These Crockpot Pineapple Ham Balls, a delicious take on a midwestern staple, are a new type of meatball that offers a sweet, tangy, and hearty option for both appetizer and dinner. Perfectly glazed and great for potlucks, these mouthwatering meatballs will quickly become a family favorite, pleasing all with their unique flavor profile.
Make Hawaiian meatballs when craving something sweet with a tangy sauce—the savory ham and ground pork taste incredible with pineapple chunks. The homemade sauce on top is probably the best part of all. It almost tastes like a homemade BBQ sauce but without the smoky notes.
This easy recipe can either be the main dish or make the meatballs smaller and serve them as an appetizer during football season. No matter when or how you serve them, these sweet pineapple meatballs are bursting with flavor. As they slow cook, the syrupy sweetness of the pineapple soaks into the meat and gives you an incredible taste.
Why You’ll Love Crockpot Pineapple Ham Balls
- Easy weeknight recipe. Slow cooking is the easiest way to make dinner for your family. Set the meatballs and sauce in the Crock Pot and let it cook all day.
- Simple ingredients – You need basic meatball ingredients to make a tangy pineapple glaze. It’s all things you probably already have.
- Great appetizer – Add a toothpick on top, and they become a perfect party snack.
- It is a great way to use leftover spiral-cut ham. Just chop it up into tiny pieces and add it to the meatballs.
- Incredible flavors. The sweet glaze is the best part of these tasty meatballs.
The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.
This delicious ham ball recipe is made with ingredients that are easy to find at your grocery store. You might just have everything that you need already in your refrigerator! Here’s a bit more information about the ingredients you’ll use.
- Ground Pork: This is the bulk of the meatballs. Use unflavored pork or spicy ground sausage. If you use sweet sausage, it might taste too sweet with the glaze on top.
- Ground Ham: This is the perfect way to use leftover meat from holiday hams.
- Eggs: These bind the ingredients together and help them stick.
- Crushed Pineapple: This adds sweetness to the meatballs. If you use pineapple slices or chunks, use a food processor to chop them into smaller pieces so they blend in with the meatballs.
- Graham Cracker Crumbs: These act like bread crumbs in the meatballs.
- Whole Milk: This gives the meatballs moisture. The full-fat milk gives it a deeper flavor than fat-free.
- Ketchup: This is for the glaze and adds sweet and tangy flavors.
- Ground Mustard: The mustard deepens the flavors with a strong, pungent aroma.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Any vinegar will work, but apple cider vinegar pairs well with ketchup.
- Brown Sugar: Either light brown sugar or dark will taste delicious in the glaze.
- Pineapple Juice: Save the juice from the can of crushed pineapple.
How to Make Crockpot Pineapple Ham Balls
- Step One: Spray a 6-quart crockpot with cooking spray.
- Step Two: In a large mixing bowl, mix ground pork, ground ham, eggs, crushed pineapple, graham cracker crumbs, and whole milk.
- Step Three: Use your hands to form large meatballs and place them in the crockpot. You should get 10-12 meatballs.
- Step Four: In a small bowl, combine ketchup, ground mustard, cider vinegar, brown sugar, and pineapple juice.
- Step Five: Spoon mixture evenly over meatballs.
- Step Six: Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
- Step Seven: Serve hot with rice, mashed potatoes, or buttered noodles. Enjoy!
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- Cooking Spray – The glaze and meatballs could stick to the slow cooker. So, either use a non-stick spray or a slow cooker liner.
- Slow Cooker – You’ll use at least a 6-quart slow cooker.
- Large Bowl – The bowl should be big enough to hold the meatball mixture.
- Small Bowl – The smaller bowl will mix all the glaze ingredients.
- Wooden Spoon – Mix the glaze ingredients with a wood spoon or rubber spatula.
What to Serve with Crockpot Pineapple Ham Balls
Whether you’re making them for a holiday dinner, gameday appetizer, or family meal, homemade meatballs are always a good choice.
Variations and Substitutions
- Replace graham crackers with buttered crackers – You can substitute ground butter crackers or frosted flakes for the graham cracker crumbs if needed.
- Make it spicier – Use spicy sausage instead of ground pork.
- Dairy-free – Instead of milk, use almond or coconut milk.
- BBQ Sauce – Instead of ketchup, use your favorite BBQ sauce or make homemade BBQ sauce.
- Asian flair – Make a homemade teriyaki sauce by combining soy sauce with pineapple sauce or drizzling hoisin sauce before serving it.
- Ground Beef Meatballs – use ground beef instead of ham and sausage.
Store leftover meatballs in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days.
Crockpot Pineapple Ham Balls Tips and Tricks
- Make the ground ham using store-bought, fully cooked boneless ham. Cut off any skin on it and cut the rest into chunks. Place chunks into a food processor and chop until the pieces are finely ground.
- You could also use leftover ham from the holidays to make ground ham; make sure to cut off the skin.
- Use a large ice cream scoop to form the meatballs. This will keep your hands cleaner and ensure all the meatballs are the same size.
- Use an instant-read food thermometer to make sure they are fully cooked. The internal temperature should be at least 165F.
- Use a slow cooker liner to make clean-up easier.
What Are Ham Balls?
Ham balls are basically large meatballs made with finely diced ham and ground pork. They are sweeter than traditional meatballs and have a Hawaiin flair with sweet flavor from the glaze.
If you want to make them gluten-free, use pork rind crumbs instead of graham cracker crumbs. You could also use your favorite gluten-free breadcrumbs.
Even though they wouldn’t technically be ham balls anymore, the glaze will still taste delicious on frozen meatballs.
This recipe makes about six servings.
Want more tasty meatball recipes? Here are some of my favorites:
- Meatball Stuffed Mushrooms
- Korean Meatballs
- Grape Jelly Meatballs
- Swedish Meatballs
- Waikiki Meatballs
You’ll also like Pineapple Casserole.
Crockpot Pineapple Ham Balls
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 lb ground ham
- 2 large eggs
- 1 can crushed pineapple (8oz can) drained, save 2 tablespoons of the juice
- 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 tbsp ground mustard
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp pineapple juice reserved from the can of crushed pineapple
- Spray a 6-quart crockpot with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together ground pork, ground. ham, eggs, crushed pineapple, graham cracker crumbs, and whole milk.
- Use your hands to form large meatballs and place them in the crockpot. You should get about 10 to 12 meatballs.
- In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, ground mustard, apple cider, brown sugar, and pineapple juice.
- Spoon mixture evenly over meatballs.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.
- Serve hot with rice, mashed potatoes or buttered noodles.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.