Ham Balls with Brown Sugar Glaze

Ham Balls are great way to use leftover ham! Easy Easter appetizers made with ham, ground pork, and a sweet, tangy glaze of brown sugar and mustard.

Both Classic Meatballs and Cocktail Meatballs are Appetizer Recipes that can easily go from party snack to main dish with the simplest Side Dish Recipes. You’re going to love this bite-sized Iowa favorite that can be eaten all day long.

Ham Balls with Brown Sugar Glaze meatballs on serving dish


A Brown Sugar Glazed Ham is about as common a tradition for Easter dinner as Easter egg hunts are tradition to work up an appetite. Somehow, probably due to Easter baskets mysteriously shrinking all day, that appetite never quite finishes off the ham, no matter how modest the size.

There are only so many ways to dress up a ham sandwich, so leftover ham burnout can happen pretty fast. Sure you can freeze leftovers, but everyone can agree that fresh ham is so much better. Luckily the great minds in Iowa have been deliciously solving the leftover ham question for a long time.

These delicious (and genius) Iowa Ham Balls are so easy and tasty, it’s surprising that they aren’t popular everywhere. Like Loose Meat Sandwiches, these Ham Balls are a well-loved but not very well known favorite from the Midwest. Some of the most traveled foodies probably haven’t even heard of these savory ham meatballs.

Ham Balls with Brown Sugar Glaze Collage

You don’t have to wait until the holidays to make Ham Balls. If you don’t have leftover ham, use packaged cubed deli cooked ham or ham steaks instead. Sliced deli ham, unless sliced really thick, won’t turn into ground ham in a food processor and that consistency is key for meatballs.

Ham Balls are perfect for snacks or appetizers if you have family visiting for Easter. You can whip a batch from your leftover ham in about an hour, and they are so easy you can put the older cousins in charge of them. For a party appetizer that lasts a bit longer, try making them in the crockpot.

Serve these Ham Balls with Brown Sugar Glaze over White Rice with a side of Green Beans for a traditional Midwestern dinner, making a little extra glaze to use as gravy. Use a toothpick to stick a small slice of you favorite cheese on top of each Ham Ball for a yummy potluck appetizer.

Slow Cooker Ham Balls

Assemble Ham Balls according to recipe directions and brown meatballs in a skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, add glaze ingredients to crockpot. You may want to add a can of tomato soup or ½ cup of pineapple juice to make more of a sauce. Add meatballs to slow cooker, stir and cover. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Crockpot Ham Balls can be kept on low for up to 4 hours.


Ham Balls with Brown Sugar Glaze meatballs on baking sheet cooked



Can this recipe be made into a loaf?

Bake ham ball mixture in a greased loaf pan for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Brush with brown sugar glaze and cook for an additional 40 minutes.

Can I substitute the cornflakes?

You can use graham crackers, shredded wheat crackers (or cereal), or bread crumbs to help bind your Ham Balls.

What other meats can be used for these Ham Balls?

Add diced bacon for more pork flavor in your Ham Balls. Another traditional Iowa recipe is to substitute ½ pound ground beef for ground pork.

Can I make these into Swedish Meatballs?

Substitute these Ham Balls in this Swedish Meatballs recipe for a delicious twist on the Ikea copycat.

How do I know when Ham Balls are cooked?

Ham Balls should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F to ensure both the cooked ham and the ground pork are safe to eat. To check cooked ham and ground pork safe cooking temperatures, visit the U.S. Food Safety Website.

Ham Balls with Brown Sugar Glaze meatballs on serving dish

More Ham Ball Glaze Ideas

Start with the Brown Sugar Glaze of brown sugar, cider vinegar, and dry mustard and add the ingredients listed to make a different glaze for Ham Balls.

  • Pineapple Glaze: Add 1 cup pineapple juice, 1 tablespoon ketchup, 1 teaspoon corn starch (mixed with 2 tablespoons water) to your glaze mixture.
  • Tomato Soup Glaze: Simply add 1-2 cans of tomato soup to your glaze for the original Iowa Ham Balls glaze.
  • Spicy Glaze: Give your glaze a kick by adding Thai chili paste or cayenne pepper to taste.
  • Amish Glaze: For Amish Ham Balls, add ¾ cup apple juice, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves.
  • Barbecue Glaze: Mix in ½ cup of your favorite BBQ sauce to the glaze. Any original or hickory flavored BBQ sauce would taste delicious.



  • Serve: Ham Balls can be kept for up to 2 hours at room temperature. Serve in a crockpot on low for up to 4 hours. 
  • Store: Allow Ham Balls to cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
  • Freeze: These meatballs will stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months. Arrange in a single layer on baking pan and freeze for an hour before placing in a freezer safe bag. 
Ham Balls with Brown Sugar Glaze meatballs on serving dish with fork

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Ham Balls with Brown Sugar Glaze

Ham Balls are great way to use leftover ham! Easy Easter appetizers made with ground ham, pork, and a sweet, tangy brown sugar mustard glaze.
Yield 20
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


For Ham Balls:

  • 1 pound fully cooked ham , cubed
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup crushed cornflakes
  • 1 large egg , lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For Glaze:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking pans.
  • Pulse ham in batches in a food processor until finely ground.
  • Combine with the next seven ingredients just until mixed.
  • Shape into 1 inch balls and place in a single layer on prepared baking pans.
  • For glaze, cook and stir all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
  • Brush half of the glaze on ham balls.
  • Bake until ham balls are just beginning to brown, 30-35 minutes, rotating pans and stirring halfway through.
  • Gently toss in remaining glaze. Serve warm.


Calories: 224kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 439mg | Potassium: 195mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 243IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 4mg
Keyword: Ham Balls
Ham Balls with Brown Sugar Glaze Collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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