Remember Raider’s of the Lost Ark where Marion is doing shots with that big guy and wins? That was me in elementary school with my friends. Yeah, it wasn’t the super spicy hot sauces I eat now, but I still felt like a badass sitting opposite my friend downing these little “shots” of hot sauce we got at the Mexican restaurant down the street.
I love hot sauces! Almost as much as hot peppers, Yucatecan food and tequila. Today we’re gonna traverse the hot sauce Scoville scale ranking 11 sauces by heat.
The Scoville Scale
You may recall from the Scoville scale for peppers that the scale is not very reliable. Pungency rating is based on peoples’ taste buds, their tolerance and if you’re like me, an ego. 😁 You can read more about my ego in that article, along with details about Wilbur Scoville, the creator of the Scoville scale, and how the scale measures spiciness.
Hot sauces are a little different. In my research, I found that not all hot sauces do Scoville testing. Some focus more on flavor, not heat. The ones that focused on their Scoville rating fell into one of three categories:
- Challenge Hot Sauces like from Hot Ones Truth or Dab at 2 million Scovilles.
- Shock Hot Sauces like CaJohns Get Bitten Black Mamba 6 at 6 million Scovilles.
- Not Really Hot Sauces like No. 9 Plutonium at 9 million Scovilles, which is an extract.
There were also some hot sauces that provided a rating based on the spicy peppers that were used in making it, like Reaper Squeezins, and not a rating based on Scoville testing.
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Hot Sauces Ranked By Heat
In this article, we’re going to journey the Scoville scale of hot sauces. From mild to nuclear to you’re gonna lose some brain cells.
1. Frank’s RedHot Scoville Rating (450 SHU)
We start with Franks RedHot with a Scoville rating of 450 SHU (Scoville Heat Unit). The “red hot” in Franks red hot is Cayenne pepper.
Although Cayenne peppers have a rating of 40,000 to 50,000 SHU, the vinegar and other ingredients probably dilute the spiciness in Frank’s hot sauce Scoville. This is one of the reasons why a Scoville rating based on the chile pepper used is not very reliable.
2. Cholula Hot Sauce Scoville (1,000 to 2,000 SHU)
Next is Cholula hot sauce with a rating of 1,000 to 2,000 SHU. The main peppers in Cholula are Chile de Arbol and Pequin pepper. Although vinegar is also used, the main flavor comes from the peppers so it isn’t as tangy as other hot sauces.
3. Sriracha Scoville Level (1,000 to 2,500 SHU)
Another hot sauce in a similar range is Sriracha. How many Scoville units is Sriracha? The Sriracha Scoville scale comes in around 1,000 to 2,500 SHU.
The spiciness comes from a chili paste made primarily from sun-dried red Jalapeno peppers grown in SoCal. 😎
4. Tabasco Hot Sauce Scoville (2,500 to 5,000 SHU)
The last two in the baby steps of hot sauce are Tabasco and Tapatio. Both the Tabasco Scoville level (Original Red) and Tapatio Scoville level fall between 2,500 and 5,000 SHU.
Although most hot sauces mentioned so far have vinegar as an ingredient, Tabasco sauce lists vinegar as its first ingredient. Maybe that’s why Tabasco tastes more tangy than spicy. At least in my opinion.
5. Bunsters Black Label Scoville (99,000 SHU)
Next is a hot sauce that’s rated at 99,000 SHU. An import from Australia, Bunsters Black Label Hot Sauce 16/10 has also been featured on Hot Ones.
This sauce doesn’t use extracts and instead gets its heat from Birds Eye and Scorpion peppers. The label doesn’t specify, but the website says the “#3 hottest chilli in the world” which means it’s the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.
6. Da Bomb Beyond Insanity Hot Sauce (135,000 SHU)
If you’re a chili head you’ve probably heard of Da’Bomb. They make several hot sauces that have been featured on Hot Ones. Da’Bomb hot sauce Scoville rating for their Insanity hot sauce is 135,000 SHU.
This is one of the hot sauces that has been lab-tested to prove their Scoville rating. It is also the first hot sauce on our list, that adds a pepper extract to increase the heat level. The first ingredients are Habanero pepper and Chipotle puree.
7. Mad Dog 357 Hot Sauce (357,000 SHU)
Mad Dog 357 is another big player in the hot sauce game. They have extracts that go up to 9 million Scovilles. Mad Dog 357 hot sauce comes in at 357,0000 SHU.
The heat comes mainly from a 3 million Scoville chile extract, but the ingredients also showed a 160,000 SHU Cayenne pepper.
I’ll be honest, I had no idea Cayenne peppers could go this high so I did a little research. I contacted Mad Dog 357 and they responded very quickly letting me know “It is a super hot Cayenne type pepper.”
cayenne pepper notes
Although I was not able to find seeds for a super hot Cayenne pepper, I did find several sources for Cayenne powders that ranged from 90,000 SHU all the way to 160,000 SHU. These powders did not include any extracts. Thanks, Mad Dog, I learned something new. 😀
8. Blair’s Mega Death Hot Sauce (550,000 SHU)
Blair’s Mega Death hot sauce starts with Habanero, Cayenne and chile Ancho peppers. Then it adds “extracts in the millions of Scoville Units” per the label, giving it a rating of 550,000 SHU. It comes in a little cardboard coffin. 💀
9. Lola’s Family Reserve Fine Hot Sauce (1,800,000+ SHU)
Lola’s Fine Hot Sauce has a line of hot sauces. Family Reserve is their hottest sauce using the hottest pepper. It starts with red Jalapenos, then Carolina Reaper, followed by Habanero. Lola’s Family Reserve hot sauce Scoville rating is 1.8 million+ SHU.
(Although the label does not specify a Scoville rating, Lola’s Fine Hot Sauce website does say 1.8 million+. I contacted them to ask if the rating was based on the Carolina Reaper or lab testing. As of this writing, I have not heard back.)
10. Hot Ones The Last Dab Sauce XXX (2,000,000+ SHU)
Hot Ones is a YouTube show hosted by Sean Evans that has expanded into producing their own hot sauces. The first ingredients are Pepper X, Chocolate Pepper X and Peach Pepper X.
Although not officially the hottest pepper in the world yet, Pepper X has been rated at over 3 million Scovilles. This Hot Ones hot sauce Scoville rating is 2 million SHU.
Have you heard? On October 9, 2023, Ed Currie announced that Pepper X is now officially the hottest pepper in the world. Over a million Scoville hotter than the Carolina Reaper, Pepper X comes in at a whopping 2.693 million Scoville SHU. Congratulations to Pepper X!
hottest hot ones hot sauce
Surprisingly, The Last Dab Sauce XXX is not the hottest Hot Ones hot sauce. That title goes to The Last Dab Apollo per the Heatonist website and the Hot Ones show. I couldn’t confirm the Scoville rating of the sauce only that it contains the Apollo pepper.
Want to try The Last Dab Apollo? Get $10 off your first $40+ order on Heatonist using our referral link.
11. CaJohns Get Bitten Black Mamba 6 Scoville (6,000,000 SHU)
CaJohns Get Bitten Black Mamba 6 hot sauce rates at 6 million Scoville units. This is the hottest hot sauce Scoville rating in my list.
The sauce is made with Chocolate Habaneros and a 6 million Scoville extract. Out of all the “health warnings” that come on the extreme super hot sauce labels, this was one of the funnier ones. 😆
Hot Sauce Scoville Chart
Here’s a summary of everything mentioned on the hot sauce Scoville scale.
|Hot Sauce||Scoville||Hot Peppers Used|
|Frank’s RedHot||450 SHU||Cayenne|
|Cholula||1,000 to 2,000 SHU||Arbol, Pequin|
|Sriracha||1,000 to 2,500 SHU||Red Jalapenos|
|Tabasco||2,500 to 5,000 SHU||Red peppers, probably Tabasco but they don’t specify.|
|Tapatio||2,500 to 5,000 SHU||Red peppers, don’t specify which ones.|
|Bunsters Black Label||99,000 SHU||Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, Birds Eye|
|Da Bomb Beyond Insanity||135,000 SHU||Habanero, Chipotle|
|Mad Dog 357 Original||357,000 SHU||Habanero, Cayenne|
|Blair’s Mega Death||550,000 SHU||Habanero, Cayenne, Chipotle|
|Lola’s Family Reserve||1,800,000 SHU||Red Jalapenos, Carolina Reaper, Habanero|
|Hot Ones Last Dab XXX||2,000,000 SHU||Pepper X, Chocolate Pepper X, Peach Pepper X|
|Hot Ones Last Dab Apollo||2,000,000+ SHU||Apollo Pepper|
|Get Bitten Black Mamba 6||6,000,000 SHU||Chocolate Habanero|
So there you have it. The hottest hot sauces on Jesse’s hot sauce Scoville scale. If you made it this far, thank you. I hope you enjoyed reading about hot sauces as much as I enjoyed eating them.
Here are three hot sauces that did not make it to the chart, but are in my regular rotation:
- Reaper Squeezins
Reaper Squeezins and Gator are both from Puckerbutt. Neither has a confirmed Scoville rating only a rating based on the pepper used in the sauce.
Haban-Guero is made by Down to Ferment. This is my current favorite habanero hot sauce. You thought I was going to say El Yucateco Habanero hot sauce didn’t you? I do have Yucatecan pride, but I also have SoCal pride and I prefer the flavor of Haban-Guero. 😋
Hot sauces are just fun, the people that make them probably have a blast making them and naming them. I have the Colon Cleanser, Ass Blaster in a little outhouse, The General’s Habanero hot sauce in a grenade which is veteran owned, Cajohns Lethal Injestion, just to name a few.
Hot sauces always make me smile. 😀
P.S. Don’t forget to check out this article on the Scoville scale for peppers to see how different chillies rank on the heat scale.