Recipe: Delicious traditional Norwegian dessert

You can thank my great, great grandma later.


Richard Nordby pictured in his bakery in North Minneapolis with their specialty donuts, holding up the mixture.

On 1507 West Broadway Street in Minneapolis, Minnesota, there stands the remains of a little Norwegian bakery, North Minneapolis’ first, to be exact. Its name was Nordby Bakery, after my great, great, great grandpa Hans, who immigrated from Norway in 1881. At its counter, generations of my family sat: Hans and Gustava, Richard and Martha, Irene and Hosea and the little girl helping them in the kitchen. Spoiler, that was my Nana. If the name Nordby doesn’t give it away, I come from a long line of Norwegians, ones who happen to be exquisite bakers. No need to worry, the dessert I am about to teach you requires no generational baking talent. All you need is a potato. Yes, I said potato. 

Lefse is a traditional Norwegian flatbread made from leftover mashed potatoes, but don’t be fooled– it’s a sweet tasting treat. It was a dessert my great, great grandma would make for her daughter, who then made it for my nana, who then made it for my mom, and then, you guessed it, my mom made it for me. I hope that this recipe brings you the joy and comfort it brings to me every time I have it. 


  • 1 pound potatoes (well mashed white potatoes)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups of flour
  • Butter, cinnamon, sugar (All to taste)


  1. Combine a pound of cooked, well mashed white potatoes with heavy cream and unsalted butter. It is important that the potatoes are unseasoned, so if you are using leftovers be sure to separate the batch intended for lefse. 
  2. Stir well and then place the mixture in the fridge overnight. 
  3. The next day, add flour and roll the potatoes into a dough-like consistency with a rolling pin on a parchment sheet. Roll out a medium size ball, aiming for the dimensions of a typical tortilla.  
  4. Fry on a non-stick frying pan for about 1 minute on each side, flip when lightly browned.
  5. Coat top with a thin layer of butter, and sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. The more the better. Plate and roll into a log shape. 

Tip of the week: Nothing, absolutely nothing, is as good as homemade food. Yes, you can try to buy lefse from a specialty store or a fancy restaurant, but nothing will ever compare to eating it in your grandma’s kitchen. That goes for all food, because like I said last week, food is expression, an extension of one’s soul. It is worth the extra time, not just for the taste, but for the memories. 

Happy cooking!