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The World's Hottest Peppers

Updated on December 12, 2016

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!

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

7 MILLION on the Scoville Scale -- - The Hottest Hot Sauce on the Planet

The Bhot Jolokia Claims Another Victim

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.

wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons

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 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/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 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/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 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], 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 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/de/deed.en)], 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 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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

By Sven Jansen (Selber fotografiert) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/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.

photo: http://infinitychilli.blogspot.com/

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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    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 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.

    • profile image

      TravelingRae 5 years ago

      Why do people do this to themselves?!

    • greenmind profile image
      Author

      greenmind 5 years ago

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

    • AnnaAdam LM profile image

      AnnaAdam LM 5 years ago

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

    • Leanne Chesser profile image

      Leanne Chesser 5 years ago from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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

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