Loco Moco on a large plate with a small,dish of pineapple in the foreground.

Loco Moco

The Hawaiian Islands are known for sunshine and surf, but they are also home to unique local cuisine. One of my favorites is the Loco Moco. It’s a three layer dish – rice, a meat patty, and an egg, topped with brown gravy. There are many variations on the humble Loco Moco and it seems like almost every chef has their own version.  I hope you enjoy this uniquely Hawaiian dish.

Loco Moco is a dish that is featured in contemporary Hawaiian Cuisine. Hawaiian cooking tends to be unique – fish, spam and pork are all popular ingredients.  And Hawaiian food influences food around the world, even in Japan where tasty dishes such as Spam Musubi are popular.

The basic method to prepare Loco moco is to start with white rice, top it with a hamburger, pour brown gravy over it and then top it off with a runny egg.  On a trip to Hawaii I had the opportunity to try out many variations on this simple classic.  Some of these variations used pulled pork, brisket, or even corned beef hash instead of a hamburger.  Others used fried rice instead of white rice. Some used beefy mushroom gravy, others used a lighter brown soy sauce based gravy.

Spam is a popular ingredient used in Hawaiian cooking and the rice I use in my Loco moco is Spam Fried Rice.  Hawaiian fried rice is easy to make – first you cook the meat in oil, then scramble an egg and add in rice and soy sauce.  This simple fried rice only takes a few minutes to prepare and is great on its own, or as the foundation of a Loco moco.

The hamburger is easy to prepare and uses no fillers to help bind the meat.  Be careful when cooking not to turn the hamburger over and over… cook it for 5 minutes, turn once, and then cook 5 more minutes and remove from the heat.

Loco moco is a favorite breakfast dish in Hawaii – but it is quite filling and I’m not quite sure how the locals manage to put one of these away in the morning!  But don’t worry – it also makes an excellent lunch or dinner entree, so cook it up and let me know what you think in the comments section, below.



Loco Moco

This Hawaiian favorite starts with a layer of Spam and Egg Fried Rice topped with a hamburger patty.  The rice and patty are covered in a mushroom and onion gravy and then it is all topped off with a runny egg.  Be careful not to overcook the hamburger patty but there are no fillers in the patty so you need to cook it to medium well so it does not break apart.

Enjoy this favorite with some fresh mango, papaya or pineapple on the side and serve it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

15 mins 20 mins Serves 2
PREP 15 mins
COOKING 20 mins
YIELD Serves 2
Loco Moco on a large plate with a small,dish of pineapple in the foreground.


Fried Rice

  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TBSP cooking oil
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1/2 can (170g) canned spam (optional), diced
Fried Rice Ingredient board
Fried Rice Ingredients

Brown Gravy

  • 1/2 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP Tomato Ketchup
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 TBSP Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Mushroom-Onion Sauce Ingredients Board
Brown Gravy Ingredients

Meat Patty

  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp Salt/Pepper mix
  • 1 TBSP Minced Onion
  • 1 TBSP Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 TBSP cooking oil (not shown)
Loco Moco Meat Patty Ingredient Board
Meat Patty Ingredients

 Fried egg

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp butter


Prepare the meat patties

  • Combine all the ingredients for the meat patty except the cooking oil.  Form into two patties.
  • Fry over medium high heat in the cooking oil 4 to 5 minutes on each side until browned throughout.
  • Set aside the cooked patties.

Two Meat Patties on an absorbent grease towel


Prepare the Brown Gravy

  • Sauté the onions in the olive oil over medium high heat for 5 minutes until soft and translucent.
  • Add the shiitakes and sauté for another 3 minutes until softened.
  • Stir in the tomato ketchup and sauté until cooked in.
  • Add in the butter and flour.  Continue to sauté until the flour is completely absorbed into the onion and mushroom mixture.
  • Slowly put in half of the consommé.  Turn the heat down to medium and stir until thick and bubbly.
  • Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce and mix in well.
  • Add the remaining consommé.  Stir until combined, reduce to a simmer and set aside.

Loco Moco Sauce being stirred in a pot with a wooden spoon


Prepare the fried rice

  • Cook the spam in the oil over medium high heat until crispy on the outside (optional).
  • Scramble an egg in the hot oil.
  • When the egg is cooked, add in the rice and fry for 5 minutes breaking it apart as it cooks.
  • Stir in the soy sauce and fry for another minute until the rice is browned.
  • Set aside.

Loco Moco Spam Fried Rice in a fry pan


Fry the eggs

  • Fry the eggs in the butter.  Sauté over medium high heat and turn gently after 2 minutes.  Cook for two more minutes and remove from heat.  Set aside.

Two Eggs cooking in a fry pan


Build the Loco Moco

  • Put the rice on a plate.  Put a meat patty on top.  Spoon a generous portion of the brown gravy over the meat patty and rice.  Top off with the egg.
  • Serve while hot.

Loco Moco on a plate with pineapple and Lomi Lomi Salmon served on the side


  • This recipe makes a large loco moco.  You can easily make 4 loco mocos by forming four meat patties.
  • The Spam is optional.  It’s a Hawaiian favorite and quite good in the fried rice, but you can choose to omit it if desired.
  • Avoid refrigerating the leftovers.  The rice will harden and fried or sunny side up eggs do not keep for long.


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