Slow Cooker Ham Balls

Ham balls

The Spruce

  • Total: 3 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 3 hrs
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
283 Calories
9g Fat
31g Carbs
18g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 283
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 101mg 34%
Sodium 1152mg 50%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 18g
Calcium 52mg 4%
*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.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground ham
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs (large, lightly beaten)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (minced)
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard powder

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for ham balls
    The Spruce
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

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

    Combine ground ham, pork, breadcrumbs
    The Spruce
  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.

    Shape mixture into balls
    The Spruce
  5. Arrange the ham balls in the prepared baking pan; bake for 45 minutes.

    Arrange ham balls on baking tray
    The Spruce 
  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.

    Combine ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar
    The Spruce
  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.

    Ham balls in crockpot
    The Spruce
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Tips

  • 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.

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