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The World's Hottest Peppers

Updated on July 24, 2017

What Is the Hottest Pepper In the World?

What is the most painfully, brutally, insanely hot pepper in the world? You're about to find out. This article presents the top ten hottest peppers as rated by the Scoville Scale. Scoville units measure the amount of capsaicin, which is the caustic chemical that gives hot peppers their burn. A green bell pepper from the grocery store is at the bottom of the scale and is not spicy at all to most peoples' taste. At the highest end of the scale is pure capsaicin crystals, which is essentially a poison and scores a 15 million on the Scoville scale:. For a little perspective on that, army-grade pepper spray measures about three million. The peppers featured in this article are all somewhere in between, and are arranged in order of increasing intensity -- at the bottom of the list you will find the hands-down winner of the world's hottest pepper competition, as well as some brave souls who allowed themselves to be recorded as they tried to eat the little monsters. CAUTION: some of the peppers here can actually be dangerous, and idiots using hot peppers for "pranks," or to otherwise hurt unsuspecting victims have been been arrested for assault. Be careful!

Watch Him Try to Conquer the GHOST PEPPER

The 10 Hottest Peppers: The Scoville Heat Scale

The Scoville scale is a measurement of the spicy heat (or piquance) of a chili pepper. The number measures the amount of a chemical called capsaicin, which stimulates nerve endings in the skin, especially in the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, and eyes.

The scale is named after the person who created it, an American pharmacist named Wilbur Scoville. His method, devised in 1912, makes it possible to directly measure capsaicinoid content.

photo: Scott Bauer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On to the Peppers!

The 10 Hottest Peppers: The Jalapeño -- 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville Units

Chances are good you've come across this pepper and survived intact. It possesses a sharp, pungent spiciness that rarely overwhelms, though fresh-picked, the jalapeno can be pretty searing. Used in almost every part of the world as a cooking spice.

A US Marine Takes on a Ghost Pepper

The 10 Hottest Peppers: The Serrano -- 10,000 to 20,000 Scoville Units

Much like a jalapeno on steroids, the Serrano has a bitter edge to its bite -- and it can be twice as hot as a jalapeno. Found in recipes across Latin America, often as a replacement or stand-in for the jalapeno.

Forest & Kim Starr [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

What Happens When You Eat a Datil Pepper?

The 10 Hottest Peppers: The Cayenne -- 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville Units

This is the ne plus ultra pepper sauce pepper. Ubiquitous in southern dishes, especially in coastal areas like the Mississippi Delta where the conditions are right for the Cayenne to grow in profusion. Jambalaya wouldn't be the same without it! A spicy pepper for sure, but still not anywhere near the hottest on the list.

By PierreSelim (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Do NOT Touch Your Eyes

while handling hot peppers!

The 10 Hottest Peppers: The Chiltepin -- 50,000 to 100,000 Scoville Units

This little pepper is sometimes called "the Flea." One to watch out for -- one of the hottest commonly used peppers, sometimes used as a stand-in for the cayenne in cooking and sauces, it's surprisingly hot despite its innocuous appearance. My grandfather used to tell the story of munching down a handful of these in Mexico once, thinking they were capers -- not a mistake he was likely to make twice.

licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The 10 Hottest Peppers: The Rocoto -- 50,000 to 250,000 Scoville Units

A good-looking little pepper, not often encountered outside of backyard gardens.

Image taken by JoeCarrasco

The 10 Hottest Peppers: The Habanero -- 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville Units.

The 10 Hottest Peppers: The Datil -- 300,000 to 500,000 Scoville Units.

By Paullassiter (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

The 10 Hottest Peppers: The Red Savina -- 350,000 to 580,000 Scoville Units - Bred by Frank Garcia of GNS Spices in Walnut, California specifically for its hotn

By Michael Bemmerl (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0-de (], via Wikimedia Commons

The 10 Hottest Peppers: The Ghost Pepper -- 855,000 to 1,050,000 Scoville Units

By Asit K. ghosh Thaumaturgist (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

The 10 Hottest Peppers: "Chocolate" Bhut Jolokia - Isn't This a Beautiful Pepper?

By Sven Jansen (Selber fotografiert) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Are You Strong Enough?

Would you ever eat an entire ghost pepper?

See results

Are You Ready to Actually Try a Ghost Pepper Yourself?

The 10 Hottest Peppers: The Chocolate 7-Pot -- 1,000,000 to 1,800,000 Scoville Units

A very rare breed, this is called the 7 Pot because it is rumored that one pepper can add heat and flavor to 7 pots of stew.

The 10 Hottest Peppers: The Moruga Scorpion -- 500,000 to 2,000,000 Scoville Units

"It is amazing how a small pod can hold so much heat, not to mention that the nutritional profile of a chile surpasses many other fruits and vegetables. Each chile variety possesses it's own heat level, as well as a unique flavor, and the beautiful colors of the chile can rival an exotic flower" -- Jim Duffy, the man who bred the Moruga Scorpion

Red-Hot Guestbook Comments

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    • profile image

      Patrick 24 months ago are the best vegetables on the worlds :D this taste is awesome :P

    • profile image

      Stephanie 3 years ago

      - This is so exciting! Thank you Bea, Dre9, Haalo, Jen, Lara, Lynne and Patricia. I feel hoorend. By the way, some of the photos aren't showing up on the page, and a few of the links are broken, or don't go where they are intended. Just to let you know. Also, is there html for a fabulous DMBLGIT button to go on our site? From the pictures I can see, there was quite a bit of stiff competition. Thanks again!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Those chocolate ones seem to be really hot. I have never tried them at all.

    • profile image

      growhotpeppers 5 years ago

      Excellent list! A lot of people don't know that if you build your heat tolerance, you can actually start tasting the unique flavors of super hot peppers. I grew the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and was surprised to find that it actually has a subtle, sweet taste that was really good!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Mmmmm I love peppers! I have high blood pressure and cant use salt so I put them on everything to spice things up. Eating peppers gives your head a nice buzz :D

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Hot peppers are very healthy... I always had them in my garden.

      Great lens

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Hot peppers are very healthy... I always had them in my garden.

      Great lens

    • thingz1 profile image

      thingz1 5 years ago

      My husband is a big fan of hot peppers and I am slowly acquiring a taste for the heat. But ghost peppers are probably a little too hot for me to handle. Thanks for the great info.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      I love a nice hot pepper, in fact one of my favorite salsas features ghost peppers - wonderful lens! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • profile image

      GentlemenGogoVEVO 5 years ago

      with pasta and olive oil..chili..i can

    • allenwebstarme profile image

      allenwebstarme 5 years ago

      Wow what an excellent lens, wanna taste Ghost Peppers once.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I wonder if the Ghost Pepper is the same as the Goat Pepper that someone once gave me in The Bahamas. This dried crushed pepper was incredibly hot, great sprinkled lightly on steaks etc, but I know the spelling of items often gets corrupted. I love hot peppers, but over the years they probably haven't done my stomach any favors.

    • profile image

      SoundsOfBliss 5 years ago

      I never tire of you tube videos showing people eating these things. Why do they do that? I'm a great fan of spicy food so this was very entertaining. Thanks!

    • profile image

      mykolkin 5 years ago

      Ahhhh... So spicy! But I love chili soup...mmmm.....

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      Good to know what to avoid!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      Well, for a girlie-girl, I do like my things spicy ... but I'll save those hot hot hot peppers for the guys with the cast-iron stomach.

    • SecondHandJoe LM profile image

      SecondHandJoe LM 6 years ago

      I had friends come from Peru with a Chiltepin, I think, and it was the hottest thing I'd ever eaten! It burned my lips. Great job on the lens, thanks!

    • Wbisbill LM profile image

      Barbara Isbill 6 years ago from New Market Tn 37820

      Great and interesting lens. Reminds me of a pizza I once made for family. Someone had given me a pepper I did not know. chopped, it looked like red bell, but ... I wasn't very popular that day!

    • profile image

      huvalbd 6 years ago

      Beautiful photos, great to see the peppers ranked by heat. Texan by birth and half Cajun by blood, I like spicy food. I know people who use a little habanero, and I find peppers interesting, but I stop at about the cayenne level

    • profile image

      Leanne Chesser 6 years ago

      What a fun and informative lens! I love the videos!

    • AnnaAdam LM profile image

      AnnaAdam LM 6 years ago

      What i think about Peeper it gives taste to your food. And i love the aroma

    • greenmind profile image

      GreenMind 6 years ago from USA

      @TravelingRae: SUCH a good question. I just find it all really interesting.

    • profile image

      TravelingRae 6 years ago

      Why do people do this to themselves?!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 6 years ago from USA

      Cayenne pepper is about the hottest I'll go. Why would anyone want to eat these peppers :) There must be some serious pepper lovers to do it.