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Loco Moco – Hawaiian Comfort Food

From the islands to your dinner table, Loco Moco is Hawaiian comfort food made with rice and a burger smothered with rich gravy and a runny yolk.
4.61 from 169 votes

By Christie Vanover | Published September 23, 2018 | Last Updated July 11, 2022

Disclosure: Certified Angus Beef® brand sponsored this post. Opinions are my own.

I live in Las Vegas, which is often called the 9th Island because so many people have moved here from Hawaii, including my husband’s family.

Just the other day, they were talking about how they miss Loco Moco and how they were looking for an original version that didn’t sway too far from the comfort food they remembered from back home.

With all the glitz and glamour in Vegas, chefs can make things a little too fancy here sometimes.

loco moco with egg on top of beef, gravy and rice with hula girl in front of plate

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History of Loco Moco

But Loco Moco is meant to be simple food with simple ingredients. It starts with a bed of sticky white rice and is topped with a hamburger patty, brown gravy and a sunny-side-up egg.

Loco Moco was created in the 1940s, when some boys dining at the Lincoln Grill in Hilo, Hawaii, asked the waitress to serve them a dish they could afford. They threw out the idea of rice, beef and gravy, and the rest is history.

4 beef patties seasoned

My version starts with Certified Angus Beef® brand ground beef patties. Go with the 80/20 meat-to-fat ratio. You’ll need that fat to make the gravy.

And because you need the fat, the patties should be cooked in a skillet, not on the grill. This way you can preserve the drippings. 

4 raw beef patties in cast iron skillet

For each pound of beef you use, divide the meat into four and shape each quarter into a patty. You can make them as thick or thin as you like. 

Season them with salt and pepper on both sides. Let those spices rest on the meat while you heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-heat. You can do this on a grill or stovetop. 

Cook the patties for about 4 minutes. Then, flip and cook for 4 more minutes. 

You want to develop a gorgeous crust on them. 

4 beef patties searing in cast iron skillet

Just look at that char. That right there is flavor.

Since the pan is hot and the burgers are juicy, the grease will splatter. To avoid this, place a piece of foil loosely over the pan while the patties cook.

I find this works better than a lid, because it allows the air to escape. A lid would trap the steam, and you definitely don’t want steamed burgers.

spoon with dripping gravy.

Once you remove the burgers from the pan, you’re left with liquid gold – beef pan juices.

Let’s make the gravy.

There are 3 easy ways to avoid lumpy gravy

For this loco moco recipe, I use the roux method. Add flour to the pan drippings and allow it to cook for 30-60 seconds. Then, incorporate about a half cup of the beef broth. Once that is well blended, add the remaining broth. It’s finished with butter for a smooth consistency.

Another method would be to create a slurry. To do this, blend the flour with about a half cup of beef broth. Stir the two together until combined. Heat the remaining broth with the drippings, and add the slurry to thicken.

The final method is a beurre manie. This is a French technique that involves rolling flour and butter together into a ball. Deglaze the pan with all of the beef broth. After a few minutes of reducing, add the butter ball to the pan. It will gradually thicken the gravy.

4 eggs frying in a skillet

The Show Stopper – Loco Moco Topper

Although the egg wasn’t included in the original version of the Loco Moco, it’s definitely a staple to the Hawaiian dish now.

Be sure to cook it sunny-side up. The bright golden yolk is like a morning wake-up call, especially when it oozes into the gravy.

When cooking an egg sunny-side up, look for the whites to cook while making sure the yolks stay runny.

If you’re having trouble getting the whites to cook through, you can add a lid for a few seconds. The steam will warm them up. Just don’t leave the lid on for too long, or the yolks will cook, too. 

What rice to use for Loco Moco

Rice varieties are almost as diverse as wine. There’s white rice, brown rice, wild rice, jasmine rice, etc. Among those types there is also long-grain, medium-grain and short-grain rice. 

For this Hawaiian dish, I recommend either using short-grain sushi rice or medium-grain calrose rice. Both have a higher starch content, which allows the rice to stick together.  

To cook the rice, start by rinsing it a few times. While this step isn’t’ required, it’s just what Lola taught us to do. 

I almost always cook my rice in a rice cooker, but you can also cook it in a pot on the stove with a lid. Using one cup of water for every cup of rice is a pretty tried and true method, or you can follow the method my family uses.

index finger in rice cooker with water up to first line on finger

Place your rinsed rice in a rice cooker and add enough water to cover the rice. Stick your index into the pot, so it touches the top of the rice. Continue adding water until it reaches the first line where your finger bends. 

I don’t know how this method works when we all have different size fingers. It just does. The rice will be perfectly tender every time. 

loco moco with egg on top of beef, gravy and rice

Plate your Hawaiian meal

Now that all of your ingredients are cooked and ready, it’s time to plate your loco moco. 

You can either serve this as a single patty portion or go all out and serve it up with two patties and two eggs. 

Start by placing the rice on the bottom. You can use a circle cookie cutter to shape it all pretty, if you’d like, or just spoon it on the plate. Then, add a cooked patty on top and smother with gravy. 

Finish with that beautiful sunny-side up egg and garnish with some sliced green onions.

loco moco with egg on top of beef, gravy and rice with hula girl in front of plate

Loco Moco - Hawaiian Comfort Food

From the islands to your dinner table, Loco Moco is Hawaiian comfort food made with rice and a burger smothered with rich gravy and a runny yolk.
4.61 from 169 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 41 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 cups white rice uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lb Certified Angus Beef® brand ground beef
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 green onions sliced


  • Rinse the rice under cool water. Place the rinsed rice and 2 cups water in a rice cooker and cook. 
  • Shape the ground beef into four patties. Season both sides with salt and pepper. 
  • Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties. Sear for 4 minutes. Flip. Cook for 4 more minutes. Remove the patties and set aside. 
  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the flour to the skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously. 
  • Add 1/2 cup beef broth to the skillet, and stir to combine. 
  • Add the remaining beef broth and soy sauce. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • In another skillet, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high high. Crack the eggs into the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes, until the whites are cooked through. The yolks should remain loose. 
  • Place a large circle cookie cutter on a plate. Fill with a spoonful of rice. Remove the cookie cutter. 
  • Place a cooked patty on top of the rice. Spoon on a ladle of gravy. Top with a cooked egg, and garnish with green onions. 



Calories: 738kcalCarbohydrates: 77gProtein: 35gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 248mgSodium: 1923mgPotassium: 593mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 390IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 88mgIron: 4mg

This estimate was created using an online nutrition calculator

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  1. Steve July 14, 2019 at 6:37 am - Reply

    Outstanding! All my favorite things. Made with ground brisket. I should have doubled the amount of gravy.

  2. Chris July 17, 2019 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    Can we get a Mac salad recipe to go with this?

    • Anonymous December 23, 2019 at 11:45 am - Reply

      Secret to a good hawaiian mac salad, some grated onion and grated carrot.

  3. Anonymous October 7, 2019 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    Question about the recipe, for the beef stock, is 1 1/2 cup or 1/2 cup? I’m afraid I’m reading incorrectly and having to add ingredients to make it work.

    • Christie Vanover October 9, 2019 at 12:18 pm - Reply

      one and a half cups. Start by adding a half a cup. Then blend in the remaining one cup.

  4. Anonymous October 10, 2019 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    Thanks for responding!
    I love this recipe and introduced it to my 11 yr old daughter, now she asks for this at least once per week!

  5. AL BRUNDAGE November 9, 2019 at 8:36 pm - Reply


    • Anonymous November 16, 2021 at 12:25 pm - Reply

      Alright, calm down!

  6. Anonymous March 29, 2020 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    Excellent recipe. This recipe provides a very satisfying meal for a family of four.

  7. Desi May 19, 2020 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    This was so yummy and full of delicious flavors! My husband won’t eat loco moco since a lot of recipes we’ve seen have mushrooms. Perfect thing to make while in quarantine. Thank you!

  8. Shannon March 1, 2021 at 10:30 am - Reply

    I like making this. Easy and filling.

    What are some side dish suggestions others are using?

  9. Julie K March 19, 2021 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    Can you use corn starch in place of flour to make the dish gluten free?

    • Anonymous August 22, 2021 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Yes, you can use cornstarch instead of flour to make gravy. I have a small jar I use to shake cornstarch and water vigorously then add to my recipe (better than stirring). Cornstarch doesn’t get lumpy like flour does.

  10. Lyle April 2, 2021 at 9:18 am - Reply

    hey – since you live in Vegas – you can get a good Loco Moco (with some twists too – like Korean meat instead of the burger) – at Cinnamon’s. It is a Hawaiian diner that has a location in Vegas! I never miss a visit there when I am in town!

    • Christie Vanover April 4, 2021 at 10:02 am - Reply

      Sounds fun. I’ll have to check it out.

    • Angela May 4, 2021 at 10:58 pm - Reply

      Lyle – I just checked for Cinnamon’s online and they announced that they closed the Las Vegas location.

  11. Holli April 21, 2021 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    Delicious recipe. My family of 4 loved it. Tasted like the Loco Moco we loved in Hawaii. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Angela May 5, 2021 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    Made this with ground turkey in lieu of beef and chicken stock instead of beef stock. I got rave reviews! Simple and delicious, thanks for the recipe!

  13. Laurie Rasor July 15, 2021 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    Have A Good Day

  14. Denuvia August 15, 2021 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    The best way to cook rice is two cups of water to every cup of rice, comes out perfect every time. The recipe is great!

  15. Lulalouisa September 16, 2021 at 5:56 am - Reply

    Nice and simple recipe! I mix flour and mushroom flour to make the gravy. And a dash of chilli flakes for a kick. Tasted so good! I also put boiled corn and simple salad on the side. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  16. Brendan Shane October 17, 2021 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    I too live in Vegas! Weirdly enough, a dish that is supposed to be affordable has become $13-$16 a plate! Thank you for this recipe, can’t wait to have breakfast for dinner!

  17. Claudia Flint January 11, 2022 at 8:42 am - Reply

    I made your wonderful recipe as is for the third time last night. Was looking at the ingredients and realized that you don’t include eggs as an ingredient. I just know there obviously are eggs in it and you talk about cooking them but it is not in your ingredient list. Just thought I’d mention it!

  18. Carly February 14, 2022 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Question on rice – you say to use a sticky rice, preferably what you’d get with sushi but you only cook the rice in a rice cooker, where does the sticky part come in, how do you make the rice sticky? Thanks :) Def. want to try this, I’d add sauteed mushrooms to it too, yum :)

    • Christie Vanover February 17, 2022 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      short-grain rice has enough gluten in it that it sticks together after it cooks. If you use longer grain rice, it will be fluffy and won’t stick together.

    • Pat February 18, 2022 at 11:34 am - Reply

      Sushi rice is sticky when you cook it Just buy the right kind of rice.

  19. Kristine March 27, 2022 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Cooked this recipe for the gravy! Yum!!!

  20. Melissa May 7, 2022 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    We love this recipe and it’s what we had on our wedding menu. Everyone ordered it even tho steak and roasted pork chip was on the menu too. I first saw this on @NCIS:LosAngeles and thought this would be something different and it was. More than 250 guests ordered it. Not one person (even kids) didn’t like it. It was a big hit. We have it now at least once a week for either breakfast or dinner.

    • Christie Vanover May 9, 2022 at 12:23 pm - Reply

      Wow! That’s the best compliment I’ve ever received. Congrats on your wedding.

  21. Justin June 30, 2022 at 10:19 pm - Reply

    since you need fat how much flour/beef broth/soy sauce should i use for 1 80/20 burger pattie? I don’t want to use to much liquid and have the gravy be too runny or not mix right.

    • Christie Vanover July 1, 2022 at 10:13 am - Reply

      You can just cut the ingredients in half. Or you could add 1-2 teaspoons of vegetable oil or butter to the burger drippings and make the full amount of gravy.

  22. Anonymous August 23, 2022 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    So good. Some of our favorite things always, but the gravy was the change we needed. Thank you.

    • Christie Vanover August 24, 2022 at 12:35 pm - Reply

      You’re so welcome. May I ask…if you loved it…why only 4 stars?

  23. JohnF October 10, 2022 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the recipe, this was one of my favorites when I visited Hawaii.

    The finger method works with rice cookers because they are made in a way that they can detect when the proper amount of water has boiled off. It’s important whether using a pot or a cooker to get enough water, a little too much is fine as it will cook off Rice cookers detect the moisture content by monitoring the temperature of the bottom of the container. With a pot one has to either be a bit more consistent with the process so it can be timed or just look when it should be done. I’ve used the pot method my entire life and once I got the process down, I haven’t had issues.

  24. Verena November 10, 2022 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    Was in the mood for some loco moco and found this recipe. It was delicious!!! Definitely a keeper!

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