In order to understand sizes in the universe, scientists often compare astronomical bodies to scale to show us how tiny we are as a planet and a species. The same logic can be applied to the world’s hottests peppers, but obviously in a different sense.
For example, imagine that you are eating a jalapeno. A jalapeno is something that most folks would consider to be slightly spicy. Now imagine eating a bhut jolokia, more commonly known as ghost pepper, which was once upon a time the World’s Hottest Pepper according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
This pepper is about 100-400 times spicier than a jalapeno! Ghost peppers can literally kill you. A study in 1980 calculated that eating three pounds of the chilies could easily take the life of a 150-pound individual, according to Live Science.
Scoville heat units (SHU) – A measurement of the pungency of the heat of various chilli peppers. The higher the SHU, the spicier the pepper.
Now that we have a basic idea of what we are dealing with, here is a list of the ten hottest peppers in the world.
1. Carolina Reaper:
Sounds a little grim and ominous doesn’t it?
Well, that’s because it is officially the World’s Hottest Pepper as ranked by Guinness Records. The pepper is a cross between a ghost pepper and a red habanero. The pepper has an average SHU of over 1.5 million units, and the hottest individual pepper has been measured at a whopping 2.2 million SHUs.
This pepper is also extremely tasty, but be very very very careful if you ever plan on eating it at home.
2. Trindad Moruga Scorpion:
This pepper is native to the Moruga district of Trindad and Tobago and is actually renowned for having a tender fruit-like flavor, making it a sweet-hot combination.
Individual plants of this pepper have measured at a little over 2 million SHUs, while the average heat is about 1.2 million SHUs.
This fiery monster was superseded as the world’s hottest pepper by the Carolina Reaper in 2013, but it highly capable of bringing grown men and women to their knees with a single bite. Some people might prefer eating actual scorpions.
3. Chocolate 7-Pot:
Do not let the name deceive you, as this pepper is anything but sweet. Another pepper that is native to Trinidad (do they like anything but heat?!), the chocolate 7-pot looks remarkably similiar to a habanero, with little dimples throughout. The pepper is rated at an average of about 1.1 million SHUs on the Scoville scake, while it peaks at about 1.85 million SHUs. Do not mistake it for a normal habanero!
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4. Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper
Is it just me or do all these names induce fear in your heart (or mouth)?
This bad boy is a derivative of the Moruga Scorpion and is reported to have an average heat rating of 1.05 million SHUs, with the hottest specimen being measured at 1.46 million SHUs.
This pepper is so hot that cultivators have to wear chemical masks and body suits while cooking it! This, of course, applies to the hotter peppers as well.
5. Naga Viper:
This is a super rare pepper that was created in the United Kingdom by combining the ghost pepper, the Naga Morich, and the Moruga Scorpion. This pepper is pretty unstable, hence we can expect to see pod variation in the coming generations.
The hottest specian was measured at 1.32 million SHUs.
6. Infinity Chilli:
One of the rarest peppers on the planet, this beast is a chili pepper hybrid of the Capsicum chinense species. The name Infinity works like a charm as its extreme heat is certain to stick with an unfortunate consumer for a long, long, long time.
The average specimen is measured at a little over 1 million SHUs, while the hottest specimen was measured at 1.25 million SHUs.
7. Naga Bhut Jolokia:
A species of pepper that is native to India, it was the first pepper to scientifically measure over 1 million SHUs and is a former world record holder. It is probably the most famous hot pepper in the world and is over 400 times hotter than tabasco sauce.
8. 7 Pod Barrackpore:
Another lovely gift from Trindad to the world, this little ball of fire is one of the hottest 7 Pod peppers in the world. It is called 7 Pod because it is said that one good pod is enough to prepare 7 pots of hot food.
This pepper has an average heat rating of about 1 million SHUs.
9. 7 Red Pot Giant:
One of the milder peppers to come out of the Caribbean, the pungency of this super rare pepper is similiar to that of the Naga Morich and the Bhut Jolokia. The name Giant is apt as it is one of the larger peppers you are ever going to see.
It has an average heat rating of about 0.8 million SHUs, while the hottest specimen has been measured at around 1 million SHUs.
10. Red Savina Habanero:
This former holder of the title of the World’s Hottest Pepper still packs a significant punch despite having been surpassed by hybrids.
The Red Savina measures at an average of 0.5 million SHUs, with the hottest specimen reported to be around 0.6 million SHUs. According to RedSavina.com, 1 gram of this pepper can cause detectable heat in 1,272 pounds of sauce.