Creamed chipped beef goes by several names, but most would call it pure comfort food. Alternate names all revolve around the acronym SOS. If you were in the service, you probably lovingly call is Sh*t on a Shingle, others called is Stuff on Stuff or Same Old Stuff.
It all comes down to three elements: thinly sliced beef, some sort of starchy base and a velvety cream gravy. From there, the variations are vast.
This dish is most popular for breakfast or brunch, but don’t be scared to serve it over a bed of egg noodles for dinner too.
Creamed Chipped Beef
The origins of creamed chipped beef are unknown, but food historians have dated it back to the army and Great Depression.
A relatively low cost meal that was sure to fill you up and give you the energy for hard labor all day. It was easy to prepare and people down right loved it.
Today creamed chipped beef has many ways of being prepared but still contains the classic elements of cream gravy, starch and beef.
I’ve found many old school diner versions are a little too basic and too salty for my taste, so I’ve made mine with salting optional based on your beef and also personal preference.
Beef is the star of the show in creamed chipped beef so it seems like a good place to start. Traditionally, the dish uses a jarred or canned dried beef.
You can find it near canned tuna and Vienna sausages at the grocery store. It is shelf stable for long periods of time, so it is no wonder it became a popular meal during difficult times.
The most popular brands are Armour and Hormel and it will be labeled “dried sliced beef”. It is thinly sliced dried beef in a salty brine. If you use the jarred version, you’ll need to not only drain, but rinse and soak the beef before using. I am a salt lover and it is way too much for me. I’d rather have it be under seasoned and add salt at the end than have it be unrecoverable and too salty.
The other option for beef is a deli meat version made by Cubb or other generic brands. This meat is also a dried beef, but not stored in brine so not as salty. Taste test it before cooking. I’ve had some folks still say it needed to be rinsed, but not soaked.
Others who don’t care for dried beef can use fresh, thinly sliced roast beef from the deli or even ham or cooked and drained ground beef.
As basic as it gets, creamed chipped beef sauce is a simple roux thinned with milk or half and half. Browned butter and flour develop flavor and only need simple seasonings to bring them to life.
But I like to elevate my dishes so I also add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard. They add sophistication and acidity to give it an extra punch of deliciousness. Either can be omitted and the dish will still taste perfectly fine.
Some also enjoy making their gravy a cheese sauce, which is also acceptable. To do this, add ½ cup finely shredded white cheddar or American cheese to your finished gravy before adding the beef.
Creamed Chipped Beef Base
The next choice you’ll have is what to pile your creamed chipped beef on. Most are ladled onto toast, hence the “shingle” but there are many other options, including a scooped out baked potato or even Air Fryer Potatoes.
Here are the most popular:
My favorite twist is the creamed chipped beef potato. To do this, bake 4 large potatoes. This can be done ahead of time and the potatoes reheated before stuffing.
Cut the top off a baked potato lengthwise, scoop out inside, making a potato boat. Fill with creamed chipped beef and top with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese.
The number one complaint of creamed chip beef makers is salt. Either not enough or too much.
Salt is so tricky because different brands of dried beef contain different amounts of salt and also everyone defines “salty” differently. My husband gasps at the amount of salt I add to my food.
Taste, taste, taste. This is the only way to get it correct. Taste the beef so you know if it needs another rinse or not and then taste the gravy. Add seasoned salt sparingly until it is to your liking.
Creamed Chipped Beef Variations
I know, it is such a simple dish and yet, there seem to be several variations or ways to elevate it even further.
- Cheese– whether in a potato or not, cheese is always welcomed as a garnish or in the cream gravy.
- Paprika- 1/2 teaspoon of smoked or sweet paprika can be added to the gravy.
- Shallots– some true old schoolers might be appalled at the mention of this, but yes, add shallots, or other mild onion, to the butter before creating a roux.
- Garlic– same goes for garlic, add 1-2 cloves finely minced or pressed to the butter while making roux.
- Ham or ground beef– no one says you have to use dried beef. Shake it up by using sliced ham, fresh roast beef or even ground beef.
More beef recipes you’ll love:
Creamed Chipped Beef Recipe
- 4 baked potatoes , inside scooped out
- ½ cheddar cheese , shredded
- Drain and rinse dried beef. Soak in cold water for 10 minutes, drain and rinse again.
- Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add drained and rinsed beef, tearing into smaller pieces as you add it.
- Sauté for 3-4 minutes until browned.
- Remove to a plate, set aside.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, melting and adding flour. Whisk to make a roux. Allow to lightly brown, approximately 4-5 minutes.
- Whisk in whole milk, whisking until all lumps are dissolved and mixture starts to thicken. Season with a dash of Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard.
- Add browned beef back to the cream sauce, covering and heating for 1-2 minutes.
- Taste test the cream sauce and if needed, add a small amount of seasoned salt. Depending on how well you drained and rinsed the beef and your salt preferences this may or may not be needed.
- Serve beef and cream sauce over thick cut toast and top with freshly ground black pepper and chopped parsley.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings!