Home » Dinner Recipes » S.O.S. (Creamy Hamburger Gravy) +Video

S.O.S. (Creamy Hamburger Gravy) +Video

S.O.S. also known as Creamy Hamburger Gravy is an old-school meal. This is a classic, simple and tasty meal that is reminiscent of military cooking!

WHAT IS S.O.S.?

If you have a military background or a military family member, then you are probably very familiar with this meal. It was my Navy Dad’s specialty. Of course, I know military families from all the branches who know exactly what you are talking about when you say “S.O.S.”. We always knew when my Mom was working late because Dad would be cooking this dish. And luckily, my brother and I enjoyed it. It’s a very simple, completely unpretentious dish. And although most of us can make this while blindfolded with one arm tied behind our backs, I figured it needed to be shared here for posterity. 😉

a wooden spoon scooping hamburger gravy over three slices of toast.

HOW DO YOU MAKE HAMBURGER GRAVY?

So all we’re doing here is making a creamy hamburger gravy. This is very similar to the way I make my Homemade Sausage Gravy. The only difference between this and sausage gravy is we would substitute the ground beef with a spicy pork sausage. It’s also somewhat similar to Ground Beef Stroganoff.

WHAT DOES S.O.S. STAND FOR?

I grew up only ever eating this over toast. The acronym “S.O.S.” means “Sh** on a Shingle”. Yup. Really. So the “shingle” part is the toast. Some folks like it over biscuits but plain ole simple toast is how I like it best. In addition, some people also call Creamed Chipped Beef “S.O.S.” but this is how we make it and have for the last 80 plus years.

S.O.S. Creamy Hamburger Gravy recipe from The Country Cook shown closeup served over toast.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (FULL RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)

  • ground beef
  • milk
  • salted butter
  • all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper
  • bread

HOW TO MAKE S.O.S.:

In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat, brown the ground beef. Season with a little salt and pepper. Drain excess grease and set aside. Melt butter in the same sauce pan. Add flour and stir until butter/flour mixture is bubbly. Add milk, salt, and pepper. Stir constantly until thick and bubbly. Add meat and stir.

hamburger gravy in a skillet.

Taste and adjust seasoning as needed (I usually like a bit more pepper). Serve over toast or biscuits.

creamed hamburger gravy with milk shown served over three pieces of toast.

Cook’s Note: this is the exact same recipe I use for sausage gravy. Instead of ground beef, I substitute with hot, ground breakfast sausage.

S.O.S. hamburger gravy over toast on a white plate.

CRAVING MORE?

S.O.S. Creamy Hamburger Gravy

S.O.S. (Creamy Hamburger Gravy) +Video

S.O.S. also known as Creamy Hamburger Gravy is an old-school meal. This is a classic, simple and tasty meal that is reminiscent of military cooking!
4.93 from 138 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cups milk, 2% or higher
  • 4 Tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 12 slices bread, toasted

Instructions

  • In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat, brown the ground beef. Season with a little salt and pepper. Drain excess grease and set aside.
  • Melt butter in the same sauce pan. Add flour and whisk until butter/flour mixture is bubbly.
  • Add milk, salt, and pepper. Whisk continuously until thick and bubbly. 
  • Add cooked ground beef back in and stir.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as needed (I usually like a bit more pepper). If necessary, add a little more milk until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • Serve over toast.

Video

Notes

  • Note: this is the exact same recipe I use for sausage gravy. Instead of ground beef, I substitute with hot, ground breakfast sausage.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 478kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 27g | Sodium: 831mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

Did you make this recipe?Share it on Instagram @thecountrycook and mention us #thecountrycook!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




143 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Brandie,
    Thank you for posting this recipe! As soon as I seen the name of the recipe…I began smiling and giggling…Beautiful memories! My mom made this while I was in elementary school right on up Thank God my mom is still living and now I can make it for her ❤️…laugh..good food..good memories! Thanks to you

  2. 5 stars
    My dad also made this (he was an ex-Marine)… but it was always served over mashed potatoes, sometimes over mashed potatoes which was over sourdough toast. It’s a go-to dinner and never fails.

  3. Thank you for sharing this recipe, My Mom use to make this when I was growing up and she didn’t have the recipe written down and now I have one. We had this over smashed boiled potatoes.

  4. My grandpa used to make this all the time and I had forgotten about it until I saw your recipe. Made it tonight and served over toast – it tasted just how he made it. Thank you SO much for a wonderful memory and for sharing this recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    I love this recipe. When I served in the military many, many years ago (Purple Heart Vietnam vet here), I did not have a taste for SOS. We always had it made with ground beef. The people who make it with the dried beef stuff are making creamed chipped beef, not S.O.S. (I will die on that hill Ha!) I have always liked sausage gravy and biscuits being from NC; however, years later I was craving the taste of the dish. Thank you for sharing this recipe and allowing it to live on and teaching others about this military tradition!

    1. 5 stars
      Thank you for your service, my dad loved this meal, he too, served in the Army for many years and had time in Vietnam. God bless.

  6. 5 stars
    Finally! My college boyfriend’s mom always had these in the freezer but she called them “Mis-steaks” and used the little cocktail size rye bread. I got a lot of recipes from her but never remembered to write this one down. I am so glad I found this site!

  7. We in PA Dutch country make this same recipe with dried beef gravy over toast & call it SOS, YUM. My hubby & family ate your burger version when they were in the military. I’d probably like it if I ever ate it. However, not a fan of sausage gravy over biscuits either…had several versions of it sometimes with side of grits. Neither taste please the pallet.

  8. 5 stars
    Thanks kid! Just like momma used to make, and SGT Cook!

    I was in a joint service unit for a while and you are absolutely right….SOS is universal to the branches. Mom and dad met in the Army in the 60s (mom was WAC!) So she gave it to us kids and then my wife made it for our kids.
    I’m not a cooker, so even with both arms NOT tied behind my back, I had no clue how to do this. Thanks for bringing me up to speed.

  9. 5 stars
    Take this recipe (beef or sausage) and add the remaining items needed for a Scottish All-Day Breakfast (including fried bread instead of toast). It’ll be loaded with calories and cholesterol, but it’s a great treat and will be okay, healthwise, if only served once or twice a year.

  10. 5 stars
    This is very close to the SOS my Dad made. His had chopped onion in the ground beef when it’s browned. I can’t imagine what it would taste like without it, it makes it so good!

  11. 5 stars
    This recipe is my all time favorite it was served also in our cafeteria 0ver cream potatoes but in my household I serve it over toast

      1. Hey everyone!
        I love this recipe, as I am a military brat! We ate this often, and such fond memories are flooding back!
        Does anyone have a good Old fashion goulash recipe, like mom use to make???
        It was so good and filling for us (mom, dad and us 3 kids)!
        Thank!
        Larry

  12. Back in the late 50’s , we would get it for lunch in the school cafeteria. Instead of with toast, it would be served over mashed potatoes……a favorite memory!

  13. 5 stars
    Was in the AF back in the 70s. Finally discovered their missing ingrediensts, a pinch or two of nutmeg and brown sugar! Loved that subtle sweetness! Give it a try.

  14. 5 stars
    This brings back so many memories. My dad served in the Army for 10 years. This was a meal we ate at least once a week. There were six kids in our family and this was a recipe that could feed many. My mom would sometimes fry up potatoes as a side dish. Always loved it. Very hearty.

  15. 5 stars
    I’m an old Navy Viet Nam Destroyer Vet and I can remember having this for breakfast
    OFTEN !! Thank’s for the recipe.