ThI’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 recipe over the last 20 years, because one of my first jobs as a teenager involved rolling lefse at a Scandinavian bakery. As a result, 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 lefse too!
What you need to make Norwegian lefse
- 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.
- 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.
- Lefse stick. Trust me, you need this stick.
- 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.
The best Norwegian lefse recipe
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:
- Wash and peel the potatoes.
- 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.
- Dice the potatoes for even cooking — plus, it makes them easier to rice.
- Boil until they are soft when tested with a fork.
- Drain the potatoes.
- Rice the potatoes while they are still hot.
- For every 4 cups of lightly packed riced potatoes, add 3 T of butter, cubed.
Mix the butter into the hot, riced potatoes until its fully melted.
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?
- Put the pan in the fridge overnight.
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.
Preparing to bake lefse
- Mix the lefse dough: Blend the riced potatoes, sugar, flour, salt, and heavy cream until well integrated.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Roll it out until you can see the print from the pastry board peeking through.
- Grab your lefse stick and gently slide it under the sheet.
- 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.
- 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.
- After about 45 seconds, or when the lefse has some light brown marks, flip it over and grill it for another 30-45 seconds.
- Lastly, let each sheet cool thoroughly before stacking, or the delicate sheets will collect moisture in-between and stick.
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!
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.