Basic Lefse: Norwegian Potato Flatbread

Stack of lefse potato flatbread
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Ratings (36)
  • Total: 24 hrs 5 mins
  • Prep: 24 hrs
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 16 to 20 pieces
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
73 Calories
2g Fat
12g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16 to 20 pieces
Amount per serving
Calories 73
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 76mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 1g
Calcium 17mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Perhaps no food is more beloved by Norwegians than potato lefse. Prepared on special lefse griddles and turned with a long lefse stick, this paper-thin potato bread is best served warm with butter and sugar.

Lefse is a traditional holiday food in among Norwegian-Americans in the U.S., so you might include it on the menu if you are entertaining guests for Christmas. It can be a family project, much like tamale-making, with different family members involved in rolling out the dough and cooking on the griddle.

When you are selecting your potatoes to make lefse, ensure to use the driest, mealiest potatoes you can find.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Idaho russet potatoes (about 5 large potatoes)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (or evaporated milk)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (softened)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup flour​

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 175 F.

  3. Peel the potatoes, making sure that no peels or eyes remain. Then coarsely chop them into 1-inch pieces. 

  4. In a stockpot, bring water to a boil, add the potatoes and boil them until they are fork tender.

  5. Drain boiled potatoes well, then place in the warm oven for 15 minutes to dry them further.

  6. Remove the potatoes from oven and pass the potatoes through a ricer. (You should have about 4 cups of riced potatoes.)

  7. Mix in salt, heavy cream (or evaporated milk), butter, and sugar.

  8. Place in refrigerator and chill overnight.

  9. Preheat a lefse griddle or cast iron griddle to 425 F.

  10. Use a pastry blender to cut the flour into the chilled potatoes.

  11. Pinch off pieces of dough the size of a biscuit. An ice-cream scoop works well for this.

  12. Using a rolling pin with a well-floured sleeve and a floured pastry cloth or board, roll out each piece into a 12-inch circle.

  13. Carefully lift the circle with a lefse stick and transfer it quickly to the griddle.

  14. Bake the lefse on the griddle until brown spots begin to appear.

  15. Flip and bake the other side.

  16. Remove the cooked lefse to a plate lined with a damp clean cloth to cool. Cover with another damp cloth. Continue to cook the remaining lefse.

  17. Serve the lefse with butter and sugar.

Storage

Lefse can also be frozen for up to six months. To freeze them, fold the cooled lefse into quarters, place them in zip-top freezer bags, and freeze. When you are ready to use them, remove them from the freezer and put them on a plate line with paper towels. Allow them to come to room temperature and reheat before serving.

Uses for Lefse

While the traditional way to eat lefse is simply with butter and sugar, you can use lefse in just about any way you would use a tortilla or wrap. Lefse can be filled with savory fillings like tuna salad or chicken salad for a quick lunch. Or, smear them with cream cheese and add deli meats or leftover cooked meat for a rollup. Enjoy them like a crepe with jam, Nutella, or cranberry sauce. Make a breakfast lefse with scrambled eggs and bacon. Feel free to be creative with this flatbread.