Norwegian potato lefse is a simple and delicious flatbread made with riced potatoes, butter, and flour! This is by far the easiest lefse inspired by my grandma’s original recipe. Make it with friends and family for a fun little winter tradition!

A stack of Norwegian potato lefse on a grey plate next to garland, a lefse stick, a Chemex, and brown bowls of sugar and butter on a wood table.

My family makes lefse every single Christmas. It’s by far my favorite part of the year. So naturally, when I actually went to Norway, I was under the impression that it would be everywhere. Spoiler alert: I was wrong. I went to various bakeries, grocery stores, and restaurants but there wasn’t a lefse to be seen.

But, on the bright side, Norway is where I had my first cardamom bun, Norwegian pancakes, and gløgg so I still left full, happy, and full of carbs.

And now that Christmas is back around, I’m beyond excited to share my great grandma’s recipe! It’s slightly potato-y, pillowy, and totally perfect. Gather your friends, call your family, and let’s make it!

You’ll love this lefse recipe! 

Lefse is one of those things where everyone’s grandma has their own way of doing things. So maybe I’m biased, but this one is definitely my favorite. This is my great grandma’s recipe that we’ve been using for years and it’s amazing every time!

  • The dough is simple and easy to work with.
  • This lefse is soft, pillowy, and full of flavor!
  • It’s absolutely delicious with all kinds of toppings.
  • Lefse is the best holiday tradition to make with friends and family.

What is lefse?

Lefse is a traditional Norwegian flatbread made with potatoes, butter, flour, and a few other ingredients. They’re pan-fried until they’re golden-brown and filled with butter, sugar, jam, and other delicious toppings. Basically, imagine if a flour tortilla and a potato had a baby. In my experience, making lefse is usually a community event where everyone is assigned to a task like making dough, rolling, griddling, and the like. It’s one of my absolute favorite traditions!

The ingredient list

Potatoes, a white bowl of flour, a white bowl of salt, a white bowl of cream, a brown bowl of sugar, and a stick of butter on a white marble counter.
  • Potatoes – I usually go with Russets, because it’s what my grandma uses. It makes for lefse that’s nice and moist with a hint of potato flavor.
  • Butter – you’ll want a nice butter, because it adds so much flavor to the lefse. I recommend unsalted European butter which has higher fat and makes for richer lefse.
  • Flour – regular all-purpose flour will work with the potatoes to create a dough that’s moist but not sticky.
  • Salt – I like Morton’s Kosher salt which will add a slight saltiness to the lefse.
  • Sugar – just a hint of sugar will add some sweetness.
  • Heavy cream – a hint of cream will loosen up the dough so that it’s nice and soft.

Ingredient variations

  • Potatoes – while I use Russets, it’s very common to use red potatoes in Norway. Apparently it makes the flatbread a bit more soft and moist, although I haven’t tried it! Feel free to use red potatoes if you like them better.
  • Sugar-free – my family has always added a bit of sugar but you can leave it out if you want a more savory flatbread. The sugar adds just a tiny hint of sweetness!
  • Gluten-free – I haven’t tried a GF version, but I imagine that using a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour replacement like Cup4Cup would work great!

How to make lefse

Six steps to ricing potatoes. In photo 1, a peeler is peeling potatoes on a white counter. In photo 2, the potatoes are diced. In photo 3, the potatoes are boiling. In photo 4, a fork is piercing a potato. In photo 5, the potatoes are being riced into a white pot. In photo 6, a stick of butter is in the potatoes.

Prep the potatoes

  1. Start by peeling the potatoes and dicing them into chunks.
  2. Then, boil the potatoes just until they’re fork tender.
  3. Rice the potatoes and mix them with a stick of butter.
Six steps to making lefse dough. In photo 1, potatoes are mixed with butter in a white pot. In photo 2, the potatoes are in a pan. In photo 3, the potatoes are in the bowl of a stand mixer. In photo 4, flour is on top of the potatoes. In photo 5, cream is in the bowl. In photo 6, the dough is mixed.

Mix the dough

  1. Spoon the potatoes into a 9×13 pan. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.
  2. The next day, add the potatoes, flour, salt, sugar, and cream to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix the dough just until it comes together.
Three steps to forming lefse. In photo 1, lefse dough is being scooped out of a silver bowl on a white counter. In photo 2, a hand forms the dough into a patty. In photo 3, lefse patties are on parchment paper.

Form the dough

  1. Divide the dough into equal portions. I like to use a cupcake scoop so they’re all the same size.
  2. Using your hands, form the dough into smooth discs.
  3. Then, place the discs on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Cover with a linen and refrigerate.
Three steps on how to roll lefse. In photo 1, a rolling pin rolls lefse dough on a wood board. In photo 2, a lefse stick is picking up the lefse. In photo 3, the lefse is cooking on a griddle.

Roll & cook

  1. Working one disc at a time, use a corrugated rolling pin to roll the dough into a circle.
  2. Use a lefse stick to gently transfer the lefse to a griddle.
  3. Cook the flatbread at 350°F (177°C) until it’s golden-brown, about 1-2 minutes per side.
  4. Let the lefse cool completely. Then, stack it and cover the stack with a tea towel. Enjoy!

Pro tip!

Don’t be afraid to use flour! This dough is moist and delicate, so you’ll need to use a lot of flour while you’re rolling it out.

How to roll lefse

Rolling lefse can be a bit frustrating if you’ve never done it before. But after making lefse basically my whole life, I’ve found a few little tips and tricks to help make the process a bit easier.

  1. Dust the surface with lots of flour. You don’t want the dough to stick or it will be really hard to roll.
  2. Use dough right from the fridge. Cold dough is much easier to roll than warm dough.
  3. If your corrugated rolling pin is sticking, start by using a regular rolling pin to thin out the dough. Then, use the corrugated pin to add the square texture for the last 2-3 rolls.
  4. For round lefse, roll the dough 1-2 times and then turn the dough a quarter. Repeat over and over until the lefse is thin and round.

Pro tip

This dough is very delicate so be careful when you’re rolling it. Keep the rolling gentle so the dough doesn’t pull apart or stick to the rolling surface.

Serving ideas

There are so many ways to eat this flatbread whether you’re into sweet or savory! Here are a few of my favorite ways:

  • Good quality butter + sugar – this is usually how we eat lefse!
  • Topped with lingonberry jam.
  • With a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or cardamom.
  • As a side dish with soup.
  • Rolled up with mayo, deli meat, and cheese.
  • With meatballs and gravy.
A stack of Norwegian potato lefse on a wood table next to a lefse stick, glasses of coffee, garland, and brown bowls of sugar and butter.

Storing, freezing, & make-ahead

To store leftover lefse, wrap the entire stack in a tea cloth. Place the stack in a zipper bag or airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. After a few days, it will start to lose its moisture.

To freeze leftovers, stack the flatbread in-between layers of parchment paper. Place the stack in a zipper bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let it defrost in the fridge overnight before serving.

You can also make the dough in advance! Just make the dough, form the discs, and cover them with a linen or plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out. Refrigerate overnight and cook the lefse the next day.

Quick tip

I like to wrap the lefse in a tea towel before storing it in a zipper bag or airtight container. The tea towel keeps the flatbread from drying out in the fridge!

Helpful tools

Pro tip

For the best results, I definitely recommend using a kitchen scale! It’s the best way to make sure the lefse comes out perfect every time! If you don’t have a kitchen scale, make sure you’re measuring the flour properly. Whisk the flour until it’s fluffy and spoon the fluffed flour into a measuring cup. Then, level the flour without packing it in.

A beige plate of lefse with butter on a wood board next to glass mugs of coffee, a lefse stick, garland, and brown bowls of sugar and butter.
A beige plate with rolled Norwegian potato lefse on a wood table next to mugs of coffee, a lefse stick, garland, and brown bowls of sugar and butter.

Tips & tricks

  • Make sure the potatoes are nice and smooth! I recommend ricing the potatoes for the best results. You want the potatoes to be smooth so the lefse doesn’t have lumps!
  • You need to chill the potatoes overnight! They need time to dry out in the fridge so that the dough doesn’t come out sticky. I also leave them uncovered to prevent condensation.
  • Keep the dough chilled. I work with 2-3 discs at a time and leave the rest covered in the fridge. It’s so much easier to roll out chilled dough! If it warms up, it will stick.
  • Don’t let the dough discs dry out. You want the dough to be rollable but still moist.
  • Make sure you don’t overcook the flatbread! Otherwise, they’ll burn or come out crunchy instead of soft.

Recipe FAQs

How do you pronounce lefse?

It is pronounced lef-suh. You might see it spelled as ‘lefsa’ but this is a common mis-spelling. It’s lefse with an ‘e’ not an ‘a’. 🙂

Can I make this gluten-free?

Sure! I have not tried a gluten-free version, but I imagine that any 1-to-1 gluten-free flour like Cup4Cup would work fine.

Can I make this recipe without a griddle?

Yes, if you don’t have a griddle, you can cook lefse in a large skillet over medium-low heat. I like using a griddle better because you can control the heat, but a pan works too!

Do I need the rolling pin and lefse stick?

Honestly, I think you could get away with a regular rolling pin. But I do love the texture that the corrugated rolling pin gives the lefse! Also, you don’t necessarily need a lefse stick but you will need something thin and long, like an offset spatula, to transfer the flatbread from the rolling surface to the griddle.

A stack of Norwegian potato lefse on a wood table next to glass mugs of coffee, brown bowls of sugar and butter, garland, and a Chemex.

If you make this recipe, I would love it if you left a star rating and review! I read every single comment and love hearing what you think about my recipes. Thank you for supporting Sunday Table!


5 from 3 votes

Norwegian Potato Lefse

Yield: 36 lefse
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Norwegian potato lefse is a simple and delicious flatbread made with riced potatoes, butter, and flour! This is by far the easiest lefse inspired by my grandma's original recipe. Make it with friends and family for a fun little winter tradition!

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds russet potatoes (1,850 grams)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, preferably European (113 grams)
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling (450 grams)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar (32 grams)
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream (300 milliliters)

Instructions 

  • Start by peeling the potatoes and cutting them into quarters. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, add the potatoes and boil them until they are fork tender, about 15-18 minutes.
  • Rice the potatoes into a pot or large mixing bowl. You should have about 10 cups (1,040 grams) of riced potatoes. While the potatoes are still hot, add the butter and stir the mixture until the butter is melted and incorporated. Evenly spread the potatoes into a 9×13 pan and refrigerate the potatoes, uncovered, overnight.
  • The next day, add the chilled potatoes, flour, salt, sugar, and heavy whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer. (Depending on the size of your mixer, you may have to do this in 2 batches.) Using a dough hook, mix everything together until a thick dough forms.
  • Heat a griddle to 350°F (177°C). Then, using a cupcake scoop, form the dough into 3-4 Tablespoon balls. Using clean hands, flatten each ball into a smooth disc. Place the discs on a parchment-lined sheet pan, cover with a tea towel, and refrigerate.
  • Dust a pastry board or wood board with a generous dusting of flour. Using a corrugated rolling pin, roll each dough disc, turning it a quarter after every 2-3 rolls, until you have a thin, round flatbread.
  • Use a lefse stick to carefully transfer the lefse to the hot griddle. Cook the lefse for 1-2 minutes on each side until it's thoroughly cooked through and has small golden spots. Don't overcook the lefse or it will end up brittle. Let the lefse cool completely for a couple of minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • Once the lefse is completely cooled, stack the lefse and wrap them in a tea towel to keep them from drying out. Place the stack of lefse in a zipper bag or airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • Serve the lefse warm or at room temperature with butter, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, jam, meatballs, deli meat, and anything else you like. Enjoy!

Notes

Keep in mind that this recipe will take 2 days to make! The potatoes need to be prepped the night before for the best results. 
For the best results, I recommend using a kitchen scale! It’s the best way to make sure the lefse comes out perfect every time. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, make sure you’re measuring the flour properly. Whisk the flour until it’s fluffy and spoon the fluffed flour into a measuring cup. Then, level the flour without packing it in.
You can also mash the potatoes, but make sure to mash them until they are very smooth! You want the potatoes to be nice and creamy for a smooth dough.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can also make the dough by hand. Just use clean hands to knead everything together. You may need to make the dough in 2 batches.
If the dough is too dry, add more cream 1 Tablespoon at a time. If it’s too wet, add flour 1 Tablespoon at a time. It should be the consistency of Play-Doh.
If you don’t have a corrugated rolling pin, you can use a regular rolling pin. If you don’t have a lefse stick, you can use an offset spatula instead.
This dough is very delicate so be careful when you’re rolling it. Keep the rolling gentle so the dough doesn’t pull apart or stick to the rolling surface.
Keep the dough chilled. I work with 2-3 dough discs at a time and leave the rest covered in the fridge. It’s so much easier to roll out chilled dough! If it warms up, it will stick.
Don’t let the dough discs dry out. You want the dough to be rollable but still moist.
Cuisine: Norwegian
Course: Bread & Dough, Snacks
Serving: 1lefse, Calories: 97kcal, Carbohydrates: 12.7g, Protein: 1.7g, Fat: 4.3g, Saturated Fat: 2.6g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 93mg, Potassium: 66mg, Fiber: 0.6g, Sugar: 1g, Calcium: 9mg, Iron: 1mg
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xo Sara Lynn

Song of the day – Let It Snow by She & Him

Originally posted in 2015.