• Yield: Makes about 2 dozen

This recipe is shared by my associate Amy Rea's dad, Ernie Crippen of Tenstrike, Minnesota. Lefse is a big thing here in Minnesota. Little thin potato pancakes are done on a flat griddle and served with butter, sugar and cinnamon. You roll them up like a cigar and eat them warm.


Mr. Crippen's are standouts, so good with lots of potato flavor and tender (that butter and cream really do their work). He's 84 years old and has been making lefse for over 20 years. Amy's grandma used to make the lefse. When she died in 1984, Ernie took over. This recipe originated in a 1940 Scandinavian cookbook.



  • 5 large baking potatoes (Russets or Idaho's)

  • 1/2 cup sweet cream

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • Flour (use 1/2 cup flour to each cup of mashed potatoes)




1. Boil potatoes, mash very fine and add cream, butter and salt. Beat until light and let cool.


2. Add flour. Take piece of dough the size of a large egg, and roll as for piecrust, rolling as thin as possible.


3. Bake on top of stove, or on a pancake griddle, until a light brown, turning frequently to prevent scorching. Use moderate heat. When baked, place between clean cloths to keep them from becoming dry.


Ernie's Tips for Preparing Lefse:

  • Follow the recipe closely.

  • To roll out the lefse, use a pastry cloth and a rolling pin cover. Flour the pastry cloth and rolling pin cover often and well.

  • Use a generous amount of flour to roll out the lefse on.

  • Start with a ball of dough about the size of a large egg. Roll it out very thin.

  • Use a lefse spatula to move the dough onto the grill (a long, thin, flat stick similar to a yardstick).

  • We use a Heritage lefse grill with a cooking temperature set at about 450 degree F. Cooking at a lower temperature will tend to dry the lefse edges. When brown spots appear on the side of the lefse, turn over and cook until brown spots appear on the second side.

  • After each cooked lefse is removed from the grill, wipe the griddle surface with a dry cloth to remove any flour, which will burn and cause the next lefse to have a bitter taste.

  • After baking, place the lefse between two towels to keep them warm.

  • When cooled and wrapped well, lefse freezes very well. Thaw and reheat frozen lefse before serving.


Copyright 2006 by Ernie Crippen

Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.