Tortilla Soup WITHOUT Velvetta!

tortilla soup

Here in the midwest is a restaurant called Max n Erma’s.  They have a soup on their menu that is one of their signature soups called tortilla soup.  My son is absolutely in love with this soup!  I brought some home several times in the hopes of recreating it.   After SEVERAL miserable attempts I discovered what makes this soup so creamy and cheesy (I think) is Velvetta.

According to Wikipedia, “Velvetta is labeled in the United States as a “Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product”.

A cheese PRODUCT?  Can anyone say yum?  Just take a look at the ingredients:

Milk, water, milkfat, whey, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, sodium phosphate, contains less than 2% of salt, calcium phosphate, lactic acid, sorbic acid as a preservative, sodium alginate, sodium citrate, enzymes, apocarotenal (color), annatto (color), cheese culture

Milk and water are the TOP 2 ingredients.  Where is the cheese?  Oh, wait … the LAST ingredient says ‘Cheese Culture’ …. is that it???

Needless to say it is highly processed and I haven’t made his soup since.  I have had a very unhappy boy in my house.  So I decided one weekend to figure this soup out once and for all and put a smile back on my boys face.  And I did it!!  :)

All without VELVETTA too!!!


Tortilla Soup WITHOUT Velvetta!



  • 1/4 cup organic butter
  • 1/4 cup organic onion diced
  • 1/3 cup flour (yes all purpose, rare of me)
  • 3 cups chicken broth (organic or homemade)
  • 1 cup organic milk, warmed
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese (I used Trader Joes Organic Sharp White)
  • 4 oz organic cream cheese
  • 10 oz can Rotel diced tom with green chiles (We use HOT)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cups shredded chicken Rot chicken will give the most flavor
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and saute onion until soft (approx 4 min)
  2. Stir in your flour and whisk for 2-3 min. This will burn off any raw flour taste
  3. Slowly whisk in your chicken broth and milk. Stirring constantly, bring just to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium
  4. Add your cheddar and cream cheeses and stir until melted
  5. Stir in your Rotel and spices. Taste for salt and pepper and season accordingly
  6. Using a hand emulsifier blend soup until smooth
  7. Add chicken and heat through
  8. Spoon a small amount into a bowl, top with a little grated cheddar cheese, spoon some more soup in and top with more shredded cheese (and sour cream if you like)

Recipe Source:
I used all organic ingredients when making this recipe, and hope you do too!  🙂


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