Norwegian Lefse (Made In A Frying Pan)
Do you hear that?
That’s the sound of a thousand Norwegian grandmothers gasping at the thought of making lefse any other way than the traditional way: That is, using a potato ricer to mash the potatoes, special rolling pin to roll out the dough, and a lefse iron to cook it on.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to make lefse the non-traditional way.
Because if you’re only going to make lefse once or twice, then it’s probably not worth it to buy the special rolling pin and lefse iron.
Do you really need more stuff in your kitchen?
However, if lefse making is an annual family tradition – something you’ll make very often – then by all means, buy all the special equipment you want!
Just remember: You can make some darn good lefse without proper lefse-making equipment! Take it from me: I’m 98% Norwegian according to Ancestry.com.
This recipe results in some delectable, melt-in-your-mouth lefse. Eat it fresh while it’s still warm, or reheat for a few seconds in the microwave. Store in the fridge, or in an airtight container in the freezer to keep it fresh.
What Is Lefse?
Lefse is a traditional Norwegian potato-based flatbread. In the U.S., among the Norwegian-American population, it is served spread with butter and sprinkled with sugar. However, there are many other creative ways to eat it:
- Spread with butter, topped with cinnamon and sugar
- Spread with butter and marmalade
- Used as a wrap for a sandwich
- Used as a “bun” for a hot dog
Lefse is made much like homemade tortillas. If you can make tortillas, you can make lefse!
How To Prepare Lefse
My family eats lefse every Thanksgiving and Christmas. At Christmas, we always it serve it with oyster stew.
We don’t always make it homemade – sometimes we buy it at the grocery store.
Our preferred lefse toppings are simple: spread on a generous layer of butter and sprinkle with sugar.
Lefse Making: The Process
This is the lefse-making process, in a nutshell. Scroll down for the detailed recipe.
- Make mashed potatoes with cream and butter
- Mix cooled mashed potatoes with flour
- Form into balls and roll into thin rounds
- Cook in a dry frying pan on each side
Making lefse in a frying pan isn’t difficult – just a bit time-consuming. But it’s totally worth it!
Can You Make Lefse With Instant Mashed Potatoes?
Although I always make lefse using fresh potatoes, many people swear by making lefse with dried instant potatoes.
I don’t want to dissuade you from making lefse with instant potatoes – it seems to work and be the preferred method by many tried-and-true lefse makers.
However, I never have success using instant potatoes.
If you make lefse with instant potatoes, feel free to share your methods or recommendations in the comments, below.
Get More Norwegian Recipes
I love exploring my Norwegian-American heritage by experimenting with traditional Norwegian recipes like these:
- Sweet soup (sot suppe)
- Norwegian almond cake
- Rice pudding (risgrøt)
- Potato dumplings (potet klub)
- My Norwegian grandma’s meatball recipe (kjøttkaker)
- Swedish meatballs
- Open-faced sandwiches
- Flatbread (flatbrod)
- Norwegian cream pudding (rømmegrøt)
- Almond kringler
- Sugar cookies (sandbakkelse)
- Pepperkaker cookies (spiced sugar cookies)
- Norwegian egg coffee
- Non-alcoholic gløgg (mulled juice)
- Scandinavian snack board (great for entertaining)
- 2 large or 3 small russet potatoes
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
- Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks. Place in a large saucepan and fill with enough water to reach an inch from the top. Heat to a simmer, and allow to cook until potatoes are tender: About 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove potatoes from heat, drain, and rinse with cold water. Add cream, butter, and salt. Mash until smooth or use a potato ricer.
- Measure out 3 cups of cool mashed potatoes. Mix with 1 cup of flour, and add 1/4 cup (or more) until the dough is pliable but not sticky. If the dough is too dry, add some more of the mashed potatoes. If it's too moist, add a bit more flour.
- Take a golf ball sized-piece of dough. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to make a thin round flat - like a tortilla. Roll the dough as thin as possible.
- Transfer to a dry frying pan. Cook the lefse over medium heat until it's a light golden brown - this will take about a minute. You'll notice a few bubbles in the lefse. Flip and cook on the other side for 30 to 45 seconds, until light golden brown. Transfer to a plate to cool.
- Continue with this process until all the lefse has been cooked. Eat right away, store in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for future use.