Rye is an important crop widely cultivated in Europe, but one of the hardest to improve due to its allogamy and self-incompatibility. The market for rye-based products is constantly growing thanks to the popularity of organic farming, feed production and diverse industry applications. To address these demands, new highly productive hybrid rye varieties are needed. Currently, full potential of heterosis in rye breeding is hard to reach due to the limited success in in vitro cultures. This review summarizes the progress in rye in vitro cultures and proposes novel approaches to overcome recalcitrance in this species.