Oh no! I can hear you saying it right now. She’s not writing about S— on a Shingle. But I am!

I can’t remember when I first had creamed chipped beef but I am fairly certain it came out of the freezer section of the supermarket and was made by Stouffer’s. You must remember that my mother didn’t cook. When my sister and I were little we could barely contain our excitement when she brought home Swanson’s TV Dinners. So exotic. So delicious. Finding Stouffer’s was like graduating from the kiddie pool to the Olympic-sized swimming pool. I vividly remember my friend Harriett Clewis baking a couple of pans of Stouffer’s Lobster Newburg (which, for some reason, they no longer make – a pity), transferring it to a baking dish and passing it off as homemade to one of her dates in high school. Harriett’s mother couldn’t cook either.

But I digress. Stouffer’s Creamed Chipped Beef was pretty good, but once I learned to make a bechamel sauce I realized I could make my own version. Of course you have to get the dried beef in the glass jar. I don’t know what it’s used for except creamed chipped beef and cheese balls.

I promise if you try this recipe on a cold winter’s night you will not regret it. Better than Stouffer’s. Most definitely.

Creamed Chipped Beef

1 jar dried beef, sliced into thin ribbons

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups whole milk

Pepper to taste

Melt butter in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add flour to the pan and whisk for several minutes to remove the raw flour taste. Slowly pour in milk and whisk continuously until a thick sauce forms. Add pepper to taste and stir in the dried beef. Serve over generously buttered toast.

Note: Normally you would add salt to the bechamel sauce but the beef is already quite salty so you should omit any additional salt.


  1. larry
    December 17, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    I grew up eating SOS, and I still like it, and even though my Dad ate it alot during WWII, he still liked it – so it must be pretty good.

  2. julie hendrix
    julie hendrixReply
    December 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Catherine, you have apparently left your region because I had this growing up in NE Ohio. I laughed out loud at the reference to the beef in the little glass jars. FLASHBACK!!!! :o)

    • the south in my mouth
      the south in my mouthReply
      December 18, 2010 at 3:02 pm

      And you can use the jars for juice glasses!

  3. Alice
    March 17, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Hello! I found your website while looking for pictures of chipped beef!! I was born and raised in NYC and I discovered chipped beef for the first time in my life a couple months ago when I went to visit Lancaster, PA. Dutch Country!

    And. I. LOVED. IT!

    Thanks for sharing your post! And now I know what S.O.S. is!!

    • Jess
      April 10, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      Problem is that I grew up with it in MD as one of my favorite dishes. And living now in NYC for 5 years I cannot find it ANYWHERE! Not even just the chipped beef so I can make it at home! Has anyone found it in nyc?

      • the south in my mouth
        the south in my mouthReply
        April 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm

        Wow, not even a jar of Armor dried beef? And I thought New York was sophisticated! 🙂

  4. shauna
    July 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    i grew up in south dakota and my mom and grandmother would make this all the time! it’s also very good over mashed potatoes! you can also mix it with rice and it’s good!

    • Catherine Mayhew
      Catherine MayhewReply
      July 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      Good to know its a universal dish. I just love it in the winter.

  5. Crystal Litschauer
    Crystal LitschauerReply
    September 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I just made this. First time ever. And it was a HIT! My hubby who has been eating this dish his whole life told me that it was better than when he used to buy it when he went out to eat. And I truly believe him. Excellent recipe! Thank you for it!

    • Crystal Litschauer
      Crystal LitschauerReply
      September 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      I forgot to mention he is from PA and they apparently know how to make it out there. I had it for the first time myself a month ago and fell in loved.

  6. Amanda M
    Amanda MReply
    January 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    THANK YOU!!!!! For posting this!! I found you through Pinterest and I’m so excited to find this recipe!!! I grew up in PA and we’d go to Lancaster all the time to the Amish markets and bring some of this home. It’s so freaking good!!! I really hope I can find the main ingredient for this out in CA now. 😀

    • Catherine Mayhew
      Catherine MayhewReply
      January 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      I find it in the canned meat section of the supermarket. Glad to feed your creamed chipped beef craving – it is delish.

  7. Elle
    January 26, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I grew up in NW OH and my frugal German-American mother made “dried beef gravy.” Your recipe sounds just like hers, except she used Buddig’s thin sliced beef that comes in a 2 0z. package. She also included caramelized onions in the rue. She served the gravy over boiled potatoes. Absolutely delicious!

  8. SD
    March 18, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    I find those little jars of beef to be kinda high priced. So I discovered that for the bargain price of around $.25 — depending on where you live, you can get a package of Buddig beef that works just as well… IMO. The meat’s not as salty, but you can add more if you like!

  9. SD
    March 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Oh – yea .. and it’s also great on a baked or boiled potato!

  10. Steve Dreano
    Steve DreanoReply
    March 20, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    You can also use diced ham instead of chipped beef. It is a lot less salty and better for you. I have eaten it both ways all my life and like the ham version better.

  11. Mary
    May 16, 2013 at 11:21 am

    I grew up on creamed dried beef. Mom made it all the time but we mostly had it for breakfast. She used the glass jars of it & so did I & then I discovered Stouffer’s. It is just as good & way easier to make. I now make it over toasted English muffins & only for breakfast. My hometown was Philadelphia & am of PA Dutch ancestry.

  12. judy
    July 20, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Where’s the print button?????????????????

    • Catherine Mayhew
      Catherine MayhewReply
      July 28, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      Upper right hand on the recipe card.

  13. Kristan Ballantine
    Kristan BallantineReply
    August 1, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    You can find the “chipped beef” under dried beef at Amazon, if you can’t find it at the local grocery store! Sounds wonderful. Any idea how many serving this makes?

    • Catherine Mayhew
      Catherine MayhewReply
      August 1, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      Four if you’re not piggy like me! I don’t eat this very often, but I dearly love it.

  14. Mike
    August 19, 2013 at 11:44 am

    I love this as well and have made this for many years. My mother in-law thought me how to make it using the jar of dried beef some 37 years ago. The only difference is she thought me to rinse the beef very well in water and dry. This removes almost all the salt from the meat that is used to process the beef for market prior to adding it to the sauce.

    • Catherine Mayhew
      Catherine MayhewReply
      August 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      Never thought about rinsing the beef. Will try it the next time!

  15. carol
    August 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    This is almost like the recipe I use and the one my Mother used many, many years ago. I use 8T flour, 1 stick margarine, salt and pepper, 4 cups milk and Buddig sliced corned beef. Then I use the “biscuits in a can”. I prefer the flaky biscuits for this. And when I’m really in a rush, I open and drain a can of peas and dump it into the pot just before eating. This is something I usually serve when I need a hug.

    • Catherine Mayhew
      Catherine MayhewReply
      August 19, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      Totally “hug” food!

  16. Lori Lessard
    Lori LessardReply
    August 24, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I grew up in PA, just north of Phila, where we could get ‘fresh’ dried beef, chipped, in the deli. Mom would ‘frizzle’ (her word, I think) the beef in the butter before adding the flour and milk. It crisped the edges of the meat a bit, and I think added more flavor to the sauce. I haven’t found dried beef anywhere down here in FL, so have to settle for the jar stuff. It pales in comparison, but satisfies my occasional craving for it.

    • Catherine Mayhew
      Catherine MayhewReply
      August 25, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      I didn’t know there was such a thing as “fresh” dried beef, but frizzling anything in butter sounds pretty good.

  17. Rebecca
    October 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    My mom grew up in Philly, and this ate this growing up… but made with the dried beef in a jar. I was born after my parents moved to California, and she substituted Buddig just like this recipe! As Lori mentioned above, my mom also “frizzled” the beef in butter (wonder if that’s a PA word??), and sometimes added mushrooms. I’ve now made your recipe twice, once the way it is written, the second time I sauteed some mushrooms first, and also added some Worcestershire, dried mustard and a splash of Tabasco. This a fantastic recipe which brings back so many great childhood memories, thank you!! And guess what… I am making it again tonight! I have a co-worker who wants a plate! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this!

    • Catherine Mayhew
      Catherine MayhewReply
      October 11, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Of all the posts I’ve done, creamed chipped beef on toast generates the most responses – who knew so many people love it!

  18. john
    October 27, 2013 at 8:15 am

    I add frozen sweet pea’s and 2 or3 hard boiled. eggs chopped. up yummy over toast

  19. Carol Ann
    Carol AnnReply
    January 19, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    I grew up in Southern Oklahoma…of Chickasaw Indian ancestry, and my mother made this all the time when we were growing up. Fed a family of 5 on one of those little jars of beef. We also rinsed and drained the meat, saved the jars for juice glasses, ate this for breakfast and for supper, all year long. I got hungry for this a few weeks ago, and planning on making for breakfast tomorrow morning. Went on line to see if there were any “new” recipes to try… Guess I will make the wonderful old standby, just like my mother did it! Can’t wait for tomorrow.

  20. Kim Campbell
    February 12, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    AMEN!!! SOS is just what I need on this cold February night!! Dinner is served!!!

  21. Jeff Wood
    Jeff WoodReply
    February 28, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Im from southern Maryland, we traditionally serve it over English muffins or biscuits with 1/4 hard boiled eggs on top, delicious!

    • Catherine Mayhew
      Catherine MayhewReply
      March 1, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      English muffins or biscuits sound good, too. Love the addition of the hard-boiled egg.

  22. John Bernstein
    John BernsteinReply
    March 15, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    If you can’t find the dried beef in a jar, there is another way:

    Take leftover corned beef and slice it thin or shred it. Lay it out on a sheet pan in the fridge and let it dry. This is how my family grew up using the leftover corned beef from St Paddy’s day. Corned beef hash and eggs in the morning and SOS for dinner!

  23. ChristyG
    March 20, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Thank you for posting the recipe. Everytime I asked my mom the recipe, she always gave me something different and it never turned out. I grew up eating SOS over dried toast. We couldn’t afford the jarred beef so my mom used the Buddig’s corned beef. If she had any Velvetta, she’d toss in a very small amount (about 4 ounces) just to give it a little different taste. She would serve it with hard boiled eggs and a home-made fruit cocktail (apples, grapes, strawberries, etc)

    • Catherine Mayhew
      Catherine MayhewReply
      March 22, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      Necessity is the mother of invention. Velveeta is never a bad idea!

  24. Brandi
    April 12, 2015 at 8:29 am

    I love this stuff! Great childhood memories!!! However my dad was an Army cook, and he calls hamburger gravy SOS
    this is simply chipped beef on toast, SOS is eaten on biscuits’ and chipped beef on toast is eaten on white bread. My dad was adamant about that distinction when I told him about the recipe I saw LOL! His buddy was sitting there and said my dad was correct. I told them must be an Idaho thing. I think their argument was just a set up though because now they want some. I will gladly cook this for them because I had forgotten about this childhood favorite! Thank you so much for posting this yummy goodness!!!

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