Creamed Chipped Beef

Introduction to Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast

Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast, also known as “S.O.S.” in military slang, is a classic American dish that offers comfort and simplicity. This hearty meal combines the saltiness of dried beef with a smooth, creamy sauce served over crisp toast. It’s traditionally enjoyed for breakfast but can also serve as a satisfying meal at any time of the day. The key to mastering this dish lies in creating a roux-based sauce that perfectly complements the thinly sliced beef, providing a rich and fulfilling eating experience.

Selecting the Ingredients

To prepare Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast, start with high-quality unsalted butter and all-purpose flour to form the roux, which is the foundation of the sauce. Warm whole milk is essential for achieving the creamy texture of the sauce, while the main protein component, dried beef, should be rinsed if overly salty and then finely chopped to distribute evenly throughout the dish. Cayenne pepper adds a subtle heat that enhances the flavors without overpowering. Finally, choose a sturdy bread that will hold up under the sauce when toasted, like a thick-sliced white or sourdough.

Preparing the Roux and Sauce

Begin by melting the unsalted butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir in the flour to create the roux, cooking it for a few minutes until it turns a light golden color—this helps remove the raw flour taste. Gradually whisk in the warm milk, ensuring that each addition is fully incorporated before adding more. This gradual process helps prevent lumps and creates a smooth, velvety sauce. Continue to cook the sauce until it thickens to a creamy consistency, which is crucial for coating the beef and toast effectively.

Incorporating the Beef

Once the sauce has thickened, add the finely chopped dried beef to the skillet. Stir the beef into the sauce, allowing it to warm through and absorb the flavors of the roux and milk. The beef’s saltiness contrasts nicely with the mildness of the milk sauce, but if it’s too salty, rinsing the beef before chopping can help mitigate this. The addition of cayenne pepper at this stage introduces a gentle heat that complements the savory aspects of the dish without overwhelming the palate.

Serving Suggestions

To serve Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast effectively, toast the bread slices until they are golden and crispy. This not only provides a satisfying crunch but also ensures that the toast can support the weight of the beef and sauce without becoming soggy. Lay the toasted bread on a plate and spoon a generous amount of the creamy chipped beef over each slice. The dish can be garnished with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley or a pinch of paprika for color and flavor. This meal is best enjoyed hot, making it a comforting and hearty option for any meal.

Creamed Chipped Beef

Variations on the Classic Recipe

For those looking to add a twist to the traditional Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast, there are several variations you can explore. Incorporating sautéed onions or mushrooms into the sauce adds depth and richness to the flavor profile. For a cheesier version, stir in a handful of grated cheddar or Swiss cheese until melted and smooth just before adding the beef. If you prefer a bit of green, chopped fresh spinach or arugula can be wilted into the sauce for a pop of color and a nutritional boost. Another popular variation is to replace the toast with freshly baked biscuits or over hash browns for a different kind of comfort meal.

Adjusting for Dietary Restrictions

Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast can be modified to suit various dietary needs without sacrificing flavor. For a gluten-free version, substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend and ensure the dried beef is gluten-free. Those watching their calorie intake can use low-fat milk instead of whole milk and light butter or a butter substitute. For a dairy-free version, cooking with unsweetened almond or soy milk and a plant-based butter alternative can be equally delicious. Each of these substitutions helps make this classic dish more accessible to everyone.

Cooking Tips for Perfect Results

Achieving the perfect Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast requires attention to detail in the cooking process. Keep the heat at a medium level when preparing the roux and sauce to avoid burning the flour and butter, which can give a bitter taste to the sauce. Whisk continuously when adding milk to the roux to ensure a smooth and creamy sauce without lumps. When adding the dried beef, lower the heat to simmer so the beef can slowly absorb the sauce, enhancing its flavor and tenderness. Finally, avoid overcooking the beef once it’s added to the sauce to keep it from toughening.

Historical Context and Popularity

Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast has a rich history, particularly within the United States military, where it has been a staple breakfast and mealtime favorite for decades. Known affectionately by service members as “S.O.S.”—short for “Shit on a Shingle”—this dish is praised for its filling nature and energy-boosting properties. Its simplicity and quick preparation time made it an ideal choice for feeding large numbers of troops efficiently. Today, it remains popular not only among veterans but also in diners and households across the country as a beloved comfort food.

Creative Serving Ideas

Beyond just serving Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast on a plate, consider other creative ways to present this dish that might enhance the dining experience. For a brunch buffet, offer it in a chafing dish with a side of assorted toasted breads, bagels, and English muffins so guests can serve themselves. For a small dinner gathering, it can be presented in individual ramekins topped with a poached egg for a more refined approach. Another fun idea is to use mini toasts for a party appetizer version, allowing guests to enjoy a small taste of this classic dish. Each serving style can make the experience of enjoying Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast unique and memorable.

Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast

Enhancing the Flavor Profile

To elevate the flavor of Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast, consider incorporating a variety of seasonings and spices. Adding a dash of garlic powder or freshly minced garlic during the roux stage can introduce a subtle, aromatic depth. Smoked paprika or a pinch of ground nutmeg can lend a warm, smoky flavor that complements the creamy sauce beautifully. For those who enjoy a sharper taste, a spoonful of Dijon mustard or a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce can provide a nice tangy kick. Experimenting with these additions can transform the dish from a simple comfort food to a more sophisticated fare, providing a delightful taste experience.

Using Fresh vs. Packaged Ingredients

While traditional Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast often utilizes packaged dried beef, using fresh ingredients can significantly enhance the dish’s quality and flavor. Consider using freshly sliced roast beef or corned beef as a substitute for dried beef. This switch not only improves the texture but also allows for better control over the saltiness and overall flavor profile. Freshly made roux with high-quality butter and organic flour can also make a noticeable difference in the richness of the sauce. Using organic, fresh whole milk instead of processed options will further enrich the creaminess and taste of your sauce.

Meal Prep and Storage

Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast can also be prepared in advance, making it a convenient option for quick meals throughout the week. Prepare the creamed beef mixture ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. When ready to serve, gently reheat the beef mixture on the stove or in a microwave, stirring occasionally to maintain a smooth consistency. Toast the bread fresh for serving to keep it crispy. This approach allows for the enjoyment of a quick and hearty meal even on busy days, without compromising on taste.

Pairing with Side Dishes

Although Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast is fulfilling on its own, pairing it with appropriate side dishes can round out the meal. A simple side salad with a vinaigrette dressing can add a fresh, crisp contrast to the creamy richness of the main dish. For a heartier meal, serve it alongside steamed vegetables or a baked potato. In a more casual setting, pairing it with hash browns or home fries can enhance the breakfast feel of the dish, providing a satisfying and comforting meal that’s perfect for any time of day.

Adapting for Health-Conscious Diets

For those mindful of their dietary intake, Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast can be adapted to fit healthier eating habits without sacrificing flavor. Opt for whole grain or whole wheat toast instead of white bread to increase fiber content. Using low-fat milk or a milk substitute can reduce calorie intake while still providing a creamy texture. For a lower sodium option, choose lower-salt dried beef or fresh alternatives, and adjust the seasoning carefully. These adjustments make it possible to enjoy this classic dish within a health-conscious diet, ensuring it remains a guilt-free pleasure.

Exploring International Variations

Exploring international variations of Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast can provide a delightful twist to this traditional dish. In France, a similar concept is seen in dishes like ‘sauce Béchamel’ with ham or other meats, offering a richer, creamier sauce with nutmeg and Gruyère cheese. The United Kingdom, a popular dish called ‘on toast’ often features mushrooms or beans in a creamy sauce, demonstrating the versatility of toast as a base for various toppings. For Scandinavia, variations might include using smoked fish instead of beef, paired with a dill-infused white sauce. Experimenting with these international flavors can introduce an exotic flair to the familiar, comforting base of Creamed Chipped Beef.

Catering and Event Use

Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast is not only a comforting home kitchen dish but also a versatile option for catering and events. It’s easy to prepare in large quantities and can be kept warm in chafing dishes, making it ideal for buffet-style serving. For more formal events, it can be elegantly presented in individual servings with garnishes that elevate its appearance. Consider mini open-faced sandwiches for appetizers or small plates. For a casual brunch or a military reunion, serving this dish can evoke nostalgia and offer a hearty welcome to guests.

Nutritional Adjustments for Diverse Needs

Adjusting the nutritional content of Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast can accommodate a wider range of dietary needs. For those managing their cholesterol or fat intake, using skim milk and a roux made with olive oil instead of butter can significantly reduce the fat content without compromising the texture. Incorporating a salt substitute or reducing the amount of dried beef can cater to those on low-sodium diets. Additionally, offering a side of steamed vegetables can balance the meal, providing necessary fiber and nutrients while maintaining the dish’s satisfying essence.

Educational Cooking Classes

Hosting educational cooking classes centered around Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast can be an engaging way to teach basic cooking skills, such as making a roux or balancing flavors. It’s a great opportunity to discuss the history of the dish and its variations, making the class culturally enlightening as well as practical. Participants can learn about modifying the dish to suit different tastes and dietary restrictions, making it a useful lesson in versatile cooking. These classes can be particularly appealing to beginners or those looking to expand their culinary repertoire with comfort foods.

Marketing for Restaurants and Diners

For restaurants and diners, featuring Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast as a specialty dish can attract customers looking for comfort food with a nostalgic touch. Highlighting this dish on menus during breakfast hours or as part of a “retro” themed menu can draw in a diverse clientele—from older generations reminiscing about the past to younger crowds seeking hearty, traditional meals. Effective marketing should emphasize the dish’s comforting qualities and its place in American culinary tradition, perhaps offering modern twists that align with current dining trends like locally sourced ingredients or gluten-free adaptations.

Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast

Frequently Asked Questions about Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast

  1. What is creamed chipped beef on toast? Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast is a traditional American dish that consists of a creamy white sauce with chipped or sliced dried beef, served over toasted bread.
  2. Can I use fresh beef instead of dried beef? Yes, you can use fresh beef if you prefer. Thinly slice or chop the fresh beef and cook it thoroughly before adding it to the cream sauce.
  3. Is there a way to make this dish less salty? To reduce the saltiness, rinse the dried beef under cold water before using it, or opt for low-sodium versions of the dried beef available in some stores.
  4. What can I substitute for whole milk in the recipe? You can substitute whole milk with any non-dairy milk like almond, soy, or oat milk. Just keep in mind that the sauce might not be as rich, but it will still be delicious.
  5. How can I thicken the sauce if it’s too runny? If your sauce is too runny, cook it for a few more minutes to reduce, or add a small amount of flour mixed with butter (a roux) to thicken it without altering the flavor much.


Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast is a quintessentially comforting dish that combines simple ingredients into a hearty meal, perfect for breakfast or any time you need a satisfying dish. Its rich history in American cuisine, particularly within the military, adds a layer of nostalgic charm to its hearty flavors. By experimenting with variations and adjustments, this dish can cater to a wide array of tastes and dietary needs, making it a versatile choice for any cook’s repertoire. Whether served in a home kitchen, restaurant, or educational cooking class, Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast remains a beloved classic that warms the heart and fills the stomach.


clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Chipped Beef on Toast

Creamed Chipped Beef

  • Author: Recipe Step
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4


Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast, often referred to as “S.O.S.” in the military, is a hearty and comforting dish. It features thinly sliced dried beef in a creamy roux-based sauce served over crispy toasted bread. This dish is traditionally enjoyed for breakfast but can be a satisfying meal at any time.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter 🧈
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 🌾
1 ½ cups warm whole milk 🥛
1 8 ounce jar of dried beef, finely chopped 🥩
A small pinch of cayenne pepper 🌶️
Bread, appropriately toasted 🍞


1. Prepare Ingredients:
Finely chop the dried beef.
Toast the bread until golden brown.
2. Make the Roux:
In a saucepan, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat.
Add the all-purpose flour and whisk continuously until the mixture turns golden brown, about 2 minutes.
3. Create the Cream Sauce:
Gradually pour in the warm whole milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
Cook until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
4. Add Flavors:
Incorporate the finely chopped dried beef into the cream sauce.
Sprinkle in a small pinch of cayenne pepper for a hint of heat. Stir well to combine.


  • Rinse the dried beef under cold water to remove excess salt if desired.
  • Adjust the thickness of the sauce by varying the amount of milk or flour based on your preference.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Pan frying
  • Cuisine: American


  • Calories: 320
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Fat: 15g
  • Saturated Fat: 7g
  • Carbohydrates: 24g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 21g
  • Cholesterol: 95mg

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating