Want to know more about the Norwegian Lefse? Here’s a traditional lefse recipe as well as more information about the Norwegian flatbread and its history.
What is Lefse?
Lefse is a traditional soft flatbread from Norway which is typically eaten around Christmas. It’s basically a potato pancake, and it’s best served with some butter and sugar.
However, you can also add fillings or put jam on your lefse as well as cinnamon or lingonberries. Lefse is also eaten together with lutefisk, where the fish is rolled up inside the lefse.
- 4 kg potatoes (8 pounds)
- 75-gram butter
- 6 dl all-purpose flour (2 1/2 cups)
- 0.7 dl cream (30%)
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- Boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, until tender.
- Take a large bowl and rice the potatoes
- Add butter, sugar, cream, and salt
- Mix well and let it cool for a few hours
Add flour to the bowl and mix well. The dough should be a little sticky, but not too much. If it's too sticky, add more flour.
Divide the dough and cut into 10-15 pieces and shape them into balls. Use a lefse rolling pin and roll out the lefse balls until they are thin.
When finished, you can either use a griddle to make the lefse or fry them in a non-stick pan on a stovetop on medium heat.
The griddle should have a temperature of 200°C (400°F). Use a thin spatula, preferably a lefse stick when cooking on the griddle or pan.
Cook for 1 minute or until small bubbles appear on the uncooked side, use the thin spatula or lefse stick and flip them. Cook for another 30-45 seconds on the other side.
Stack them on a plate or towel, and continue with the next lefse.
A potato ricer is needed for this lefse recipe as well as a rolling pin, preferably a traditional lefse rolling pin which has 1/8 inch (3 mm) wide grooves carved into the surface.
A griddle is recommended for cooking but it works well in a non-stick pan as well. A thin spatula, preferable a lefse stick is needed to flip and move them.
The history of Lefse
Lefse is a very typical food from Norway which is believed to have origins dating back to the 18th century, after the introduction of potatoes in Norway. Some rumors say that lefse was made by the Vikings, but that is not correct since potatoes didn’t arrive here until 1750.
With that said, it’s still very traditional and Norwegian settlers even brought it to America during the mass emigration. Still today, American Norwegians will prepare and eat lefse on holidays such as Christmas or Thanksgiving.
Cities and towns in the US with a large Norwegian population also have so-called Lefse Festivals. In Fosston, Minnesota, there’s even a yearly contest at the Lefse Fest in November. In Fargo, North Dakota, each year a popular Lutefisk and Lefse Festival is held in August.
Ingredients in a traditional lefse recipe
- Milk or cream
How do you roll lefse?
Rolling traditional Norwegian Lefse should be done with a so-called lefse rolling pin which has 1/8 inch (3 mm) wide grooves carved into the surface.
What do you eat with lefse?
The Norwegian Lefse can be eaten on its own with butter and sugar. Additional toppings such as jam, cinnamon, lingonberries, honey, and syrup can be added as well. Furthermore, some variations can be savory with meat fillings.
When eating Lutefisk, it’s typical to eat it together with Lefse, and put the lutefisk inside the rolls. Personally, I like it best with just some butter or jam.
What does lefse taste like?
Lefse has a taste of potato with a slight salty and sweet flavor. It shouldn’t have a taste of flour.
What country did lefse originally come from?
Lefse originally comes from Norway. There are many regional variations of Norwegian lefse, but almost all of them are flatbreads.
Have you tried this traditional lefse recipe? Leave a comment below!