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Lefse-making tools — rolling pin, potato ricer, lefse stick.

Lefse: The Norwegian Culinary Gem

Lefse, often dubbed the "Norwegian Tortilla" or "Norwegian Pancake," holds a revered place in Norway's culinary heritage, much like fjords do in its landscape.

With roots deeply embedded in Norwegian tradition, lefse shares similarities with flatbread, serving as a staple during long, harsh winters. Originally crafted as a means to preserve wheat or potatoes, lefse could be dried to a cracker-like state, offering families a convenient way to store sustenance for the season ahead.

In the days of yore, community spirit thrived as neighborhood women traversed from house to house, crafting lefse to sustain families through the winter months. Stored in containers, the dried lefse could be reconstituted as needed, providing nourishment and comfort.

Adored by Scandinavian-Americans and Norwegians alike, lefse boasts remarkable versatility. Whether enjoyed sweet or savory, warm or at room temperature, lefse adapts to myriad culinary preferences. Thin and tortilla-like or slightly thicker akin to pancakes, lefse varies in texture and taste across different regions of Norway.

Among Scandinavian-Americans, a popular tradition involves savoring lefse with cinnamon, sugar, and butter, often savored during winter holidays alongside lutefisk. Conversely, Norwegians relish lefse year-round, filling it with an array of delectable ingredients such as smoked salmon and cream cheese, hot dogs, ham and cheese, or brown cheese and jam.

In Norway, lefse is readily available in cafes, convenience stores, ferries, gas stations, and supermarkets. In the United States, sourcing lefse may require a bit more effort, with online ordering often being the go-to option for those outside areas with Scandinavian stores.

Crafting lefse requires specialized tools, including a lefse griddle, potato ricer, lefse rolling pin, lefse stick, and a floured pastry rolling board. While a regular griddle suffices, purists may opt for a dedicated round griddle for lefse-making. The potato ricer ensures smooth potato lefse, while the ridged rolling pin aids in achieving the desired thinness. The lefse stick is indispensable for transferring the delicate dough onto the griddle.

So, is lefse akin to a tortilla or a pancake? The answer lies in its versatility. Flour lefse tends to be thin and tortilla-like, while potato lefse varies in thickness, ranging from crepe-like to pancake-like. Both varieties lend themselves to endless filling possibilities, from classic to creative.

Whether indulging in traditional flavors or experimenting with innovative fillings like peanut butter or Nutella, lefse promises a culinary adventure like no other. Share your favorite lefse combinations in the comments below and embark on a journey of delicious discovery. Happy eating!

Below is our sister’s recipe for flour Lefse:


4 c. flour

1 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

½ c. sugar

½ c. butter (1stick)

2 c. buttermilk (we recommend buttermilk, some use regular milk or water)

Mix the dry ingredients, cut in the butter (like pie crust) and add the buttermilk.  Work the dough into a loaf shape and chill in refrigerator.  When ready to bake, cut the loaf into equal portions (approximately 16-18 pieces) and roll those pieces into balls. 

Flour a lefse board generously and roll each ball of dough thinly with a lefse rolling pin.  Using a lefse stick, carefully pick up the thin piece of dough in the middle and place it on the lefse griddle.  Watch the lefse closely so it doesn’t burn and turn to bake the other side. 

It is cooked when it is covered with brown spots on both sides (such as in the photos.) It will be ready to serve with your favorite toppings and may be eaten warm or room temperature.  The pieces of lefse will be quite large and may be cut however you wish (also as shown in photos.)


Any surface may be used to roll out the dough, but the cloth covered round board is ideal. You may need plenty of flour if you choose any other surface.

A round lefse griddle is not necessary and a regular griddle may be used but the pieces of lefse will need to be smaller.

The special rolling pin and stick are necessary in our opinion.

You will need a potato ricer if you choose to make potato lefse.

Search the internet to purchase any of the items used to make this special treat.  You’ll find them in a general search, at Scandinavian stores, on Etsy, etc.  You will even find ready made lefse you can purchase. 


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