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Creamed Chipped Beef

The most iconic of all military meals – Creamed Chipped Beef is a delicious mixture of dried, chipped beef with onions and peas in a creamy sauce served over toasted bread.

Memorial Day Weekend is almost here! (Well it at least it was when I wrote this post!) Which started me thinking that I should share with you my recipe for Creamed Chipped Beef with Peas on Toast.

A serving of creamed chipped beef with peas over toast on a blue plate.

It also has me wanting to share a little more with you about my family and why this recipe means much more to me than dinner.

For most of us, Memorial Day is a nice long weekend with a break from work and a chance to get together with friends and family to celebrate the start of summer. School’s already out in some places and the weather is warm. Perfect time to celebrate, right?

While we’re celebrating the change of season, let’s all remember what Memorial Day is really about. It’s not a holiday to mark the start of summer. It’s a time to remember servicemen and women who gave everything for our country.

🎖 What Do We Celebrate on Memorial Day?

For anyone who may not know, Memorial Day started out after the Civil War as “Decoration Day” and was designated as a time for citizens to decorate the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers and to honor the sacrifice they gave for their country. The first observance was held in 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery.

It became an official holiday much later, in 1971. Today, Memorial Day honors all who have fallen in war, not just those from the Civil War. It’s good for people to look back I think and remember those who have given their lives protecting ours.

Our Family’s Military Members

Bill Stuart USN
Bill Stuart, USN

Military service wasn’t something I was very familiar with until I met BeeBop. When we met, he was an active duty member of the U. S. Navy. He served for 10 years as a nuclear reactor operator on a submarine and later as a Navy recruiter.

His service took him from Idaho to Charleston, South Carolina, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, plus deployments throughout the Mediterranean and even to the North Pole. Not only did he serve, but so did his father and brother.

Charles Stuart USAF
Charles Stuart, USAF

BeeBop’s dad, Charles, was a 24-year U. S. Air Force veteran who served in both Korea and Vietnam and his brother, Jim, did a 4-year stint in the U. S. Army. 

BeeBop’s uncles also served. His Uncle Bill was in the Army for 4 years serving in Vietnam and his Uncle Larry was a full colonel Army helicopter pilot who retired as base commander at Ft. Rucker.

Military service wasn’t really a tradition in my family. However, both my grandmother’s brothers, Bud and Toby, served in World War II. I’m not sure what role Uncle Toby played, but I do know that Uncle Bud was a tail gunner.

To each and every one of them and to all the men and women who have served in the past and continue to serve today, I say a humble thank you for your service. This country would not enjoy the freedoms that we daily take for granted without your sacrifices.

🍽 An Iconic Military Meal – SOS

In honor of those who did and do serve, I wanted to do something a bit different for a Memorial Day recipe. Instead of grilling and barbecuing, I thought I’d share a recipe that is one of the most iconic of all military meals – Creamed Chipped Beef.

Those of you who served will know this by its more colorful title of SOS. If you don’t know what “SOS” means, well just ask anyone you know who has served in the military! For this post, I’m just going to call it Creamed Chipped Beef with Peas!

❤ Why We Love This Recipe

  • Despite it’s colorful name it does taste really good
  • Comfort food that will leave you with that warm belly feeling
  • Really inexpensive way to feed your family

🛒 Ingredient Notes

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There’s nothing whatsoever exotic about the ingredients in this recipe but I do have a few notes for you.

  • Green onions (substitute any kind of onion you have on hand if you like)
  • Dried chipped beef (this may be the only ingredient you have to specifically look for; the most popular brand is probably Buddig and you’ll find it near the canned meats (such as tuna) in your store)
  • Diced pimiento (now, as a southerner I always-always-always have pimiento on hand. If you don’t it’s easy to find or you can also substitute diced roasted red bell pepper)
  • Green peas (I use frozen but canned work just as well)
  • Toasted bread (I prefer sourdough but use what you have)

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🔪 How to Make Creamed Chipped Beef

Chipped, dried beef is not something I purchase very often, so it took me a minute to actually find it in my grocery store. I did remember from way back when that it comes in jars but I was looking for it with the sandwich meats. You’ll find it where the canned meats are located. It’ll be alongside the tuna, potted meat, and Vienna sausages :-)

There are a few brands of dried beef available, but the two you’ll most likely find are Buddig and Hormel. Either brand works just fine.

This is my personal recipe and I’ve added a few things that Creamed Chipped Beef normally doesn’t contain. If you want a strictly traditional SOS recipe, omit the onions, pimiento, and peas. However, I think they add a lot in terms of flavor and especially in appearance.

Prep the Beef

Rinsed beef on a paper towel.

Briefly rinse the dried beef under warm water. For a traditional preparation, tear it into strips and let it drain on paper towels.

Chop the Green Onions

Chopped green onions on a cutting board.

Chop the green onions.

Cook the Beef, Onions, and Flour

Beef and onions cooking in a skillet.

In a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the green onions and chipped beef. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft.

Flour stirred into the beef and onions in a skillet.

Sprinkle the flour over the onions and beef and continue cooking and stirring for an additional 2 or 3 minutes.

Add Milk

Adding milk to beef and onion mixture in skillet.

Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly.

Stir pepper into mixture and bring to a bubble.

Stir in the pepper. Bring the mixture to a strong bubble, then reduce the heat and cook until thickened. Taste the mixture and see if you think it needs any salt. It probably won’t because the beef is quite salty.

Stir in Pimientos and Peas

Peas and pimientos added to mixture in skillet.

Stir in the pimiento and peas and cook for a few minutes until the peas are heated through.

🍽 What to Serve with Creamed Chipped Beef

Serve over toasted bread. I prefer a good sourdough bread for this.

Besides the toast, not much else is usually served with creamed chipped beef. It’s a pretty heavy comfort dish so if you do want to add a side or a dessert go for something light like fresh cut fruit or a salad. If you want to get fancy, you could try my Pineapple Blueberry Basil Galette, Fresh Strawberry Pie, or a beautiful Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Fresh Berries.

🍚 Storing and Reheating

Creamed chipped beef should keep 4-5 days properly stored in the fridge. To reheat, transfer to a saucepan over medium-low heat. You may need to add in a small amount of milk or water to get it back to a smooth gravy consistency. Be sure to stir often and watch closely as it can burn quickly.

Freezing is not recommended.

❓ Questions About Creamed Chipped Beef

What’s the best dried beef for SOS?

Honestly, there aren’t that many brands of dried beef on the market. Probably the best known, and the one I use, is Buddig.

Is chipped beef the same as dried beef?

Yes! Chipped beef and dried beef are the same thing. However, when the product was first introduced it was actually very thin slivers of sliced beef that had been dried. Now, it’s made from ground beef that is pressed, then dried and thinly sliced.

Can you recommend a substitute for chipped beef?

If you’re having trouble finding dried chipped beef, or if your supermarket is out you can substitute deli meat. Select either corned beef or roast beef and request it sliced as thinly as possible. Another good substitute would be very thinly sliced sandwich ham.

Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

📖 Recipe

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A serving of creamed chipped beef with peas over toast on a blue plate.

Creamed Chipped Beef

The most iconic of all military meals, Creamed Chipped Beef is a delicious mixture of dried, chipped beef in a creamy sauce served over toasted bread.
4.70 from 10 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 445kcal
Author: Lana Stuart


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 2.5 ounces chipped beef torn into strips
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons diced pimiento
  • ½ cup frozen green peas
  • 8 slices bread toasted (sourdough preferred)


  • Rinse the beef under warm water. Tear into shreds and drain on paper towels.
  • In a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter.
  • Add the green onions and chipped beef. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the onions and beef and continue cooking and stirring for an additional 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a strong bubble, then reduce the heat and cook until thickened.
  • Stir in the pimiento and peas and cook for a few minutes until the peas are heated through.
  • Serve over toasted bread.


  • Dried chipped beef is usually located near the canned meats (such as tuna) in your store.
  • May be refrigerated for 4-5 days. To reheat, transfer to a saucepan over medium-low heat. You may need to add in a small amount of milk or water to get it back to a smooth gravy consistency.
  • Freezing is not recommended.

Nutrition Information

Serving 1 | Calories 445kcal | Carbohydrates 45g | Protein 18g | Fat 22g | Saturated Fat 12g | Trans Fat 1g | Cholesterol 51mg | Sodium 815mg | Potassium 456mg | Fiber 4g | Sugar 13g | Vitamin A 948IU | Vitamin C 15mg | Calcium 234mg | Iron 4mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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Recipe Rating


  1. My mom used to make it when we were kids. She didn’t put in onions or pimento but diced up a hard boiled egg into the mix. I’d forgotten about the stuff but will definitely have to try my hand at it now. THANK YOU!!!

  2. I sprnt many years in the Army having creamed beef for breakfast. Loved it and still make it today. I also loved the Stouffers? chipped beef boil in bags. As the cost of chipped beef is rather high, I was wondering how this recipe would be if made with ground beef?

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Very good with ground beef! Just brown your beef and drain away the fat then proceed with the recipe.

      1. 4 stars
        I buy the Buddig chipped beef in a small bag near the pre-packaged lunch meats next to the hot dogs at my local Meijer, Kroger, WalMart, etc. It’s less salty than the jarred kind. The Stouffer stuff isn’t nearly as good as it used to be so that’s off my list now. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Diane lowrance says:

    We have this quite often at this military home. Havfe switched to the smoked beef slices , purchased in the sandwich meat section name brand we use Buddig

  4. Joanne Nelson says:

    I used to eat as a child, found your recipe, made it tonight except didn’t have pimento. It was wonderful, And I did notice the beef has changed.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Joanne. Yes, the beef has changed, hasn’t it? Still pretty good, though.

  5. Dynamo of Dixie says:

    All I can say is WOW. I love creamed chipped beef, but I’ve never seen it prepared this beautifully. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Thanks! We love it, too, but it’s usually not the prettiest thing on the plate :-) The peas and pimineto really help give it some color and nice flavor.

  6. kellie @ The Suburban Soapbox says:

    This is my husband’s favorite, I never thought to add peas…he would flip over that!

  7. Renee - Kudos Kitchen says:

    What a fun retro recipe. I remember my mom used to make this on occasion when I was growing up. I always enjoyed it and my dad always referred to it as SOS. LOL. Hope you and your family had a nice Memorial Day!

  8. Angie | Big Bear's Wife says:

    My hubby was in the Navy too! <3 Love your additions to this Creamed Chipped Beef!

  9. Cookin Canuck says:

    Thank you to your husband and father-in-law for their service!

    This looks like the ultimate comfort food!

  10. That looks like a good choice for fall or winter, but right now, it is hotter than blazes here. As Mama would say, “all I was is popsicles and watermelon.”

    Miss P

  11. My grandfather served in WWII and my dad was in the reserves, serving before the Korean War. He never spoke much of his time in the Army but I do remember him talking about SOS. Not exactly fondly! I’m sure if the army served up your homemade version there might be better memories. Thanks for taking the time to share your family history.

  12. Brenda@Sugarfreemom says:

    I’ve never had chipped beef but I bet my military hubby has or remembers it! Beautiful post for Memorial Day!

  13. Kim Beaulieu says:

    Both my grammas made versions of this. Both of my grandfathers served. So it’s a dish I recognize well. We’re a military family through & through. We’re also a beef family through & through. Great recipe Lana, thanks for the memories. xx

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      You’re welcome, Kim! I just love keeping these old recipes going.

  14. Honestly I didn’t know what SOS stood for until my mid twenties, even though we ate it several times a month. Such comfort food. My husband doesn’t love it though, so I can’t wait to dress it up like you did with peas onions and pimentos. Thanks for the idea!!!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Such a rude name for such a comforting recipe :-) Really, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but something we do enjoy for an occasional trip down memory lane.

  15. Marjory @ Dinner-Mom says:

    I’m a newbie to chipped beef too! But, it looks so comforting!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Yes, very comforting, Marjory!

  16. The Food Hunter says:

    I remember this from my childhood

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I think it was part of lots of childhood dinners!

  17. Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes says:

    I have never heard of chipped beef – I need to try this out! Thanks for the nice post and tribute to Memorial Day! We can all use that reminder of what this weekend is really all about :)

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Absolutely. It’s great to have picnics and cookouts and we should! But I try to keep the reason for the holiday always in mind :-)

  18. Don’t laugh at me, but I have no idea (whatsoever) what ‘chipped beef’ is. Please clue me in, as my family never prepared this kind of a dish. I know that my mom would turn grey if she knew that I thought this dish sounded even remotely tasty, but I’d like to try it.

  19. One of my favorite foods! I loved it as a kid, and I still love it! Gonna have to make it!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      Hope you enjoy it, Lin!

  20. Lauren Kelly Nutrition says:

    I have never heard of chipped beef but it sounds delicious!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      It’s also known as dried beef, Lauren. It’s somewhat similar to jerky but sliced paper thin.

  21. Amy @Very Culinary says:

    Every Memorial Day weekend there’s a large field down the road from our house that displays hundreds of flags in memory of all the soldiers who gave their lives. It’s quite a sight and makes me cry every time. Maybe I need to make this creamed beef to comfort me when I return home!

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      I love seeing rows and rows of our beautiful flag flying. It give me goosebumps.

  22. My husband and I actually used to LOVE creamed chipped beef. And he is an ex-Marine ! It was one of my favorite meals growing up. My mother’s recipe was pretty simple, basically a white sauce and the meat. YUMMY. In more recent years, not only did the packaging change ( I used to save those old jars for drinking glasses for the kids) but the meat is NOT the same. It’s more like unseasoned salami (pressed meat particle board) than the previous paper thin slices of slightly salty beautiful meat. I used to have to exercise ultimate self control to not just to eat the meat straight from the jar. Now days, I tend to pass and just not make it anymore. It’s just not as good.

    1. Lana Stuart says:

      You’re right, the beef is a bit different now, but we still enjoy it, Judy.