Pinellas County Potato Turbate

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Reader Susan T. attended Starkey Elementary in Pinellas County, FL, in the early 1960s. Of all the school cafeteria food she ate there, one dish was a favorite: Potato Turbate. In Latin, “turbate” means to agitate. Cafeteria-hot-dish-wise, potato turbate is a stripped-down version of shepherds pie (i.e. no vegetables)– seasoned ground beef baked between layers of whipped (turbated?) potatoes. Turns out the dish is fondly remembered by lots ’50s and ’60s-era Florida school kids. “That dish is the one we get most requests for when people write in, or do menus for school reunions,” says Dolores McCoy, a longtime nutrition education specialist and menu planner for Pinellas County Schools. She says school cafeterias still serve Potato Turbate—but updated to include more vegetables. Here’s the original recipe below. (And click here for the “updated” version.)

Makes 10 servings

Meat Filling Ingredients

  • 1 lb plus 12 oz ground beef
  • 3/8-cup onions, ground
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 tsp pepper
  • 1 ¼ tsp Worchestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp granulated garlic
  • 2 ½ Tbsp. flour
  • 2 ½ Tbsp water
  • 1 cup beef stock, or ½ tsp beef extract combined with water to make 1 cup
  • 1 ¼ tsp Kitchen Bouquet (brown meat seasoning), optional

Whipped Potatoes Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 2/3 cup dehydrated potato granules
  • ¼ cup dry milk
  • 2/3 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ Tbsp butter
  • 1 ½ Tbsp butter, melted
  • Paprika to garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare beef filling: Brown beef lightly in a saute pan. Drain off and discard fat. Add onions, salt, pepper, Worchestershire sauce and garlic to pan. Cook five minutes. Mix flour and water and stir into meat. Add beef stock or beef extract combined with water. Add Kitchen Bouquet, if using. Set aside.
  3. Prepare potatoes: Heat water to boiling. Slowly add dry ingredients to hot water. Add butter. Whip at high speed to desired fluffiness ( 2 to 3 minutes.)
  4. Assemble: Layer ½ of potato mixture into pan. Cover with ground beef mixture. Top with remaining potatoes. Drizzle with butter. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 for ½ hour until lightly browned.

One thought on “Pinellas County Potato Turbate

  1. I graduated from Bogie in 1973 and Potato Turbate was one of my all time favorites. Over the years I came across the schools recipe and decided to make it……It’s just a great as I remember it and I continue making it today….Thanks for the luscious memories!!

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