Loco Moco with the BEST Gravy (+Make Ahead and Video!)

Barbara F. Watson

Loco Moco is a favorite Hawaiian comfort food consisting of steamed white rice topped with a juicy burger patty, rich mushroom gravy and a fried egg.  Enjoy it for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

This Loco Moco recipe is a flavor-packed, inexpensive, hearty, Hawaiian comfort food that your entire family will LOVE!   Each bite is a symphony of juicy beef, textural fragrant rice, warm, umami rich gravy, and runny buttery egg yolk. The magic of slicing through the runny egg yolk and it gushing over and mingling with the gravy and rice is everything! This Moco Loco recipe is extremely flexible and can be made with or without mushrooms and with beef or turkey.  Best of all, you can prep the hamburger patties, gravy and rice ahead of time. Now just fry up some eggs serve the Loco Moco with a side of pina colada fruit salad for a meal that’s sure to satisfy!

Ground beef recipes make for quick and easy favorites.  Don’t miss Ground Beef Stroganoff, Ground Beef Baked Tacos, Ground Beef Enchiladas, Crockpot Chili, Spaghetti Bolognese or Honey Buffalo Meatballs.

HOW TO MAKE Loco Moco Recipe VIDEo

up close of Loco Moco recipe with mushroom gravy
loco moco recipe with hamburger patty, mushroom gravy and fried egg served over white steamed rice

Loco Moco Ingredients 

The Loco Moco consists of pretty basic ingredients that come together to form an explosion of flavor and texture. The recipe may look lengthy, but many of the ingredients are simply whisked together to create the gravy. Here’s a quick rundown of the ingredients needed to make this Hawaiian recipe (see printable recipe card at the bottom of the post for the complete recipe): 

THE BURGER PATTIes

  • Ground beef: Use lean ground beef so the patties will be tender and juicy but not greasy. I use 85/15 percent lean.
  • Worcestershire sauce:  Just a splash of this flavor bomb deepens the complexity of the burgers and gravy with its intense umami flavor from the soy, mingled with sour from tamarind and vinegar, sweetness from molasses and sugar, and dimension from the cloves, celery seed, and chili pepper extract.
  • Seasonings: The hamburgers are seasoned with garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • Oil: Use a neutral-flavored oil with a high smoking point for cooking the burgers, such as vegetable or canola oil. 

THE MUSHROOM GRAVY

  • Butter: Use unsalted butter so we can control the salt, or reduce the salt in the recipe.
  • Cremini mushrooms: AKA baby bella mushrooms boast a deep, savory flavor. These mushrooms are the “middle child’ mushroom, they are a more mature version of the white button mushroom and therefore heartier, earthier, and overall, more flavorful. They are also younger than the next mature variety, the portobello, and that is why they are often called “baby bella” or “baby portobello” mushrooms.
  • Onion: Use half a yellow onion for the most punch of flavor. 
  • Garlic:  4 cloves garlic or you may also use 1 teaspoon garlic powder – but the real stuff is so much better.
  • Flour: I used all-purpose flour, but I’m sure a gluten-free substitution would work. 
  • Beef broth: This s a must for the mushroom gravy to deliver that rich, beefy flavor. Please use reduced sodium beef broth so we have the luxury of adding concentrated beef bouillon. Please do not use chicken broth or vegetable broth because they do not have the same richness as beef broth.
  • Soy sauce: This also enhances the umami of the gravy. Please use reduced sodium soy sauce so we can control the salt.
  • Beef bouillon: This is a secret ingredient that adds a complex depth of flavor that fools your palate into thinking the mushroom gravy has been simmering for hours. You can use granulated beef bouillon, 1 ½ crushed beef bouillon cubes, or better than bouillon. Don’t dissolve the bouillon in water first, add directly to the beef broth.
  • Toasted sesame oil: Just a splash adds an exciting nutty flavor. Make sure to use toasted sesame oil and not regular sesame oil.  Toasted sesame oil boasts a strong nutty aroma whereas light/plain sesame oil is a low-flavor oil used for sautéing.

THE EGGS AND RICE

  • Eggs: You will need four eggs that will be will be fried in a little oil for topping the burger. 
  • Rice: You’ll need 5 cups of cooked rice for this recipe. I recommend using a fragrant, sticky white rice, such as jasmine rice. 
top view of moco loco with white rice, beef hamburger patty and gravy

How to Make Loco Moco 

Making Hawaiian Loco Moco is very easy! All you have to do is steam some rice (use a rice cooker, if you have one!), cook a few burgers on the stove, fry some eggs, and prepare a quick whisk-together-and-simmer mushroom gravy. Detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card below, but here’s an overview of the cooking process: 

  • Step 1: Cook the rice. If you have leftover white rice on hand, just use that. Otherwise, this would be a great time to whip out your rice cooker.  You can also use individual microwavable rice packets.
  • Step 2: Form the hamburger patties. Whisk the Worcestershire sauce and seasonings together, add the ground beef and combine. Form the mixture into 4 equal patties, then make a 1/2″ indentation in the middle of each patty with your thumb (see below).
showing how to make loco moco recipe by forming beef patties
  • Step 3: Cook the burgers. Heat a little vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the patties and cook until brown and slightly charred on one side, flip, then reduce the heat to medium and cover. Cook an additional 2-5 minutes, depending on how rare you like your burgers. 
showing how to make loco moco recipe by cooking burgers in a skillet
  • Step 4: Make the mushroom gravy. To the drippings left in the skillet, melt some butter. Sauté the mushrooms and onion until golden brown, then sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and slowly whisk in the broth followed by the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a simmer until thickened to desired consistency.  
a collage showing how to make loco moco recipe by 1) sautéing mushrooms, 2) showing the caramelized mushrooms 3) cooking with flour, 4) adding beef broth and seasonings
showing how to make loco moco recipe by  by simmering gravy until thickened

Step 5: Fry the eggs. Heat more oil in a nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the cracked eggs to the side of the pan, and cook until the whites are set/opaque and the yolk is cooked to your preferred level of doneness (we like them runny over here). 

showing how to make loco moco recipe by frying eggs sunny side up

Step 6: Serve! To assemble the Loco Moco, place 1 ¼ cups of cooked rice in the center of a plate. Place one burger patty on top, followed by a ladle of gravy, and lastly top with one fried egg. Garnish with green onions.

moco loco with a fried egg on top
top view of moco loco with a fried sunny side egg with a broken yolk
  • Omit the mushrooms. Don’t have mushrooms on hand, don’t like mushrooms or don’t have time for this step?  No problem, you don’t have to add them! 
  • Use another mushroom variety.  You are also welcome to use other flavorful mushrooms such as portobello, shiitake, or oyster mushrooms, or more exotic mushrooms such as chanterelle, morel, enoki or king oyster mushrooms. You can even mix and match different varieties of mushrooms.
  • Use ground turkey. Swap the ground beef for ground turkey, ground pork or a combination.  If using ground turkey or ground pork, you may want to add 1 ½ teaspoons beef bouillon to the patties to ramp up the beefy flavor. If using, reduce the salt.
  • Use a different protein.  Swap the ground beef patties for ham, Spam, kalua pork, teriyaki beef, teriyaki chicken, mahi mahi, shrimp or oysters.
  • Add caramelized onions. Use my French onion chicken as a guide to add caramelized onions to the gravy. The rest of the ingredients can stay the same.
  • Spice it up: Ramp up the heat with additional red pepper flakes or add them to individual servings.
  • Make it gluten free.  Swap the soy sauce for tamari, use gluten free flour and double check that your Worcestershire sauce is gluten free.
  • Use store-bought shortcuts. Homemade tastes best, but I understand you don’t always have the time to make scratch hamburgers and gravy. Use your favorite store-bought burger patties and/or gravy mix.
  • Use brown rice. A sticky white rice is authentic to Loco Mocos, but you may use brown rice if that’s what you have on hand or what you prefer. 

Loco Moco is a meal-in-itself with protein and carbs! However, if you’re looking to stretch the dish further or are feeding a crowd, serve it with a side of fruit for breakfast like cantaloupe, Perfect Fruit Salad, or Pina Colada Fruit Salad.
 
If serving for lunch or dinner, you can add a side of veggies like Roasted Broccoli, or Roasted Carrots, and a refreshing salad like Strawberry Broccoli Salad, Strawberry Salad,  Ramen Salad, Crunchy Asian Salad, Chinese Salad, or Asian Pineapple Salad.

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Hamburger Patties:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp EACH garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, salt
  • 1/2 tsp EACH pepper, paprika
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

FOR SERVING

  • 5 cups cooked white rice (I recommend jasmine)
  • sliced green onions
  • Make Hamburger Patties: Whisk the Worcestershire sauce and seasonings together in a bowl. Add the ground beef, and gently combine. Form into 4 equal patties (about 1 inch thick) then make a 1/2″ indentation in the middle of each patty with your thumb or measuring spoon (this will help the burgers cook evenly). Time permitting, pop the patties the freezer or refrigerator for 15 minutes while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

  • Cook burgers: Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the patties and cook until brown and slightly charred on one side, about 3-5 minutes, flip, reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook an additional 2-5 minutes, depending on how rare you like your burger. Remove and keep warm.

  • Make Gravy: To the drippings left in the skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir the mushrooms and onions into the butter. Cook until the mushrooms are deeply golden brown, about 7-10 minutes, only stirring occasionally, pressing into an even layer in between stirring.

  • Reduce heat to medium; add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 30 seconds. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low and slowly whisk in the broth followed by the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a simmer until thickened to desired consistency; remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If the gravy thickens too much by the time you’re ready to serve, whisk in additional broth or water.

  • Fry Eggs: Crack the eggs in separate bowls or ramekins. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Working in batches as needed, add eggs to the pan on opposite sides. Cook sunny-side up, 3 to 4 minutes, until the whites are cooked and the yolks are loose. Transfer to a plate.

  • To serve: Divide the rice between 4 plates. Top each mound of rice with one burger patty, a generous ladle of gravy and one cooked egg. Garnish with green onions.

Ground turkey:  I suggest adding 1 ½ teaspoons beef bouillon to the seasonings to infuse the turkey with beefy goodness. You can use granulated bouillon or two crushed bouillon cubes. If using, reduce the salt, otherwise the hamburger patties will be too salty. 

Prep Ahead

  • Rice: can be cooked up to 3 days in advance, refrigerated and reheated on the stovetop or microwave. 
  • Chopping:  the garlic, onions, green onions and mushrooms can be chopped 24 hours in advance and stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
  • Gravy: can be prepared up to 5 days in advance and refrigerated until ready to use. Reheat over medium-low on the stove. The gravy will have thickened in the refrigerator, so you’ll likely need to whisk in a little broth to loosen it up again. 
  • Burgers: the patties can be shaped up to 48 hours in advance, covered and refrigerated or frozen. Cooked burgers will last up to 5 days in the fridge.

How to Store and Reheat

  • Storage: I recommend making the fried eggs fresh, but the rest of the ingredients store and reheat like a dream.  Store the elements of the Moco Loco recipe separately in airtight containers, or assemble each dish in its own airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.  Fry the eggs fresh before serving.
  • To reheat in the microwave: You may want to break up your burger patty before microwaving so it heats more evenly.  Heat for 90 seconds, then at 30-second intervals until warmed through.
  • To reheat on the stove:Transfer the gravy and patties to a skillet and heat over medium-low heat, covered, flipping the patties and stirring the gravy around them occasionally.  Heat just until warmed through, adding additional, water/broth as needed.
  • To reheat in the oven: Combine the patties and gravy in an oven proof skillet or baking dish.  Cover, and bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through. Stir in additional broth/water as needed.

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