By Sue S. on March 01, 2006
Photo by Knockaderry
Photo by Knockaderry
"In 2001 I attempted to duplicate Max & Erma's (well-known mid-west restaurant chain) chicken tortilla soup. It elicits favorable compliments every time that I serve it. Rather than prepare a time-consuming cream/milk base, I chose to use condensed soups. With the addition of the other ingredients, the end result is a tasty, spicy, flavorful southwestern soup."
Serving Size: 1 (306 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 12
"I love this! Great Duplication! You can even make it low fat!"
"My son loves Max & Erma's version of this soup! After making this he told me mine tasted better! Very easy to make, all though it does take some time. I used the fat free soups to help cut some of the calories. I also cut corn tortillas into thin strips and pan fried them in oil. Also froze the leftovers!"
"We LOVE this soup and it is soooo easy!! I substituted low fat soups for the originals and low fat Velveeta for the cheese soup. I used chicken bouillon instead of broth and sprayed the tortilla strips with cooking spray and pan fried them lightly. I've never made it the "full fat" way, but my low fat version is wonderful!!"
"yum yum YUM! Soup is an exact clone!! Yes it is VERY delicious but a bit fattening. So I altered it a bit -
Fat free soups (cream of chicken, mushroom and celery)
I skipped the chicken broth and used water / extra salsa
Totally skipped the fried tortillas :(
My substitutions made it a bit lighter and less guilty but her original clone is really the best soup I've ever made!"
"I thought this recipe was GREAT! I can't exactly remember what Max and Erma's tastes like, but either way, this soup was so good! Some things I did differently...
1) Used Picante's hot salsa
2) Left out the cilantro
3) Used regular chili powder
4) Instead of using a can of diced tomatoes and a can of green chilies, I used Rotel's 'mild diced tomatoes with green chilies'
5) I bought pre-made tortilla strips"
"Did not enjoy this recipe at all. I personally thought it left a horrible after taste in your mouth... and it didn't taste anything like Max & Erma's chicken tortilla soup. I will not be making this again. I also didn't think it was spicy at all."
"Not exactly the original, but a great version in and of itself. Very nice, especially on a cool night, and quite easy. I have prepared this a couple of times, and both times I used the Crockpot and just let it all come together over a few hours on high heat - I'm sure it'd work just as well a little longer on the low setting, but haven't tried it that way. A good easy meal."
"I made this as directed and it turned out very well. The one thing that bothered me was that it is so high in sodium with the condensed soups. I will try with low-sodium soups next time. Still, a yummy variation on this classic!"
"Very good! I left out the chile powder and used diced tomatoes with chiles. I also used dried cilantro instead of fresh. Still turned out great and tasted similar or if not the same as Max and Erma's. I cooked in the crockpot for approx 9 hours on low. Be careful, it filled my crockpot to the top! I used a dab of light sour cream to top off the soup. Husband really enjoyed as well."
"Excellent recipe....I've been making this one for about 7 years now. I've tried other recipes but this is the one we always return to. Thanks Sue for your recipe!!"
"I love this soup! I have made it for several groups of people, and they all love it."
"I've found your recipe several years ago (thank you!)....my husband likes this better than the restaurant's. To streamline things, I add a whole jar of garlicky salsa and omit the can of diced tomatoes, garlic and onion. For the tortilla strips, I tried frying them in a little oil, but I've gone to cutting them, tossing them with a little cooking spray, and placing them on a cookie sheet in the oven, stirring now and then until lightly browned. We like this because we can easily half the recipe."
"I have made this recipe several times and it is as close to the real thing as you can ask for. I usually order some fresh tortilla strips to put on top of the soup from a restaurant, it is easier and tastes better! Chili's usually will sell me a huge freshly made bag of them for around $4.00."
"Hi Sue! Thank you so much for coming up with the perfect cloned recipe. I have made it twice now and my fiance and I LOVE IT!"
"Sorry, but this isn't Max and Erma's. I ate there 2 days before making this, and althought this was good, it wasn't the same. Will try a new tortilla soup recipe because this was hard to get excited about after opening all of the cream of ____ soups."
"This recipe is a solid 5 stars!!!!I followed the directions pretty much except for the can of diced tomatoes I used diced tomatoes with green chiles, I think the brand name is "Hatch", its very similar to Rotel, and I used the whole can even though I halved the recipe. I also used a whole can of diced green chiles,7oz. Ortega diced and I was lucky enough to find the "new mexico chile powder" at my local vons market. This turned out great. I also sprinkled more new mexico chile powder on my tortilla strips immediately after removing them from the frying oil. Excellent soup!!!!!!!!!!!!"
"I've been making this recipe for a long time, and it's one of our family favorites. Sometimes I use the stovetop method, but this is also a really great recipe to prepare in the Crock Pot. I use raw diced chicken breasts instead of cooked, and just dump everything into the Crock Pot and give it a good stir. Then I set it to Low for about 8-10 hours (I use dried cilantro, but if using fresh, you'd want to add it toward the end of cooking). Very nice to come home to an already-prepared meal, especially one as yummy as this!"
"This is an excellent clone (I live 5 minutes from a Max and Erma's, so I am well versed in this soup). It was a little salty for my tastes, so next time I will probably omit the cream of mushroom, and double up on the cream of chicken soup."