Norwegian Christmas Gluten Free Lefse (Potato Pancakes)
A Norwegian holiday classic, these Christmas Gluten-Free Lefse are a soft potato flatbread that are easy to make and sure to be a new holiday favorite.
When I first announced that I would be doing a Cook Around The World For Christmas series, I asked my community over on Instagram what everyones favorite traditional holiday recipes were, and I was amazed by how many people wrote to me from all over the world. In 24 hours I had over 50 recipe ideas from my community from over 25 countries around the world. That’s pretty cool!
While there are definitely a lot of things about social media (and technology in general) that I really don’t enjoy — connecting with likeminded people around the world is an amazing part of my job, and something I really appreciate about this community.
So when I sent out my request for everyones favorite traditional Christmas recipes, lefse were one of the recipes that numerous people sent me way. Before doing this series I had honestly never heard about lefse, but I am so glad that I know what they are now.
Lefse can best be described as a mix between a potato pancake and a french crepe. They are made from a thinly rolled potato dough that is lightly sweetened. I knew when I was researching lefse recipes that I wanted to try and make this traditional Norwegian holiday recipe gluten free, and I am glad I did! These lefse turned out amazing, and were able to hold together perfectly, even after rolling out super thin and then layering with butter and jam.
Today lefse are traditionally eaten in Norwegian homes during the Christmas holiday season, and are popular amoung Norwegian families here in the USA. While the lefse recipe is very simple, the trick to this traditional Norwegian food really comes down to technique. I won’t pretend that my technique is perfect (or even great) but I did get the hang of it after a few tries.
From what I researched the trick to making lefse is to make sure that the dough stays tender (which is where refrigerating the dough comes in handy). This is especially important for this gluten free version as gluten free foods tend to break apart more easily — something that you absolutely want to avoid when making lefse.
Lefse are also traditionally made using a lefse stick that is long and flat and an be used to shimmy the dough to and from the griddle you are cooking on. I didn’t have a lefse stick so instead I just rolled out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and then flipped the dough onto the griddle, slowing peeling away the top piece of parchment paper. This worked out great and would be a good option if you don’t have a lefse stick on hand.
Overall, the lefse were really easy to make and both my husband and I loved them. This was a recipe that we had never even heard of before this series and I am so glad that I now have this recipe to make in the future for friends and family.
I honestly have been feeling so humbled doing this series so far because it has really challenged me in the kitchen and has allowed me to learn more about the various food cultures of my online community here at The Well Essentials. There is so much about our various food cultures that can connect us as people, and especially during the holidays I am so excited to offer this series as a way for you all to be able to experience food cultures outside your own, and maybe learn a little bit about a new culture or food that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
norwegian christmas gluten free lefse
makes ~ 12 lefse
2 lbs russet potatoes
1/2 cup ghee (melted)
1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk (or whole milk)
3/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon raw cane sugar
2.5 cups gluten free flour (I used bob’s red mill)
Topping: 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon for topping, jam of choice
Peel potatoes and place in a large pot.
Cover with water and bring to boil. Cook potatoes until tender.
Once potatoes are slightly tender, remove from heat and discard water.
Rice potatoes using a potato ricer or a cheese grater and place in a medium size bowl.
Next, in a small sauce pan combine ghee, sugar, salt, and coconut milk.
Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally until ingredients are melted and combined.
Remove from heat and pour over riced potatoes. Mix the potatoes and liquid together until well combined.
Cover the potato dough mixture with a cloth, and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
Remove dough for refrigerator and add flour.
Mix well until a soft dough forms and then roll the dough into 12 even balls.
Next, heat a griddle or pan over medium-high heat.
Begin to roll out each ball of dough by placing the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and rolling the dough out as thin as you can using a rolling pin.
Place dough on the heated griddle and flip when small brown spots begin to form.
Remove from heat and repeat until all lefse are cooked.
Serve with a spread of butter, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar. You can also serve them with jam. Lefse are traditionally rolled or folded in half/quarters and then served.