State Plate Recipe: Iowa’s Ham Balls

Look up any list of Iowans’ top ten favorite foods and one item makes the list every time—pork! Cristen Clark shares this recipe for INSP viewers to enjoy.

Iowa Ham Balls

by: Cristen Clark
Makes 18-24 ham balls


2 lbs. ham loaf

1 lb. ground beef or ground pork (I grew up raising beef cattle: hence the beef in the recipe)

2 cups crushed butter crackers (Some people prefer graham, but that’s too sweet for me.)

1/4 cup minced dehydrated onion

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups milk


1 1/2 cups ketchup

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/4 cup vinegar

1 tsp dry mustard powder

To make the ham balls

Preheat oven to 350 degrees:

Combine ham loaf, ground beef, crackers, onion, egg and milk.

Mix only until combined.

Shape into 1/4 c balls. (I have a 1/4 c cookie dough scoop I use to help me.)

Place in two greased 8×8 pans (10-12 each).

Bake for 45 minutes.


Meanwhile, combine ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, and mustard powder in a small saucepan.

Bring to a boil while stirring then remove from heat.

After 45 minutes, remove ham balls from oven, pour glaze over par-baked ham balls. Return to oven to set glaze for 15 minutes.

Remove and cool a few minutes, then serve warm.

*These are also fun to serve at tailgates, toss them in a crock pot, or make minis. Reduce baking time on the minis by 20%. Keep warm in crock pot.




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