Growing up with a father and a brother that were both in the military, you certainly get accustomed to eating some interesting foods. One that you might have heard of is SOS beef. The name might make you think that there’s a military aspect because of SOS, but it doesn’t quite stand for what you think it might. Instead, it stands for s…on a shingle. I know, I was surprised to hear that for the first time, too.

I’ve also heard people say that SOS stands for “same old stuff” because of how often those in the military would eat it. Of course, the way it’s prepared when you’re in a massive time crunch and overseas isn’t something that you’d want to eat everyday. If you have the time and the comfort of your own home, though, well that’s a different story.

No matter what your definition of SOS is or whether or not you were in the military, you’re sure to enjoy this dish. It’s incredibly easy to make, and there are a lot of different ways to do it. My father preferred to eat his SOS creamed beef on toast, while my brother was also a fan of making it into a casserole. I’ve also seen it placed on rice, so it’s really up to you!

The original SOS creamed beef from the past only took a few minutes to prepare, and it’s still something that you can make quickly. That’s because the original recipe for the SOS creamed beef came all the way back in 1910 in the book “Manual for Army Cooks”. Back then, you would just take evaporated milk with beef stock, parsley and pepper, adding in chipped beef.

These days, you need a lot more to turn this military favorite into a hearty and delicious meal. From my personal experience, it takes only about 25 minutes to fully prepare and cook the dish, and it’s a perfect one for a beginner to learn. Starting off, it might take you about 30 or 35 minutes, which is still not too bad! Beginners will also like how much it costs to make a meal for the whole family, as you only have to spend around $10-15 for the entire six-serving meal! Growing up, there were many times that we would have SOS creamed beef the day before paychecks came in the mail!

If you’re watching your calories, this actually isn’t a bad meal to eat (as long as you take it easy on the side dishes)! The sodium content is a bit high compared to other meals, but nothing compared to how salty SOS creamed beef used to be before it became more of a household dish rather than a military meal!

With all of that said, let’s take a look at just how simple it is to make SOS creamed beef in your home. If you end up making too much, there’s no need to worry! SOS creamed beef makes for a good leftover, and it’s always easy to make a slice of toast to put your leftovers on! Here is how to make my SOS creamed beef in your home, step by step!

Preparation Time: 25-35 Minutes

Serves: Six People

Nutrition (Per Serving):

  • Calories: 200
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Protein: 16 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8.5 g
  • Sodium: 520 mg
  • Cholesterol: 50 mg

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 Pound Ground Beef
  • 1 Cube Beef Bouillon
  • 2 ¼ Cups Whole Milk
  • 1 Diced Yellow Onion
  • ¾ Teaspoon Salt
  • 5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Pinch Ground Black Pepper
  • Toasted Bread (Optional)

Cooking Directions:

  • To get started with this recipe, you’ll want to grab your large skillet as there’s an entire pound of ground beef to take care of. Set the skillet on the stovetop, setting the temperature to medium-high heat.
  • Place the pound of ground beef on the skillet, also mixing in the one diced yellow onion. While the meat is cooking, make sure to break it down so that all of the meat is being cooked thoroughly. Add in your ¾ teaspoon of salt while it’s browning, making sure that there’s no pink left in the meat.
  • Lean ground beef will produce the least amount of grease leftover, but make sure that you drain the skillet entirely while putting the meat and onions on the side for now.
  • Using that same skillet, place it back on the stovetop and put the heat back to medium-high. This time, add the five tablespoons of butter, one cube of beef bouillon and ¼ cup of flour. Whisk them all together until you get a thick texture that resembles a paste, letting it bubble and cook for about 60 seconds.
  • After letting the mixture cook for a minute, slowly pour in your 2 ¼ cups of milk and continue to whisk until the mixture is thick. After a few minutes, this mixture should be very thick, and you can make it as thin or thick as you want.
  • Once you’ve achieved the thickness that’s to your liking, add in the beef and onions that you had set aside previously into a pot with the mixture. Stir them together so you have a nice consistency, adding in the pinch of ground black pepper and ¼ teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce for flavor.
  • If you’d like a little more flavor, feel free to use some of the other ingredients you might have in your house, including red pepper or garlic powder. After a few minutes of heating up and being stirred, your SOS creamed beef will be ready to go! The SOS creamed beef goes great on top of rice, noodles or bread, so side dishes are only limited by your imagination.