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SOS Creamed Beef Recipe

This SOS creamed beef recipe is one of the easiest dishes. My dad always made it when I was growing up, and I still crave it today!

SOS Creamed Beef Recipe served with a sprinkle of parsley.

SOS stands for “shit on a shingle,” and growing up, I loved it when my dad made this for dinner.

I mostly loved it because I could say “shit” and not get in too much trouble.

This is one of those classic old-fashioned military meals nostalgic for many people. My family included!

Although SOS is traditionally made with chipped dried beef – a dried, smoked, and salted meat product – my family has always used ground beef. When you use chipped beef, you typically call it “creamed chipped beef.”

Either way, it’s tasty, but I find the ground beef to be a bit more filling and a lot less salty.

Texturally creamed hamburger gravy is similar to sausage white gravy. It’s great spooned over toast, soft white bread, or homemade biscuits.

SOS Creamed Beef Recipe ingredients picture.

SOS recipe ingredients

  • Ground beef
  • Yellow onion
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Unsalted butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Whole milk
  • Toasted bread

What is shit on a shingle?

Visually, it’s not the most colorful or beautiful dish but filling and comforting.

Sometimes, that cancels the old rule: “You eat with your eyes first.”

Plus, it’s like the dinner version of sausage gravy and biscuits, which you know means it’s going to be amazingly delicious! I like to make mine and serve it over toast, but I hear serving it over potatoes is also a great way to scarf down this deliciousness.

If you’re unfamiliar with this dish, you should know it’s comfort food. It’s super cheap to make and works perfectly when you have a big family to feed.

SOS can be made with either ground beef or chipped beef but for this recipe I used ground beef because that is what my family uses. Popular chipped beef brands Buddig beef or Hormel.

To keep things simple, season this SOS creamed beef recipe with salt and pepper, but sometimes, adding other spices like garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, or even fresh herbs is fun.

I like mine with a little sprinkling of crushed red pepper or a pinch of cayenne pepper because I always crave heat!

SOS Creamed Beef Recipe on a white plate.

How to make creamed hamburger

The great thing about this easy recipe is that it doesn’t require a lot of extra energy in the kitchen. And it can be made relatively cheap!

  1. Add ground beef and onion in a large skillet and cook until the meat is browned.
  2. Drain the beef, remove it from the pan, and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in the same pan and add flour to create a roux to help thicken our gravy/cream sauce.
  4. Slowly stream in 2 cups milk and gently simmer until thickened.
  5. Add the ground beef and onions to the pan, stir, and simmer until warm.
  6. Serve over sliced toasted bread (Texas toast is fun!) or biscuits.
SOS Creamed Beef Recipe served with crushed red pepper for heat.

More ground beef recipes

sos creamed beef recipe on a white plate with a fork

SOS Creamed Beef Recipe

This SOS creamed beef recipe is one of the easiest dishes to throw together. My dad used to make this all the time and I still crave it to this day!
4.53 from 40 votes
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper to taste
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • Bread toasted


  • Set a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add ground beef and onion to the skillet and season lightly with kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Break up the meat as it cooks and cook until it’s brown in color and no pink remains. Drain the meat and set aside.
  • In the same pan as you used to brown the meat, set it over medium heat and add the butter.
  • Melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour and whisk together until it forms a paste.
  • Let it bubble slightly and cook for about a minute.
  • Slowly stream in milk and whisk until thick. This might take a few minutes to get the gravy as thick as you like.
  • Add cooked beef and onion to the white gravy mixture.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to add more flavor by sprinkling in crushed red pepper, garlic powder or fresh herbs.
  • Serve over toast.


  • If the gravy gets too thick you can thin it out with more milk.
  • Do not skimp on adding the kosher salt and black pepper after cooking. If you don’t add enough seasoning the gravy will taste very bland.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 536kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 133mg | Sodium: 707mg | Potassium: 538mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 638IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 183mg | Iron: 3mg
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chipped beef, creamed beef, easy recipes, ground beef recipes, sos
Did you try this recipe?Leave a comment and 5 star review!
SOS Creamed Beef Recipe pin for Pinterest.

About Brandy!

I am a food lover and recipe developer bringing you delicious recipes that taste great and are easy to make! My food is inspired by travels around the world and my love of flavorful food. A list of things that make me happy: cats, Coke Zero, houseplants, and travel. Read more...

Recipe Rating


Sunday 20th of August 2023

Make it and was so yummy!


Wednesday 19th of July 2023

This is the best ever I make it with dried chipped venison


Sunday 26th of February 2023

We ate this in the US Army for years. Many cooks put their own spin on the recipe but this one is good albeit basic. Nanny's recipe is very good. This is a great breakfast entrée for weekends when you have some military veterans over for a meal.


Saturday 24th of December 2022

My Dad always made this with the dried beef in the jar. He would soak it n water to remove some of the salt. So good...


Thursday 7th of April 2022

When I was in the Navy this was always served in the mess hall for breakfast. Even though it had an unfortunate name, I scarfed it down every morning. I can't wait to try this version.


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