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“lefse recipe no potatoes” and other miscellaneous matters

Someone recently came to this site having searched “lefse recipe no potatoes.” I just had to laugh when I saw that cause there IS no lefse without potatoes. I mean, that person is just outta luck if there are no potatoes in the pantry. Some things are non-negotiable!

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We went to my grandma’s niece’s husband’s sister and brother-in-law’s, as I mentioned earlier. This year, that brother-in-law’s family also came, so there were 18 of us total. What a kck to have Thanksgiving with such a big crowd! And everyone brought a lot of lovely food, so there was a huge variety from which to choose. I thought I did very well with balancing enjoyment of the feast and sticking to my Weight Watchers plan. I remembered to stop at one point and do a body check to see if I was satisfied yet. I was still hungry, but I did decide to slow down the eating even more. Then, it took me a full fifteen minutes after eating everything on my plate to decide to get seconds. I chose to pile on some of Mary’s excellent raw cranberry relish and some Chilean Squash casserole, sans cheese. (These two dishes were special and scrumptious but relatively little in terms of points and calories.) I also chose to take one more big bite of stuffing. The whole meal was only about 13 points. Very reasonable for a feast day! I’ve lost over nine pounds in four weeks, so I’m on track. In fact, I’m almost half-way to where I want to be before I head out to Peru.

Today I’m ordering bug-repellant/UV protection clothing. Step Two of the “keep myself safe on this scary trip” program. 🙂 Anyway, I found the perfect hat: weighs only 3 oz., broad brim all the way around, long back section to cover my neck, chin strap to keep hat on in windy conditions, SPF of 50+. I’m set in the hat dept. Also, I bought some BuzzOff shirts, pants, socks, and bandana. I’ve bought a couple of these items before, and they work well in our New England buggy summer. Some of those items are also SPF 30+, so that’s a double bonus.

Next time I shop for the trip I’ll be tackling the “layering for cold temperatures” issue. Then on to a water sterilization system, sleeping bag, pocket knife, headlamp…. Any of you folks have suggestions?

46 Responses

  1. Sorry to have to correct you but oh yes, there definitely IS Lefse without potatoes..I grew up in a little Norwegian farming community in central Iowa..We have the best lefse in the world there from some old time Norwegians..It is made with flour, boiling water ,sugar & lard..Sounds not so good..Ha..It’s my favorite food in the world..When done ,you spread with soft butter & sprinkle with white sugar, roll it up & go crazy.. Luckily my Aunt Dorothy got one of those old Norwegian ladies recipes..The ones with potatoes were called Potato Cakes !
    LaDonna (maiden name: Nelson & that’s Norwegian )

    • THANK GOD for YOU!!! I have been searching for my mothers lefse recipe with NO POTATOES and I believe you have it!! Would you be so kind as to share it with me? Mom has been gone 9 years and I have made it every year but somehow the recipe disappeared and Christmas won’t be Christmas without it!!!

      • To Mary Beth Sebby,
        Read your reply on this site and thought I would reply to you since you’re looking for a lefse recipe withoiut potatoes. I make the non-potatoe kind from a recipe I got from my grandmother. When I bring both kinds to the family get-togethers the non-potatoe disappears first. Everyone says they like it better. If you would like I’ll send you the recipe. It has only three ingredients but the instructions are a little lengthy so I won’t include it here.

    • Right on! I make both the potatoe and hard lefse. The hard lefse recipe I got from my grandmother. When I bring both kinds to the family get-togethers the hard lefse always disappears first! My grandmother called potatoe lefse potakake (potatoe cakes).

    • LaDonna…Yay!!! This is how my family makes lefse! And yes…It is the best. If I was offered anything for my last meal—it would be lots and lots of this lefse.

      Thanks for your post. My maiden name is Avelsgard…and that is plenty Norwegian also : )

    • I would love to try your recipe for lefse. A Norwegian friend of mine had me over to her home once to make lefse years ago—it was so much fun. I would love to try to make it on my own. Thank you so much. Pam

      • Hi Marv or Pam. I am Swedish and my Grandma made a lefse without potatoes and added anise. I have been trying to replicate the texture and taste for years. Grandma and Grandpa ,my Dad’s parents, would bring the dough to my parents house and my mom(she was Irish) would help roll the dough and Grandpa would cook it on the restaurant size grill in the familyroom. By the time I got home from school the lefse was done and some “softened” and ready to eat. No recipe was ever written down, not even my dad or his sister knew the recipe. A few years ago a connection was made to a cousin in Sweden who still lives in the area where my Grandparents came from. But to my dismay she told me lefse was not made, it was a Norwegian bread. So still I try. So when I came across this Oct. 2010 comment I hope to finally see a maybe a bit Swedish lefse! Thank you, if you still are sharing the recipe or ideas.

    • My grandmother was from Norway and she made made lefsa pretty much the same way, (yes she spelled it lefsa) flour, milk, cream, lard, sugar. Much better than potato lefse in my and my family’s opinion.

    • It is my favourite too. My grandma can from the island of Engeoya
      in Norway, and that’s the only kind they made.

    • Please send your recipe for lefsa. No potatoes!

  2. WOW! Learn something new every day! I honestly had no idea there was such a thing — what a great reminder that things are not always as they appear and we always have something new to learn. I clearly thought I had the lefse thing dialed 🙂

    Thanks so much, LaDonna, for correcting my mistake. If you want to share the details on the recipe, I’m sure we’d all be interested.

    How smart that your aunt got the recipe from the old Norwegian ladies!

  3. Our Norwegian family has been making potatoless lefse for well over 80 years and it is wonderful. Unfortunately this year the recipe was no longer to be found and we are desperately searching for a recipe for it. Ladonna, if you would be willing to share I would greatly appreciate it! We have been racking our brains and making a mess in the kitchen trying to recreate the recipe from our memories. Thank you.

  4. I’d really like to see a recipe, too! As I say above, the concept of no potatoes in lefse was a new one to me. I’m eager to try a new recipe. I hope you found something in time for Christmas 🙂

  5. 1qt. whole milk 1tsp salt
    1/4 lb lard 1 Tbl. sugar
    2 tsp butter 6 1/4 C sifted flour

    In a larg Tupperware bowl,Combine flour,sugar and salt. Heat milk, Lard and butter to o a rolling boil,a stainless steel kettle works best. Stir constantly to keep from scorching. Pour milk over flour mixture. Mix quickly with a wooden spoon. Knead enough to make dough fairly smooth. Make into patties. This recipe makes 16. Place patties on a double thickness cloth. I use a cookie sheet with double cloth underneath and on top of the patties. Lefse roll much easier while warm. Roll on pastry cloth tacked tightly to baking board. Use as little as flour as possible for rolling. Roll from center to other edges. Do not put too much pressure on rolling pin. Bake on Lefse grill at about 475 degrees. I start my grill heating before I begin mixing. Keep baked lefse well covered on top and bottom. After lefse has had time to cool,it works well to package in plastic bags.

    This is a recipe I have in a cook book and Im telling you my grandma makes lefse that is the best it has been past down for generations. And her mother and father came from Norway and this is the only lefse there is I tried potatoe and think it is terible. Im sorry I cant tell you my Grandmas recipe she would be very mad at me but I hope this will tast as good as her’s its about like hers but not quit . Remeber to put butter and suger on it.

  6. WONDERFUL!! Thanks so much for th recipe. I look forward to trying it!

  7. I, too, have my grandma’s recipe for lefsa without potatoes. It, however, rather old and has no traditional measurements! I learned to make it with my mother and grandmother so I do quite well with it. It will harden after it is cooked and then when we wanted some with ran each piece under warm tap water on both sides and put between kitchen towels for about 10-15 min. until soft and the spread with butter and sprinkle with sugar, roll up and eat!!

    Since my grandparents came from Norway and this was my great grandmothers recipe. The rolling pin I use was hand carved in Norway by a great, great, or better grandfather!

    10-12 Handfuls of flour
    1 cup crisco or lard
    scant handful salt
    3 handfuls sugar
    1 quart or more of scaled milk

    Mix and let cool overnite and then knead a roll out, also, we always cooked one side of the lefsa and then removed to counter and brushed uncooked side with milk and put back on griddle to let milk dry a bit and turned to cooked milked side. That made one side shine. Put on table to cool. and when ready to eat soak with the water, put between towels , butter and sugar.

    • This recipe is very similar to one I have only I question the scant handful of salt and 3 handfuls of sugar-
      Are you able to convert the two to today’s measurements? I’d really appreciate hearing as for mine they are a heaping T. salt and 2 heaping T. sugar.

  8. Thanks, Dee. That really sounds delicious. Maybe having these dried out a bit helped with preservation. Interesting! I hope to be going to Norway this summer — maybe I’ll find out if anyone there still makes these!

  9. Lefse to our family is also potato-less. What most folks call lefse we call potato cakes. My grandma is rapidly becoming confused, but this is the recipe she wrote while she was still more coherent:
    6 c. flour
    5 T. shortening
    1/3 c. sugar
    1/2 t. salt
    Add 2 c. boiling water and mix into other ingredients.
    Roll out thin and bake. Flip once then brush with beaten egg mixed with 1/4 c. milk.
    Smeared with butter and sugar and folded into rectangles. I understand that they became very hard and had to be soaked in hot water before being folded, but there’s no recipe info to this regard. My father remembers his great grandmother saying that potato free lefse was prepared because it would keep much much longer, (preservation value). I just know that it tastes damn good.
    Hope this helps,
    let me know
    Devin Twedt, grandson of Mae and Mark Twedt of Woden Iowa

  10. Hello! My grandmother was from Oslo, Norway and my grandfather was from Sweden. We also have a Potato-less Lefse we have enjoyed for many years. When my Great Aunt (grandmother’s older sister) made this in later years (she was in her early 90″s), my Aunt got with her on 3 separate occasions and measured the ingredients. For example, she took the “pinch” and measured it out before she put it in the bowl…what fun! She then averaged out the ingredient and came up with a written recipe.

    I had a “1 Tablespoon” written down but was missing the ingredient! I see that it is suppose to be sugar. When I read about the potatoes in the recipes, I started to think that I was missing a main ingredient! But I’m not.

    6 cups flour (start with 5 Cups and add up to 6, if needed)
    1 T – sugar
    3/4 C Crisco
    4 1/4 C boiling Water

    Pour hot water over Crisco a little at a time and mix. Let cool. Add some flour and the sugar and mix with hands. Continue this until all flour has been added. Roll out into a “roll” cut. Take the pieces and roll into circles. Dry them out on a hot griddle. Set aside and put in between towels. This will keep them from getting hard. We were always able to eat them the same day they were made them!

    2/3 C Milk – Canned, Whole or Buttermilk
    1 beaten Egg
    Salt – I’m guessing a pinch

    Make the above mixture and brush on top of each Lefse. I have written down brush on with fingers…your choice! Cook on a griddle at 500 degrees F until brown on both sides.

    Once they are cooked and cooled they can be eaten or stored. When they are ready to be eaten, we added butter and white sugar to the top. The Lefse is then cut into 4 sections (for bite size pieces) and rolled up and enjoyed!

    Our Great Aunt was the only one that every made the recipe and only at Christmas. One day several of us realized this and set out to get the family recipes. We also got recipes for Kringle and Komle (my personal favorite).


  11. WOW! Thanks Carol and Devin and everyone. I am so glad I made this mistake so I could stand corrected and get all these recipes. Very cool, Carol, that your family got this recipe before it was lost!

    Thanks for posting your comment!

  12. i also grew up in central iowa(roland) and potatoe-less lefsa was called “hardanger lefsa”…it is stored hard and has to be wet with damp dish towels to soften it up so it can be eaten with potatoes and fisn rolled inside called a “beata”

  13. Interesting! I can see why they’d do it this way back in the days of no fridges. 🙂

  14. I was in Norway last summer and was very shocked to learn that no one that we visited knew lefsa as I did. Everywhere we went, we had a mid morning break of coffee (strong) and their version of lefsa. Something that I would compare to a coffee cake but more bland. These relatives will be here in a week and are bringing me the recipe as I have many Norwegian relatives here in the US that do not believe what true Norwegian Lefsa is in this day and age. In the grocery store in Norway you can purchase Potato Pancakes which they take home, spread with butter and sugar and roll up. Tastes exactly like our lefsa.

  15. Fascinating! I look forward to trying some “real” Norwegian lefse this summer when I’ll be there, too! I’d love for you to post your recipe here when your relatives bring it. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


  17. Yes, when I was in Norway I got to try this other kind of lefse. It was delicious…but I still prefer the kind with potato! 🙂

  18. Growing up in Minnesota, our Norwegian family made only “flour lefse with milk, flour, salt and lard (or Crisco). I’ve changed it to use margarine, which we like better. Some families made potato lefse, but as a child I got sick after eating it (Mom thought the person who made it used “green” potatoes. Can’t stomach potato lefse since then! Anyway, we’re planning to visit Norway next year, and in the food section of a travel book they refer to lefse made with potato flour. Anyone heard of that or have a recipe? Possible to just substitute potato flour for wheat flour?

  19. That’s a good question, Joan. I’ll have to ask my Norwegian relatives!

  20. An update: Tried substituting potato flour ( 2 cups potato and 1 cup wheat) in my lefse recipe. Not good! The potato flour absorbs the milk much more than the wheat, and the resulting mixture is impossible to roll out. Also, still don’t like the taste. Our flour and milk recipe is still the best!

  21. Mom’s Recipe
    From Norway

    1 1/3 cups real cream
    2 cups whole milk
    1 teaspoon salt
    1cup fine graham flour(real fine)
    about 4 cups unbleached white flour
    plus flour to knead in before rolling
    fry on one side only
    (will become stiff when dry and need to be
    moistened under warm tap water)

    • This is very similar to the one we use, but then also after it has been dried, we have a whiting process we go through and the rebake it, then put it between hot towels until all are done, then butter them, sprinkle cinnamon/sugar on them, cut them and put them in the freezer to enjoy the entire Christmas season.

  22. Thanks, Lars, for the recipe! It’s so great to learn about other people’s versions.

  23. Potatoes did not appear in the Scandinavian countries until quite late. While potatoes were in Europe as early as the 1600’s they did not hit Scandinavia until the 1800’s and then not too early in the 1800’s. It is amazing the number of potato based recipes for a vegetable so new to the country.

  24. Interesting! I had no idea the potato was introduced so late. You’re right that it is remarkable how readily it was incorporated into their diet.

  25. We are in the middle of moving and decided not to do lefsa for Thanksgiving as it seemed like too much, But with grown children and young grandchildren I decided I can pull it together and make a small batch, My grandma Nellie came from Norway when she was 6 months old,,,I am 57 and enjoy keeping this tradition alive. We normally get together and make enough just before Thanksgiving for Christmas as well. Our family originally from north central Iowa is split, some make it with riced potatos and my 92 year old mom and all of “hers” make it without…Everyone that trys it seems to love it! Thanks for your blog…I will try Lars recipe..ours is a little different but this looks good and I will use the time I am saving from looking for my recipe to MAKE it ans suprise the family!

  26. I just pulled out my Lefse recipe card that I wrote out about 25 years ago while I was being taught how to make Lefse by my husbands grandmother. She was from Nesna, Norway and came here in 1906. There are NO potatoes in her lefse. Here are the ingredients:

    2 eggs
    1 sm canned milk, add sour cream to = 1 cup
    1/2 cube of butter, melted
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 tsp soda(use slightly less)
    1/2 tsp cardamom
    1/2 tsp salt
    approx 2-1/2 cups flour

    Roll into thin rounds. She baked on a cookie sheet in a 400 oven, using a lefse stick to turn. They were stored flat in a tin, becoming crispy as they cooled. To eat, they were placed between 2 wet towels for a few hours, then spread with butter and a sugar cinamon mixture. They were left flat and covered with a 2nd lefse sheet that had been softened. They were cut into triangles to serve. I had never seen them rolled.

  27. In response to the author of “lefse recipe no potatoes” and other miscellaneous matters: Definitely is such a thing. As a matter of fact in the old days in Norway there were women who would go around to the farms and stay several days to make up winter supply of lefse. It was hard lefse (like a cracker) that could be stored for long periods of time and then reconstituted with hot or warm water. As anyone knows, even with refrigeration, potatoe lefse will last only so long (unless it’s the store bought variety with preservatives – who wants that?). Also I once read that the men who would go to sea during the fishing sea were required to provide part of their own food and would be sent off with a supply of hard lefse. I make a hard lefse of this type without potatoes during the holidays. The hard lefse always disappears before the potatoes lefse. It’s delicious.

  28. I decided to research this burning question-it’s a good thing my grandparents made sure we could all speak Norwegian-and was able to find the earliest records of cultivation of potatoes in Norway. A pastor received some seed potatoes from a Scottish acquaintance and found that they did well in his Hordaland garden.It probably took no time at all for the clever Norwegian ladies to start incorporating the new veg into all areas of cooking,notably to our delight lefse.But until the year 1758 there were No Spuds in Norway.


  29. Mormor taught me to make “Hardanger Lefsa” with wheatflour, milk, brownsugar, and egg (no potato, no lard). It’s rolled out with the corrugated rolling pin, baked in the oven and set aside in the pantry. When guests are expected, the sheets of hard lefsa are softened between damp dishtowels, spread with butter sugar and cinnamon and served with coffee!

    • Linda – my mom made lephsa without potatoes – it has sour cream – baking powder – honey or syrup – melted lard and flour.

      We roll out the dough and keep it soft between damp towels and then make a cinnamon spread with sugar & butter and put between 2 sheets. My family love it.

  30. Reading about all of these Norwegians makes me homesick for Iowa. I, too was reared with “hard” lefse. My grandma made potato cakes that taste like the potato lefse.

    • My Grandma Iola, also made lefse without potatoes and this is how my family still does it. We think it is the best and do not care for potato lefse. I remember her telling the story of her (our) ancestors immigration when we would make lefse for Christmas. They came from Norway sometime in the 1850’s. They brought with them a cow and crocks of this lefse which had been dried. They would milk the cow and rehydrate the lefse. They were strong, amazing people and I feel honored to be able to carry on this tradition with my own children.

  31. You couldn’t be more wrong. Lefse is regional. My family has always made flour lefse and consider the potato variety a mistake.

  32. I just found this thread. I’ve been looking for Hardanger Lefse for a long time. My dad is 80+ and wanting some. All my friends make potatoe lefse. This thread is so helpful. I look forward to trying some of these recipes.

    • There is a gal on YouTube that makes Hardanger Lefse and she is from Norway. Her channel is Norwegian Teacher and her name is Karin.

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