The 15 hottest peppers in the world

Posted on Sep 22, 2022      24

Everyone’s food preferences are different: some like it sweet, some like it salty, some like it spicy, and some don’t. Lovers of searing food will be interested to know what are the spiciest peppers in the world and what happens if you try them. Before you taste them, though, it’s worth learning how to do it right: treating spicy fruits the same way you would treat bell peppers is not a good idea. Careless tasting can cause serious burns and harm your health. Hot peppers are better tried in sauces and condiments, using them in small amounts. If your body is not accustomed to extremely spicy food, it is better to try such sauces a drop at a time, keeping milk and pills in hand.

What is the Scoville Scale (SHU)?

The Scoville Scale is a scale for determining the pungency of pepper, which was developed in 1912 by the American Wilbur Scoville. He took the spice of a relatively neutral bell pepper as his point of reference. The list below contains the smallest amount of capsaicin, which makes it a safe food for everyone. You do not need to worry about safety precautions while handling it, but some peppers on this list contain such high levels that you will need gloves, masks and glasses when handling the capsaicin. It is the amount of capsaicin in a product that determines its place in the ranking and sharpness, which is measured in units of the Scoville Scale (SHU). All peppers are divided into 11 groups according to their level of hotness: the most harmless types belong to the first (zero on the scale) and the most searing types belong to the 11th (10 on the scale).

The 15 hottest peppers in the world

We thought to do 5 positions first, but then we added 10 more of the world’s spiciest peppers, resulting in a ranking of the 15 most thermonuclear peppers on the Scoville scale. Consider them below.

15. Trinidad Scorpio Cardi (980,304 SHU)

Trinidad Scorpio Cardi opens the ranking of the spiciest peppers. It is grown in plantations on the island of Trinidad. The key feature of this variety is an interesting form of fruit. The upper part of the pod resembles a crumpled Chinese lantern and the lower part resembles the tail of a scorpion. However, other varieties of this variety also have similar external characteristics - they differ from each other only in spiciness and color.

Besides culinary applications, this pepper is also used to make pepper spray and bombs. It is one of the most pungent peppers in the world.

14. Bhut Jolokia or Ghost Pepper (1,040,000 SHU)

This pepper grows primarily in northern and eastern India. The ripe peppers can be 6 to 8.5 centimeters long and 2.5 to 3 centimeters wide. Their color depends on the variety and can be red, yellow, orange and chocolate. The peculiarity of peppers is the very thin rind.

The most common use of Ghost Pepper is as a dry powder for making curries, various pickles and spicy sauces. It goes well with meat and fish. In some Indian cities, it is used for protection against wild elephants: a mixture of peppers applies to fences to scare away the animals.

The pungency of the fruit is not immediately noticeable; the first bite is when you taste the flesh of the pepper and only afterwards do you feel the burning sensation. The delayed reaction allows the use of peppers for cooking at home. This is one of the hottest peppers in the world.

13. Naga Morich (923,000 to 1,087,000 SHU)

Naga Morich is popularly known as the Snake Pepper. Its characteristics are like ghost peppers. It is also grown in India, with the largest annual crop in Bangladesh. Snake Pepper is popular in America, England and Australia, where they produce various hot sauces in large quantities. Interestingly, in Finnish stores you can find this pepper not only as part of sauces and condiments but also as an independent product.

For a long time, experts could not determine the exact spice of pepper: some fruits scored only 800,000 on the Scoville scale, while others reached a million and more. Only in 2005, with the help of a special device, was established the exact content of capsaicin in the pods of Snake pepper: the average result was 923 000 on the Scoville scale, and the maximum - 1 087 000 ECS.

The fruits are cone-shaped and slightly elongated. The pod is only 3-4 centimeters long and weighs 10 grams. The fruit smells of ripe fruit - oranges, lemons and pineapples.

In Bangladesh, the home of this variety, peppers are used not only as a component of various sauces but also rubbed on food, giving a pleasant spice to the dish. It is boiling.

12. Infinity chilli (1,067,286 SHU)

This chilli variety held the title of the hottest pepper for only two weeks. Infinity chilli was originally grown in England, but the creator did not develop a new variety. He simply tried to grow it in a greenhouse, where it would just naturally cross into other varieties. This happened with Infinity chilli.

11. 7 Pot Brain Strain (1,350,000 SHU)

This variation of 7 Pot can be recognized by its distinct citrus flavor, which intensifies with every handle, so if you cut open the pot, it will smell like you’re holding a lemon wedge up to your nose. The taste is sweet with no sourness, different from anything else, with light smoky notes.

This variation was artificially bred, or more precisely, by selective breeding, during which the specialists selected those varieties whose characteristics corresponded most to the desired result.

10. Naga Viper (1,382,118 SHU)

In 2011, the Naga Viper was voted the hotest pepper in the world, a title which it quickly gave up to the front-runner for the hotness of the peppers. Naga Viper was bred by English farmer Gerald Fowler, who mixed three different varieties.

The fruits have an elongated cone shape; the skin is wrinkled, and the color is bright red. Using this pepper provokes the release of endorphins, which makes you immediately feel happy, but the Naga Viper also burns your mouth and esophagus, and the burning can last for an hour. We’re already up to 10 of the world’s spiciest peppers and this is the tenth of them.

9. Trinidad Scorpion Butch T (1,463,700 SHU)

This pepper variety is grown on the island of Trinidad, but its creator was an American born in Mississippi, USA. The American’s name was Butch Taylor, and it was after him that the variety was named. The breeder sent the seeds of the new pepper to Neil Smith, owner of The Hippy Seed Company and founder of The Chilli Factory. Thus, the pepper became widely used in the production of sauces and various condiments for spicy food lovers.

8. Seven pot Primo (1,473,480 SHU)

The fruits have a bright orange color and bumpy skin and are shaped like lanterns. The appearance of this variety is repulsive rather than appetizing.

The 7 Pot Primo variety was artificially created by crossing several hot peppers. The influence of the Scorpio Trinidad can be seen in the shape of the pods.

7. Seven pot Douglah (1,850,000 SHU)

The 7 pot is grown on the island of Trinidad, in the southern Caribbean Sea. The name “7 pot”, which means “7 pots”, is derived from the fact that you can get seven servings of the popular local dish Callao from a single pod. Kallau is a mixture of stewed vegetables in a very spicy sauce.

This variety is hugely popular with breeders, so it is represented by many families with unique traits. For example, 7 pot peppers can have spiciness as high as 800,000 on the Scoville scale, or as high as 1,850,000 SHU as 7 Douglas pots. It is a very spicy pepper.

The fruits of the 7 pot variety have a pleasantly fruity-sweet taste with slight nutty notes. However you cannot enjoy it for long, just a few minutes after taking a bite you will feel the searing hotness. A characteristic feature of the fruit is a shiny in the sun's chocolate skin with a bumpy surface. Often this variety of pepper is called chocolate because of its color.

6. Trinidad Moruga Scorpio (1,200,000 to 2,000,000 SHU)

These peppers are shaped like flattened lanterns with a pointed end. The color is bright red; the skin is glossy, bumpy, dense. The variety in question is grown in the Moruga region, as its name might suggest. In 2012, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion was recognized as the spiciest pepper in the world, but never got its deserved place in the Guinness Book of Records.

When working with Scorpion Trinidad, Moruga always use personal protective equipment - gloves and masks. When you crack this pepper, you will feel its pungency not immediately, since at the beginning it seems sweet, but after a while it burns.

Pepper is used mainly for sauces and condiments.

5. Trinidad Scorpion Chocolate (2,000,000 SHU)

This variety of pepper differs from the other representatives of the rating with a tangible smoky flavor. The spiciness increases gradually: immediately after a bite it is practically not felt, but after a few seconds the mouth begins to literally burn. It looks like a flattened red-brown lantern.

Chocolate Trinidad Scorpio was first grown in 2007 by researcher Sarah Ragunanan. This variety is used primarily for spicy sauces and Asian dishes. It’s important to wear gloves when handling the peppers to help protect your skin from irritation. We are almost at the top 5 hotest peppers in the world and this is just the fifth of them.

4. Carolina Reaper (1,500,000 - 2,200,000 SHU)

Between 2013 and 2019, this pepper carried the title of the sharpest pepper. It was first grown by South Carolina farmer Ed Currie. The pepper is primarily used to make a variety of sauces. Lovers of searing food add it in dried form to soups and use it as a seasoning for main dishes.

The pepper is relatively small, with a wrinkled rind of bright red. Its shape resembles a crumpled lantern.

Do not use raw peppers because their high levels of capsaicin can be harmful and cause burns in the mucous membranes of the stomach and mouth.

3. Komodo Dragon (1,400,000 - 2,200,000 SHU)

The appearance of this pepper is close to the familiar bell pepper, but the Komodo Dragon differs in its smaller size and wrinkled skin. The pods do not exceed 5 centimeters. They change their color from green to bright red as they mature.

The Komodo Dragon was discovered by the British farmer Salvatore Genovese. You can buy it at an American supermarket chain, but it is still not recommended to consume peppers as a stand-alone product.

2. Dragon’s Breath (2,480,000 SHU)

This type of pepper comes from England: it was bred by a British breeder, Neil Price. The biologist’s primary task was not to get a new ingredient for making hot sauce, but to develop an improved form of capsaicin-based anesthetic that would reduce joint and back pain.

Consumption of pepper as a stand-alone food is strictly discouraged. You can burn your tongue just by touching the pulp.

Dragon’s breath looks the same as its predecessors from the island of Trinidad: small lantern-shaped fruits with wrinkled skin. The color varies from pure red to burgundy.

1. Pepper X (3,180,000 SHU) - The world’s hottest pepper

The world’s hotest pepper was bred specifically for the production of sauces and snacks. It owes its emergence to Ed Currie, who through several crosses achieved the record exorbitant amount of capsaicin.

Its taste is sweet, with fruity overtones, despite its high level of spice. Its appearance is reminiscent of Chinese lanterns with a pointed tip. The color is yellow green, and the skin is knobby and dense.

Ed Currie has refused to share the seeds of the pepper with the world, so you can only taste it in sauces produced by Ed’s PuckerButt Pepper company and Noah Chaimberg’s venture, The Heatonist, with which Currie collaborates.

Teg:   pepper  variety