Top 10 Hottest Peppers List (2023)
Some of these superhot peppers rank over 2 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU), and all rank over 1 million SHU. (For reference, an orange Habanero goes up to 325,000 SHU, so yeah, the following list is the hottest of the hot!)
Hottest Peppers Fast Facts:
- Pepper X – 2,693,000 million SHU
- Carolina Reaper – 2.2 million SHU
- Chocolate Bhutlah – ~2 million SHU
- Trinidad Moruga Scorpion – 1.2 million to 2 million SHU
- 7 Pot Douglah – 1,853,986 SHU
- Dorset Naga – 1.5 million SHU
- 7 Pot Primo – 1,473,480 SHU
- Trinidad Scorpion Butch T – 1,463,700 SHU
- Komodo Dragon – 1,400,000 SHU
- Naga Viper – 1,382,118 SHU
1. Pepper X 2,693,000 Million SHU
Origin: South Carolina USA
Scoville: 2,693,000 Million SHU
Appearance: Greenish yellow pods
Taste Notes: Earthy, dusky flavor
Creator: “Smokin” Ed Currie, PuckerButt Pepper Company
Pepper X is officially the current hottest pepper as of October 9, 2023 [source]. The Carolina Reaper pepper averages 1.64 million SHU, and Pepper X ranks at 2.693 million SHU — that’s potentially over a million Scoville units hotter than the Carolina Reaper. Both peppers come from “Smokin” Ed Currie.
Apparently, Ed took his time releasing Pepper X because no one had taken the hottest pepper record until now. Pepper X is a result of over a decade of development.
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is pepper x for sale?
Pepper X seeds and plants aren’t available to the general public as of this writing [source]. While we all wait, you can try hot sauces containing Pepper X — our favorites are Gator Sauce and Hot Ones Last Dab XXX hot sauce (pictured).
2. Carolina Reaper, 2.2 Million SHU
Origin: South Carolina USA
Scoville: 2.2 Million SHU (Carolina Reaper Scoville average is 1,641,183 SHU)
Taste Notes: Fruity & Fiery
Creator: Ed Currie, PuckerButt Pepper Company
The Carolina Reaper was the previous record holder for the world’s hottest pepper, according to Guinness World Records. Currently, it’s still the official hottest pepper you can buy.
I grow the Carolina Reaper yearly because the depth of flavor and heat combination are outstanding. Plus, these plants are big and produce a lot of peppers, so they are definitely worth the grow!
» Read More – Carolina Reaper: Scoville, Where to Buy & Growing Guide
3. Chocolate Bhutlah ~2 Million SHU
Origin: Wisconsin USA
Scoville: ~2 Million SHU
Shape: Up to 3″long, chocolate brown, and cone-shaped
Notes: Cross between the Ghost pepper and the 7 Pot Douglah
Creator: Chad Soleski
Don’t let the “chocolate” in the name trick you — the Chocolate Bhutlah is known to be seriously, mouth-numbingly hot! I haven’t tried one yet, but I have eaten one of the contributors to the Chocolate Bhutlah (7 Pot Douglah), and that’s one of the hottest chiles I’ve ever tasted.
4. Trinidad Moruga Scorpion 1.2 to 2 Million SHU
Origin: Trinidad and Tobago
Scoville: 1.2 to 2 Million SHU
Heat: Potentially twice as hot the Bhut Jolokia (Ghost pepper)
Notes: In 2012, New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute named the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion the hottest pepper at that time.
Creator: Wahid Ogeer
Here’s one of my absolute favorite peppers! Why? The Trinidad Moruga’s fruity, hot flavor is so prevalent (almost like candy), and the fragrance makes my mouth water. Plus, you get a lot of peppers per plant, even when growing them in containers.
5. Seven Pot Douglah 1,853,986 SHU
Scoville: 1,853,986 SHU
Taste: Nutty, fiery, fruity
Notes: One of the parent plants to the Chocolate Bhutlah. A single 7 Pot Douglah is said to heat seven pots of stew.
The 7 Pot Douglah is a rich chocolate brown with a shape that is similar to an Habanero. (It’s one of the hottest peppers I’ve ever eaten.) This Douglah pepper leads with heat, so be prepared if you try one!
6. Dorset Naga 1.5 Million SHU
Origin: Developed in Dorset England
Scoville: 1,853,986 SHU
Taste: Fruity flavor and aroma
Appearance: Vibrant red pods that look similar to Ghost peppers
Notes: Derived from the Naga Morich — a very hot pepper from Bangladesh.
Creators: Joy and Michael Michaud of “Peppers by Post” and Sea Spring Seeds
Originating from Bangladesh, the Dorset Naga is an extremely hot chile developed in West Dorset. This pepper came to be after the creators — Joy and Michael Michaud — set out to offer fresh peppers and a super hot chilli that would cater to the taste buds of people who love heat (a.k.a. “chileheads”).
7. Seven Pot Primo 1,473,480 SHU
Origin: Louisiana USA
Scoville: 1,473,480 SHU
Taste: Fruity taste, floral aroma, hint of nuttiness
Appearance: Striking red with stinger-like tail
Notes: Cross between Trinidad 7 Pot and Naga Morich
Creator: Troy Primeaux, Primo’s Peppers
Nicknamed the “Primo,” this popular pepper is known for its bumpy skin, and stinger-like tail. Oh, and there’s that fiery heat! Coming in at close to 300 times hotter than a Jalapeno, the 7 Pot Primo has a floral scent and fruity taste with a hint of nuttiness.
8. Trinidad Scorpion Butch T 1,463,700 SHU
Origin: Trinidad, USA, and Australia
Scoville: 1,463,700 SHU
Taste: Super hot, sweet, and fruity (burn lasts about 20 minutes)
Notes: Previous record holder of the world’s hottest pepper in 2011
Creator: Butch Taylor of Zydeco Farms
The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T is a global, hybrid pepper that has a bulbous form, dark red skin, and stinger-like tail (like other Trinidad Scorpion chiles). Fun fact: Neil Smith from The Hippy Seed Company named the “Butch T” pepper after receiving seeds from the creator Butch Taylor in Crosby, Mississippi.
9. Komodo Dragon 1.4 Million SHU
Scoville: 1.4 SHU
Appearance: Similar to Ghost peppers
Taste: The Komodo Dragon is known for its “delayed reaction” where at first you enjoy the hot fruitiness, and after 10 seconds, the full force of its heat hits you.
Creator: Salvatore Genovese
Potentially 880 times more hot than the Jalapeno, the Komodo Dragon pepper is known for its fruity flavor — then the slow burn sneaks up on you, and it’s all heat from there. If you’re in the United Kingdom, you may have the opportunity to buy this superhot pepper at a TESCO supermarket.
10. Naga Viper 1,382,118 SHU
Scoville: 1,382,118 SHU
Appearance: Red, pendant-shaped pods with glossy skin
Taste: Florally fruity with a quick heat
Notes: Unstable cross of three peppers: Bhut Jolokia (Ghost pepper), Naga Morich, and Trinidad Scorpion. Briefly held the world’s hottest pepper title in 2011.
The Naga Viper has a fruity, floral flavor followed by a quick, intense heat (the burn doesn’t last as long as other superhots like the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T). It’s one of the most productive super hot peppers I’ve ever grown — if you decide to add the Naga Viper to your garden, be aware that it’s an unstable hybrid, and variation can happen between growing seasons.
» Want To Grow Super Hot Peppers? Check out Growing Peppers from Seed to Harvest – The Ultimate Guide
Bonus: 7 Pot Brain Strain 1.35 Million SHU
Origin: South Carolina USA
Scoville: 1.35 million SHU
Appearance: Vibrant red pods with bumpy skin that resemble a human brain
Taste: Fruity, slight smokey, intensely hot
Notes: Developed by selective breeding of the 7 pot pepper from Trinidad.
Creator: David Cappiello (known as “Cappy” on pepper forums)
Previously number 10 on our list, the 7 Pot Brain Strain is a unique looking pepper known for its explosive heat. And that’s not a surprise — cut one open, and you’ll notice a a really thick membrane where capsaicin (what makes peppers hot) lives. If you can get past the burn, you’ll enjoy a fruity and somewhat smokey flavor.
Unofficial Hottest Peppers
New superhot chilies are created all the time. It takes about eight generations of growing to create stable pepper varieties.
In fact, Ed Currie’s Pepper X is said to have been in development for over 10 years before taking the Guinness World Records title.
Here are some honorable mentions for super hot peppers with unofficial heat levels:
- Apocalypse Scorpion Pepper: Also known as “Apocalypse Pepper,” this chile was developed by the Italian Peppers Lovers’ Association [source]. The Apocalypse pepper is seriously hot at 1.4+ million SHU (like the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion), and it’s known as an ugly pepper with its warty, pocked skin.
- Dragon’s Breath: Cultivated in Wales, the Dragon’s Breath pepper is said to unofficially rank at 2.48 million SHU. (Interestingly, it was originally bred as a skin anesthetic.) Dragon’s Breath is not as hot as Pepper X, but hotter than it’s predecessor the Carolina Reaper.
- Apollo Pepper: Here’s another creation from Ed Currie that is a cross between a Carolina Reaper and Pepper X. The result? The Apollo pepper is said to rank up to 3 million SHU! It could outrank Pepper X someday.
Ghost Pepper Scoville Rating
The Ghost chile (Bhut Jolokia) isn’t one of the top 10 hottest peppers, but it deserves a mention because it’s a major record-breaker. Specifically, the Ghost pepper was one of the first hottest peppers ranked at over 1 million SHUs when it topped the scale at 1,041,427.
Where To Buy The Hottest Peppers
You’re not likely to find any of these super hot chilies in grocery stores, so here are my favorite places to buy fresh peppers online.
- Etsy (in the search field, type “fresh peppers” after entering the pepper name for best results)
- Bohica Pepper Hut
- Your local farmer’s market (you never know what you’re going to find!)
» Related: 30 Places to Buy Pepper Seeds Online
How To Eat Super Hot Peppers
You can use super hot peppers in chili, salsas, hot sauce, candy, pepper powders, add them to pots of stew, and many other spicy recipes. When you cook with the hottest peppers, they go a long way because you only need a small piece at a time.
Before you start using super hots in your recipes, it’s really important to reiterate that these chilies are intense. You need to take special care when handling them.
- Wear gloves while handling hot peppers
- Put on goggles and mask to cover your mouth and nose (not kidding)
- Use a special cutting board, grinder, and other kitchen tools for just super hot peppers so you don’t accidentally cross-contaminate other foods!
- Provide good airflow where you prepare your peppers (otherwise, move to the garage or an outdoor space — again, not kidding)
- Have dish soap and/or dairy nearby to stop burns when they happen (cuz they will)
As you eat super hot peppers, go slow and enjoy the flavor. Should things get too intense, ingest dairy such as milk and ice cream or eat carbs like chips and rice. Most of all, don’t drink water — that spreads the burn around!
Hottest Peppers FAQs
To recap, Pepper X is the official hottest pepper in the world (2023). I hope you enjoyed this hot pepper ranking and even try growing some of the 10 hottest peppers! 😀
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