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What Are the Spiciest Peppers In The World?

Sep 1st, 2023

So, you’ve become comfortable with cooking with spicy peppers like habaneros and have even made Scotch Bonnets a part of your culinary journey. Maybe you can even munch on a peri peri or Thai bird's eye chili without batting an eye — hot peppers are your thing. 

It’s impressive, certainly, but there are peppers out there that could put even the Red Savina to shame. 

These are some of the hottest peppers in the world, with SHU measurements surpassing the one million mark and even going up from there. Legally, most places will make you sign a waiver before you can eat any one of these peppers, and some of them are as strong (if not stronger) than your average pepper spray. 

Yeah, we’re in the big leagues now, bud. 

Here are some of the world’s hottest peppers out there, starting with one that was once touted as the spiciest pepper in the world but is now lucky to be in the top 20, as least!

And, for the love of everything holy, do not touch your face when handing these.

11 of the the world’s hottest peppers

Ghost pepper (bhut jolokia)

SHU 800,000 to 1,000,000

Spiciest pepper in the world in 2007

This famous pepper is native to Northeastern India but is famous all over the world for its powerful heat. If you’re needing a comparison, it’s a hundred times hotter than the jalapeno and nearly 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce!

Trinidad 7 Pot pepper

SHU 1,000,000 to 1,200,000

Where the ghost pepper’s heat levels end, this one’s starts. Following this pepper’s rise to fame, plenty of other peppers have adopted the “7 pot pepper” suffix — meaning that one small chili is enough to spice seven full pots of stew. 

Naga Viper pepper

SHU 1,000,000 to 1,300,000

Spiciest pepper in the world in 2011

This pepper is a beautiful combination of three other delicious peppers. It has the long, slow burn of the ghost pepper, the burning heat of the Trinidad Moruga scorpion and the sweet, floral flavor of the Naga Morich.

Naga Morich (serpent’s chili)

SHU 1,000,000 to 1,500,000

Speaking of the Naga Morich, this pepper is popular for more than just its botanical flavor and powerful kick. While most of the world’s hottest peppers are genetically bred, the Naga Morich is the only naturally-occurring pepper measuring over a million on the Scoville scale!

7 Pot Douglah pepper

SHU 1,000,000 to 1,500,000

This ultra-hot chili stands out from the crowd thanks to its sweet, nutty flavor and dark brown appearance. It certainly packs quite a punch, for sure, but if you can stay sane for long enough to get past the burning, crushing heat, you’ll find that the pepper is one of the more unique out there!

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper

SHU 1,200,000 to 2,200,000

With a name like that, it’s no wonder that this pepper’s flavor has been likened to that of a scorpion’s sting. 

In fact, it’s so hot that it’s hotter and more powerful than most commercial pepper sprays! 

Komodo Dragon pepper

SHU 1,400,000 to 2,200,000

The Komodo Dragon pepper’s heat is just like that of a dragon’s breath of fire. It’s not strong at first, but slowly the heat gets hotter, spreads faster and builds up enough to feel like you could breathe flames at any second!

Carolina Reaper

SHU 1,000,000 to 2,200,000

Spiciest pepper in the world from 2013 to present

Borne from the heat-shrouded soils of South Carolina and tamed under the scorching Southern sun, the Carolina Reaper has dominated the first place stand as the world’s hottest pepper for a decade. 

In jalapeno terms, its 880 times hotter than the little green pepper we sprinkle on our nachos and even a spicy habanero is less than 25% as hot as the Reaper. Eating it raw is not medically advised — that’s how hot this little guy is. 

Dragon’s Breath

SHU 2,480,000

Though the Dragon’s Breath has a tentative SHU measurement higher than that of the Carolina Reaper, not enough testing has been done to officially evaluate its potency. Once that’s complete, this pepper may overtake the Carolina Reaper in terms of official spiciness!

Pepper X

SHU 3,018,000

Created by the PuckerButt Pepper Company (which also made the Carolina Reaper), Pepper X claims to be a whopping two times as hot as the lower-level Reapers out there. 

That’s, like, insanely hot. 

Apollo pepper

SHU 3,000,000+

Another pepper bred and cultivated by the same company that developed the Carolina Reaper, the Apollo pepper can get up to two million units higher than the Reaper, which is already pretty freaking hot. As a hybrid of both the Reaper and Pepper X, if it can withstand the tests and official certifications this pepper may be one of the spiciest the world will ever see!

So, now you know! These peppers are no joke, and don’t let your friend dare you to take a bite out of one for kicks. These tiny little fruits are some of the meanest around!

Bon Appetit (if you dare)!

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Featured photo courtesy Pixabay/laserjim74

Author of Article

Colleen Ford is a South African who now lives in Spokane, Washington. She loves to travel, camp (in warm weather) and bake.

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