Hobo Meatball Stew Recipe
Hobo Meatball Stew Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Hobo Meatball Stew Recipe

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Basic ingredients make this hearty stew a favorite at the home of Margery Bryan in Royal City, Washington. "I usually have everything on hand for this recipe, so it's simple to load up the slow cooker at noon. When I get home, dinner's ready and waiting."
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Cook: 6 hours
MAKES:4 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Cook: 6 hours
MAKES: 4 servings


  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt or salt-free seasoning blend, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Nutritional Facts

1 cup: 402 calories, 14g fat (6g saturated fat), 75mg cholesterol, 1324mg sodium, 43g carbohydrate (11g sugars, 5g fiber), 26g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 starch, 3 lean meat, 1 vegetable.


  1. In a bowl, combine the beef, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Shape into 1-in. balls. In a skillet over medium heat, brown meatballs on all sides; drain.
  2. Place the potatoes, carrots and onion in a 3-qt. slow cooker; top with meatballs. Combine the water, ketchup, vinegar, basil, and remaining salt and pepper; pour over meatballs.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the vegetables are tender. Yield: 4 servings.
Originally published as Hobo Meatball Stew in Quick Cooking September/October 1999, p34

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hkpepin User ID: 3030797 250336
Reviewed Jul. 11, 2016

"Used premade meatballs and 8 oz of tomato sauce rather than ketchup but otherwise followed the recipe. It was good and both my kids ate decent portions qithout complaint. It also came together very quickly so for those reasons alone, it's a keeper. But I would make some changes - maybe add some garlic, a little paprika, and some other spices. Overall, a good recipe."

LPHJKitchen User ID: 7521213 241263
Reviewed Jan. 7, 2016

"The sauce in this is GREAT! If you think it will taste like a beef stew sauce, it won't. The ketchup gives this a slightly sweeter sauce base but it goes great with the meatballs and vegetables. Using frozen or pre-made meatballs make this a quick recipe. The second time we made this, I used a different mix of vegetables - I used broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, okra and zucchini. I still used the same sauce and meat mixture - still great!"

Colorado Grilling User ID: 5927177 26658
Reviewed Oct. 27, 2013

"I liked this, but the ketchup made it very sweet. Per other reviews, I also doubled the sauce but next time will probably use an 8oz can of tomato sauce instead."

Lillian03 User ID: 6149153 71986
Reviewed Nov. 24, 2012

"We really liked this; however, it didn't have much liquid after cooking. I would try doubling the ketchup, water, vinegar and basil next time."

Mdrubel User ID: 2912334 71985
Reviewed Feb. 11, 2011

"I have made this stew several times so far. Very good, yet so easy to make."

geordimom User ID: 1657568 50267
Reviewed Dec. 16, 2010

"potatoes need to cook longer"

travelaz User ID: 5392682 26657
Reviewed Oct. 25, 2010

"I thought the ketchup and vinegar was a bit overpowering with too much tomato flavor. I just couldn't taste any of the flavors from the ground meat and vegetables. I modified the recipe to use beef broth, consume tomato sauce and brown gravy mix instead of the the vinegar and ketchup. What a difference:)"

Lee Eddings User ID: 5090984 88415
Reviewed Aug. 7, 2010

"I have made this stew MANY times.My family really likes it.The only thing I change is to double the sauce."

walker5678 User ID: 5294034 21028
Reviewed Jul. 29, 2010

"it was very good !!!"

mpatterson User ID: 1506301 71237
Reviewed Mar. 13, 2010

"I use frozen meatballs with just as good of results and a lot easier!"

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