Basic Lefse: Norwegian Potato Flatbread

Basic lefse recipe

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Chill: 8 hrs
Total: 9 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Yields: 16 to 20 lefse
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
73 Calories
2g Fat
12g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
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 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.

Ingredients

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

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 175 F.

    Ingredients for basic lefse
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  2. Peel the potatoes, making sure that no peels or eyes remain. Coarsely chop them into 1-inch pieces. 

    Peel potatoes and chop
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  3. In a stockpot, bring water to a boil and add the potatoes. Boil them until they are fork-tender.

    Boil potatoes
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack 
  4. Drain the boiled potatoes well, then place them in the warm oven for 15 minutes to dry them further.

    Drain potatoes
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  5. Remove the potatoes from oven and pass the potatoes through a ricer. (You should have about 4 cups of riced potatoes.)

    Remove potatoes
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  6. Mix in the heavy cream (or evaporated milk), butter, sugar, and salt.

    Mix in salt
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  7. Place in refrigerator and chill overnight.

    Chill overnight
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  8. Preheat a lefse griddle or cast iron griddle to 425 F. Use a pastry blender to cut the flour into the chilled potatoes.

    Use a pastry blender
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack 
  9. Pinch off pieces of dough the size of a biscuit and form into balls. An ice-cream scoop works well for this.

    Pinch off dough
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  10. Flour a pastry cloth or board and rolling pin. Roll out each piece into a 12-inch circle, dusting with more flour as needed.

    Roll out dough
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  11. Carefully lift the circle with a lefse stick or the handle of a flat wooden spatula or spoon and transfer it quickly to the griddle.

    Put batter on griddle
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  12. Bake the lefse on the griddle until brown spots begin to appear.

    Fold lefse
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  13. Flip and cook the other side.

    Flip and bake lefske
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  14. 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.

    Remove cooked lefse
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack
  15. Serve the lefse with butter and sugar.

    Lefse
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Tips

  • When you are selecting your potatoes to make lefse, ensure to use the driest, mealiest potatoes you can find.
  • 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 lined with paper towels. Allow them to come to room temperature and reheat before serving.

How to Use

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. Feel free to be creative with this flatbread.

  • Lefse can be filled with savory fillings like tuna salad or chicken salad for a quick lunch.
  • 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.