Classic Ham Balls are tender, sweet and salty meatballs with a delicious glaze. This midwestern comfort food is easy to make and a delicious twist on your favorite meatballs. This recipe is great to make for an easy dinner or serve them for the holidays.
If you’re a fan of meatballs, then you are going to love these super easy ham balls. This is a classic recipe in the Midwest, and they’re always a hit for an easy dinner, as a party appetizer, or on a grazing table for the holidays. We like to make grape jelly meatballs as an appetizers, and these have quickly become a hit as well.
These little meatballs are packed with flavor and covered in a sweet, tangy glaze. They’re a great recipe for the holidays since you can use leftover ham to make them! But really, they’re perfect any time of year and for any occasion. I even love to make them for an easy weeknight dinner since all I have to do is prep them and put them in the oven. A great way to get dinner cooking on a busy evening. You’ll love this recipe for old fashioned ham balls!
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- You can prep this dish in 20 minutes. Then let the oven do the hard work and cook the old fashioned ham balls to perfection.
- Meatballs are a great source of protein. You can pair them with a side dish or serve them on their own when you need a quick appetizer.
- Ham balls are perfect for meal prep. Since meatballs reheat well, you can bake these ahead of time and reheat as needed.
Ingredients for this Ham Balls Recipe
- Ground ham – This is a fabulous way to use up leftover ham, but you can also grab ham from the grocery store to make ham balls too.
- Ground pork – Feel free to use seasoned or unseasoned ground pork. I prefer to season it myself but either will work.
- Milk – Any type of milk will work! Whole milk, 2% milk, or anything else that you have on hand.
- Egg – Egg acts as a binding agent for these easy ham meatballs. It will hold together all of the ingredients and help keep their ball shape.
- Ground pepper – A good dash of ground pepper is a great way to season the meat for these ham balls.
- Panko bread crumbs – Plain panko bread crumbs are also a binding agent for meatballs! Many recipes use crackers but we prefer bread crumbs!
- Dry mustard – This is the only ingredient that you may not have in your normal stock of spices, so make sure you add it to your grocery list.
- Vinegar – A little bit of the tangy flavor of vinegar is great in this mixture!
- Brown sugar – Use brown sugar to sweeten these meatballs. The rich sweetness of brown sugar pairs really well with ham!
How to Make Ham Balls
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and then spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set it to the side.
Place chunks of ham into the food processor and grind it until no large chunks remain.
Combine the ham, ground pork, beaten egg, panko crumbs, milk, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Using your hands or a spoon, combine the ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.
Scoop out about ⅓ cup of ham mixture and roll it into a ball with your hands. Then place each ham ball into the previously prepared baking dish. You should have 12 balls.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze. Then pour the sauce over the ham balls.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and each meatball is completely cooked through to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Is ground ham the same as ground pork?
No it’s different! In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen ground ham in the grocery store. You need to buy ham and grind it yourself or use a food processor to grind it. Ground pork on the other hand is readily available at stores. Do not interchange them.
What temp should ham balls be?
You’ll know your ham balls are cooked with the internal temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. We recommend using an instant read meat thermometer to check this.
How to Store Leftovers of this Ham Balls Recipe
FRIDGE: Transfer these easy ham balls into an airtight container and store in the fridge for 4-5 days.
FREEZER: Place leftovers in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw before reheating.
How do you reheat ham balls in the oven?
To reheat, place in the oven or on the stovetop with any leftover glaze and heat to a safe internal temperature. You can also reheat in the microwave, but it could make the texture a little chewy.
What to Serve with Ham Balls
If you plan to serve this easy dish as a main course, then pair it with simple sides like air fryer broccoli or green beans with bacon. Some creamy mashed potatoes or even plain rice go wonderfully with the sweet glaze that bakes with ham balls. You could also serve them on top of buttered noodles!
Can I use ground beef instead of ground pork?
Ground pork can be swapped out with ground beef. However, I recommend using a lean ground beef so that the ham balls do not turn out greasy. It will change the flavor profile!
Can I use ham lunchmeat in this ham balls recipe?
While ham lunchmeat can be an affordable option, I don’t recommend using it in this recipe. You can typically find a half ham, or even something smaller, at the grocery store. Then cut it into large chunks and add it to the food processor.
Pro Tips for the Best Ham Balls
- Make sure to roll each meatball into even sizes. You’ll need them to all finish baking at the same time.
- Try to save some sweet glaze so that you can reheat the meatballs with the glaze.
- To keep them warm at a party, place the finished meatballs in a crockpot on the keep warm setting.
Ham balls are the tastiest twist on the classic meatball. Make this recipe and let us know what you think!
More Meatball Recipes You’ll Love
- These Instant Pot Swedish Meatballs are cooked in the most creamy and flavorful gravy.
- Make Grape Jelly Meatballs in the crockpot as the easiest party appetizer.
- Crock Pot Italian Style Meatballs are a tasty and easy dinner for weeknight meals.
- Meatball Stuffed Shells is the pasta dish of your dreams! You’ll love this easy recipe.
- 1 pound ground ham
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup milk
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 Tablespoon dry mustard
- ¼ cup vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
- Grind the ham up in the food processor.
- In a large bowl add the ham, pork, beaten egg, panko crumbs, milk, salt, and pepper. Combine all the ingredients together.
- Take about ⅓ cup of ham mixture and roll into a ball with your hands. Place the ham balls into a greased 9×13 baking dish. There should be 12 ham balls.
- In a small bowl mix together glaze ingredients until combined.
- Pour the glaze over the ham balls,
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden and cooked through to 160 degrees Fahrenheit internal temperature.
- Serve immediately.