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Make lefse, the perfect flatbread for Christmas, is a cherished tradition in many households. This thin, soft, and delicate Norwegian flatbread holds a special place in holiday celebrations. Making lefse involves a process that begins with mixing together a simple dough of potatoes, flour, butter, and cream. Once the dough is prepared, it’s rolled thinly and cooked on a griddle until it develops golden-brown spots. The final result is a flexible and slightly sweet flatbread, perfect for filling with a variety of toppings like butter, sugar, cinnamon, or even savory options like meats or cheeses. Make lefse isn’t just about creating a delicious bread; it’s about embracing a time-honored tradition that brings warmth and togetherness to the holiday season.


What is Lefse? 

The Norwegian flatbread lefse is made from potatoes. It is very similar to American pancakes; only it’s way better! In the United States, Lefse is a traditional Christmas bread from the Midwest. However, Lefse may be a Norwegian-American invention dating back to 1871. It is a soft, white flatbread made with potatoes and wheat flour. The dough is rolled into fragile sheets and then cooked on a large griddle called a “lefse grill.” A lefse grill resembles a smooth steel pan or skillet that has been seasoned by repeatedly wiping it with butter. 


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History of Lefse

Lefse is a Norwegian flatbread that’s been around for centuries. It dates back to the year 1110 when Sigurd Syr was said to have invented Lefse. The name “lefse” comes from the Norwegian word for “thin.” Initially, it was made with potatoes and flour ground in a mortar and pestle—no rolling pin required! However, until much later, people learned how to make Lefse using a rolling pin.


It is believed that Scandinavians created Lefse in the 1700s. It’s made from potatoes and flour, with an optional topping of butter and sugar. It is originally from Norway and Sweden and has been popularized in the United States by immigrants who immigrated here during the 19th century.

How To Make Lefse Norwegian?

Lefse is a Norwegian potato flatbread that’s traditionally eaten around Christmas time. Norwegian Lefse is made by rolling grated potatoes into thin pancakes, then frying them in a large, heated iron skillet. The result is an extra crispy fried pancake about the size of a frisbee. You can make Lefse with other root vegetables like turnips or carrots, but you really can’t beat the flavor of good old russet potatoes. I grew up eating it every Christmas morning, and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love this Norwegian Lefse.


How to Make Lefse Without a Potato Ricer? 

There is a common misconception that Lefse can only be made from riced potatoes. Lefse can be made from various ingredients, including mashed potatoes, instant mashed potatoes, grated raw or boiled potatoes, and chunks of cooked potatoes. In the days before ricers were invented, Norwegians used a hand-powered tool to shred their potatoes into a consistent texture suitable for making Lefse. The modern lefse stick uses the same principle as the original tool to grate the potatoes quickly and evenly. So, in short, you can make Lefse without a potato ricer. All you have to do is follow some simple steps:

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  • Mash potatoes with cream and butter
  • Add flour to cooled mashed potatoes
  • Roll into thin rounds and evenly distribute on a plate
  • Cook on both sides in a dry frying pan

Storing and Serving Lefse


After making lefse, let it cool completely. Stack the flatbreads with parchment or wax paper between each layer to prevent sticking. Place them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up to several days.



For extended storage, freezing lefse is a great option. Once the flatbreads have cooled completely, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap to protect them from freezer burn. Then, place the wrapped lefse in a sealed freezer bag or an airtight container to prevent moisture and odors from affecting their quality. Store the wrapped lefse in the freezer, where they can remain frozen for several months. This method preserves the freshness of the lefse, allowing you to enjoy these delightful flatbreads over an extended period.



To serve your chilled or thawed lefse, begin by warming each piece on a dry skillet set over medium heat. Allow the lefse to gently heat for approximately a minute or two on each side, flipping halfway through. This process ensures that the flatbread is evenly heated through and becomes soft and pliable, ready to be enjoyed with your favorite fillings or toppings. Heating the lefse on a skillet helps revive its delightful texture and makes it perfect for serving as a delicious treat during your Christmas festivities.



Lefse can be enjoyed in various ways. Serve it warm with traditional toppings like butter and sugar or cinnamon. Experiment with different fillings, such as jams, spreads, or even savory options like deli meats and cheeses, to suit your taste preferences.

Read also: How To Bake Sweet Potato in Oven: 3 Simple Steps!


There are many variations of lefse recipes, but here is one that’s perfect for the beginner. Don’t be intimidated by making these delicious Norwegian treats. They’re surprisingly simple to make, and you’ll have fun experimenting with all the different flavors. This traditional dish is a must-have for special occasions in Norway. If you’re interested in making some at home, we’ve provided a simple recipe you can use! We hope you enjoy the lefse recipe above. 


Crafting lefse, the ideal flatbread for Christmas, is more than a culinary endeavor—it’s a cherished tradition passed down through generations. Mixing together a simple dough of potatoes, flour, butter, and cream, rolling it out thinly, and cooking it on a griddle results in a soft, versatile flatbread. Its delicate texture and slightly sweet taste make it a perfect canvas for various fillings, both sweet and savory. Lefse-making isn’t just about creating a delicious bread; it’s about honoring heritage, fostering togetherness, and adding a touch of nostalgia to holiday festivities.



What ingredients do I need to make lefse?

Lefse typically requires potatoes, flour, butter, and cream. Some recipes may include sugar or salt for added flavor.

Can I make lefse ahead of time?

Yes, you can! Lefse can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Reheat it before serving for the best taste and texture.

How thin should I roll out the lefse dough?

Roll the dough as thinly as possible without tearing it. Aim for a thickness similar to a tortilla or thinner for the best results.

What fillings can I use for lefse?

Lefse can be filled with various options, including butter and sugar, cinnamon, jams, or even savory fillings like meats, cheeses, or spreads.

Can I freeze lefse?

Yes, you can freeze lefse for later use. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil, then store it in an airtight container before freezing. Thaw and reheat before serving.

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