Norwegian Lefse Recipe | How to make perfect lefsa every time (2024)

CulturerecipesThe Latest | November 21, 2020

I’m no grandma, and this isn’t my grandma’s Norwegian lefse recipe either.

I have rolled out hundreds of pounds of potatoes perfecting this lefse recipe over the last 20 years. One of my first jobs as a teenager involved rolling lefse at a Scandinavian bakery. I’ve made just about every mistake — ahem, learned every trick in the book, along the way. Follow this guide and you’ll have perfect Norwegian lefsa, too!

Watch the lefse tutorial video on Youtube

What you need to make Norwegian lefse

  1. It’s not Norwegian lefse without high fat dairy. You need full-fat heavy cream and butter because it aids in the elasticity when rolling to get perfectly thin, transparent sheets. I like grass-fed European butter for its sweeter flavor — plus, it typically has a higher fat content.
  2. A good rolling setup: Pastry rolling board with cover and a ridged rolling pin with a rolling pin cover — because, you can’t get paper thin lefse without these tools.
  3. Lefse stick. Trust me, you need this stick.
  4. Potato Ricer. The worst thing that can happen is lumps when rolling because they gunk up the pastry board and rolling pin and the lefse will rip. A potato ricer ensures an even mash. This inexpensive gadget will change your lefse game. Also, a potato ricer is the perfect quick fix when you want mashed potatoes for just 1-2 people!

Do I need a lefse griddle?

You might notice there’s no griddle on the essential list. Before I invested in one I used a pancake griddle on the stovetop and made small sheets of lefse. So, if you don’t want to invest in a griddle more specific to cooking lefse, be sure to roll your sheets the proper size to fit your setup. But, keep in mind that a griddle is great for more than just lefse! Try it for par-baking pizza crusts, flatbread, tortillas, pancakes and more.

Is it lefse or lefsa?

It’s lefse (don’t believe me – check Wikipedia). So why the use of lefsa in this article? To help people who use this popular mis-spelling to find my recipe. I made the hard decision between looking wrong, and being found!

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The best Norwegian lefse recipe

Quantity disclaimer!
The Norwegian lefse recipe below for 5 lbs of potatoes makes about 40 sheets of lefse and takes me about 2 hours to roll and cook.

Day 1: Potato Prep

  • 5 lbs potatoes (Russet work well due to their high starch, and low moisture content.)
  • 1 stick of butter

Because you need the potatoes to be really dry and cool for lefse, cook ’em up a day ahead of time.

Start a large pot on the stove and heat to boiling while you:

  1. Wash and peel 5lbs potatoes.
  2. Use a paring knife and be sure to remove any eyes or tough/dark spots from the potatoes that the peeler missed — tough spots won’t rice evenly and will make a sticky mess out of your whole operation when you get to cooking.
  3. Dice the potatoes for even cooking — plus, it makes them easier to rice.
  4. Boil until they are soft when tested with a fork.
  5. Drain the potatoes.
  6. Rice the potatoes while they are still hot.
  7. Mix 1 stick of melted butter into the hot, riced potatoes.
    Last, pat the warm, buttery riced potatoes into a 9×13 pan and let cool uncovered on the counter for an hour to steam off any extra moisture. Remember how I said dry potatoes are the best?
  8. Put the pan in the fridge overnight – I leave it uncovered.

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Day 2: roll and cook!

Because my mixer is not big enough to take on all 5lbs of potatoes at a time, I break it down into 4 cup increments — 5lbs of riced potatoes should net about 10 cups, lightly packed.

Per every 4 cups of lightly packed, riced potatoes as prepared on day 1, add:

1.5 C flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
½ C heavy cream

Plus, keep a generous amount of extra flour on hand. Don’t be stingy here! I load the pastry rolling board and rolling pin cover with about 1/3 cup of flour to start. Then, in-between rolling each sheet I add another sprinkle to the board and cover to keep them slick.

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Preparing to bake lefse

  1. Mix the lefse dough: Blend the riced potatoes, sugar, flour, salt, and heavy cream until well integrated.
  2. Prep your dough into patties: This is a time-saver once the rush of rolling and grilling lefse begins. Roll the dough into balls slightly larger than a golf ball and press gently between your palms. Place back into the 9×13 pan, and put the pan back in the fridge so the dough stays cold.
  3. Pre-heat your cooking surface to 400: You may be able to go a touch hotter if you have a fast approach. My husband and I usually tag-team: one rolling and one flipping and can crank it up to 450.
  4. Prepare your rolling surface: Sprinkle the rolling pin cover and pastry board generously with flour and rub it in well.

How to roll and grill lefse

  1. I only pull out a couple of patties of dough from the fridge at a time so the dough stays nice and cold.
    Put another generous sprinkle of flour on the pastry board. Then, drop your patty on the board, and put another generous sprinkle of flour on top of it.
  2. Roll it out until you can see the print from the pastry board peeking through.
  3. Grab your lefse stick and gently slide it under the sheet.
  4. Slide the lefse stick gently back and forth the entire width of the sheet, making sure the sheet is completely free from the pastry board, or it will tear when you try to lift it.
  5. With the lefse stick in the center of the sheet, gently lift it off the board and transfer to the griddle: place one edge on the griddle and roll the stick beneath the sheet toward the opposite end, until the entire sheet is on the griddle.
  6. After about 45 seconds, or when the lefse has some light brown marks, flip it over and grill it for another 30-45 seconds.
  7. Lastly, let each sheet cool thoroughly before stacking, or the delicate sheets will collect moisture in-between and stick.

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Pro tips for making lefse

  • I keep a sharp, flat knife on hand to quickly scrape down any sticky spots on the pastry board or rolling pin because, even the smallest sticky spot can cause the lefse to rip. For that reason, I scrape them down quickly and drop some extra flour on any offending areas.
  • Once your sheets are dry stack them 2-3 thick and fold into half or quarters so they will fit in storage bags. You can store lefse in the fridge for a couple weeks, or freeze — I have enjoyed lefse from the deep-freeze a year later!

Lefse FAQ’s

Do I really need a lefse stick?
It’s a magic stick that will release your delicate lefse easily from the rolling surface. You do really need this stick.

Can I make gluten free lefse?
I’ve never tried it! If you have any tips for gluten-free lefse, please leave them in the comments, below!

Can I make dairy free lefse?
YES! I have successfully made this recipe by replacing the butter with lard, and cream with almond milk.

Norwegian Lefse Recipe | How to make perfect lefsa every time (2024)


How do you keep lefse from drying out? ›

Lefse should be refrigerated or frozen. Our lefse is made with no preservatives, so it can take a week or so in the fridge. In the refrigerator, it needs to stay in its sealed package or it will dry out. If you don't plan on eating it right away, toss it in the freezer.

Is lefse Norwegian or Scandinavian? ›

Lefse is a Norwegian treat that is especially popular around the Christmas holidays. Many Scandinavian-Americans eat lefse primarily around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

How long can you keep lefse in the refrigerator? ›

WHAT IS THE SHELF-LIFE OF THE LEFSE? Our lefse does not contain a lot of preservatives. Once thawed out, it will stay fresh in the refrigerator about 7 days, less if not refrigerated.

What does lefse mean in Norwegian? ›

noun. a round Norwegian flatbread resembling a tortilla, made with mashed potatoes and flour.

What is Klenning? ›

Klenning – The Trøndelag region's version of sweet lefse with butter, cinnamon and sugar. Kling – The name for sweet lefse in Buskerud, Eastern Norway.

Can I use a regular rolling pin for lefse? ›

If you don't use a pastry cloth, the lefse will stick, and you will wonder why you ever tried this ! @#$ project. Corrugated rolling pin, preferably with cloth cover. If you try a regular rolling pin, your lefse will stick, and again you'll wonder why !

Can you use a tortilla press for lefse? ›

I use a tortilla press to make the lefse. It is so much easier than hand rolling with a rolling pin. I use a cast iron pan to make the lefse.

How long does lefse last? ›

It will stay fresh in the refrigerator about 5 days–less if not refrigerated. How long does the lefse last in the freezer? Lefse will keep in the freezer for several months.

How is lefse eaten in Norway? ›

Norwegians would also often eat lefse rolled up with butter, with many also adding cinnamon and sugar. Many people would also add different types of jam, cheese or other ingredients to make their preferred lefse. A lot of people eat lefse with savoury foods like ham, cheese, beef and much more, rolling it up as a wrap.

What do Norwegians eat on lefse? ›

How do Norwegians eat lefse? Parts of western, eastern and central Norway, lefser are used as an alternative to bread. They are eaten with savoury, salty foods or with sweet foods. ... Common sweet fillings are sugar and cinnamon.

What is the best way to eat lefse? ›

Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and roll lefse to eat. This is the traditional Norwegian way to serve and enjoy lefse. Raid your pantry and refrigerator. Fill small bowls or ramekins with whatever jams, jellies and spreads you already have.

Is lefse good for you? ›

Providing 218 kcal per 100g, it offers a balanced mix of macronutrients: 34.39g of net carbs, 6.34g of total fats, and 4.37g of protein. The carbohydrate content, specifically, makes Lefse a good source of energy, while its protein and fats contribute to muscle building and metabolic functions, respectively.

How do you serve lefse for dinner? ›

Lefse is delicious when served hot. Some of the more popular ways to eat lefse include slathering the bread with butter, packing it with fillings, or coating the flatbread with syrup or sugar.

What goes with lefse? ›

Serve the lefse with scrambled eggs and smoked fish, or cheese and jam, or gjetost, or butter and cinnamon-sugar, or hot dogs, or really any topping that appeals to you. Lefse can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

How was lefse traditionally made? ›

Lefse is a soft Norwegian flatbread, made using traditional recipes and baking methods. Lefse is usually made with potatoes, flour, butter, and milk, cream, or lard. Traditionally, lefse is cooked on a flat griddle, with particular wooden utensils used in the process. Lefse has its roots in Viking food traditions.

What is lefse made of? ›

While in Norway lefse was traditionally made from a variety of flours, when brought to America it became strictly potato-based — because potatoes are what most Norwegian immigrants were able to grow quickly and successfully here.

Can I use a tortilla press for lefse? ›

You can use regular flour too. Add in enough flour until it is the consistency for rolling out. I use a tortilla press to make the lefse. It is so much easier than hand rolling with a rolling pin.

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