Cast Iron

Lefse for Breakfast

February  1, 2015
4 Ratings
Photo by Emily Vikre
  • Makes about 10 small lefse
Author Notes

Lefse is a traditional Norwegian soft flatbread. It's one of the traditional foods that has been preserved in its homemade form by immigrants to the United States even after people in Norway stopped making it and started buying mass-produced lefse instead. Interestingly, for the most part, the kind of lefse that has been preserved as a tradition in the United States is a particular style of potato based flatbread, rolled thin as a crepe and served usually spread with butter and cinnamon-sugar and served as a dessert. However, historically in Norway, there were as many different styles of lefse as there were municipalities in Norway (ie. a lot): some potato based, some rye, some oat, some wheat, some paper thin, some thicker and fluffier. These lefse are based on the same dough as the potato lefse we learned to make from our neighbors in Minnesota, but then I made them smaller and thicker, more like a style of lefse called lompe, which has traditionally eaten around hot dogs or sausages (instead of a bun). You can make them without any special equipment, and while they're excellent around a hot dog, they're also really fantastic to use as a breakfast flat bread. I love them with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon or with butter and gjetost (a Norwegian brown goat cheese). —fiveandspice

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound russet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 pinch baking powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  1. Peel the potatoes, cut them into even chunks, and boil them in a large pot of water, until just tender when poked with a fork. You don’t want them to be mushy. Drain the potatoes well. Next, make them into mashed potatoes: My favorite way to do so is to press them through a ricer into a large bowl and then fold in the butter, heavy cream, salt, sugar, and baking powder, making sure you get rid of any lumps. If you don't have a ricer, you can also combine the potatoes, butter, cream, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl and use a handheld mixer to whip them up until they're smooth -- but make sure to stop as soon as they are smooth. If you whip them too long, they get gummy.
  2. Place a cloth over the mashed potatoes and refrigerate them at least 7 hours, or overnight.
  3. When ready to cook the lefse, heat a dry, cast iron skillet (at least 8 inches) over medium-high heat. Using your hands, mix the 3/4 cup flour into the cold potatoes, until you have a uniform shaggy dough. Roll the dough into balls about the size of a ping pong ball. On a floured surface, one ball at a time, roll the lefse into rounds that are about 1/8-inch thick or a little thicker. Leave the unrolled lefse in the fridge while you're working so it stays chilled. Griddle the lefse one at a time in the skillet. Cook on the first side until it develops splotches that range from light brown to deep brown (around a minute), then flip and cook the second side until splotchy (about another 30 seconds). Then, transfer the cooked lefse to a cooling rack. Continue in the same way with the remaining lefse balls.
  4. Serve the lefse with scrambled eggs and smoked fish, or cheese and jam, or gjetost, or butter and cinnamon-sugar, or hot dogs, or really any topping that appeals to you. Lefse can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days. Rewarm before serving, or you can seal it tightly in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Altha Schellenberg
    Altha Schellenberg
  • Alanna Kellogg
    Alanna Kellogg
  • anne_shelton_crute
  • Regine

5 Reviews

Altha S. March 11, 2015
Being a second generation Norwegian American born in North Dakota I am proud to say that I have not only eaten lots of lefse but also have made paper thin, dinner plate size lefse for forty years or more. We like butter and brown sugar. when young my son would use them to hold anything he could find in the refrigerator.
Alanna K. February 9, 2015
Acck -- sorry, meant to add the link to the video, it’s here,
Alanna K. February 9, 2015
I grew up in Minnesota with “just one kind” of lefse so am fascinated that there are actually many variations! My cousin LeAnne is a master lefse maker, she and her husband (who’s a professional producer) put together this video showing how she makes lefse in the Minnesota traditional way. But it’s great to know how easy it is to make lefse without special equipment, thanks for this!
anne_shelton_crute February 8, 2015
omg that was so delicious, i'm glad i made a double recipe. i also skipped the rest/chilling and just started with cold russets i baked the night before.
Regine February 2, 2015
This looks delicious. I have a 1 lb. bag of microwave ready to steam potatoes that I may use just for that. Sounds delicious. But I guess one must prepare it the night before serving, or in the morning if to be served at dinner time.