Preparation of Kollyva


Kollyva is the boiled wheat brought to church for Memorial Services.

We would like everyone to learn to make their own Kollyva and bring to church for the commemoration of their loved ones. There are several traditions as to how the Kollyva is prepared. Here is one of the simpler ones:

Fr. Panayiotis’ Kollyva Recipe: “If I can do it, you can do it, too.”


Essential (Primary) Ingredients:
2 pounds of hulled wheat (We are making this available at the Parish Bookstore)
2 cups of chopped walnuts
1-2 cups of chopped blanched almonds
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Optional Ingredients:
1 cup of crushed toasted sesame seeds (optional)
The seeds from 1 pomegranate (optional)
1/3 cup of raisins (optional)
2 teaspoons of finely chopped parsley (optional)

Secondary Ingredients:
1/2 pound of confectioner’s sugar
20-30 Jordan almonds (koufeta) or whole almonds

On the eve of the day you want to use the Kollyva, wash the wheat well in a colander and remove anything foreign from it. Boil in plenty of water for 10-15 minutes and drain to remove the first “darker” water. Transfer to a large pot and add fresh water, covering the wheat plus 3 inches. Boil until the wheat kernels open (this takes over an hour in a pressure cooker; in a regular pot, boil for at least 3 hours). Make sure you add water to keep the wheat covered while it is boiling.

After boiling for 3 hours (at least), drain the water using a colander. Let the wheat drain for a while by placing the colander over a pan to collect the water. Spread the boiled wheat over a dry clean towel on a flat surface and let it drain overnight.

On the morning of the memorial service, mix the boiled wheat with the remaining Essential (Primary) Ingredients as listed above. You may also add any or all of the Optional Ingredients and mix them with the boiled wheat.

Spread the mixed Kollyva on a tray and flatten it out. Sprinkle the powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar) over it. Use wax paper or aluminum foil to flatten out the sugar and make the surface smooth. Use whole almonds, Jordan almonds or raisins to line the circumference of the tray and also write the initials of the person who is commemorated on top of the smoothed-out sugar surface. (You may use your artistic skills to make the tray a “work of art”, but that is not a requirement for the simpler version).

Your Kollyva is ready for church! After the memorial service, pour it out into a bigger bowl and mix it to get the sugar through the whole before you serve.

Read more on the meaning of Kollyva by clicking here.