Norway frustrated their hosts throughout a tepid first half and Joe Hart had to pull off a spectacular save to prevent Joshua King from heading the visitors in front early in the second period.
But eventually Wayne Rooney slammed home a 68th-minute winner from the penalty spot after Omar Elabdellaoui had tripped Raheem Sterling.
And Hodgson felt the introduction of substitutes Danny Welbeck and James Milner, as well as debutants Fabian Delph and Calum Chambers, could have yielded a more flattering scoreline.
"We dominated the game, played well, with some good movement but they defended well in their area," Hodgson said
"I was disappointed with the start of the second half - we didn't do anything like as well in the first 15 minutes but then we changed things and brought some different players on changed the formation and I thought we finished strongly.
"When Danny, James and Fabian came on we were aleady leading 1-0. We were playing against a team who were not making too many attempts to attack us in the first half - getting a lot of players behind the ball and they frustrated us."
England will face Switzerland in their first Euro 2016 qualifier in Basel on Monday and Hodgson says he is pleased with the amount of options at his disposal despite injury forcing Jack Colback to return to Newcastle.
"It is not always right to compare performances in the first 20-25 minutes with the last but I am happy with Danny Welbeck - I thought he was very lively when he came on," Hodgson said.
"I do think that when Sterling move into the centre he did show the full range of his dribbling ability so it's nice to now we have these options and we aren'y oing to be restricted to just one way of playing."
Key defender Gary Cahill needed ice on his right foot after coming off in the 84th minute but he is expected to be fit to face Switzerland.
"He could have completed the game, but we thought it prudent to take him off," said Hodgson.
"There shouldn't be any doubt about him playing on Monday."
Norway manager Per-Mathias Hogmo was happy with his team's performance.
"We played offensively in the second half and that pleased me against a team like England," he said.