Lefse
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How To Make Norwegian Lefse From Scratch

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My heritage is Norwegian and I’ve been wanting to show you how to make Lefse for years. This is a beloved treat, snack, or whatever you want to call it from Norway. My great-grandmother used to make this for me and my mother did too. I’m updating this post from 2019, I love Lefse.

I confess, I can’t ever match their Norwegian Lefse, but it’s very close, if I say so myself. There’s something spectacular when you have your hands in dough, I don’t care what kind. You know when you’ve kneaded the dough you will have made a meal for you and your family.

It’s a skill we all need and that’s why I had a video made just for you. This has been my dream since I started my blog 11 years ago. If you’re like me, you need pictures and sometimes a video to learn a new skill. I’m a visual learner and this is a GREAT cooking skill to learn. Lefse Video

How To Make Norwegian Lefse From Scratch

All About Norwegian Lefse

You may be looking at this Lefse and wondering where it came from. Since I grew up on it, I’m very familiar with it. However, Lefse isn’t something you always run into.

In basic terms, Norwegian Lefse is a traditional flatbread that is also very soft. This potato mixture is amazing in so many ways.

Where Did Norwegian Lefse Originate?

Norway. I always enjoy learning more about other cultures, this is why I enjoy making Lefse. It’s important to note that there are several versions of Lefse. Depending on the region, you may find yourself creating different variations.

Western Norway creates a Lefse called a Nordlandslefse. This is a chunky small Lefse that many people enjoy.

What Are the Best Potatoes To Use?

Russet potatoes, hands down. I’m lucky to live in Utah because I can buy those nice firm russets from Idaho. They boil up nice and stay firm. DO NOT OVERCOOK the potatoes.

Boil the potatoes until they are fork-tender. If the potatoes fall apart you need to boil another batch or the dough will have problems.

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Why Is My Dough Sticky?

More than likely it’s from the potatoes being overcooked. I know you may be tempted to use them anyway. Please don’t, the Lefse dough will be a sticky mess.

Just add butter and serve them for dinner. Boil another batch of potatoes to be used to make the Lefse, you’ll be glad you did, I promise.

What Is Lefse?

It’s actually a traditional soft Norwegian flatbread. Does it look like bread? No, it doesn’t. In my family, it’s made with leftover mashed potatoes, shortening, sugar, salt, and flour.

It’s so easy to make and it makes a great treat or sandwich. Just fill them with your favorite filling. We serve ours at room temperature.

How To Make Lefse From Scratch

Step One: Cook and Mash The Potatoes

After they’re cooked, place the mashed hot potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Make sure your potatoes don’t have brown spots.

Lefse

Step Two: Mix Ingredients

Mix in the shortening, salt, sugar, and cups of flour with the potatoes in the large bowl, until thoroughly mixed.

Step Three: Knead The Dough

Knead until you have a good dough like below. Based on the feel, you will know when your dough is good enough.

Step Four: Cut the Dough

Cut the dough with a dough scraper into walnut or small golf ball-size pieces. Roll into balls and then roll those balls flat to about 1/8-inch thick with a rolling pin on a pastry board, cutting board, or floured countertop.

Step Five: Heat Griddle

Heat a griddle-type frying pan to (400°F) = (204°C) degrees and cook each side until they bubble and are light brown. Do not scorch, watch constantly. They actually make a Lefse griddle or skillet, but a frying pan works fine.

Step Six

After cooking each one, place each one between a damp hand towel or pastry cloth, so they don’t dry out.

Step Seven

They should be soft and pliable as below. Transfer your Lefse onto a plate.

Step Eight

Spread with butter and sprinkle with white sugar or brown sugar, then enjoy. I love mine with butter and sugar. You can also use cinnamon sugar. Our kids used to love theirs spread with jam or jelly. Dress yours out with whatever taste you’re looking for.

Step Nine

When cool, place flat Lefse in ziplock bags with the towels. To store them place the bags in the refrigerator (5 days) or the freezer (six months).

What Goes With Lefse

  • Butter
  • Butter and honey
  • Honey or jam
  • Butter and white sugar
  • Butter and brown sugar (my favorite)
  • Cream cheese, leftover chicken, and sliced tomatoes
  • Wrap for EGG SALAD
  • Wrap for ham salad and pickles
  • Spread with hot mustard and wrap around a Bratwurst or hot dog
  • Add scrambled eggs with bacon bits and roll up the Lefse
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What Do I Need To Roll Out The Lefse?

There are special Lefse Rolling Pins, but a regular rolling pin is what I use. Yes, just the one you have in your home right now. I use a floured countertop, that’s it.

What Kind Of Griddle Do I Need?

I have used a frying pan or a Cast Iron Pan. They both work great. It’s also great to have both on hand, then you can use what works best for your cooking style.

What Is A Lefse Stick?

You may have seen these online. They are a thin crafted piece of wood about 7/8″ by 24″ in length called a Scandinavian turning stick or Lefse turning stick. Some people use them to slide the thin wooden stick under the Lefse to turn it over or to slide the Lefse onto the grill from the cutting board.

Why Is My Lefse Crispy?

One thing you may want to watch is to roll out the dough evenly at least 1/8 inch thick. If the edges are thinner they will be crispy and slightly burned. The Lefse may even crumble if they are overcooked. No worries, roll them out a bit thicker next time and turn them before they overcook.

Why Is My Lefse Rubbery?

It’s probably from the dough being overworked. By this I mean you may have over-kneaded it.

You can break down the gluten and the Lefse becomes tough.

Do I Need To Use A Potato Ricer?

No, you do not have to use one. I do because it does get rid of the potato lumps and makes the potatoes super fluffy. If your mixer does that, you are good to go. Lumps will make holes in your Lefse, and that’s not fun.

Can I Store My Lefse On The Counter?

Please keep in mind that our Lefse does not have preservatives, so it must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer in air-tight bags with towels between each Lefse piece.

My Potato Lefse Recipe

5 from 3 votes
Lefse
Lefse Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 people
Author: Linda Loosli
Ingredients
  • 4 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
Instructions
  1. Mix the mashed potatoes, shortening, sugar, salt, and flour. Knead until you have a good dough.

  2. Cut into sections, roll out thin, and cook on a greased (if needed) griddle until light brown, turning frequently to avoid scorching.

  3. After cooking each one, place them between a hand towel, to keep them from drying out.

  4. When cool, place in ziplock bags with the towels.

  5. To store them place the bags in the refrigerator (5 days) or freezer (six months).

  6. Serve with butter and sugar. Brown sugar is my favorite!

Final Word

I hope you try making my Norwegian Lefse recipe. It’s one of my favorite snacks, desserts, or breakfast items. Here’s the deal, I feel very strongly that we must learn how to make bread, biscuits, crackers, tortillas, Lefse, and pasta from scratch. We can all see how this country is going and it’s not good. We have to learn to be more self-sufficient, and that can start in the kitchen.

Please be prepared for the unexpected, bad times are coming, we all know it. May God bless this world, Linda

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24 Comments

  1. My mom was Finnish and she used to tell me her grandma (from Finland) used to make pancakes for them and they would sprinkle sugar and butter on them. I’m thinking this might be what she is remembering! Can’t wait to try these!

    1. Hi Jen, oh I love hearing this! I got so emotional when I finally saw the finished pictures and the video of my Lefse recipe. I have wanted to show my readers this recipe for so many years. Life is so good, have fun making them!! Linda

  2. Linda,
    Here in Texas, there ain’t no way mashed potatoes are gonna last long enough to make those. Especially if there is a bowl of gravy standing around. LOL!!! Besides, the kinda look like tortillas that we make here in Texas. Keep up the good work.

    1. Oh, Harry!!! I love hearing this! You know my sister lives in Austin, and I told her once I would make gravy for Thanksgiving because my family loves it over mashed potatoes. She said her family never makes gravy!! I was totally in shock! LOL! I make a LOT of gravy for my mashed potatoes and dressing!! Great comment!! Linda

        1. Hi Elaine, thank you for the 5 stars, my sweet friend. It’s in a box in the post (sometimes ads pop up BUT then you will see the video). It’s right below this paragraph: It’s a skill we all need and that’s why I had a video made just for you. This has been my dream since I started my blog 11 years ago. If you’re like me, you need pictures and sometimes a video to learn a new skill. I’m a visual learner and this is a GREAT cooking skill to learn.
          I have it in Pinterest as well. I will look for the link. Linda

  3. I use my great grandmother’s recipe and make it several times a year. The only difference is we use real butter instead of shortening and no sugar. I have two different lefse rolling pins, one with lines and one that is crosshatched. I also use a lefse griddle for consistency, but I have made over an open fire before. I learned a valuable lesson one year at Christmas at my Grandmother’s house in Iowa. My uncle accidentally grabbed self-rising flour and we were cooking lefse for 14 hours because the more we fried, the more the batter grew!

    1. Hi Connie, oh my gosh, the self-rising flour!! I use bread flour and it never “grows”. LOL! A good tip for those who use it. I would love a rolling pin or pins as you mentioned. I will try butter next time, I always have butter. Thank you!!! Linda

  4. I like recipes that provide for use of whatever we might have on hand. It gives us versatility and the ability to make use of what we have on hand. Another reason for saving all the various bread recipes (Bagels, rolls, pizza dough, etc) you posted.

    While I don’t think it really classifies as bread, but rather as cake, I absolutely love banana bread. I have only made it from a mix, but tried combinations of cherries, apple sauce, nuts, and chunks of banana. We also like cornbread in my house.

    And in a crisis, when we’re stressed and burning energy, the carbohydrates would be beneficial.

    1. Hi Frank, I totally agree with you on making recipes with things we have on hand. I love banana bread, I make it at least once a month. I better share that recipe. I will work on that. I had a video made with my tortilla recipe, getting it ready to post. My heart tells me to teach the world how to make things with “whatever we might have on hand” as you mentioned. After the first of the year, I will make a video on how to make crackers. We need to know how to make things to fill the belly so to speak. I know you’re right on having carbs to burn stress and energy. This is why I do what I do. We can do this, my friend, Linda

  5. I live in Texas and part of my husband’s family is Norwegian. We don’t make the potato variety of lefse. Ours has flour, milk, and lard. It’s stored dry until you need it. We soak it and let it soften before we put the butter and sugar on. I have been storing our current batch in layers of wax paper in a cardboard box. Today we had some with our Thanksgiving meal. I thought they tasted like wax. How should I store them?

    1. Hi Karen, it sounds like your Lefse is picking up the wax paper flavor, maybe? I use small tea towels between each Lefse and then place the Lefse with all the towels inside a large baggie. Whatever we do not eat the first day goes in the frig or freezer. I hope this helps, Linda

  6. I’m Norwegian and traditionally my family makes lefsa every Christmas. It is filled with cod fish, potato, peas and topped with melted butter. (they use ladafisk in Norway but its too fishy so most people use Cod instead)
    Fill in the middle and roll up like a burrito.
    We also do as mentioned here with butter and sugar but usually it’s made as a main meal on Christmas.

    1. Hi Susan, oh I love hearing you are Norwegian! I grew up eating lefse/lefsa, but my husband didn’t care for it and I got out of the habit of making it when my mom died. Oh, I remember the fish, yeah it was too fishy for me too. Life is so good when we have some lefsa/lefse! Linda

  7. 5 stars
    These were so good! Thanks for sharing! I love making recipes with things I have on hand. They were a hit with the whole family!

  8. I also have a Norwegian grandfather but my grandparents died before I was born so I only have a few recipes from them. Our favorite at Christmas is an English steamed carrot pudding made with carrots, potatoes, molasses, dried fruits and served with rum sauce! I am excited to try a Norwegian recipe. Thank you!

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