Ham Balls Make a Tasty Appetizer

Close-up of meatballs with skewers
David De La Cruz Sanchez / EyeEm / Getty Images
  • 3 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 3 hrs
  • Yield: 8 to 10 Servings

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 make 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 cook to perfection in a crockpot. 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.

What You'll Need

  • 2 pounds ground ham
  • 1 cup cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 cup hot water

How to Make It

Make the Ham Balls

  1. Mix together the ground ham, cracker crumbs, minced onion, eggs and parsley and shape into balls.
  2. Place the balls into a slow cooker.

Make the Sauce

  1. Mix together the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and water until well-blended.
  2. Pour the sauce over ham balls in the crockpot.
  3. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 hours on high or 4 to 6 hours on low.


  • Mix in shredded cheddar and Parmesan cheese and omit the sauce.
  • Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350 F if you do not make the glaze.
  • Add ground pork to the meat mixture.
  • Mix in green onions.
  • Use chili sauce rather than a brown sugar glaze.
  • Add pineapple juice to the sauce mixture.

Party Serving Suggestions

Ham goes with cheese like ... you know the rest. Offer up cheesy appetizers, whether just slices of old favorites like cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Swiss along with Havarti, Cotswold, and Gouda or gourmet starters with several ingredients. French bread and crispy crackers also go well with ham balls, as do dried fruits and nuts. Get the bar stocked and have yourself a real party.

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