Slow Cooker Ham Balls

Slow Cooker Ham Balls on a plate

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 3 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
406 Calories
14g Fat
46g Carbs
25g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 406
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 5g 23%
Cholesterol 110mg 37%
Sodium 910mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 36g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 82mg 6%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 522mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Ham is often served for Christmas or New Year's dinners or for family dinners on Sunday. It usually leaves leftovers. One good way to use those leftovers is by making ground ham. It's great as a sandwich filling, but it gets glammed up to company level with this deceptively easy appetizer recipe.

Whether you're having a family holiday party or a big bash for friends, you need all the help you can get in the saving time department. Using a slow cooker to serve tasty appetizers is a great strategy. 

This recipe lets you decorate the table and get the rest of the food ready while the ham balls bake. Then, just transfer them to the slow cooker and add the glaze. You can also serve them as an entree with rice, bread, and your favorite steamed green vegetable for a casual weeknight dinner. Either way, this recipe is a time-saver.


  • 1 pound ham, ground

  • 1 pound ground pork

  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, optional

For the Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup

  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Slow Cooker Ham Balls ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

    casserole dish

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Combine the ground ham, pork, breadcrumbs, beaten eggs, milk, and parsley, if using. Mix until thoroughly blended.

    ground ham, pork, breadcrumbs, beaten eggs, milk, and parsley in a bowl

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Shape the meat mixture into balls. To keep them uniform in size, portion the mixture with a 1/4-cup measuring cup for large entrée-size balls or use a cookie scoop for appetizers.

    Ham meatballs in a casserole

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Arrange the ham balls in the prepared baking pan; bake for 45 minutes.

    ham meatballs in a casserole dish

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Meanwhile, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, and ground mustard in a saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.

    ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, and ground mustard in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Transfer the baked ham balls to the slow cooker and pour the glaze mixture over them. Cook on high for 30 minutes. Turn to the low or warm setting for serving.

    Slow Cooker Ham Balls in a slow cooker

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi


  • As an appetizer, cheese complements the ham balls nicely, whether just slices of old favorites like cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss, and Havarti, or Cotswold, Gouda, or gourmet cheeses.
  • French bread and crispy crackers also go well with ham balls, as do dried fruits and nuts.

Recipe Variations

  • Mix in shredded cheddar and Parmesan cheese and omit the sauce.
  • Add 1/4 cup of finely minced onion to the meat mixture.
  • Add a few tablespoons of finely chopped green onions to the meat mixture.
  • For barbecue flavor, add some liquid smoke, to taste.
  • Use chili sauce rather than a brown sugar glaze.
  • Add pineapple juice to the sauce mixture.