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Monday, June 25, 2012

Gluten Free Norwegian Potato Lefse

Gluten Free Lefse
Gluten Free, Egg Free, Nut Free

I'd never heard of Norwegian Lefse until I ended up with a surplus of mashed potatoes after making some Gluten Free Potato Noodles and wow!  These were so much better than I expected. I was searching around on the internet for recipes involving leftover mashed potatoes and came across this traditional Norwegian dish called lefse.  Turns out these are really versatile potato/flour wraps that have a texture and thinness not unlike crepes.  They're amazingly soft and flexible and are surprisingly tasty. 

These are actually very simple and cheap to make, but rather time consuming so be prepared to spend a bit of time in the kitchen rolling and frying.  Part of the tradition around making these, though, seems to be getting a group of ladies together and using those extra hands to help you make a huge batch of these and freeze them.  I ate all mine pretty quickly and didn't have a chance to freeze them, but I expect they'll freeze fine with a layer of wax paper between them.  Next time I'll probably double the recipe and freeze them. 

I sprinkled mine with equal parts sugar and cinnamon and rolled them up (this is a traditional way to serve them as a dessert) but you could use them for just about anything, like a sandwich wrap, or fresh fruit or sauteed veggies.  Those of you allergic to white potatoes might want to try sweet potatoes instead (I haven't yet, but I will next time).

Adapted to be gluten free from

Gluten Free Potato Lefse

Straining potatoes for consistency
Ingredients - Makes about 12 8” lefse

About 2.5c potatoes at room temp (mashed or run through a sieve or ricer, see photo below, to get a very smooth consistency)* 

2 Tbsp butter at room temp
½ c milk or milk alternative
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla (I may add more next time)
1c brown or white rice flour
1/2 c tapioca starch
1/2 c potato starch

1. Mix the flours together and divide in half.  

2. Mix all ingredients with one half of the flour together to form a smooth dough.  

Scooping dough
3. Sprinkle an ample amount of the flour on a flat surface.  Scoop out a walnut size (or small ice cream scoop) of dough, sprinkle with more flour and roll out the dough very very thin with a rolling pin.

4. Heat a griddle or pan to medium high heat.  Spray with oil or a thin layer of butter.  Fry until browned (a couple of minutes) then flip and fry the other side.  Remove from pan and lay on a paper towel.   

Note: I had a little system set up where I was able to cook one while I rolled another one out, just keep your flour on hand to keep sprinkling. 

I'm so ignorant of Norwegian food, so if any of you have ever had lefse or any other Norwegian dishes I'd love to hear about them!!  

*OAS Information: If you have Oral Allergy Syndrome and have a problem with potatoes, boiling the heck out of these as described usually destroys the allergen protein and makes it safe to eat.  If, however, you generally have a problem with potatoes you may want to avoid this one :)  


  1. Now I'm hungry. Those look really good!

  2. Hi there. The current Food on Friday is all about potatoes! So it would be great if you linked this in. This is the link . Have a good week.

  3. I am Norwegian and grew up on Lefse; a staple for any holiday. But it has always come with the idea that it is a torturous thing to make, or make right anyway. Yet, your article has given me the courage to try. Finally, I'll put to use all the Lefse making tools my husband has given me every Christmas.

    Our favorite way eat them is with Lingonberry Jam. But there is a restaurant in Wisconsin, The Norske Nook, that makes wraps out of them that I hear are very good. Unfortunately, I have never had them because they do not make them GF.

    1. Hi, thanks for the link, that's interesting! Lefse aren't difficult to make at all, they're just time consuming ;) Co-op some friends/kids/husband and put on some good music!

  4. I grew up on lefse and LOVE it. My kids love it; it's a family tradition for generations. Because of allergies, we've recently had to go gluten free, and I found your post while searching for a recipe for gluten free lefse. Your recipe looks good! I just wanted to mention to you that not having had lefse before, you might not have known that lefse is supposed to be rolled out VERY, VERY thin. The thinner the better. The lefse in your picture look quite thick. For next time, you might want to try rolling them thinner and see what you think. :)

    1. Thanks so much for the tip!! I had no idea how thin they were supposed to be and I wasn't sure how fragile they'd end up so was afraid to go too thin. In the end, they weren't at all fragile, and very flexible, so they could definitely be rolled thinner.

  5. Hi, I grew up Norwegian American from Minnesota, and lefse-making was a point of pride among the grandmas, Lefse is very thin and meant to have a very specific look and taste that's hard to achieve. But I do think maybe they took their perfectionism to an extreme!!! Makes the thought of even attempting Lefse really daunting to me. Thanks for giving it a go, and inspiring me to try, try again. :)

    1. Lol, well if you're the only one eating them the grandmas need never know they're not perfect ;) Glad the post inspired you!

  6. So far I have had trouble finding a lefse that works without gluten. I grew up on it, it's a holiday tradition in my very traditional Norwegian American family. I'll try this one too.

    1. I've made this one several times and never had a problem with it, so I hope it works for you too! Let me know how it goes :)

  7. Oh yes, love lefse and I haven't been able to find it yet this year. Simple with a little cinnamon sugar... I could go for some right now!

    1. Thanks for commenting on this and reminding me of this recipe, I haven't made it in a while! I have potatoes in the fridge right now and should probably make some lefse with them ;)


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