Loco Moco

published Mar 17, 2024
Loco Moco Recipe

Make this Hawaiian comfort food favorite in less than 30 minutes.

Serves4

Prep15 minutes

Cook13 minutes

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overhead shot of loco moco on a white plate, served over rice.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

Loco moco is the Hawaiian favorite that’s as fun to say as it is to eat. Reportedly created as an alternative to a juicy burger on the island of Maui and served at all hours of the day, loco moco is a hearty, filling stack of fluffy steamed rice, savory brown gravy, seasoned beef patty, and sunny-side up egg

I always make a point to order loco moco when I’m in Hawaii (or at Hawaiian restaurants stateside) because I love the beefy gravy that soaks into the rice. I’ve found that the key to a great sauce is to have a good balance of flavorful ingredients like beef broth, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Loco moco may look complicated to make, but can actually be cooked quickly in just one skillet with easy-to-find ingredients. Do as the Hawaiians do and eat this any time of the day — it’s fair game for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Why You’ll Love It

  • Loco moco is a hearty traditional Hawaiian plate lunch that also makes for a great dinner.
  • All you need is ground beef, a scallion, eggs, and some pantry ingredients like soy sauce, cornstarch, and beef broth. Plus, it comes together in just 30 minutes.
  • The three parts of this dish — beef patty, gravy, and a fried egg — can be cooked in the same pan. 

Key Ingredients in Loco Moco

  • Ground beef: I like juicy patties, so go with 80 or 85% lean ground beef here. You can go leaner, but the patties might not be as tender and flavorful.
  • Worcestershire sauce: This tangy condiment is the main seasoning in the beef patties (it also goes into the sauce).
  • Beef broth: The super-savory flavor comes from beef broth. Pick up low-sodium beef broth, as there’s also soy sauce in the gravy.
  • Eggs: Loco moco isn’t complete unless there’s a sunny-side up egg with a bright yellow yolk on top!

How to Make Loco Moco

  1. Form and sear the beef patties. Season ground beef with some pantry staples, form into patties, and cook on the stovetop.
  2. Make the gravy. Use the same pan to make a very quick gravy that’s thickened with cornstarch.
  3. Fry the eggs. Wipe out the pan and use it to fry the eggs.
  4. Assemble. Place the beef patties, gravy, and eggs over steamed rice, and garnish with scallions.

Helpful Swaps

  • Tamari can be used in place of soy sauce to make the loco moco gluten-free.
  • To make this vegetarian, substitute plant-based ground beef for the ground beef and mushroom broth for the beef broth.
  • Serve over cooked cauliflower rice instead of steamed rice if you want to work vegetables into the meal.

Storage and Make-Ahead Tips

  • The beef patties can be assembled and refrigerated for up to 4 hours before cooking.
  • Make the steamed rice up to a few days ahead and reheat in the microwave.
  • Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave.

What to Serve with Loco Moco

Loco Moco Recipe

Make this Hawaiian comfort food favorite in less than 30 minutes.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 13 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 pound

    ground beef (80 or 85% lean)

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon

    Worcestershire sauce, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for the eggs and as needed

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 2/3 cups

    low-sodium beef broth

  • 1 tablespoon

    soy sauce or tamari

  • 2 tablespoons

    cornstarch

  • 2 tablespoons

    vegetable or canola oil, divided

  • 4

    large eggs

  • 1

    medium scallion

  • 4 cups

    steamed rice, divided

Instructions

  1. Place 1 pound ground beef, 1 tablespoon of the Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl and mix with your hands until well-combined. Divide into 4 portions and shape each portion into a ball. Press down into a 1/2-inch-thick patty that’s about 3 1/2 inches wide. Press your thumb into the center of each patty to form a shallow indentation about 1 inch wide.

  2. Place the remaining 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 2/3 cups low-sodium beef broth, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari in a liquid measuring cup or medium bowl and stir to combine. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the mixture into a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons cornstarch; stir until the cornstarch is suspended.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large (12-inch) nonstick frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the beef patties and cook until browned on the outside and just cooked through, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.

  4. Pour off the fat in the pan into a small heatproof bowl; discard when cool. Do not wipe out the pan and place back on medium-high heat. Add the broth mixture without cornstarch and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, stir the cornstarch mixture again.

  5. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until it returns to a boil and thickens (it should happen very quickly). Turn off the heat. Taste and season with kosher salt as needed. Transfer the gravy to a bowl.

  6. Wipe out the frying pan with a paper towel. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil in the pan over medium heat until shimmering. Swirl the pan to coat the bottom with the oil. Crack 4 large eggs into the pan, spacing them evenly apart. Season lightly with kosher salt. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook undisturbed until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes.

  7. Meanwhile, thinly slice 1 medium scallion. Place 1 cup steamed white rice onto each of 4 plates. Top each portion of rice with a beef patty. Ladle the gravy over the patties.

  8. When the eggs are ready, use the edge of a flat spatula to separate the eggs if needed. Slide the spatula under each egg and place on a beef patty. Garnish with the scallion.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The beef patties can be assembled and refrigerated for up to 4 hours before cooking.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.