Pineapple Glazed Ham Balls

Ham balls! Made from ham, bacon and ground pork, glazed with pineapple juice, brown sugar, cider vinegar, ketchup and dry mustard.

Pineapple Glazed Ham Balls
Elise Bauer

Where to begin with these?

Hank and I got an inkling to do a more "retro" recipe, and somehow we ended up with ham balls. Pineapple glazed ham balls.

Let's just say the jokes were flying today, Hank being who he is, never ceasing to look for opportunities to make me blush.

What are ham balls?

Meatballs, made with ham, ground pork, and in our version, bacon. Slathered with a sweet and sour glaze of pineapple juice, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, and vinegar.

(We were thinking about calling them "Hawaiian meatballs", because they're sort of like a meatball version of that classic Hawaiian pizza with pineapple and ham. But what if people in Hawaii don't make meatballs like this? So, back to where we started.)

Pineapple Glazed Ham Balls
Elise Bauer

Before you go running for them thar hills, let me tell you that these ham meatballs are good. Really good.

Perfect for a holiday gathering, or if it's football season, a great appetizer for a big group of cheering football fans.

There's a reason pineapple and ham is a classic combination; it just works.

By the way, we had a little leftover meatball mix and made some patties, sort of like a ham version of a pork burger. Terrific with the glaze. They would make great ham sliders with a little slice of pineapple on a bun.

Pineapple Glazed Ham Balls
Elise Bauer

Pineapple Glazed Ham Balls

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 20 to 60 meatballs


For the meatballs:

  • 1/4 pound bacon, diced

  • 1 pound ham, diced

  • 1 pound ground pork

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup pineapple juice

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon ketchup

  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, optional

  • 1 teaspoon corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water

Special Equipment

  • Food processor


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Process bacon and ham:

    Put the bacon and ham into a food processor and pulse briefly 3 to 4 times to chop fine. Do not purée.

    Elise Bauer
  3. Make ham ball mixture:

    Place the mixture in a large bowl with the remaining meatball ingredients and mix well to combine.

    Elise Bauer
  4. Form ham balls:

    Using your hands, form meatballs anywhere from 1-inch to 2-inches in diameter. The smaller diameter meatballs will make for easier eating if you are making them for an appetizer for a party. Larger meatballs will work well for a main course.

  5. Bake:

    Arrange the ham balls in a casserole pan and bake in the 350°F oven for about 1 hour for 2-inch diameter meatballs, or 30 to 40 minutes for 1-inch diameter meatballs.

    These meatballs are pretty forgiving, but look for an internal temperature of about 165°F or so.

  6. Make the glaze:

    Make the glaze when you put the meatballs in the oven. Mix all the ingredients except the corn starch in a small pot and bring to a boil. Whisk in the corn starch and simmer 1 to 2 minutes.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  7. Baste:

    Baste the ham balls once they have cooked for 20 minutes, then again at 40 minutes for larger meatballs or at 10 minutes and 20 minutes if you are making small meatballs, and then again at 5 minutes before they're done.

    Serve by themselves as a party appetizer, or on pineapple rings.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
63 Calories
3g Fat
4g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20 to 60
Amount per serving
Calories 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 20mg 7%
Sodium 165mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 9mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 81mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.