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Max & Erma's Tortilla Soup Recipe
Max and Erma's Tortilla Soup
By Todd Wilbur

Recipe Type: Soup
Calories: 460
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Recipe Rating: 4.1 (13 reviews)

After years of fielding requests to clone the delicious signature soup from this 100-unit chain, I was finally able to secure a couple carry-out samples from Max & Erma's at the Cleveland airport while I was there on a media tour for my last book. Wrapped in a bundle of napkins and tucked into a carry-on bag, my samples arrived home in Vegas still warm, believe it or not, and ready for analysis. For this one you'll need to snag some white and dark fillets of chicken and get shredding on a half-pound hunk of cheese. It's all that cheddar cheese that makes this tortilla soup unique. And you'll definitely want to shred your own, since I've found that the pre-shredded stuff - while also more expensive - just doesn't melt as well in the chicken broth as cheese that's been shredded just before it goes into the pot.

Source: "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3" by Todd Wilbur

1 skinless chicken breast fillet
1 skinless chicken thigh fillet
Submitted on: 05/12/09
I did not think this was as much like M & E's soup as it should have been. 1) It wasn't thick enough. 2)It wasn't spicy enough. 3)It wasn't 'stringy' like M & E's Tortilla Soup. First, I followed the recipe. Then made these additions. I added the following ingredients to thicken, enrich, and spice up the soup. More Cornstarch, 1/4 cup Creme Fraiche for richness, and about 1 1/2 oz of Monterey Jack Cheese w/ Jalapeno. I would suggest using a processed sharp cheese for the cheddar as it is less likely to curdle. You aren't familiar with Creme Fraiche? It's a French preparation you can make at home. Use 1 cup heavy cream and 3 tablespoons plain yogurt. Let sit in a warm 100 degree oven or any place you can keep it warm for 8 hours. Then refrigerate. It will thicken as it chills. It has a slight sweet-tart flavor and will not curdle under heat (but do not boil).
Submitted on: 02/07/09
I love this recipe! I use salsa con Queso instead of grated cheese. It helps to save a couple of steps and tastes just like Max and Erma's!
Submitted on: 11/21/08
I've never tasted the real the thing but find it hard to believe it could possibly taste any better then this! My family LOVES it!!!!
Submitted on: 09/01/08
I make M&E tortilla soup and use Campbells cheddar cheese soup. It mixes in well and doesn't coagulate.
Submitted on: 08/29/08
I did not like the taste of this soup as a comparison to Max & Erma's. Nothing like it!
Submitted on: 01/11/08
I think this recipe is excellent and taste like Max & Erma's Tortilla Soup. I bought my cheddar cheese from the deli and shredded it my self and I used a wisked it in until it was melted.
Submitted on: 10/13/07
This soup was great It was almost exactly like the Max and Erma's recipe.
Submitted on: 09/28/07
Turned out sooooo good! I have never eaten their recipe, so I cannot compare, but it is good. I just put tortilla chips on top with cheese and cilantro, instead of making the chips. Also I seasoned the chicken with a dry chalula seasoning before browning in the pan.
Submitted on: 06/20/07
It is one of the best soups i ever had.
Submitted on: 04/22/07
The soup tasted very good, however it was not at all like Max & Erma's tortilla soup.
Submitted on: 04/17/07
This soup is awesome! The best soup I have ever tasted.
Submitted on: 04/09/07
This recipe is fantastic. I've been searching for years for a really great chicken tortilla soup recipe and this is definitely it.
Submitted on: 04/05/07
The soup had the taste of M&E's Tortilla Soup, but the consistancy was all wrong. The mild cheddar cheese conglomerated on the bottom of the pan, it did not incorporate within the soup.