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Top 10 Hottest Peppers In The World [2023]

Hottest peppers are those whose ‘heat’ or spiciness ranges from 100,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units) and above.

Apollo pepper is likely to hold the title of hottest pepper in the world after Pepper X, followed by Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, 7 Pot Primo, Naga Viper, Ghost Pepper, etc.
But before you join the trend of gulping entire peppers, let’s look at its nature, spiciness, and after-effects, if any.

How is Spiciness Measured?

Not just pepper, but hotness or heat intensity or spiciness is measured using a scale known as the Scoville scale.

This scale assigns a numerical value to the level of heat based on the concentration of capsaicinoids in a pepper.

Capsaicin is the compound responsible for the sensation of heat in pepper and is expressed in terms of Scoville Heat Units (SHU).

Further, the more sugar solution required, the higher the heat index rating.

Pharmacist Wilbur Scoville invented this scale in 1912, which notes the amount of sugar solution required to dissolve the capsaicin extracted from the pepper until a panel of professional taste testers no longer feel the spiciness.

Top 10 Hottest Peppers in the World

Peppers are botanically fruit but culinarily used as vegetables from boiling and fermenting to stir fry that adds zing to your dish.

As easy as it may sound, the flavor differs based on the hotness of the variety of pepper used.

Let’s look at the top 10 hottest peppers in the world.

Ranking in 2023Name of PepperSHU Units
1stApollo Pepper3,000,000+
2ndPepper X2,699,603
3rdCarolina Reaper2,200,000
4thTrinidad Moruga Scorpion2,009,231
5th7 Pot Douglah1,853,936
6th7 Pot Primo1,469,000
7thTrinidad Scorpion "Butch T"1,463,700
8thNaga Viper1,382,118
9thGhost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia)1,041,427
10th7 Pot Barrackpore1,000,000

1. Apollo Pepper 

Apollo Pepper is the hottest pepper, with a Scoville rating exceeding 3 million. This chilly is not naturally occurring but a hybrid from the hottest varieties, Carolina Reaper and Pepper X.

This pepper looks like regular chilly peppers but will blow your mind and tongue with a fiery feeling after you taste it.

After Carolina and Pepper X proved themselves the world’s hottest pepper, Smokin’ Ed Currie of PuckerButt Pepper company developed this amazing pepper by crossing them.

Apollo pepper is usually orange or red in color, but you can also find green or purple-colored peppers.

This hybrid contains the sweet, fruity taste of  Pepper X and the earthiness of Carolina Reaper. Due to its extreme hotness, you should never consume it alone.

2. Pepper X

Pepper X won the title “World’s Hottest Pepper” After Carolina Reaper with the Scoville rating of 2,699,603 SHUs.

This extremely spicy pepper has a sweetness and fruity flavor along with spiciness.

Pepper X has a bright red color with a slightly elongated shape. Moreover, you can also find wrinkles on the outer surface of the pepper.

This amazingly hot chilly pepper is a Hybrid of Ghost pepper and Hawanero Pepper.

You can use Pepper X as sauces and marinades as the sweetness will add an amazing flavor to your dish. However, it’s better to use it sparingly as the hotness can last longer than you expect.

3. Carolina Reaper

The Carolina Reaper is the spiciest in the top 10 hottest peppers list, with a Scoville rating of 2.2 million SHU.

It topped the chart of hottest peppers in 2013 and 2018 (reigning).

Due to its extreme heat, the pepper is sparingly used in cooking while frequently used to make spicy hot sauce or flavorings. 

Carolina Reapers is the hybrid created by cross-breeding the Ghost pepper (Bhut Jolokia) and the Red Habanero, with the pepper size ranging from 2.5-5 cm wide and 5-7.6 cm long.
Inforgraphics with a image of Carolina Pepper in the centre with fire flames on the bottom depicting the hotness of the pepper.
There is no way to escape the after-effects of consuming Carolina Pepper.

Carolina Reaper has a fruity taste in the initial bite, but the hotness bursts immediately like molten lava on our tongue.

According to a case report, consuming a single Carolina Reaper could result in mouth burning and numbness, gradually elevating to acute headache and high blood pressure.

Moreover, the bumpy and gnarly texture of the pepper, with the tail shape at the bottom end, gives it a devilish look. 

4. Trinidad Moruga Scorpion

The Moruga Scorpion is another 2 million SHU pepper, ranking among the top 10 hottest peppers in the world. 

It has a hint of sweet fruit, but do not be heavy-handed just because someone suggests adding them to your guacamole or barbeque sauce.

Growing to approximately 2-3 inches in length, this bulbous pepper with a tapered tail has a pockmarked appearance, reddish-orangish skin, and grooves that run from the top to the bottom of the pepper.

The first bite of this pepper won’t be so bad, but the hotness keeps on building.

Further, the pepper is 240 times hotter than a Jalapeno, so your taste buds can lose the sensation for quite a long time. 

5. 7 Pot Douglah

The 7 Pot Douglah is one of the rarest hottest peppers that develops a chocolate hue different from a typical red one.

Along with the sweet fruity taste, the hint of nuttiness and earthiness adds umami with the quick blast of heat that lingers.
A bowl of freshly plucked 7 pot douglah.
The Douglah pepper, either fresh or powdered, goes well in salsa and soups.

Many confuse the pepper with Habanero, but Douglah is approximately 2 inches long, wrinkled, and measures 923,889-1,853,986 Scoville Heat Units.

You can cook it into soups and stews or make hot chili powder.

6. 7 Pot Primo

The Pot Primo pepper is a blend between Naga Morich and Trinidad 7 Pot Pepper, created by horticulturist Troy Primeaux from Louisiana in 2005.

It usually matures to a vibrant red color, though this pepper also has yellow and orange varieties.

The pungency of the pepper is quite similar to that of the Bhut Jolokia, with a slightly floral aroma. 

Moreover, 7 Pot Primo is 300 times hotter than a Jalapeno.

The seeds are rare if you are wondering about growing them at home. Even when ordering online, you’ll only receive 15 seeds per the international set guidelines.

7. Trinidad Scorpion ‘Butch T’

Further, on the list, we have the previous Guinness World Record Holder (2011) from Australia, the Trinidad Scorpion ‘Butch T.’

Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” smells and tastes extremely fruity before the spice of 1,463,700 hits. 

Someone who has swallowed the ex-hottest peppers quotes the experience as burning coal in the mouth.

The name ‘Butch T’ comes from its creator Butch Taylor, the owner of Zydeco Farms in Woodville/Crossby, Mississippi, and a hot sauce company responsible for propagating the pepper’s seeds.

Regarding appearance, Butch T inherits the scorpion-like edgy look with creases on the skin from its parent Scorpion Pepper that gradually mature from green to yellow/orange to red.

Moreover, the 1-2 inch long pepper has a short-lived fruity undertone.

8. Naga Viper

The Naga Viper is a pepper with a sweet plummy initial taste and a zesty aftertaste, originally from the UK.

Although a hybrid of the three top hottest peppers, Naga Morich, Bhut Jolokia, and Trinidad Scorpion, the pepper could only be the world’s hottest pepper (1,382,118 SHU) for a brief period in 2011. 
Naga Viper plant receiving direct sunlight place infront of  textured white wall.
You’ll not have a problem growing the Naga Viper in your home.

You may use the elongated pepper with a little long tail in hot sauce or salsa and add it to make your bibimbap to raise the spice-O-meter. 

People also seem to enjoy this pepper powder from Amazon in different recipes.

Make sure to grow the pepper in moist but not soggy soil.

9. Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia)

People believe the Indian-originated Ghost Pepper, Bhut Jolokia, is still the world’s hottest pepper. 

Many others have surpassed this bright red beauty in the race of being the hottest peppers, but it is the first pepper to rank over 1 million SHU.

This pepper is an interspecific hybrid of Capsicum chinense and Capsicum frutescens, closely related to Naga Morich.

 The Ghost Pepper has a smoky, earthy taste, a little fruity aftertaste, and a few health benefits.

An article published in 2018 states that capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin from the Ghost Peppers can exhibit anticancerous properties against adenocarcinoma.

Regardless of the bumpy texture, eye-watering and breathtaking spiciness, many netizens hopped on to the challenge of eating a Ghost Pepper. 

If you wish to grow this viral pepper, the key is to keep the soil warm between 80-90°F.

Fun Fact: These peppers are smeared on fences or incorporated in smoke bombs as a safety precaution to keep wild elephants at a distance in Northeast India.

10. 7 Pot Barrackpore

The Barrackpore is among the famous 7 Pot above 1 million SHU. 

Despite the name 7 Pot, these pepper hold a hint of bitterness and little to no fruity fragrance.

The pepper has a wrinkled surface and a bit of a tail. The elongated pod structure makes it mimic the good old Bhut Jolokia.

Also, the Barrackpore is closely linked to the 7 Pot and Trinidad Scorpion varieties and comes in white, yellow, brown, and red colors.

From Editorial Team


Now that you know some proven and certified hottest pepper, ‘Pepper X, ‘ a hybrid pepper claiming to be twice as hottest as Caroline Reaper, remains to prove the claim to date.

Further, we do not recommend trying these hottest pepper, which can invite serious complications.

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