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Iowa Ham Balls

This is a special recipe my whole family likes. Every time they visit and I make Ham Balls, they're all smiles. When I take this to potluck meals, I'm always asked to share the recipe. It's very appropriate for my region, too, since Iowa farmers raise prize-winning pigs and cattle.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour
  • Makes
    about 15 servings


  • 3-1/2 pounds ground ham
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) tomato soup, undiluted
  • 3/4 cup vinegar
  • 2-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard


  • In a large bowl, combine first five ingredients. Using a 1/3 cup measure, shape mixture into 2-in. balls. Place in two large shallow roasting pans. Combine all remaining ingredients; pour over balls. Bake at 325° for 1 hour, basting frequently with sauce.

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  • Diana
    Feb 5, 2019

    I have made this specific recipe for over 20 years. No reason to look for a better one. I observe them fresh and also froze them before cooking. They are very forgiving!

  • Amanda
    May 15, 2018

    These are delicious! I made them for a Christmas get together and everyone loved them. They were gone right away and I even tripled the batch, we have big get togethers and big eaters. I accidentally bought cinnamon graham crackers but threat didn't effect the flavor. Must try these. They are a little sweet but delicious!

  • 2124arizona
    May 7, 2017

    I love these ham balls. They remind me of my cousin's ham loaf! Yum

  • cathycraig
    Oct 5, 2015 the calories really over 600 calories for one two inch ball? Thanks

  • rushing31
    Nov 22, 2014

    Well first off we live in Georgia so not sure if we are drawn to the same spice as this was WAY to sweet for our liking. We went with the ground turkey and a slice and serve ham that I ground myself. Also the texture was a lot looser than I expected. It just didn't have that snap that a good meatball has. I would give this a 2 1/2 star meaning it was ok. It was edible but not enjoyable for us.

  • cre8ivecook
    Dec 24, 2013

    Well living in Phoenix now for two decades nothing helps cure homesick at holidays like back in Iowa Ham balls (grandma famous stuff yourself family favorite) all I can say is in IOWA we DONT USE BEEF but correctly ground pork (shoulder) but I do like this version with more egg than grandma's. Also if you want balls a bit less sweet is to substitue one cup Ritz crackers for one cup graham crackers. Crisler/favorite side to use the extra gravy on top of cream cheese loaded mashed potatoes..YUM!

  • Reneegade1
    Apr 15, 2013

    Wow this was a hit at my Easter family gathering. The hard part of the recipe is expecting the butcher to grind up a ham, well I learned they don't. So I used my Kitchenaid attachment to grind meat and it worked perfectly. I cooked the meatballs in the oven in glasspans ahead of time. The day of the party I transferred them to a slow cooker and made more sauce to add to the slow cooker. I did change the recipe and did not use as much sugar. I think I used 1.5 cups instead of the 2.5 cups. I also substituted the ground beef with ground turkey instead.

  • Snowbaby_4
    Feb 8, 2013

    Reminds me of when I ws a child!

  • auzzy0505
    Oct 3, 2012

    Super easy and great for a crowd. I buy ground ham in the tube, but you can buy a boneless ham and have your butcher grind it if you have the time.A friend of mine from church brought this over to our home when my husband had transplant surgery. It was new to all of us and I have to admit, we all gave it an eyebrow raise...and then we tasted them. This recipe will leave you licking your plate clean and don't be suprised if you find yourself having a serious craving for ham balls. WONDERFUL!!

  • ellieroene
    Jun 26, 2012

    I only made 1/2 of the sauce because I only had 1 can of tomato soup and it was still fine, in fact my husband liked them not so saucey.