Norweigan Lefse Each year, Erin Zunich's family prepares more than 100 sheets of lefse, traditional soft Norwegian flatbread. Here is her recipe.
NPR logo Norweigan Lefse

Norweigan Lefse

Courtesy of Erin Zunich
Norweigan lefse
Courtesy of Erin Zunich

Submitted by Erin Zunich of Williston, N.D.

It wasn't long ago that the terms uff da, lutefisk and lefse sounded more like a sneeze than words with such history. My Norweigan in-laws not only drop "uff bombs" — the use of the expression "uff da" in place of "wow" or "jeez" — but take part in a few Norwegian traditions, particularly around the holidays. Each year, my family prepares over 100 "sheets" of this traditional soft Norwegian flatbread.


9 cups of potatoes (half red, half russet)

1 1/4 cups salted butter

1/2 cup cream

4 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup white sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling


Lefse grill

Lefse sticks

Rolling pin and sock

Pastry-cloth-covered board

Wax paper

Large towels


Peel, chop and boil potatoes. Once soft, drain water and set aside.

Cube the butter and place in bottom of a large heatproof bowl.

Pour cooked potatoes over the butter and beat with a hand mixer, just as you would for mashed potatoes. Mix in cream, salt, sugar and baking powder.

Let cool, then refrigerate overnight. To avoid extra moisture in the potato mixture, place a paper towel over the potatoes to absorb any condensation.

Roll up your sleeves, take off your jewelry and prepare for a floury mess. Add the flour, one cup at a time, to the chilled potato mixture and mix thoroughly to create your lefse dough. Don't even bother getting a spoon dirty because you'll end up using your hands in the end.

Once completely incorporated, form walnut-sized balls of dough and refrigerate while you set up your workspace.

Preheat your grill to 500 degrees. Do not grease the grill as it must be dry. On the counter or a nearby table, fold a towel in half and place a few sheets of wax paper inside the fold. You will stack the cooked lefse on the wax paper and cover with the towel as you go.

Rub your pastry cloth with a generous amount of flour. Do the same with your sock-covered rolling pin. You will need to reapply flour as needed throughout the rolling process.

Now you are ready to roll, literally. Dust a ball with flour and flatten it out. Place the flattened ball on the cloth-covered board and with your floured, sock-covered rolling pin, roll the dough into a thin, large circle.

Do not be shy with your flour. If your dough starts to stick, you're being shy. Using a lefse stick, transfer the large round to the hot grill.

If your grill is hot enough, the lefse will begin to bubble immediately. Lightly spank those bubbles with your lefse stick.

Slide your stick under the round, lift and roll to complete your flip.

Each side only cooks for a few seconds. You are looking for light brown spots. If the round's edges are brown or curling, you are cooking it too long. Stack the cooked lefse in alternating directions in between wax paper, covered with a towel.

Once you have about 20 sheets of lefse, wrap completely with a towel and set aside to keep from getting dry. Set up a new stacking station just as you did with the original.

Once all of your dough has been rolled and everything is covered in flour — yourself included — it's time to clean up and have a glass of wine. (Actually, you should really have a full glass of wine as well as your favorite holiday Pandora station playing throughout the entire lefse-making process.)

Once lefse is completely cooled, it's time to package it for future consumption. You will likely have a sheet or two right now, but should package the rest to share with family and friends throughout the long holiday season.

Unfold each lefse sheet and fold in the opposite direction. This will avoid the sheet from sticking to itself. Fold in half again and stack by the dozen. Put each stack in a baggie, then in a zip-lock bag. As the lefse is very thin, it can easily become dry if not stored properly.

While you can eat it however you'd like, I prefer a light spread of margarine and a sprinkle of white sugar, all rolled up into a little piece of heaven.

Lefse keeps for about a week on the counter or up to two years in the freezer. Enjoy!

You can find this recipe with pictures at, Erin's baking blog.