Chicken Tortilla Soup - Max and Erma's Copycat

Total Time
2hrs 8mins
Prep 8 mins
Cook 2 hrs

This is an excellent copy cat recipe of the soup that is served at Max and Erma's restaurant food chain. This is my Dh's favorite soup. The cilantro is optional I make it without it. This recipe makes a lot and is wonderful as leftovers. Next time I'm going to half the recipe as it's only the two of us.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a large pot mix all soups until they appear to be somewhat smooth and well mixed.
  2. Then add the remainder of the ingredients to the salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a full boil and reducing heat to simmer for 1 hour stirring occasionally.
  3. While the soup is simmering cut the four chicken breasts in to small chunks. Cook them in a separate pan. Once the soup has simmered for an hour add the pieces of the cooked chicken to the soup. Let the soup remain on simmer for another hour. (This is a good time to see if you need to add more chili powder). Continue to stir the soup making sure nothing sits at that bottom of the pan for a long period of time.
  4. While the soup cooks the last hour, cut however many tortillas you want into thin slices. Take about 1/3 of them and throw them into the soup and allow them to cook with the soup. The remaining you can lightly fry in the oil until they are golden to place on top of the soup when it's done.
  5. Enjoy.


Most Helpful

great recipe! I am from the Chicago area, and love Max and Ermas, but hardly ever make the trip up there to have it. I made this soup for a potluck, and while I was weirded out by all of the canned soup, the end result tasted amazing!

Laura in Normal October 06, 2008

I have been ordering this soup at Max and Erma's for over 5 years, and this recipe is dead-on for the real thing! My family loves it. It freezes well, too, for a quick meal after work.

paruscin January 17, 2009

Let me start off by saying that I have worked at Max & Erma's in the past, and I used to eat this soup a lot. I no longer live in an area that has a Max & Erma's restaurant, so I just thought I would have to do without until I came across this recipe. Having tried other chicken tortilla soups since the infamous in-house recipe from M&E's, I was skeptical because I have yet to find anything even remotely close to what they serve. With this recipe I decided to just make half, so that way I wouldn't waste any ingredients. I regret doing so. This soup was so amazing. SO amazingly close to the original. YES, I agree with the others who say that there are A LOT of calories in this, and I wish there was another way other than using all the cream-of soups that the recipe calls for. If you push that aside and simply rate the recipe based on it's taste and accuracy to the restaurant soup, it's 100% in my book. I finished my entire batch by myself within a week, and now I have to make more because of how good it is. I made the recipe exactly as stated, I didn't make any crazy changes. The only thing that I did is I used pre-made tortilla strips instead of making my own. For those who say it's nothing like the original, you are clearly doing something very wrong.

baileygirl88 December 05, 2012

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