In this study whey powder (WP) at levels of 0%, 2% and 4% was added to beef meatballs formulated with 5%, 10% and 20% fat levels. Raw and cooked meatballs were analyzed for protein, fat, moisture, ash and pH. Meatballs were evaluated for cooking characteristics, juiciness, colour parameters (L*, a*, b*) and sensory properties. Addition of WP did not affect fat and protein contents of meatballs. Addition of 2% or 4% WP significantly increased cooking yield regardless of the fat level. Both fat level and WP level significantly affected fat retention values of meatballs. Incorporating WP had no effect on meatball juiciness. Addition of WP increased fat and moisture retention of meatballs. Twenty percent fat resulted in higher L* and lower a* values. Adding WP resulted in higher L* values but WP had no effect on a* and b* values. WP had no detrimental effect on sensory properties. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.