It's been way too long since we updated our article about the hottest peppers in the world.
Sorry about that!
The hottest peppers are always changing, but here's a pretty updated list.
And, as I was planning this article update, I started thinking about where these spicy chillies call home.
I could have just listed these peppers by heat level, but I wanted to give you something a little different.
Let's focus on where these nuclear hots originate.
During my research, I pulled up five different countries that have peppers rating at over 1 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU) or more.
Can you guess where they come from? (No cheating, don't scroll down yet! 😉 )
And you know what?
The ghost pepper (Bhut Jolokia) is the least spicy of them all!
Browse by Country: For your convenience, click the links below to jump to the location right away.
Scoville Scale Cheat Sheet
Before we get right into it, I want to give you some background information about the Scoville heat chart.
The Scoville Scale, created in 1912 by Wilbur Scoville, measures the heat level in chile peppers. It's one of the most widely used measurements to this day.
When you see a Scoville rating for a pepper, it's written in "Scoville Heat Units" or "SHU." This also gives you an idea about the chile's capsaicin concentration.
Ultimately, the higher the SHU rating, the hotter the pepper is.
The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T is quite hot at 1,463,700.
So how did this nuclear pepper come to be?
The story is particularly interesting given how well traveled it is and the number of people involved. (Peppers by Mail has a detailed article about it.)
It started when Butch Taylor of Zydeco Hot Sauce in Woodville/Crosby Mississippi gave the pepper seeds to Neil Smith of The Hippy Seed Company in Australia.
After a couple of years, Neil passed seeds on to Marcel de Wit of The Chillli Factory.
Heat levels were tested and the 2011 Guinness World Record holder was born!
As you've probably guessed, the "Trinidad Scorpion Butch T" is named after Butch Taylor who initially provided the seeds.
Video Of Trinidad Scorpion Butch T At The Chilli Factory...
The Bhut Jolokia, or Ghost Pepper, is one of the most well-known chillies that rates at over 1 million SHU at 1,041,427.
Other names for this pepper include:
- Red Naga
- Naga Jolokia
- Ghost Molokai
It's cultivated from the Indian states of Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
From 2007 to 2011, this pepper held a Guinness World Records title. Many still mistakenly believe that the Bhut Jolokia is the hottest pepper in the world.
In it's native land, the Ghost Pepper is eaten in the summer to beat the high heat.
And how do you keep wild elephants at bay? (Sounds like the beginning of a joke, doesn't it?)
Use Bhut Jolokia peppers!
At least that's what they do in Northeastern India. Specifically, they'll smear these chillies on fences.
A list of the hottest peppers where the Ghost Pepper is the least spicy!
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion was created by Wahid Ogeer in the district of Moruga in Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2012, New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute performed heat tests and found that the Moruga broke the 2 million mark on the Scoville scale at 2,009,231. (This is the highest recorded SHU rating for these individual plants.)
I was lucky enough to have someone gift me Trinidad Moruga Scorpion seeds and I grew these delicious chillies out...
Trinidad and Tobago is also home to other nuclear hots, such as the 7 Pot/Pod Douglah, 7 Pot Barrackpore and 7 Pod Chaguanas.
The Komodo Dragon pepper, grown by Salvatore Genovese, ranks at 1,400,000 SHU.
Salvatore grows the Komodo Dragon and many other peppers on his family farm in Blunham, Bedforshire. In fact, he's one of the largest producers of commercially-grown chillies in the UK.
So if you happen to live in the UK or Europe, you have the good fortune of being able to buy Komodo Dragon peppers in Tesco markets.
This chile is reported to have a hot, fruitiness with a 10-second delay before the heat kicks in and fills your mouth.
(I don't have a picture of this chile, but I'm working on getting one!)
USA (Location of 2017's Hottest Pepper In The World)
Last, but certainly not least, we have the Carolina Reaper ranking at 2,200,000 SHU. (This is the hottest rating for the individual plant.)
As of 2017, the Carolina Reaper is the world's hottest pepper. The Guinness World Records officially recognized it as such in 2013.
This chile, which used to be called "HP22B," was developed in South Carolina by "Smokin" Ed Currie.
Take a look at the tails on these peppers!
This distinct "Reaper" tail is thanks to a cross between the Pakistani Naga and a Red Habanero.
It's hard to imagine what over 2 million SHU tastes like but...
Here's a quote from Ed's PuckerButt Pepper Company page that describes one person's experience:
Smokin’ Ed gained the pepper industry’s attention in November 2011 when an NPR Reporter stopped by to eat an HP22B pepper–now known as Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper®. The reporter ate a small piece of the pepper, rolled around on the floor, hallucinated and then shared his experiences with the national media.
Smokin' Ed Describes What It's Like to Eat A Carolina Reaper
We hope you enjoyed this tour of the hottest peppers in the world. Have you tried any of them? Leave your thoughts below.
And for those of you looking to grow some of the hottest peppers in the world (or any chile that strikes your fancy)... Make sure to check out the updated and expanded Pepper Seed Starting Guide for complete, how-to steps on all indoor growing phases, from germinating your seeds to getting your seedlings to the point where they can safely go outside… I personally use this resource to start my abundant pepper garden each season, and I’m always here to answer questions!