Ohmic cooking of meatballs was conducted in a continuous type ohmic cooker using different voltage gradients (15,20 and 25 V/cm) and holding times (0, 15 and 30 s). The color and textural properties and log reductions in total microbial count of the meatballs were assessed. The effects of process variables on these responses were evaluated by linear and quadratic mathematical models. Desirability function was used to determine the optimum ohmic pre-cooking condition by considering the criteria of minimizing hardness ratio, and maximizing chewiness ratio, resilience ratio, log reduction in microbial load, outside chroma ratio, inside chroma ratio and in range of springiness, gumminess and inside L ratios. The optimum ohmic pre-cooking condition was found to be a 15.26 v/cm voltage gradient with no holding time. It is concluded that application of the optimum condition in the related ohmic system offers potential for the production of high quality and safe semi-cooked meat products. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.