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Lefse {Guest Post by Angela Johnson}

a glass plate of lefse

Today I have a very special treat for you!

My dear friend Angela will be sharing her husband’s family tradition of lefse making.  Angela and I each married a Norwegian boy, and neither of us has never made lefse.  So I am really tickled that her family agreed to take over the wheel here, and give us all a peek into this beautiful tradition that they have chosen to carry on.

Please welcome Angela Johnson!

“The Farmgirl is my friend.
We’re the quintessential city mouse meets country mouse combo.
I’m the blunt edged knife in her friendship drawer.
And I love her.”

My mother-in-law, Dolores is a farmgirl too. Not the blogging kind. But the lefse making kind. Lefse is a traditional soft Norwegian pastry made from potato, butter, cream and flour. It’s rolled thin with a notched rolling pin, grilled on a lefse griddle and turned with a wooden lefse turning stick painted on the handle with scrolly Scandinavian art. She serves her lefse filled with butter and sugar as a holiday treat for our family. Everyone looks forward to this tasty tradition.

“I didn’t always know how to make lefse,” Dolores says. “But Paul (her husband of 46 years) said if I was going to marry him, I had to learn!” Paul married her anyway. But Dolores tells of her mother-in-law, Agnes coming to visit for 2 weeks when they were first married. “We practiced making lefse every day but Sunday,” she says. Grandma Agnes felt the skill was important to pass down.

All that practice paid off. Everyone who tastes Dolores’s lefse agrees that hers is some of the best. My husband would love to have his mother come and teach me to make lefse like she taught my sister-in-law Lori and my niece, Nicole. But I’m not a farmgirl and I’m not Norwegian.

So Dolores taught her son how to make it! And now he’s teaching our sons to make it as well as some men from our church that yearn for a taste of the Norwegian nostalgia of their youth. I must say I’m pretty impressed with the male pastry chefs cooking up holiday happiness in my husband’s woodshop turned bakeshop at Christmas time.

Many thanks to my two favorite farmgirls who share their traditional talents with those who’ll cook for me! And thanks to my dear husband for passing on a sweet piece of his heritage to our sons.

a kid and his grandma making lefse
A glass plate of lefse pastries on a table


Yield: 1 batch
prep time: 35 minutes
cook time: 15 minutes
total time: 50 minutes
Lefse is a traditional Norwegian pastry made with potatoes, butter, cream and flour. With some sugar thrown in, these homemade pastries are the perfect holiday treats!
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  • 8 c. red potatoes about 5lbs
  • ½ c. butter
  • ½ c. heavy cream
  • 2 T. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 c. flour


  • Peel and boil potatoes with salt until soft when poked with a fork. Drain and mash. Rice the potatoes with a ricer into a large bowl to eliminate any lumps.
  • In a sauce pan melt butter, cream, sugar and salt together. Do not boil.
  • Using a hand mixer, beat potatoes together with melted ingredients.
  • Cool and cover with a dish towel to absorb moisture while cooling. (Dolores often put her bowl in a North Dakota snowbank to cool!)
  • After potatoes have cooled, knead in flour with hands until thoroughly combined. Form dough into balls somewhere between golf ball and tennis ball size.
  • Work with 6-10 dough balls at a time. Refrigerate the rest until ready to roll them. The warmer the dough, the stickier and more difficult to work with.
  • Dolores uses cotton drill cloth from a fabric store stretched over a large board about 30×20 inches as her rolling surface dusted in with lots of flour. With a notched rolling pin covered in a non-stick fabric sleeve, roll out balls one at a time into thin circles.
  • Have lefse griddle very hot. Shimmy lefse stick under rolled out dough. Place onto griddle for 20-30 seconds until it starts to bubble. Using stick, flip it over. Cook for 5-10 more seconds. Important not to overcook. It may not look fully cooked.
  • Place each cooked lefse between two cotton dish towels to hold heat and moisture until finished with the entire batch.
  • To serve, fold cooked lefse piece in half. Butter the half circle and sprinkle with sugar. From the rounded edge, fold one inch at a time until reaching straight edge. Cut into sections and serve. Keep leftovers covered to prevent drying.
  • Unbuttered pieces can be refrigerated or frozen.


the recipe box of Dolores Johnson

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 Calories: 307kcal Carbohydrates: 48g Protein: 6g Fat: 10g Saturated Fat: 6g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 27mg Sodium: 80mg Fiber: 3g Sugar: 4g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Spoonacular. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment below. And share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #afarmgirlsdabbles or tag @farmgirlsdabble!
a kid and his grandma making lefse
a painting of a white farmhouse

I’m quite fond of this painting that Angela shared with me.  It’s of Grandma Agnes’ farmhouse.  What a beautiful family keepsake!

Thank you so much, Angela, for sharing your family’s holiday food tradition!

Angela Johnson is a writer living in Woodbury, MN with her husband, two sons and frenetic  puppy. Her work has appeared in Woodbury Magazine, Southwest Metro Magazine and  Minnesota Women’s Press. Her column, Angela’s Angle appears regularly on www.woodburypatch.com.  Follow her on Twitter at @woodburyangela.

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22 comments on “Lefse {Guest Post by Angela Johnson}”

  1. Oh this brought a smile to my heart! I had never heard of Lefse until I met my hubby a true North Dakota boy with Germans from Russia heritage! This was in the supermarket in Nebraska and he had to “make” it for me!  As for someone who bakes a lot from scratch heating some lefse and adding butter and sprinkling sugar to me was not “making” anything lol! I did like it and have been trying to gather all his grandmothers and aunts recipes and making them for him….tonight baked rice and Kuchen! Thanks for this post I will have to surprise him with this sometime! Any ideas where to get a lefse griddle? 

    1. Wonderful, wonderful! Thank you so much for writing, Sandy. As far as a griddle, I really cannot recommend one as we don’t have one. I just looked and there are many available online – I would look for one with great ratings/reviews or visit a reputable kitchen store.

  2. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe

    This post warms my heart! My family adores lefse, and it makes an appearance at every family gathering we have. Sadly none of us have ever tried making it ourselves. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  3. I have heard my husband talk very lovingly about lefse along with the lutefisk. I will definately see if I can make a batch of these. But the item he misses most that his grandma made for him as a child was flitagrit ( I am sure that’s not the correct spelling) He says it was a very rich pudding/custard that you could only eat just a few tablespoons of. Is there anyone out there that knows this Norwegian dessert? I would love to make this for him so he could remember his lovely grandmother that raised him part of the time.

    1. My husband’s parents are here right now and I asked them, as they are Norwegian and Swedish. They are wondering if you mean Rommegrot, a sweet cream porridge? Here’s a link to a description: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%B8mmegr%C3%B8t If that sounds right, there are quite a number of links to recipes on the internet. I hope that helps!

      1. Thanks so much for the reply Brenda! You know the porridge you are talking about sure sounds like the right thing. I can’t wait to find a recipe and surprise my husband with it. Enjoy your visit with your in-laws! Thanks again!

  4. This brings back so many memories of my parent making Lefse in the kitchen every winter! It’s the same recipe and technique! I believe it’s time for me to bring back that tradition!

  5. Oh how I love lefse! Beautiful post. I can honestly say it’s the only holiday treat I will miss since giving up gluten – don’t care about cookies, don’t need coffee cake or caramel rolls, but I adore lefse with butter and sugar. I’m virtually eating it :)

  6. Jay is half Norwegian so lefse is a holiday tradition. Unfortunately, I have not been able to master rolling the dough thin enough. Thankfully Jay’s sisters and one brother carry on the tradition and share the fruits of their labor with those of us who are lefse challenged. I, also being of German decent, enjoy my lefse with cinnamon and sugar. Jay’s family likes theirs with homemade jam. Either way it is always delicious! Just don’t ask me to try the lutefisk!
    Merry Christmas, Brenda!

    1. I will definitely NOT ask you to try lutefisk, Rachel! Blake’s mom would really like to get me to a lutefisk supper, but that’s one food item I just don’t want to touch (or smell!). Best wishes on your next batch of lefse – and Merry, Merry Christmas to you & your boys!

  7. Melinda- my mother-in-law says Never use russet. Don’t know why but she insists. So maybe this recipe will work out for you!

  8. So timely! I’m a Dutch girl who married a Norwegian boy. For years I’ve stumbled through a batch of lefse every year for Christmas. I can’t wait to try this version this year! I’ve never used red potatoes – always russet. After 20 years I still can’t make them nice and round either! :)

  9. YUM. Like any good almost half Norwegian, I love my lefse. I like to put cinnamon and sugar on mine… but that’s the half German in me. You know, ruining the lefse, like my Great Grandma used to say! :D

    1. I’m with you, liking cinnamon and sugar on mine. It “enhances”, not “ruins”. But I’m fully German. :) Merry Christmas to you, Renae!!

  10. Thanks to Angela, for sharing the recipe, great photos, and family history for all of us to enjoy. l love my lefse with a sprinkling of cinnamon along with the butter and sugar, and warmed just a tad. Yum!! And Merry Christmas too!