shit on a shingle (S.O.S.). As he tells it, creamed chipped beef on toast was a staple in the galley.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- You can make it flat on the stovetop in ten minutes in a single skillet.
- It’s cheap. Just toast and dried beef gravy.
- The recipe for chipped beef is filling. A stick to your ribs, kind of meal.
- Kids love it – there are no vegetables.
- The chipped beef gravy uses everyday ingredients.
Ingredients for creamed chipped beef recipe:
- Dried Beef – Carl Buddig beef is the most popular brand to use for this recipe because the dried beef isn’t too salty and can be used straight from the package. It’s found in the refrigerated deli section of the market.
- All Purpose Flour
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper – This is optional, but it gives the chipped beef gravy a nice kick.
- Half & Half – This is optional but makes a richer dried beef gravy. If you want a lighter sauce, substitute milk.
- Toast – you can use any white, wheat or sourdough bread.
- Parsley – purely for aesthetic reasons (and it is optional.)
How to make creamed chipped beef on toast
- Melt the butter in a heavy skillet with 2″ to 3″ high sides, over medium high heat.
- Add the flour, black pepper and pinch of cayenne pepper to the melted butter and whisk together to form a paste (called a roux).
- Cook the roux for about one minute, stirring constantly to cook the flour.
- Whisk in the milk and half and half and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, cook it for one minute until the sauce (béchamel) thickens.
- Stir the chopped beef into the cream sauce.
- Spoon creamed chipped beef mixture onto the toast. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Dried beef in a creamy white sauce known as a bechamel.
SOS is short for “shit on a shingle”. The chipped beef recipe is the “shit” and the “shingle” is the toast.
They are the same thing. The beef is preserved by drying and curing it. It’s packaged and sold thinly sliced. Find it in the refrigerated section or the canned foods aisle.
Carl Buddig is a popular brand and is often used for chipped beef.
Hormel also sells dried beef in jars and pouches. It should be soaked to remove excess sodium.
Armour has dried chipped beef in a jar. It needs to be soaked to remove excess salt.
Carsons Dried Beef – sold in pouches and should be soaked to remove excess sodium.
Everyone has their own “special touches” to their creamed chipped beef recipe. I’ve added cayenne pepper for a bit of heat and tingle. Here are some other options.
- Dry Mustard – A teaspoon added to the roux gives the creamy chipped beef béchamel sauce a tangy quality.
- Ground Nutmeg – Nutmeg is a classic spice with white sauce (béchamel). It adds a nutty warmth that’s not dominant but brings a soft flavor to the background. You only need a pinch of nutmeg, don’t overdo it.
- Worcestershire Sauce – Worcestershire Sauce is the answer if you want to go deeper with the umami flavor. A few solid dashes (¼-½ teaspoon) will flavor your chipped beef gravy.
- Garlic Powder ½ teaspoon of garlic powder is another way to season the sauce.
- Evaporated Milk – Some people swap regular milk or half and half for evaporated milk. Personally, the flavor is too institutional for me.
- Soak dried, shelf-stable beef (meat that doesn’t need to be refrigerated) in water for 10-20 minutes to remove some sodium. Otherwise, the cream chipped beef recipe will be too salty.
- You can adjust the consistency of the chipped beef gravy by adding more milk. If you want it to be thinner, whisk in extra milk, about ¼ cup at a time, until you have the thickness you want.
- You can cut the recipe in half or double it depending on how many people you’re feeding.
More one-pan recipes you might like:
- Irish Banger Skillet
- Lemon Artichoke Chicken
- Skillet Jambalaya
- Diner Style Crispy Skillet Breakfast Potatoes
- Sweet Potato and Bacon Hash
- Kielbasa and Sauerkraut
Old Fashioned Creamed Chipped Beef On Toast (SOS Recipe)
- 6 ounces dried thinly sliced beef roughly chopped into bite sized bits
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ cups milk
- ½ cup half and half
- 4 slices bread toasted
- 2 teaspoons fresh parsley chopped, optional
- Melt the butter over medium high heat in a medium skillet with 2-3" high sides.
- Sprinkle the flour, black pepper and cayenne pepper over the flour and whisk until the flour is completely mixed with the butter and no dry bits remain.
- Cook, whisking constantly for one minute.
- Whisk in the milk and half and half and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook for one minute, again, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn or stick to the bottom of the skillet.
- Remove from heat and stir in the beef to mix well.
- Place a piece of toast on each plate and divide the creamed chipped beef over the toast. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Rich Bistyga says
My mom would make this with ground beef and me and my brothers would fight over it. I was in the Navy as a cook and made it with ground beef and with dried beef. Not one complaint no matter how o made it.
Made it this morning. This is just like I remember!
Love it, know it. I normally use the Armor or Hormel beef in a jar, but…I’m going to try with Buddig beef since my Mom just bought some. I was thinking, didn’t I see you could use this? Yep, right here. I’ll give it a go to compare with the jarred dried beef.
I’ve made it plenty of times over my 40+ adult life. I like lots of fresh ground pepper in mine. The dry mustard, nutmeg and Worcestershire was the ticket to make it even better. I use heavy cream I thin out as I don’t like regular milk for some odd reason. 1/2 heavy cream and 1/2 water. I like a more meaty sauce and yep, dump on a toasted shingle.
My mom says her mom added peas…I think that might be a good add in (like tuna casserole), I’ll try it, maybe.
Your photo’s are great and I appreciate how difficult it would be to make it look tempting – Good Job!
I make this using leftover pot roast, wouldn’t go out and buy anything specific to make this. Saute up some onions, mushrooms when those are done add some flour and stir up. Add pot roast juice, seasonings (paprika, parsley, dash Worcestershire) cream or 1/2+1/2. Heat to simmer, serve over toast with the leftover pot roast vegetables.
One of my favs! We used the jarred stuff Armor. We always boiled it for a minute after we cut it up then drained and rinsed.
Acouple of months ago I found that the meat shop at my local (PA) farmer’s market makes this daily homemade! I suppose some part of my brain pushed it out but for some reason after I found out that they made it daily I figured I would get a small tub and give it a shot!
I found out that theirs is not salty at all and had a lot of meat in it and I LOVED it!!!
I now have this once or twice a week for breakfast over English muffins and I love it! It’s filling and good and not salty at all..
I have left-over corned beef from New Years. Do you think I could substitute and add salt?
Ali Grotts says
A retired sailor told me that on his ship they were served SOS with pork and beans in the recipe. Maybe crushed and added to the sauce? Has anyone had this in the military?
Mauricia Ann Proper says
Maybe they meant with pork and beans on the side! I’m Air Force, and I think we would have revolted had they messed with our SOS by adding the pork and beans to the gravy and meat! ?
SSgt. Jim Lovelace says
This dish is “old school” I ate it in boot USMC boot camp and throughout my career. Loved it and always looked forward to it.
I remember Dad talking about this during his WWII army service. Growing up mom made a version of SOS. I’m sending this post to her & will let you know her response. Fun post Lisa!
Uncle Buck says
Great homage to your Dad! I can still taste it now. It is the one dish he was really good at, well besides hot dogs and beans.
What a fun vintage recipe! I haven’t had SOS in ages! Can’t wait to make it again!
Pure nostalgia. Love it!
Erica Schwarz says
“Shit on a shingle” LOL – I never knew that! Loved the history less, and I totally appreciate that some of the best food are hardest to photograph. I LOVE anything in a creamy gravy and can’t wait to give your recipe a try.
My dad still uses the SOS name for this recipe. Makes me laugh every time. It’s so easy to make. Quick lunch idea.
Worcestershire sauce and mustard are such a great addition to the sauce!
Sarah Holt says
Never heard of this before but I love anything creamy, sounds delish!