First-Time Ham Balls

I can’t believe I’ve lived in Iowa for more than four decades without trying or making ham balls. Most of my friends rave about them… and It seems like many have their own favorite recipe passed down from family. “I have my Grandma’s recipe,” is a comment I hear often.

Every Thursday night on Facebook I host a “Food Fight”. It’s a chance for people to share their favorite food pics and recipes from the previous week. Ham balls make a regular appearance so I added them to the list of foods I wanted to make in my kitchen. Then, when Fareway had their ham loaf on sale I knew I had to do it.

Without a family-favorite recipe of my own to use, I set out to create one my family would love and settled on this one. It didn’t disappoint. Geat flavor and really easy to make.

Ham balls are a favorite Iowa comfort food.

First-Time Ham Balls

If you've never had ham balls before this is a great recipe to start with.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 20 Ham Balls


  • 1.5 lbs Ham Loaf (A mixture of ground pork, ham, and bacon.)
  • 1/2 Small Onion Finely diced
  • 1/2 cup Crushed Graham Crakers About 4 whole ones
  • 1/2 Cup Crushed Ritz Crackers About 12
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tbsp Worchestershire Sauce
  • BBQ Sauce


  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Spray the bottom and sides of a 9×13 cake pan with cooking spray.
  • Place ham loaf, cracker crumbs, milk, egg, and Worchestershire sauce in a large bowl and mix together with your hands. (Don't over mix.)
  • Shape meat mixture into 2" balls and place in the 9×13 cake pan. (I used a small ice cream scoop to get a uniorm amount in each ham ball).
  • Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and brush with your favorite BBQ sauce.
  • Return to the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the internal temperature of the ham balls reaches 165°.


When I made this for the first time I left the BBQ sauce off a few of them just to see if it made a difference. It really did! Next time I’ll sauce them all.
Next time, I’ll also take a suggestion from my daughters. They thought it would be good to finish them in the air fryer… to add a little crust and texture to the outside of each ham ball.
This is a basic recipe that you can start with and then make it your own. Don’t like onions? Leave them out. Want it a little sweeter? Use only graham cracker crumbs. Wanna spice it up a little? Add your favorites.
Ham balls are comfort food at it’s finest and goes great with other comfort foods… like cheesy or twice-baked potatoes.
This recipe makes 20 ham balls.
Keyword Comfort Food, Ham, Ham Balls, Pork