SOS Creamed Beef Recipe

This SOS creamed beef recipe is one of the easiest dishes to throw together. Growing up, my dad used to make this all the time and I still crave it to this day! Plus it’s ready in under 30 minutes! 

This SOS creamed beef recipe also called shit on a shingle 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!

SOS Creamed Beef Recipe AKA: “Shit on a Shingle”

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.

Traditionally SOS is made with chipped beef, which is a dried, smoked and salted meat product, although my family always made it with ground beef.

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

This SOS creamed beef recipe also called shit on a shingle 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!

What is shit on a shingle?

Visually it’s not the most colorful or beautiful dish but it’s 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!

This SOS creamed beef recipe also called shit on a shingle 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!

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 not familiar with this dish you should know it’s straight-up comfort food. It was super cheap to make and worked perfectly when there was a big family to feed.

This is America’s version of peasant food.

This SOS creamed beef recipe also called shit on a shingle 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!

If you like to keep things simple you can just season this SOS creamed beef recipe with salt and pepper but sometimes it’s fun to add other spices like garlic, crushed red pepper flakes or even fresh herbs.

Personally, I like mine with a little sprinkling of crushed red pepper because I’m pretty much always craving heat!

{Looking for more ground beef recipes? Try my Southwest Taco Stuffed Spaghetti SquashBeef Puttanesca PizzaSlow Cooker Parmesan Meat SauceSmothered Burritos or my Chipotle Stuffed Zucchini Boats}

sos creamed beef recipe on a white plate with a fork

SOS Creamed Beef Recipe

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

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!


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


  1. Set a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add ground beef and onion to the skillet and season lightly with kosher salt and black pepper.
  3. 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.
  4. In the same pan as you used to brown the meat, set it over medium heat and add the butter.
  5. Melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour and whisk together until it forms a paste.
  6. Let it bubble slightly and cook for about a minute.
  7. Slowly stream in milk and whisk until thick. This might take a few minutes to get the gravy as thick as you like.
  8. Add cooked beef and onion to the white gravy mixture.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to add more flavor by sprinkling in crushed red pepper, garlic powder or fresh herbs.
  10. 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.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 384Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 222mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 24g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Did you make this recipe?

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This SOS creamed beef recipe is one of the easiest dishes to throw together. Growing up, my dad used to make this all the time and I still crave it to this day! Plus it's ready in under 30 minutes!

You might also like these recipes – easy beef nacho soup, ground beef tacos, ground beef stroganoff.

Original pictures with the post:

This SOS creamed beef recipe is one of the easiest dishes to throw together. Growing up, my dad used to make this all the time and I still crave it to this day! Plus it's ready in under 30 minutes!

This SOS creamed beef recipe is one of the easiest dishes to throw together. Growing up, my dad used to make this all the time and I still crave it to this day! Plus it's ready in under 30 minutes!

76 Responses to “SOS Creamed Beef Recipe”

  1. #
    5 Star Foodie — September 21, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    This looks so comforting, creamy, and delicious!

  2. #
    Veronica — September 21, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    It looks just like sausage gravy that you pour over biscuits, and in fact the recipe is really similar. Cool, a way to have it for dinner!

  3. #
    megan — September 22, 2010 at 5:59 am

    This sounds like the perfect comfort food! I love those meals that take you back to your childhood 🙂

  4. #
    Blond Duck — September 22, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    I’ve heard about this and always wanted to try it!

  5. #
    Framed — September 22, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    wow, I’ve always wondered about the recipe for this – I love meals like this. Comfort food!!!

  6. #
    Reeni — September 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    This looks like a hearty and warming meal – perfect for a cool fall night! We used to always joke about cafeteria food being SOS – I never knew it was a real dish until recently.

  7. #
    girlichef — September 23, 2010 at 9:22 am

    I love shit on a shingle, though I do prefer it with the chipped beef…I’m addicted to that stuff!!

  8. #
    megan — September 23, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I can imagine this is killer stuff! I can see my daughter wanting this all the time. Gotta try it!

  9. #
    Dana - Food for Thought — September 24, 2010 at 7:50 am

    Such a funny name for a food LOL… This sounds like one of those recipes that’s been passed down for generations!

  10. #
    Cakelaw — September 25, 2010 at 1:15 am

    LOL – never heard of SOS before, but it’s a cute name for this dish.

  11. #
    Beth — September 25, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    I grew up on S.O.S. and my kids love it. For those that don’t like it, I simply tell them it’s a version of biscuits and gravy.

    Plan B

  12. #
    Blond Duck — September 27, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Ok, I need to know what this tastes like. I’m so curious.

  13. #
    grace — October 4, 2010 at 9:52 am

    i LOVE chipped beef gravy, and this is very close to that. i don’t necessarily care for the alternate name, but it won’t stop me from eating it!

  14. #
    Vin Pouliot — November 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    This is an old GI standard it was always on the menu in the mess hall for midnight chow as well as breakfast. Plop a couple of eggs on top and a big pat of butter and your good for the next twelve hours !

  15. #
    Nancy — February 16, 2013 at 3:45 am

    My mom would make this for breakfast and my brothers and I loved it and still do! After she passed away, I’ve continued her tradition. Instead of toast, we serve the beef mixture over french toast. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

    Thanks for sharing this!

  16. #
    Joy — November 5, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    I make this all the time. It’s one of my kids favorite dinners. Although I use cream of mushroom soup, onion, hamburger, milk and pepper. Num!

  17. #
    Trisha — April 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    I grew up on this. Best gravy there is. You can add a little soy sauce to it and that taste great also. We had it with what mom calls homemade cat head biscuits. Love Love Love !!!!!!!

  18. #
    Grace Rodriguez — May 1, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    My Dad made this when we were young…..We all loved SOS, which is what they called it in the Army when he was a cook.

  19. #
    Missy — August 4, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    My momma made this when I was growing up but we just called it hamburger gravy and mom would make bisquik biscuits to pour it over!

  20. #
    Debbie — October 22, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    My great Aunt made this but after making the hamburger gravy she added biscuits on top and baked til brown I make it to this day.

    • nutmegnanny replied: — October 22nd, 2014 @ 10:52 pm

      I love the idea of adding biscuits to the top!

  21. #
    Jackie — November 19, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Sounds great, but at my age (81), and bad eye sight, I cheat a little by using Safeways’ Alfrado sauce. Pretty much the same result, but not as time consuming to make.

  22. #
    Debbie — November 19, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    I haven’t made SOS in a long time. My dad would always call it by its full name though! LOL (Sh*t on a Shingle) Thanks for bring back a good memory. I’m getting out the hamburger now to make some, but I will put ours on biscuits instead of toast.

    • nutmegnanny replied: — November 19th, 2014 @ 11:21 pm

      Hi Debbie! Thank you for sharing your memory. My dad always called it by the full name too 🙂

  23. #
    Barbarainnc — December 15, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    My dad was in the Marines, and made this all the time. One of my favorite meals, he would add some soy sauce for flavor and color. Even better when served with a side dish of fried diced potatoes and a fried egg. 🙂 🙂

  24. #
    jerry — December 29, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Was a messhall cook in the Army in the early 80s.
    I cooked for 300 soldiers everyday.
    SOS was always the first thing we ran out of [ for breakfast].
    — We always added a little nutmeg to spice it up a bit.

  25. #
    Monica — January 25, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    My mom was a single mom and couldn’t afford to buy us fancy food. We had this a lot when I was a kid…probably at least once a week! When she got married, she married a man that made good money and we never ate it again! Lol…. Ahhh….the memories!

  26. #
    Rewa — April 8, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    No need to make a roux…just sift the flour over the ground meat and give it a stir to coat the meat well then add the milk and stir it till it thickens…comes out smooth every time!

  27. #
    Dennis — May 13, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    sounds great…using ground pork sausage instead of ground beef would make it pretty much the gravy for biscuits and gravy!

  28. #
    Alice — May 31, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    This is a very old dish. It was handed down on my mother’s side for well over 70 years as it was a way to use the ground meat they had left when a steer was dressed out. In my family we served it over boiled potatoes, baked potatoes that have been scooped out, or boiled rice, plus a vegetable. I often make enough of the meat and gravy that I can have it the next day. I love the way it makes me feel on a cold winter day, nice and warm inside and definitely satisfied. Thanks for sharing this with others.

  29. #
    Sheila — June 3, 2015 at 9:25 am

    I use Cream of Mushroom Soup or Brown Gravy Mix, and eat it over fries.

  30. #
    Jacqueline Berger — June 6, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Oh wow, my Mom made this all the time when we were kids growing up, and on a budget after my Dad was killed at such a young age. 🙁 Oh how I loved this. My only problem now is getting my guys to eat it. Hubby was Military, now retired and not a fan when they served this to him. But I am making it anyway and hoping for the best. Wish me luck!! 🙂
    Best dish ever!! Thanks so much, brings back so many wonderful memories.

  31. #
    Bob — December 2, 2015 at 9:34 am

    I am 83 years young and grew up eating this I also had this while serving in the Navy and eat it every Saturday morning for breakfast.

  32. #
    Rosie — December 2, 2015 at 10:37 am

    This is not the real SOS which is what the Navy served (WWII). The real recipe calls for chipped beef which is fried in butter then flour is added. Then one can evaporated milk and one can water. Salt and pepper to taste.

  33. #
    Bernd — April 12, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    This was the best meal they served to my team of young german police officers at midnight-chow in Patton Barracks, Heidelberg, FRG. Lived in Patton Barracks 1970/71 after USAREUR HQ was bombed twice by Red Army Faction terrorist group and had to protect civilian housing Patrick Henry Village, Mark Twain Village, 130th Station Hospital and several barracks… The best food, topped with 2 sunny-side up eggs for a long shift covering all these areas in summer and winter. The main cook, MSG Jack Hendricks treated us youngsters to plenty of good GI-foods. Miss those days…

    • nutmegnanny replied: — April 13th, 2016 @ 9:17 pm

      Hi Bernd! Thank you for sharing your memories. I know that SOS has always been a huge hit in my house growing up 🙂

  34. #
    Tonia Fischer — October 28, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    This is the real SOS I had in Air Force basic training in 1978. Yum.

  35. #
    DeeDee — January 23, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    SOS (and French Toast) were the only 2 things my Dad could ever ‘cook’ when I was growing up, he would make this for us all the time, I loved it then and got a hunger for it now (some 50+ yrs later LOL I am making it for my supper as we speak <3 .. Ground beef style, the only way we ever had it…

  36. #
    Sherri — March 7, 2017 at 8:12 am

    We call it hamburger gravy and I make it just like sausage gravy but with ground beef. It’s awesome on toast, biscuits or over fried potatoes!

  37. #
    Melody Kraft — March 14, 2017 at 10:29 am

    I also grew up on SOS, with ground beef. My Mom made it in a huge cast iron skillet that she could barely pick up. We always had it for late breakfast. Really great eating!

  38. #
    Vicki — June 13, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    I’m 36 and never heard of it before

  39. #
    Annette Clavet — July 7, 2017 at 2:46 am

    My family has eaten this for over 70 years but we serve it with mashed potato’s and peas and use cream of mushroom soup and milk for the sauce

  40. #
    Karen Western — December 11, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    “poop on a roof” was a favorite of mine as a child. My father was an army man and he liked it. Now when I make my own version I add beef boulion to intensify the flavors. With toast and mashed potatoes

  41. #
    Yogi Quillin — February 2, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Its awesome, just like I remembered from my childhood. We always used potatoes instead of bread so that’s what I used

  42. #
    Harold Huff — April 11, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Add a little sour cream Put it over egg noodles and call it best stroganoff.

  43. #
    Terry — May 9, 2018 at 10:51 am

    Mom used to make this with Salmon many years ago. Called Creamed Salmon on Toast. Delicious!!

  44. #
    Terry — May 9, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Mom used to make this with Salmon many years ago. Called Creamed Salmon on Toast. Delicious!!….Ooops…sorry, ….forgot to add that she made it with cream of mushroom soup & added peas. 🙂

  45. #
    Pat Collins — May 26, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Well, Actually Creamed Chipped Beef is just that, and still is. It is NOT SOS. SOS, on the other hand, is made with ground beef.

    In the military, where the name SOS first originated, the chipped beef was apparently too expensive so they threw together a “look alike” creamed beef on toast or biscuits. It wasn’t as GOOD as chipped beef so THE TROOPS renamed it shit on a shingle.

    And now you have… the REST OF THE STORY!!!!!!

  46. #
    Alice Tileston — May 26, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    I think this is from WW2.
    My dad used to make it for us sometimes also.
    Fresh meat was rare for the service people overseas but canned meats were fairly plentiful. Same era as spam.
    Will be grat using ground Turkey instead of beef also I’m pretty sure!
    Thanx for sharing, been thinking about this recently.

  47. #
    ed5447ed — May 26, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    We make it with chopped/diced ham instead of the dried beef. Like it better than the beef but we do want to try this hamburger version, though. Sounds soooooooo good!

  48. #
    Bill Corder — May 27, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    I was a Marine Corps cook for 21 years. We had this for nearly all breakfasts. You lose a lot of flavor by draining the fat off the ground beef and onion mixture. Just leave the juices in the skillet, add flour directly to the pan, stir to combine. Add a little milk, stir over heat, then add the rest of the milk. Don’t need to make a separate roux with butter, when you already have the melted beef fat in the pan. If you feel there isn’t enough fat in the pan, or you want to increase the portions being made, add more vegetable oil to the pan before adding the flour. Makes the recipe much faster to make with more flavor. Sometimes we would add meat sauce or WoWo sauce. Serve it with Hot Sauce.

  49. #
    Stephanie — July 22, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    My mom used to make this when I was a kid, only she would use chicken. I haven’t had this in years and I can’t wait to make it. Thank you for sharing this!!

  50. #
    April — August 2, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    LOVE SOS! YUM!!!

  51. #
    Kate avery — August 16, 2018 at 11:53 am

    comments mom served this a lot but she called it hamburger gravy. I still make it as it is definitely a comfort food serve it over mashed potatoes next time over toast.

  52. #
    David — November 4, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Ad a cook in the Marine Corps we made this almost daily for up to 18,000 per meal. Guys ate it on eggs fried and hash brown potatoes, over toast and anything else.
    I seriously prefer this to the chipped beef which I find too salty. This seems to be a decent recipe. We would not use the butter butmix the flower with thebeef using the grease that didn’t drain off.

  53. #
    Gilbert Boisvert — November 19, 2018 at 5:55 am

    I’ve not had SOS, since I’ve retired from the National Guards in 1995. Time to try it again!

  54. #
    Don Hall — December 10, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Instead of flour to thicken the gravy, for added flavor, try powdered brown gravy mix !
    Try the Same for your roux if you use sausage instead of ground beef !

  55. #
    Michele — December 12, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    We had this alot growing up but we always called it hamburger gravy..sos was made w/chipped beef:)

  56. #
    Lisa@eatfrysmith — December 13, 2018 at 8:26 am

    That is a simple way for someone is not good at cooking like me.

  57. #
    Deb Benz-Buchholz — January 10, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    I have been making this since I was quite young. I am retired so its been over six decades. When I make this I put it over a baked potato it’s very good that way. I also used bread or biscuits if I’m out of potatoes. The only thing I don’t like it served over is toast.

  58. #
    baltisraul — March 15, 2019 at 11:55 am

    The true meaning of SOS or more accurate SOSOS is a distress morse code meaning; Save O Save Our Ship. Both the Army and Navy version are good but family enjoys the Army version. The Navy version has tomatoes, tomato juice, hamburger, nutmeg, mace and sugar but no toast or biscuits and is served in a bowl.

  59. #
    Ziinski — March 15, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    Another variation that delicious , is using same recipe but instead of beef using canned tuna fish drained with canned peas drained!

  60. #
    Joanne — March 16, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    I remember my grandfather making this for us when I was a child. I recall him calling it by the actual name “Sh*t on a Shingle”. He was in WWII. We would always eat it over rice and I remember him using white pepper.

  61. #
    site@lasesana — June 1, 2019 at 4:09 am

    It looks so good, I don’t about the others, but for me bread is always the best and this cream make it more tasty, great combination. Many thanks for sharing this.

  62. #
    National Restaurant — June 4, 2019 at 9:06 am

    Just made this today and it turned out soo good!

  63. #
    63 — June 26, 2019 at 1:41 am

    A new choice for my breakfast, this looks so good and creamy but still full for a new day , great recipe. Thanks

  64. #
    Brandi — July 13, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    My dad was a Marine just like a lot of the commentors so Im assuming thats where they learned it! He made this me myself and sisters and we still talk about to this day! Semper Fi RIP Daddy! Btw just made this recipe and its spot on!! Love it!!

  65. #
    Eve Hunt — July 15, 2019 at 6:48 am

    Thank you for sharing these awesome crock pot recipes. My family and I tend to eat the same thing every week due to the fact that both parents work full-time jobs and by the time baby is picked up from preschool we are all exhausted. These crock pot recipes give me a better idea of ways to incorporate new meals. The food will be done by the time we get home and not spending an hour trying to cook after we finally make it home from work.

  66. #
    Williams — October 14, 2019 at 1:00 am

    I love to cook. Finding and updating new menu recipes every day makes me more interested and interested in my work. Today’s my lucky day, SOS creamed beef recipe is great, just follow the instructions and everything is easy, I like that. Thanks for your sharing

  67. #
    Kevin Hartman — October 20, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Easier way to make it is to cook the onions and meat together, then drain it. Do not remove the meat/onion. Put flour in and mix it up and then gradually add in the milk while stirring. It will thicken as you stir it. When it has a very high sheen it is done. Way to many steps in this recipe.

  68. #
    Thomas — February 14, 2020 at 10:27 pm

    Awesome! Love your recipe, will try making it this weekend, hoping to enjoy the amazing SOS Creamed Beef. Thanks for sharing!

  69. #
    Thomas James — March 6, 2020 at 2:37 am

    Look yummy! One of my favorite SOS Creamed Beef, nice to see your recipe, easy to follow, will cook this for family this weekend.Thanks you!

  70. #
    Patrick — March 15, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    VERY GOOD! My kids want me to make it again tomorrow!!! Next time I will try it over noodles:-)

  71. #
    scott Moore — April 3, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Make sure you toast the bread till it’s almost burnt.You will thank me


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