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Loco Moco, A Traditional Hawaiian Breakfast Recipe

Updated on February 2, 2016
SusanDeppner profile image

Susan has been sharing recipes online since 2006. She specializes in simple, delicious, family-friendly recipes that everyone loves.

You don't have to be in Hawaii to enjoy loco moco for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Call me crazy, but I love loco moco!

Loco moco is the name of a popular breakfast meal served in restaurants in the state of Hawaii. It's a true breakfast in a bowl, a meal high in protein, perfect for storing up energy before hitting the surf (or school, or even the office)!

I'm not a surfer, but I know a thing or two about breakfast - and this is definitely an unusual breakfast food, at least in all places besides Hawaii. Turns out that back in 1949 a group of guys requested that the owner of their local favorite restaurant in Hilo, Hawaii, create a cheap meal for their breakfast. They requested a bowl of rice with a hamburger on top, covered in gravy and crowned with a fried egg. Their wish was her command and the rest, as they say, is history. The breakfast dish was so crazy they decided to call it "loco." "Moco" made a nice rhyme and loco moco was born.

These days you'll find loco moco on the menu at many eateries in Hawaii and it's as popular as ever. If you can't make it to Hawaii for breakfast, you can do as I do and duplicate the dish at home. My version features brown rice, although the original has the sticky, white variety. If you prefer vegetarian, choose a veggie burger. If you can't do breakfast without ham or bacon, toss them in instead, or use a sausage patty instead of the hamburger. Oh, and don't limit loco moco to breakfast. It makes a great lunch or even a nice, easy supper meal-in-a-bowl.

No matter how you stack it, loco moco is a great-tasting, very filling, totally Hawaiian comfort food meal. I love it!

P.S. We've also included a recipe for Hawaiian macaroni salad, often served alongside loco moco. Don't miss it!

Loco Moco Recipe

Loco Moco, Hawaiian comfort food for breakfast or anytime! This is a good way to use leftover rice or hamburgers. I often plan for it in advance by cooking extra rice or a couple of extra hamburgers a day or two before. When it's time for the Loco Moco, it's quick and easy to heat the leftovers, fry the egg and heat the gravy, then assemble. Vary the ingredients to satisfy your own taste.

  • Cook time: 30 min
  • Ready in: 30 min
  • Yields: 1 (easy to adapt for more hungry people)

Ingredients

  • 2 scoops of rice
  • 1 hamburger patty
  • brown gravy
  • 1 fried egg
  • sliced green onion for garnish

Instructions

  1. Note that the time specified includes time to cook both the rice and the hamburger. If you're using leftover rice, hamburger, or even gravy and those items are already ready to just heat and serve, you can assemble your Loco Moco in mere minutes.
  2. Scoop the cooked rice into a bowl; top with the cooked hamburger patty. Ladle the gravy over the hamburger. Top with the fried egg (cooked over-easy or to your taste). Garnish with some sliced green onion.
  3. Serve with a side order of Hawaiian style macaroni salad (recipe below) if you like. Enjoy!
  4. Variations: Use sausage, ham, even Spam, or maybe a turkey or vegetarian burger instead of the hamburger.
4.3 stars from 3 ratings of Loco Moco Recipe (Printable)

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February is Hot Breakfast Month

Loco moco is filling and delicious. A perfect choice for a hot, family breakfast!

Kona Coffee from Hawaii to You

Hawaii Roasters 100% Kona Coffee, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 14-Ounce Bag
Hawaii Roasters 100% Kona Coffee, Medium Roast, Whole Bean, 14-Ounce Bag

Authentic Hawaiian coffee, perfect with your loco moco.

 

Never Lose Your Loco Moco Recipe. Enjoy your Kona coffee in this great mug!

Loco Moco Recipe on a Mug - Aqua
Loco Moco Recipe on a Mug - Aqua
Loco Moco with a scoop of Macaroni Salad on the side
Loco Moco with a scoop of Macaroni Salad on the side

Serve Macaroni Salad With Your Loco Moco

... if you want to be authentic!

Order a plate lunch of loco moco or anything else in Hawaii and you'll likely get a scoop of Hawaiian-style macaroni salad on the side. I asked my online friend and amazing cook, Smine27, who happens to have grown up in Hawaii, if he knew why macaroni salad is so popular there. He didn't know, but he did some research and came up with this newspaper article from the archives of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that covers the topic well.

What did they find out? While there are many theories, it seems no one has a definitive answer, but it's a great article, well worth a five-minute read, especially if you're interested in Hawaiian culture.

Photo source

Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad Recipe - . . . to make your plate lunch (or breakfast) complete.

Macaroni salad is a staple with any Hawaiian plate lunch, as well as with loco moco. There isn't anything much simpler than basic Hawaiian-style macaroni salad. In fact, three main ingredients plus a little milk and a shake of salt and pepper will get it done for you in no time.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Serves: A family

Ingredients

  • Large elbow macaroni - thoroughly cooked
  • Shredded carrots - about 1/4 cup
  • Mayonnaise - Best Foods or Hellman's - no substitutes - about a cup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the macaroni well, drain, then gently stir in the shredded carrots, the milk, and the mayonnaise until well coated. Salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Serve a scoop of macaroni salad with your loco moco for an authentic Hawaiian breakfast meal.

Loco Moco Facts

Loco moco is a dish native to Hawaiian cuisine. There are many variations, but the essential loco moco consists of white rice topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. Variations may include chili, bacon, ham, Spam, kalua pork, Portuguese sausage, teriyaki beef, teriyaki chicken, mahi-mahi, shrimp, oysters, and other meats.

Read more on Wikipedia

How About a Hawaiian-Style Cookbook for Your Collection? Choose this charming bestseller to broaden your home-cooking horizons.

Best of the Best from Hawaii: Selected Recipes from Hawaii's Favorite Cookbooks (Best of the Best State Cookbook)
Best of the Best from Hawaii: Selected Recipes from Hawaii's Favorite Cookbooks (Best of the Best State Cookbook)

Family-style dining is back in style and has been re-imagined by one of the most prominent chefs in Hawai‛i, James Beard Award nominee Beverly Gannon.

Down-to-earth recipes with a Pacific, Asian, and Southern flair combine with out-of-this-world location photography for a cookbook that a busy home cook can really use.

Click here to find more cookbooks featuring Hawaiian cuisine

 

Hawaiian Loco Moco - How did "Loco Moco" get its name? Here's a short video which includes a history of the origin of loco moco and how it's made.

"The kitchen sink of meals"

Have you tried Loco Moco?

Plan to? We'd love to read your comments, and do let us know if you try our loco moco recipe. You'll find our guestbook below.

Aloha!

© 2009 Susan Deppner

Comments? What do you think about Loco Moco?

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    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Faye Rutledge: You're welcome! Give it a try to let me know what you think. Sausage sounds good!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 2 years ago from Concord VA

      Hmm, never heard of this, but it sounds pretty good. I think I'd like mine with sausage. It does sound like a very filling breakfast that would stay with you awhile. Good for dinner, too. Thanks for this recipe.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @jc stone: Very glad you did! I hope you'll give our recipe a try. It's delicious!

    • jc stone profile image

      Jordan 2 years ago

      I seen this on Google and thought i would stop by.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Vicki_P: So glad you shared that - it sounds delicious! In fact, very delicious. Mmmm! Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      Vicki_P 2 years ago

      I'm hungry . . . This reminded me of something I haven't made in a while, but everyone loves. I'll share it with you, if that's OK. Make couscous with chicken broth, and simply top with an egg (or two!) and Thai sweet chili sauce. I only have the large-type of couscous right now, but I think I'm going to have to make it!! It's all good . . . your lens and the Loco Moco!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      I'm just loco enough to fly over to Hawaii and try this. Things always taste better in Hawaii.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
      Author

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @junecampbell: Thanks! I'm sure loco moco isn't for everyone. I really appreciate your kind words!

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 3 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I doubt if I will try Loco Moco, but you have done an excellent job of this lens.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
      Author

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Brite-Ideas: Give it a try! It really is delicious and filling in a nice, comfort food way.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
      Author

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Elsie Hagley: It really is good. My husband always loves when I fix loco moco. Let me know if you try it, Elsie!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      I have never heard of it before, but that won't start me from trying it. Thanks for sharing you have a very interesting article here, nice photos.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I've never heard of this! I'll have to pin it to my collection of recipes!

    • shay-marie profile image

      Shay Marie 3 years ago from Southern California

      My husband loves this stuff. He gets angry whenever local Hawaiian restaurants don't serve it.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
      Author

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Merrci: I owe you about 20 more in exchange for all of yours! :)

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Look yummy and it's making me hungry! Thanks for the recipe Susan.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
      Author

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @sierradawn lm: Wow, I had no idea it was THAT popular. Cool!

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 3 years ago

      I remember that you could even get Loco Moco at McDonalds when I lived in Hilo. In fact, you could even get it at the concession stand at the movie theater. I love it!

    • SusanDeppner profile image
      Author

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @LadyDuck: Hope you love it!

    • profile image

      LadyDuck 3 years ago

      What a good breakfast idea. I am surely going to try this.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @OneFunMom: Cool! My husband would love the corned beef hash version and I never would have thought of that. I really appreciate the comment and suggestions. Have fun in Hawaii!

    • OneFunMom profile image

      OneFunMom 3 years ago

      We moved to Hawaii three months ago and love loco moco. We just had it for dinner the other night! Every place you go has their own special spin on it. I personally like pork gravy rather than brown gravy and my husband loves his with corned beef hash sometimes instead of the burger!

    • SusanDeppner profile image
      Author

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Cynthia Haltom: I'm sure a vegetarian version would be delicious!

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 3 years ago from Diamondhead

      I need to make it vegetarian.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
      Author

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @soaringsis: I was surprised at how well they went together!

    • profile image

      soaringsis 3 years ago

      I like all of the ingredients, I think I might try them together. Thanks for sharing.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
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      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @DivaChick LM: Great idea!

    • DivaChick LM profile image

      DivaChick LM 4 years ago

      Sounds great for brunch :-D

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

      I am definitely going to try it. It sounds very Asian.

    • SusanDeppner profile image
      Author

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Jogalog: Or even supper!

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I'd love to try it - Maybe for lunch though!

    • fun-information profile image

      Aditya Gogoi 4 years ago from Sunnyvale

      Looks Yummy!

    • SusanDeppner profile image
      Author

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @KobayashiFiction: LOL Awesome!

    • profile image

      KobayashiFiction 4 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: Haha. Thanks to you, I fried an egg for the very first time! ^_^

    • SusanDeppner profile image
      Author

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @KobayashiFiction: Oh, wow, that sounds absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing that variation with me! I never really thought to use my leftover turkey that way, but I will in the future!

    • profile image

      KobayashiFiction 4 years ago

      Thanks to this Lens, I did a bit of experiementing (turkey in place of beef hamburgers and adding corn to the gravy for sweetness) and made beautiful Loco Moco last night! My husband was really surprised be something so different! And I liked how exotic it looked! Thank you! Ono / Delicious!

    • SusanDeppner profile image
      Author

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Brandi Bush: Oh, yes. It's good!

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 4 years ago from Maryland

      Oh my...loco moco sounds SO good! I would love to try this! :)

    • profile image

      sean-carthew 4 years ago

      Mmmmmmmm can't wait to try this

    • SusanDeppner profile image
      Author

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @jgrivera: I love it when someone who has lived in Hawaii finds this page! Thanks so much for your comment!

    • profile image

      jgrivera 4 years ago

      I was born and raised in Hawaii now living is Cali. We ate Loco Moco at least once a week! When in Hawaii stop by L&L restaurant for the best Loco Moco. Awesome job Susan! Thank you for sharing!

    • SusanDeppner profile image
      Author

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @anonymous: That is too cool! Wow, thank you so much for sharing that experience. The Super Loco Moco sounds delicious! Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      In Hilo yesterday and had the "super loco moco" at Cafe 100.

      Hamburger, Portuguese sausage & spam!

      Loved it, glad I'm going to the gym while here on vacation!

    • Gr8fulGirl profile image

      Gr8fulGirl 4 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: Thanks, I already have the recipe (being a Maui native and all), but I was suggesting that you introduce it to all those uninformed people out there--since you wrote this lens so well, I'm sure you'd be able to convince even the anti-spam people to give the spam musubi a chance. :o)

    • SusanDeppner profile image
      Author

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      @Gr8fulGirl: So glad you found this page! Maybe I'll leave the spam recipe for you. Go for it!!

    • Gr8fulGirl profile image

      Gr8fulGirl 4 years ago

      Been eating it my whole life........and I'm still not sick of it! I'm from Maui, where loco moco is as common a meal as a burger and fries. I'm guessing a lot of people who have never tried it may be anti-loco-moco, so it's great that you wrote a pro-loco-moco lens to convince them to give it a chance. I wouldn't be surprised if you've already converted a few......next, you should tackle spam musubi :o)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am always looking for a quick breakfast recipe that is delicious, this certainly fits the bill.

    • SilmarwenLinwelin profile image

      SilmarwenLinwelin 4 years ago

      I've never tried it, but I'd like to!

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