Greek Koliva Recipe



  • 3 lbs whole wheat or "sitari"
  • 1 lb. chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 lb raisins (golden or dark)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup sliced almonds


  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • Silver coated candies
  • Dark raisins


Day One

Place wheat in a large kettle and thoroughly wash, rinsing 2-3 times. After cleaning, cover wheat with clean water and boil steadily for 2 1/2 - 3 hours, or until wheat is tender.

Add water to wheat as necessary to keep wheat covered while boiling.

Drain wheat and rinse thoroughly with cool water. Place boiled wheat on a large, clean towel (bath towel) and remove as much moisture as possible by folding the towel over the wheat and applying pressure.

Place wheat wrapped in towel into a large bowl and leave overnight at room temperature. You may place a clean, dry kitchen towel over the wheat as well.

Day Two

Combine the remainder of the Koliva ingredients EXEPT THE SESAME SEEDS with the prepared wheat. Mix well.

Line a 15-17 diameter tray with paper doilies extending past the rim of the tray.

Place a piece of waxed paper on top of the doilies. Place koliva mix onto tray creating a mound. Compress well with the palm of your hand. (Kind of like packing sand into a bucket to make a castle).

Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top and press into mixture. Sift some of the powdered sugar over the mound. Cover with plastic wrap and evenly press down again. Evenly sift remaining powdered sugar over the mound to make a soft snowy appearance.

Decorate with silver candies by making a cross in the center and the initials of the deceased underneath or on either side.

For best results, do not put powdered sugar on koliva more that three hours ahead of the service. If the silver candies are not available, decorate with raisins. Some people like pomegranate in their koliva. This is up to you.