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Chicken Tortilla Soup
like Max and Ermas
Ive seen the other recipes out there on the Web, but
once I tasted this soup in the restaurant, I knew what
was in it and knew those recipes were wrong! This is so
much simpler and, I guarantee, closer to the original taste.

Recipe Created By: Robbie
Serves: 8
Prep. Time: 0:20 or more

1/4 cup butter OR margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
8 oz. Velveeta process cheese food - cubed
10 oz. can Ro*Tel tomatoes and chilies
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
flour tortillas as needed, about 4 - 6
shredded Colby Jack cheese OR Mexican blend cheese as needed

Ingredients at Firehouse Pantry


-In a pot, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.
-Slowly whisk in small amounts of chicken broth at a time, then whisk in milk.
-Reduce heat to low and stir in Velveeta cubes; stir until melted.
-Stir in Ro*Tel, chicken, and spices.
-Once soup is heated through, it is ready to serve at this point. However, if you wish to make tortilla strips, it can sit over low heat while they are made. Stir the soup occasionally.
-For tortilla strips, cut tortillas into strips and deep-fry in 350 degree vegetable or peanut oil until golden, then drain on cooling racks.
-Spoon a ladleful of soup into a bowl, add a handful of shredded cheese, then spoon another ladleful of soup over cheese. Sprinkle tortilla strips over top. Repeat for remaining servings.

Notes: If you want to save a lot of time, use crumbled tortilla chips instead of tortilla strips. As a substitute for Ro*Tel, you can use 1 1/2 cups of salsa. Spiciness can be easily adjusted by using spicy Ro*Tel or salsa and/or adding cayenne pepper to the soup.

Make it a Meal: Serve with
Sweet Corn Muffins and a Taco Salad.

Other Tortilla Soup recipes on this site:

34 Visitor Comments About This Recipe
  • Fabulous recipe. I have finally perfected Max and Erma's soup! I put the can of Rotel through the food processor first. Better texture. Use Velveeta's new Hot Pepper Jack with this, it adds some kick!

  • I have tried this recipe and it is by far the BEST! The nearest Max & Ermas is 1 hour from me. I love that I can have the same great soup at home. Highly recommend this recipe.

  • When I was searching for this recipe, I kept seeing one that used cream of mushroom soup. I knew that couldn't be right. I'm so glad I found this one! My entire family loved it and it tastes like the real thing!

  • Absolutely delicious. I have a friend who makes the soup the other way, and they are very close, but I like the more natural ingredients in your soup, and it is very easy. I have actually never had Max and Erma's, but my son said it was very close....he said to make spicier and a little thinner. Thanks a lot

  • The Max and Erma's Recipe was just what I was looking for. I've used ortel before, but didn't have any so I substituted with salsa and it was amazing. Highly recommend this recipe!!

  • I absolutely LOVE it. I've been trying for a long time to find a recipe that came close to Max and Erma's and haven't found the right one until now! Thank you so much for providing an easy recipe for the delicious soup!

  • I have made this about 10 times! SOO Good! and easy!

  • this is the most fantastic soup i have ever eaten

  • I have been looking for this recipe for a long time and had tried several recipes that claimed to be just like Max and Erma's. This recipe is the closest if not exact! Thanks so much Robbie!!

  • This was great. We added a can of black beans.

  • Wife and I have been looking for a recipe like this for a while, and came across yours. Tried it last night, and it came very close to the Max & Erma's version that we are so familiar with. There was a little bit of something missing we could not place, but could not figure out what.

  • Wow , this was excellent . I made it for both adults and children and everyone was pleased . I used thick restaurant style chips and that seemed to give it a great texture . Don't skimp and use flimsy chips . I think they would get too soggy . A true favorite with family and friends.

  • This recipe is wonderful! It tastes exactly like Max & Erma's! It really is easy to make, just save yourself some work, and have everything set out and already measured before you start. You'll need to have your hands free so you can stir the soup so it doesn't burn. I will make this again, and again, and again,...

  • This recipe is perfect! It is exactly like the original, and loved by everyone I have served it to!

  • This soup is amazing! I found this site looking for Carlos O'Kelly's Chili Con Queso dip, which also rocks, and tried the soup, we love it! We just crumble tortilla chips on top. Thanks!

  • Omg I love this recipe. It tasted the same as max and erma. Thank u so so so much 4 puting it on the web. We have made this soup more then 5 times. God bless

  • I love it! My sister took me to M&E for this soup. She loved it so much I searched for the recipe and found this one. My son and daughter went with us recently to M&E (after having my soup) they both said mine was better! I did increase the 1/4 c. flour to 1/3 c. Try it, you'll love it! It is quick and easy, I started making it when my daughters friend stopped by, meaning to just have a bowl and save the rest for my Mom to try. My daughter her friend and I ate almost the whole pot! I had to make more the next day for my Mom to try and I had to copy the recipe for my daughters friend to take home. She couldn't believe that I had just made it in the short time she was there!

  • We really liked this soup recipe. It was quick, easy and tasty. I did add some garlic powder to it and used heavy cream in the place of the milk. Other than that, I made the soup as the recipe was written. I will make this soup again.

  • this recipe is awesome! I have been searching for this recipe of my favorite soup. I think I will make this soup as the "center of attention" for our annual super bowl party!

  • We loved this soup. My husband is crazy about it at Max and Erma's. Take the time to make the tortilla strips, it is worth it.

  • The flavor's not that far off, but the consistency is all wrong. I had trouble reheating it as well. Maybe I'm just not a good soup maker?

  • This is sooo good and so much like Max and Erma's. I added a little more Velveeta and a little more cumin and chili powder. Wonderful!! Thank so much Robbie!

  • I was honestly skeptic about this recipe because it seemed to easy to make. It is great!! I do not have the ability to work backwards and figure out the ingredients of a particular dish but you nailed this one. It does taste exactly like Max and Erma's chicken tortilla soup. My family and I thank you very much. It is a big hit at parties also.

  • The flavor was right, but the texture was way off. This soup was really runny, while Max & Erma's is much thicker. Maybe more roux or a different cheese?

  • its ok.. but not exactly like max and ermas. The taste is still pretty good, but still a little off.

  • This soup really tasted pretty close to the Max and Erma's Tortilla soup, but the texture was not exactly right. Real M&E Rortilla soup has a much thicker/cheesier consistency. Believe me...i worked there for 5 years. My husband and friends LOVED this soup. They have never been to M&E so they didn't know the difference. If you have had the real thing you will see that it is not the same. Since i nolonger live in a state that has M&E i am very excited to be able to make this soup in my home!

  • Sure is the recipe - I used heavy cream instead of milk. Used Med Salsa (1 cup plus some) and 1/4 cup HOT Salsa. I used the water I cooked the skinless chicken in as the broth (and add broth if needed). I used my Bullet to shred the chicken in just a couple of minutes - How easy can all that be and taste just like Max & Erma's

  • I have tried many knock off Max and Erma's tortilla soup recipes and this one tops them off! It is not as thick as Max and Erma's but it still doesn't affect the flavor. I added almost 1 1/2 tsp. of chili powder as well to make it spicier. You may also want to try adding a dollop of sour cream into your bowl for a good blend. We will definitley use this recipe again, it's fast, easy, and much cheaper than all those condensed soup recipes! Also, the Ro*Tel is not in the typical "mexican foods section" at your grocery stores, I finally found it in the canned tomatoes section. Excellent recipe!

  • This recipe was the Perfect! I loved it, and so did my kids Robbie you were right on with this soup, thanks for bringing warmth to a cold winter night it was great.

  • This is a great recipe--I made the recipe exactly as stated and used tortilla chips on top. I have tried other recipes for this on the web and until now, none of them came close. My husband said this was the best soup I have ever made at home. Thanks Robbie!

  • I made this last night and my husband went absolutely crazy over it. I've made other copycat recipes for this soup and this is by far the best and easiest I have tried. I will definitely take this to future family gatherings along with several copies of the recipe. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY TO DIE FOR!!!

  • I just made this recipe the other night and it was wonderful! My husband and I enjoyed it very much - definitely a keeper for the recipe file.

  • Very, very similar to Max & Erma's version. Just two minor differences - one, I added chopped, pre-cooked southwestern style chicken breast to the soup. It also turned out just a tad thinner than the restaraunt version - next time I might mix in enough shredded cheese to thicken it a bit. All in all, a wonderful hit and again - a keeper. Thank you so very much!

  • This is a pretty good soup and it tastes just like the one from Max and Erma's. Easy to make. I will definitely make it again.

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