Kollyva (Greek Memorial Boiled Wheat) Recipe

Steve Outram / Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 5 hrs
Total: 5 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 24 to 32 servings
Yield: 24 to 32 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
300 Calories
8g Fat
54g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24 to 32
Amount per serving
Calories 300
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 790mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 54g 20%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 25g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 2mg 11%
Calcium 88mg 7%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 361mg 8%
*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 Greek: κόλλυβα, pronounced KOH-lee-vah

Kollyva is a traditional dish served at funerals and memorial services. It is generally served from a large tray, spooned out into cups or on small plates. There are many versions, but all start with whole wheat kernels. It is generally made in large quantities so all who attend can receive a small amount.


  • 2 pounds wheat, hulled

  • 7/8 cup walnuts, ground

  • 7/8 cup almonds, ground, blanched

  • 1 1/3 cups sesame seeds, crushed, toasted

  • 2 1/4 cups of chickpeas, ground or chickpea meal or flour

  • 1 pomegranate (seeds)

  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar

  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons of raisins

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cloves, ground

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons sea salt

  • 5 to 6 lemon leaves

  • Jordan almonds, koufeta, decoration, optional

  • Silver dragees, decoration, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Wash the wheat well.

  2. Boil in plenty of water for 5 to 10 minutes and drain.

  3. Transfer to a large pot and add fresh water, covering the wheat plus 3 inches.

  4. Boil until the wheat kernels open (in a pressure cooker, this takes about an hour; in a regular pot, at least 2 hours).

  5. When the wheat is done, stir in the salt, cook for another 2 minutes and remove from heat.

  6. Place the lemon leaves in the bottom of a colander and add the cooked wheat on top to drain.

  7. Spread the wheat and lemon leaves out on a clean white towel laid out on a marble or stone surface to dry (about 4 to 5 hours).

  8. Combine ground cinnamon and cloves to mix well.

  9. When the wheat is completely dry, add remaining ingredients and mix well.

  10. Place on doilies on a tray and decorate with Jordan almonds and silver dragees according to church custom.

Kollyva is served in heaping tablespoons in cups or on small plates to each person attending the funeral or memorial service.