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How to Make Lefse

Updated on January 1, 2011

Lefse :: So simple, kids can do it!

Lefse (LEFF-sah) is a flat bread made from potatoes, and is a Norwegian traditional treat of old. It's still prepared and eaten today, particularly for holidays and special occasions. It is rather labor intensive but the steps are really simple enough - even children can take part - as you'll see.

Lefse can be eaten plain, but most folks like to either keep it cold or warm it up, and no matter what temperature chosen, spread butter on it, roll it up and enjoy. Many argue that cold (or room temp.) lefse spread with butter is better than warm, and still just as many claim the only proper way to eat lefse is with butter AND sugar on it. Brown or white? That's also another highly debated choice! Then there still others, who insist that it must also be sprinkled with cinnamon, to qualify as the real McCoy. Depending on how technical/traditional you want to get, European descendence and family tradition, everyone's tastes vary.

The Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs decent sized Russet potatoes (yields about 4 cups mashed)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups sweet cream
  • 1 1/2 c flour

Preparations :: Cooking the Potatoes

Wash potatoes thoroughly. Put potatoes into large stainless steel cooking pot, with largest potatoes on the bottom. Cover with water and boil until fork-tender. The pot shown in this picture takes about 20 minutes. Some people opt to peel and quarter potatoes prior to cooking but this is up to you.

Peeling the Potatoes

Once the potatoes have cooled enough to touch, peel off the skin and remove any blemishes. Cut potatoes into quarters.

Watch & Learn

Mash or Rice Your Cooked Potatoes

As our lodge prepares such large quantities of lefse, we use a meat grinder to rice or mash our potatoes. If you are making lefse at home on a smaller scale, you can use a ricer, electric beater, or standard potato masher utensil for this. Cover the mashed potatoes and place in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours, or overnight.

Prepare the Dough

Take the chilled potatoes out and place them into a mixing bowl. Add cream gradually to the potatoes and mix well. Mixture will be creamy, but slightly runny like batter. In a small bowl, combine flour and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to the potato batter and continue mixing well, until flour is well distributed into the batter and thickens into a dough.

Start making patties out of the dough, about the size of an egg. Place them on a plate or bowl and put into the fridge, keeping out a couple to work with, pulling some out of the fridge as you go.

Roll out the Lefse - Practice Makes Perfect

Lightly flour your working surface in a circle about 10 inches or so (countertop, cutting board or lefse cloths/sheets) . Place your patty on the floured surface, then flip it over to get some flour on both sides, being careful not to use too much flour.

Rub some flour on your rolling pin and begin rolling into a sheet of lefse. Roll from the center out, 2 or 3 times on each side, turning your sheet over once or twice to ensure it's rolled out very thin. The dough should be stretchy enough to allow you to pick a sheet up with your hands without it tearing, if it does or seems too sticky, use more flour.

This step requires some practice. Don't get frustrated if on your first attempt it sticks to the board or tears.


To flip the lefse sheet, use the lefse stick and place it gently under the edge of the sheet of lefse. Carefully run the stick under the sheet so that you are picking it up from the middle, and as you raise it up, ensure that the sheet hangs on either side of the stick in the form of a half-moon shape.

To keep it from flopping over into a warped mess, lay down one side of the half-moon shape and then just turn the lefse stick over and over with your hands like you would a crank, and as you do this, the other half of the sheet should unroll itself off of the stick onto your surface, perfectly.

Sprinkle more flour if necessary and continue to roll out until you get the desired thickness. Thin is best but not too thin that it tears or cooks too quickly. It should be slightly thinner than a flour tortilla.

This step requires some practice. Don't get frustrated if on your first attempt it sticks to the board or tears.


Quickly transfer the lefse sheet to your griddle surface (preheated to 350 degrees; do not grease it!) one half side down first, and as you lay the sheet down onto the griddle, to keep it from flopping over into a warped mess, just turn the lefse stick over and over with your hands like you would a crank, and as you do this, the other half of the sheet should unroll itself off of the stick onto the griddle, perfectly.

On the Griddle

On the Griddle
On the Griddle

Allow Lefse to Cool

Allow Lefse to Cool
Allow Lefse to Cool

Take a moment to tell us about your experience making lefse.


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