This Hawaiian loco moco recipe is a rich, savory dish of burger patties over a bed of sticky rice topped with an over-easy egg, drizzled with brown gravy. Learn how to make this local Hawaiian dish so you can enjoy the ultimate comfort food whenever the craving strikes.
If you like this recipe, you will love Spam Loco Moco!
Hawaiian Loco Moco can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner! While this recipe is not necessarily "healthy", it rings true to traditional comfort foods that most still enjoy periodically.
My Great Aunt Thelma lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for over twenty years and this recipe reminds me so much of her. As I have shared in other blog posts, food connects me mostly with memories and I am so happy to share this recipe in honor of her!
- Why You'll Love this Loco Moco Recipe
- What is Loco Moco?
- The History of Loco Moco
- What Does Loco Moco Taste Like?
- How to Make Loco Moco
- Make Loco Moco Gravy
- HOW TO PLATE THIS DISH
- Check Out This How to Make Loco Moco Video!
- Tips and Tricks for the Best Loco Moco Recipe
- How to Store Leftovers
- How To Make Hawaiian Loco Moco Recipe
Why You'll Love this Loco Moco Recipe
- Versatile. Serve for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The meat, rice, and even the way you prepare your eggs can all be customized to suit your taste buds.
- Comforting. Hot, saucy, and savory, this is a dish that will warm you up from the inside out. It's so satisfying!
- Easy. Broken down step by step, this recipe is super simple!
What is Loco Moco?
There are several variations of loco moco but the original recipe consists of white rice topped with a hamburger, brown gravy, and a fried egg. Loco moco is a popular dish in Hawaii but it is not, in fact, a Hawaiian dish. It is a local Hawaiian dish. So what's the difference between a local Hawaiian dish and a traditional Hawaiian dish?
When immigrants came to Hawaii to live and work on plantations, they brought their traditions and cuisine. This is how Hawaiian mixed plates like this loco moco recipe came to be. These "local" foods are inspired by Asian, Puerto Rican and Portuguese cultures.
The History of Loco Moco
Created in the 1940s, this local dish was said to have started from diners who requested a dish they could afford. Although the exact origin is uncertain, the first dish was created and prepared at either Cafe 100 or the Lincoln Grill in Hilo, Hawaii.
To learn more about Loco Moco and its history, click here!
What Does Loco Moco Taste Like?
The thick juicy beef burger patty is the star of this show. In a lot of traditional dishes, steak and gravy is served so expect flavors similar to that if you have had that combination.
There are some additional flavors added to this recipe such as soy sauce and browning seasoning sauce to really make the dish quite rich.
The addition of the runny egg sets this dish apart and allows for a massive flavor train of hearty beefy goodness.
As mentioned, this recipe rings true to traditional style foods. With that said, you will need simple, staple household ingredients. Here is what you will need:
- Ground Beef. 80/20 ground chuck is the perfect lean meat-to-fat ratio. Use ground turkey, pork, or chicken as alternatives.
- Seasoning. garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper
- Egg. This acts as a binding ingredient.
- Liquid Smoke. For a light, smoky flavor.
- Worcestershire Sauce. For umami flavor.
- Breadcrumbs. This ensures the patties stay moist and juicy.
- Oil. To cook the burger in.
Loco Moco Gravy
The gravy is the star of this loco moco recipe. Nothing beats traditional brown gravy made from scratch. Here is what you will need:
- Aromatics. Use fresh garlic and thinly sliced onions.
- Mushrooms. This is the heart of the flavor. Divinely savory and mouthwatering.
- Flour. This thickens the gravy.
- Butter. Use salted butter.
- Water. Add ½ cup to the recipe card measurements if necessary.
- Soy Sauce. This adds a deep umami flavor and contributes to the brown hue.
- Beef Bouillon. This intensifies the beefy flavor. You could also use beef stock instead of the bouillon and water.
- Browning Seasoning Sauce. This gives the gravy a deep brown color.
- Seasoning. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
- Green Onion. Garnish for a mild onion flavor.
- Rice. Traditionally, sticky white rice is prepared with this dish. In this recipe, short-grain rice is used and prepared in a method where the water cooks out, forming a sticky consistency. The rice is then the perfect consistency to hold with the rich onion, mushroom, and beef gravy. If you have short or medium-grain rice, that will work best but any rice of your choice is fine too!
- Sunny Side Up Eggs. You can fry the egg hard if you prefer but I love a runny yolk for added flavor.
How to Make Loco Moco
First, prepare the burger patties as this will be the most time-consuming portion of the recipe. It is important to note, you should also begin preparing rice as a first step so the ingredients will be ready simultaneously.
Prepare Burger Patties
In a large mixing bowl, add burger patty ingredients beginning with ground beef and ending with breadcrumbs. Then, mix thoroughly until ingredients are combined. Now, separate ground beef into four even sections.
Carefully roll burger mixture into balls and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large skillet (preferably a cast iron skillet), add oil and turn the heat to medium/high.
Cook Burger Patties
Add the burger balls to the pan and lightly smash the burgers into patties. The heat should be fairly high, and the burgers should sizzle and release smoke.
Allow the patties to cook for five minutes on one side being careful not to disturb the patties. Flip the patties and sear for an additional four minutes being careful not to disturb the patties.
Finally, remove the patties from the heat (will not be cooked through) and set aside until further use.
Make Loco Moco Gravy
In the same skillet used to cook hamburger patties, add garlic, onion, mushrooms, and sauté. If needed, add a small amount of oil (one teaspoon) so the veggies will not stick to the pan.
Next, sauté vegetable and garlic mixture until soft and translucent. Next, carefully sprinkle in the flour and whisk for about one minute. It is important to note that it is helpful to actually time this portion of the recipe!
Prepare the Roux for Loco Moco Gravy
Now, add butter and continue to whisk, stirring constantly for about two minutes or until flour cooks out. Then, slowly pour in water and whisk simultaneously.
Quickly pour in soy sauce, bouillon and browning seasoning sauce. Continue to whisk and allow gravy to reduce and thicken. (About five minutes) Adjust flavor to your taste adding salt and pepper if needed.
Now, add the par-cooked burger patties back into the gravy, cover, and let simmer on low for 10-15 minutes until burger patties are cooked through to your desired temperature.
HOW TO PLATE THIS DISH
Finally, we are close to enjoying the delicious Hawaiian Loco Moco recipe. Here is the best way to plate the dish as seen in this blog post.
Using a small or ramekin sized bowl, add the cooked sticky rice to the bowl. This will help to mold the rice into a circular shape for best presentation purposes. Certainly, you don't have to do this but give it a try if you have the time!
Quickly pour the warm gravy over the rice and add the beef patty on top. Lastly, top the Loco Moco with the sunny side up egg and garnish with chopped green onions.
Check Out This How to Make Loco Moco Video!
Tips and Tricks for the Best Loco Moco Recipe
- Loco Moco can be paired with various toppings such as shrimp, fish, sausage, bacon, tofu, teriyaki beef and chicken, and other meats.
- If you want sticky rice, use short-grain sushi rice or medium-grain Calrose rice because they have more starch. More starch means the rice will stick together.
- Instead of white rice, you can use brown rice or wild rice for healthier alternatives.
How to Store Leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Eat the eggs the same day. Reheat in the microwave and top with a freshly fried egg.
What does loco moco mean in Hawaiian?
When the dish was created in Hilo, Hawaii, a patron coined the term, after one of their friends who was nicknamed Loco. Moco was simply added because it rhymed.
What do you serve with loco moco?
Loco moco is a meal in and of itself but can be served with kimchi or coleslaw. For an even heartier meal, serve this recipe with Hawaiian macaroni salad.
What is loco moco gravy made from?
Loco moco gravy includes garlic, caramelized onions, mushrooms, flour, butter, water, soy sauce, beef bouillon, browning, salt, and pepper.
I HOPE YOU ENJOY THIS EASY LOCO MOCO RECIPE!
How To Make Hawaiian Loco Moco Recipe
- 1 lb Ground Beef
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- 1 small Egg
- ½ teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp Oil
Loco Moco Gravy
- 1 tablespoon Garlic
- ½ cup Onion thinly sliced
- ½ cup Mushrooms
- 2 tablespoon Flour
- 2 tablespoon Butter salted
- 1 cup Water plus ½ cup if needed
- 2 tsp Soy Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Beef Bouillon
- 2 teaspoon Browning Seasoning Sauce
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoon Green Onion
- 1.5 cups Rice short grain or jasmine
- 2-4 Sunny Side Up Eggs
- In a large mixing bowl, add burger patty ingredients beginning with ground beef and ending with breadcrumbs.
- Mix thoroughly until ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Separate ground beef into four even sections.
- Carefully roll burger mixture into balls.
- In a large skillet (preferably a cast iron skillet), add oil and turn heat to medium/high heat.
- Add burger balls to the pan and lightly smash burgers into patties.
- Let patties cook for five minutes on one side being careful not to disturb the patties.
- Flip patties and sear an additional four minutes being careful not to disturb the patties.
- Remove patties from heat (will not be cooked through) and set aside until gravy is complete.
Loco Moco Gravy
- In the same skillet used to cook hamburger patties, add garlic, onion and mushrooms and sauté. If needed, add a small amount of oil (one tsp) if needed.
- Sauté vegetable and garlic mixture until soft and translucent.
- Sprinkle in flour and whisk for about one minute.
- Add butter and continue to whisk, stirring constantly for about two minutes or until flour cooks out.
- Slowly pour in water and whisk simultaneously.
- Pour in soy sauce, bouillon and browning seasoning sauce.
- Continue to whisk and allow gravy to reduce and thicken. (about five minutes)
- Adjust flavor to your taste adding salt and pepper if needed.
- Add par cooked burger patties back into the gravy, cover and let simmer on low for ten to fifteen minutes until burger patties are cooked through to your liking.
- Serve over white rice and top with a runny/sunny side up egg.