Modern Instant Pot Kutia

Finished modern kutia with dried cherry garnish

This is a more modern version of kutia. My baba liked the addition of the dried fruit and nuts – it’s more extravagant than her Traditional Kutia recipe.  This is my “healthier” version. Slightly healthier.

What’s kutia and how do I say it?

Kutia or Kutya (pronounced coo-tcha) is one of the most important dishes in all of Ukrainian cuisine.  It’s a big hassle to make – but not with an Instant Pot.

This is boiled wheat.  Pretty basic but wheat is the centre of Ukrainian culture and farming.  When I was younger, I was told that the yellow half of the bottom of the Ukrainian flag symbolized the wheat fields and the blue band on the top symbolized the sky.  Now, that there’s Wikipedia, I’ve learned the flag pre-dates Christianity in the Ukraine but that story developed around 1845.  To sum up, wheat’s  important.

This recipe saves you from soaking the wheat overnight and over 2 hours of cooking time!

White wheat kernels arranged in one layer
As one of twelve meatless dishes served on Christmas Eve – or Sviata Vechera, it’s the first dish served.  It’s served on its own.  The dish is passed from the head of the household and everyone takes some.

It’s also an important dish that used to be served at meals in memory of deceased family members (from Cooking from Generation to Generation, Celebrating 100 years of Weleschuk Family Tradition, self published).  Now that it’s easier to make, you can make it all the time.  The whole wheat kernels (not for the gluten averse – check out an Instant Pot Gluten-Free Traditional Kutia made with oat groats) are literally the whole grain.  I actually enjoy it for breakfast.

Where to start

Most bulk stores will have wheat berries or wheat kernels.  It’s easy to roast the wheat at a low temperature in the oven.  When it’s roasting, just shake the pan a few times.

Instant Pot

Now, the Instant Pot takes over what would be a day of soaking and hours of cooking time.

Wheat berries after cooking, the kernels have opened

After an hour at high pressure, the kernels will “open.”

Cooked wheat draining in a fine mesh sieve

Drain the wheat but reserve the liquid.  It’s quite flavourful.  Heat up half a cup to use to scald the poppy seeds.  Some people like to drink the water the wheat cooked in.  Wheat tea, anyone?  If you’ve ever had Japanese mugicha (Japanese barley tea), it’s very similar.

Poppy and chia seeds in a BlendTec food grinder

I use a BlendTec Mini Twister jar to combine scalded poppy seeds with chia seeds, honey and maple syrup.

No, the chia seeds aren’t a traditional Ukrainian ingredient.  They do a lot of work to bring everything together and thicken the mixture a little.  They’re flavourless and the same colour as the poppy seeds so no one knows they’re there.

Combined poppy and chia seeds with honey and maple syrup after grinding

The Twister Jar grinds this sticky mess together into a paste.  It’s not entirely smooth but it’s well combined.  You could also use a small food processor or a coffee grinder.

Time saved!

How long does the traditional recipe take?  There’s still the manual labour stays the same but…

  • Soaking the wheat overnight now not necessary
  • Drying/toasting: 15 minutes in the oven still the same
  • Boiling: over 3 hours cooking the wheat on the stove now 75 minutes in the Instant Pot

* Instant Pot times are estimates but include pressurization, cooking and de-pressurization on the Instant Pot.

Finished modern kutia with dried cherry garnish

Modern Instant Pot Kutia

A more up-to-date version of kutia that uses some unconventional ingredients.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Ukrainian-Canadian
Servings 8 servings


  • 2 cups red or white wheat berries
  • 4 cups water
  • ½ cup poppy seeds
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • ½ cup honey creamed or liquid
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ½ cup dried cherries chopped
  • ½ cup chopped or slivered almonds toasted
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup raisins and whole dried cherries for garnish optional


  • Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Spread the dry wheat berries on a rimmed baking sheet making sure they're in one layer. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the sheet from the oven, shake to distribute the wheat berries. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the wheat berries to the Instant Pot with 4 cups of water. If there's any chaff, it'll float to the top - just remove it.
  • Set the Instant Pot to Manual and High pressure and 60 minutes
  • When the cooking is complete, do a quick release of the pressure. The wheat berries should have "opened" - add some more time if they're still intact.
  • Drain the wheat - reserving any cooking liquid.
  • Boil 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in the microwave and add the poppy seed to the hot water. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes.
  • In a small food processor or coffee grinder, add the scalded poppy seeds, chia seeds, honey and maple syrup. Grind until combined.
  • Stir together the wheat, poppy seed mixture, dried fruit, nuts and cinnamon.
  • Serve at room temperature

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8 thoughts on “Modern Instant Pot Kutia”

  1. I was introduced to kutia at a friend’s Ukrainian Christmas feast, but was always intimidated about making it. This IP version is delicious, thank you!

  2. Thanks for this modern twist – my family loved it – my mom’s recipe was always polarizing.
    I made this twice. The first time as a test run following the recipe exactly.
    The cherries brought a brightness and the toasted almonds were devine. I changed the consistency to be more soupy, like my family recipe.
    The first time the berries didn’t really open after 40 minutes of pressure and I didn’t enjoy the texture. I also thought the addition of cinnamon made it taste like porridge and not kutia.
    The second time I skipped the roasting and soaked the wheat overnight and the berries popped after 35 minutes pressure. I also omitted the chia.

    1. Hi Heather – I love that your family enjoyed the kutia! Thanks for the suggestions on variations. The chia was mostly meant to absorb the liquid so that’s not for you if you were looking for soupier kutia.

  3. so, if I soak the wheat overnight I don’t have to roast them? this is new to me , we are celebrating ukey Christmas this weekend so i’m hoping this works out!!

    1. Hi Kim – the quick oven roast/toast adds a bit more flavour to the wheat. With 60 minutes in the Instant Pot you don’t need to soak overnight at all. Веселого Різдва!

  4. You’re supposed to grind the seeds and sticky liquids together? Wouldn’t that be really messy in a coffee grinder?

    1. Hi Joy! Thanks for posting your question. In this recipe, I used a grinder attachment on my blender. It has a larger capacity than a coffee grinder so you can fit in the other ingredients. I also use a coffee grinder from time to time. I’ve found that adding some of the honey makes it easier – but not all of it fits since it’s a smaller capacity. When I’ve just ground the poppy without something else, it clumps and doesn’t grind well.

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