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Top 10 Hottest Peppers in the World to Set Your Tongue Ablaze!

hottest peppers

Scale to measure the heat factor

Believe it or not, there is a standard unit for measuring levels of spiciness. That’s right, we’re talking about the Scoville Scale. Named after American pharmacologist, Wilbur Scoville, who devised the test and scale in 1912 while working at Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical, it measures the pungency of chilli peppers and other spicy foods.

The standard unit of measure is the SHU “Scoville Heat Unit” (A measure of Spiciness)

SHU is a way of quantifying how spicy a pepper is by measuring the concentration of capsaicinoids. Capsaicin is the chemical responsible for the spicy sensation within a pepper.
Well, as the only internationally recognized unit of measure, SHU has become the standard according to its formula.

Regular chilli peppers

For contextual reference, most of the household chilli peppers used in our homes for culinary purposes have SHU within the range of 2,500–10,000. A regular jalapeno has 6000 BHU to put things into perspective. If it looks like a big number to you, wait till we start with our hotlist.

Some of the spiciest peppers in the world have evolved organically, some were genetically devised somewhere in a laboratory. Either way, they will set your sinus & mucous membranes on an overdrive.

A worthy classification

Between 2007 and 2012, Guinness fielded “25 different claims to world’s hottest”. As of 2021, Guinness lists the ” Dragon’s Breath” as the hottest pepper.

Let’s, have a look at some “superhot” beauties with an exponential SHU value. The list is compiled in ascending order of their heating quotient.

The top 10 hottest peppers in the world

10. Red Savina Habanero

Peak potency – 577,000 SHU
Origin – California, United States

Back in the early years of “superhots”, the Red Savina Habanero was an undisputable number 1! It’s extremely hot, though these days it falls short of being listed as the hottest pepper in the world. It did hold the Guinness Book of World Records title until the Bhut Jolokia (the ghost pepper) came around and easily doubled its heat.

It has a perfect balance of heat and flavor.

It’s one of the only vegetables to be officially protected by the U.S. government under the Plant Variety Protection Act.

9. 7 Pot Gigantic

Peak potency – ~1,000,000 SHU
Native plant – Caribbean island state of Trinidad and Tobago

Among the hottest chilli varieties from the Caribbean, it has the fruitiest taste. If you can stand the fiery burning of this pod, you will also be pampered with a wonderfully smoky and nutty aroma.

Fresh 7 Pot Chillies are considered precious, however, they grow in abundance on the Caribbean islands. So much so that the local navy uses the high capsaicin content for painting their ships. The offset color slows down the growth of the hull with algae & keeps the boats faster & streamlined.

Named after their ability to heat 7 pots of stew and that it does! There are hundreds of varieties created from crossing this breed, coming up with some hottest peppers including 7 Pot Primo which has an honorable in the following part of this list.

It is processed into making hot sauces and chilli powder because of its great taste and blistering hotness.

8. Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T”

Peak potency – 1,463,700 SHU
Native plant – Trinidad and Tobago

The Trinidad scorpion ‘Butch T’ pepper was, for three years, ranked the most pungent (“hot”) pepper in the world according to Guinness World Records. The burn from this pepper is unlike any other but it has been surpassed by many peppers over the years.

The “scorpion” peppers are referred to as such because the pointed end of the pepper is said to resemble a scorpion’s stinger.

7. Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia)

Peak potency – 1,041,427 SHU
Native plant – Nagaland and Assam region of India and parts of Bangladesh.

The Ghost Pepper is the most famous “superhot” due to the amount of media attention, it received.

It grew to fame of the pepper heads participating in several pepper-eating challenges over social video platforms.

This is the first pepper to scientifically test over 1 million SHU. It surpassed the Red Savina Habanero to become one of the hottest peppers in the world in the yesteryears.

It has an intense sweet chilli flavor in the beginning but wait until a minute when the heat kicks in to leave you in a pool of sweat, watery eyes, hiccups, and shortness of breath.

In 2021, it is far from being the hottest pepper in the world but don’t be fooled by how low this is on the list as it can still melt your face off and leave you speechless for hours.

6. Trinidad Moruga Scorpion

Peak potency – 1,200,000 SHU
Native plant – Moruga region of Trinidad and Tobago

Native to the lands of Moruga in Trinidad and Tobago.
Paul Bosland, a chilli pepper expert and director of the Chile Pepper Institute, said, “You take a bite. It doesn’t seem so bad, and then it builds and it builds and it builds. So it is quite nasty.”

The job of picking Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers from about 100 plants requires changing latex gloves up to 4 times. Such is the blistering effect of the capsaicin that it packs.
The previous record-holder was the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T chilli pepper. The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion was the world record holder until it was defeated by the Carolina Reaper.

5. Naga Viper

Peak potency – 1,349,000 SHU
Origin – England, Britain

In 2011, it was recorded as the “World’s Hottest Chilli” by the Guinness World Records with a rating of 1,382,118 SHU.

The Naga Viper was created in England by chilli farmer Gerald Fowler. It is claimed to be an unstable three-way hybrid produced from the Naga Morich, the Bhut jolokia, and the Trinidad scorpion, which are some of the world’s hottest peppers.

4. 7 Pot Primo

Peak potency – 1,473,480 SHU
Origin – Louisiana, United States

The 7 Pot Primo is a cross between a Naga Morich and a Trinidad 7 Pot pepper. It was created by Troy Primeaux (nickname Primo).

The 7 Pot Primo is nearly 300 times hotter than the jalapeno. It is much more comparable in heat to the Carolina Reaper, which reaches up to 2.2 Million SHU.

Once you get past the intense blooming heat of this pepper, you’ll notice it offers a quite fruity taste, with a floral scent.

3. Carolina Reaper

Peak potency – 2,200,000 Million SHU
Origin – South Carolina, United States

A crossbreed between a Ghost Pepper and a Red Habanero. Developed by US breeder Ed Currie.

If you’re in New York, you don’t need to go too far to arrive at the home of the world’s spiciest pepper.

Ed created this chilli pepper plant variety by crossing a Pakistani Naga with a Red Habanero type from St Vincents Island in the West Indies.

The Carolina Reaper was certified as the world’s hottest chilli pepper by the Guinness World Records on 11 August 2017.

Despite the extremely scorching heat of this super hot pepper, the Carolina Reaper is surprisingly fruity and sweet. It is outstanding as a dried powder for adding both heat and flavor and also as a sauce or hot sauce.

Its heat is too much to handle in a raw form, so it is cooked for 30 minutes for the heat to subside. It can be put into food items, used for making hot sauces, or can be dehydrated to make chilli powders. Another way to consume it is by making a reaper jelly, which can be gazed over grilling meats.

2. Dragon’s Breath

Peak potency – 2,483,584 SHU
Native plant – Denbighshire and Nottingham, United Kingdom

Dragon’s Breath pepper claims to be even hotter than the hottest “Carolina Reaper.”
Its oil is so intense that it can numb the skin, hence, it has the potential to be used as anesthesia.

The concentrated capsaicin, found in the Dragon’s Breath can trigger the immune system to go into overdrive. Capsaicin activates the proteins found on nerve endings, and those proteins can mistake those signals as oppressive heat entering the body. This can result in internal burns and even the closing of one’s airways.

The Dragon’s Breath overtook the crown from the Carolina Reaper and is currently in the Guinness Book of Records as being one of the hottest peppers in the World.

1. Pepper X

Peak potency – 3,18,000 BHU (unconfirmed by Guinness World Records as of 2021)
Origin – South Carolina, United States

Pepper X much like “Pokemon cartoon characters” has evolved from several cross-breedings to produce a chilli with a superpotent concentration of capsaicin. It’s been crossbred by Ed Currie.
According to Currie, he started developing Pepper X as he found his favorite chilli peppers too mild and wanted to have a pepper that had more heat while retaining the flavor.

If the Guinness World Records confirms the BHU figure, it will bypass the Dragon’s Breath and will likely be the hottest culinary item ever known to mankind.


Featured pic: Photo by Nick Collins from Pexels

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Navjot Singh
I'm an independent healthcare analyst with a passion for exploring and researching overall well-being. From cutting-edge medications to time-tested traditions, I delve into various perspectives. My extensive analysis covers health, alternative treatments, nutrition, fitness, herbs, and parenting. Every write-up on Bloomposts is churned thoroughly from authentic & published mediums. My aim is to provide valuable information for those who seek it. Now, let's dive into the articles - I hope you find them enjoyable and valuable.

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