Creamed Chipped Beef & Toast

4.0
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Who remembers this nostalgic dish?

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
20 mins

Originally made popular in the early 20th century by the U.S. military for its ability to quite literally feed an army, creamed chipped beef on toast eventually began making an appearance at breakfast time on many Southern family tables.

Now considered a classic—who else remembers eating this nostalgic dish at Grandma's house?—the creamy, gravy-like white sauce, hearty use of dried beef, and warm slices of Texas toast make this creamed chipped beef on toast recipe the perfect comforting weekend brunch recipe to bring to the table every once in a while.

What Is Chipped Beef?

Chipped beef is beef that's been salted, dried, and pressed into thin slices. This shelf-stable snack served as an incredible source of protein among emigrants traveling along The Overland Trail during the mid-19th century.

It eventually found its way to the U.S. military in 1910, first making an appearance in the Manual for Army Cooks, where a recipe for stewed chipped beef with cream sauce was served on toast, enough to feed 60 men.

Also called dried beef, chipped beef is typically made from a leaner cut of meat, such as beef round. The meat is brined and left to cure for several days before being drained and air-dried. You can now also find chipped beef that's been smoked while it dries, adding additional flavor to the meat.

Creamed Chipped Beef & Toast on a white plate with blue linen
Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christine Keely, Food Stylist: Ana Kelly

Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast Ingredients

The creamy, gravy-like white sauce rehydrates dried beef, while a pinch of black pepper adds a little depth of flavor. Here's a list of all the ingredients you require to make this easy recipe for chipped beef on toast:

Butter and Flour
Equal quantities of butter and flour are used in this recipe to make a roux that is used as a thickening agent for the creamy white sauce. While you can swap out the butter for oil, the butter adds a nuttier and richer flavor to the final dish.

Whole Milk
Adding whole milk to the roux transforms the gravy into a creamy béchamel sauce full of flavor and depth.

Dried Beef
The key ingredient to creamed chipped beef on toast is, of course, beef. While you can use any dried beef, even the canned varieties, we recommend Buddig beef—it's cooked, comes chopped, and is not as salty as other brands of dried beef.

Seasonings
Freshly ground black pepper is the only seasoning used in this recipe. However, if you want to add a bit more spice, a pinch of cayenne pepper and garlic powder works wonders.

Texas Toast
Thick, golden slices of Texas toast are perfect for soaking up the flavors of the creamed chipped beef gravy. If you don't have any toast on hand, you can easily swap it out for some buttermilk biscuits.

Learn more: 3 Foolproof Tricks for Making Roux

How to Make Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast

Ready in under 15 minutes, this cream chipped beef recipe is not only quick and simple—ideal for when you're short on time—but a one-pot meal that can satisfy the entire family.

1. Make the Béchamel Sauce

Melt butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until bubbling. Stir in flour and whisk until it is fully incorporated, being careful not to burn the roux. Add in whole milk, and constantly stir until the sauce has sufficiently thickened. If you find the sauce to be too thick, add more milk to reach your desired consistency.

2. Add Beef and Pepper

Incorporate the dried beef strips into the sauce. Season with pepper, and stir it to evenly mix the meat into the white sauce.

3. Assemble the Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast

Spoon the sauce mixture over toasted slices of Texas toast. Garnish with additional ground black pepper and serve immediately.

How to Serve Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast

While this recipe is best served soon after being made, it is possible to make the hearty creamed chipped beef white sauce ahead of time. Then, when you're ready to serve tableside, all you have to do is reheat the skillet and toast up the slices of Texas toast.

Although many folks like to use thick, golden slices of Texas toast, you can also spoon the gravy over warm buttermilk biscuits instead.

Looking to round out your meal? We recommend trying one of the following side dish recipes:

* 24 Easy Green Bean Recipes That Complement Any Main Dish

* Quick-Fix Salads to Serve for Delicious Weeknight Suppers

How to Store Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast

Any remaining creamed chipped beef sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to four days. You'll also want to store the toast or biscuits separately from the gravy to prevent it from turning into soggy mush.

When you're ready for leftovers during the week, reheat individual-sized servings of gravy either on the stovetop or in the microwave. Toast your carb of choice, drizzle the sauce on top, and serve for yet another filling meal.

Can I Freeze Creamed Chipped Beef for Later?

You may be surprised to learn that bechamel sauce—the base for this chipped beef on toast recipe—freezes exceptionally well, but it does. All you have to do is make up a batch of sauce minus the chipped beef. Pour the finished roux into an ice cube tray and place it in the freezer. Transfer the individual cubes into a ziplock bag, and freeze them for up to three months.

To assemble, place the frozen cubes of roux in a skillet to thaw over medium heat. Once thickened, add in the strips of chipped beef along with your choice of seasonings. Drizzle the mixture over warmed Texas toast and serve while hot.

Learn more: Don't Tell Mama, But There Is a Quick Trick for Making Gumbo Roux in the Microwave

Community Tips

"I have been making almost this exact same recipe for many years using Buddig Beef but cutting the beef in little pieces. I have also tried it with ham," says reviewer Mary Adams.

"Saute the chopped beef in the butter, it's much better that way—it adds so much flavor," says reviewer Rosemary Smith.

Editorial contributions by Christabel Lobo.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 1/3 cup flour

  • 3 cups whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 4 1/2 ounces dried beef, cut into strips

  • Texas toast slices (or biscuits, if desired)

Directions

  1. Melt butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until bubbling. Stir in flour, and then add whole milk, whisking until flour is completely incorporated. Stir constantly until the sauce has thickened.

  2. Add pepper and strips of dried beef to sauce mixture, stirring until pepper is incorporated and beef is evenly coated. Spoon over Texas toast or biscuit halves; serve warm and top with additional ground pepper, if desired.

    Creamed Chipped Beef & Toast on a plate with blue napkin
    Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christine Keely, Food Stylist: Ana Kelly
Updated by
Christabel Lobo
Christabel Lobo

Christabel Lobo is a freelance food writer and illustrator based between Washington, D.C., and India. She has contributed to Southern Living, Allrecipes, Zagat, OpenTable, EatingWell, Cooking Light, Insider, and more.

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