Brace yourselves for the spiciest chilli peppers in the world! Have you come across any of them? These monstrous peppers are guaranteed to leave an unforgettable burn once tasted. Their spiciness is measured by the Scoville Scale and indicated by Scoville Heat Units (SHU), which is a measure of the concentration of capsaicin, the active compound in chilli peppers that is responsible for spiciness.
TOP 1 Carolina Reaper
SHU: 1,569,383 – 2,200,000
The Carolina Reaper is the spiciest chilli pepper of all time, and had claimed the top spot since 2013. With wrinkled skin and small dotted protrusions, it’s fearsome looks forewarns of the impending blaze that will raze through your mouth and the rest of your digestive system. This king of peppers is not a creation of nature but is engineered by South Carolina-based Ed Currie, who is the owner of PuckerButt Pepper Co. The Carolina Reaper is the offspring of an exceptionally hot Caribbean pepper and a Pakistani pepper. Apart from being blazingly hot, it also has a sweet and fruity taste and is used to add both heat and flavour to dishes.
TOP 2 Trinidad Moruga Scorpion
Following close on the heels of the Carolina Reaper is the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, the first pepper ever to break 2 million SHU. The relatively big and wrinkly pepper is about the size of a golf ball and hails from Moruga in Trinidad and Tobago, the land of spicy peppers. The heat from the Moruga Scorpion keeps building up, so don’t ever underestimate it. Like the Carolina Reaper, it is also has a fruity flavour profile on top of the devilish heat.
TOP 3 Trinidad Scorpion Butch T
The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T is a cultivar of the Trinidad Scorpion pepper that is engineered by Butch Taylor, the owner of Zydeco Hot Sauce in Mississippi. It is smaller than the other Trinidad Scorpion varieties, and has a distinct crooked “scorpion” sting. The heat from this pepper is so searing that it can reportedly burn the hands and cause a numbing sensation for a few days, so it is advisable to don your gloves and masks when handling and cooking the pepper.
TOP 4 7 Pot Douglah
SHU: 923,000 – 1,853,396
Unlike most other chilli peppers, the 7 Pot Douglah isn’t red but is brown in colour. Because of this, it is also known as Chocolate 7 Pot or 7 Pot Brown. Native to Trinidad and Tobago and the spiciest member of the 7 pot family, it is also the best in flavour as it has a full-bodied fruity flavour. The wrinkled pepper packs many punches of heat and it is recommended that those who handle it wear at least gloves and masks.
TOP 5 7 Pot Primo
Another fiery member of the 7 pot family, the 7 Pot Primo can be distinguished from the others by its long skinny tail. It is incredibly wrinkly with bubble-like protrusions throughout its body, a nod to the fire yet to be unleashed within. This cultivar is created by renowned horticulturist Troy Primeaux from Lafayette, Louisiana and can be bought from his company Primo’s Peppers™.
TOP 6 Naga Viper
The Naga Viper is another insanely hot pepper that’s engineered by humans, in this case is chilli farmer Gerald Fowler from England. It is a cross between three ultra hot peppers: the Naga Morich, the Bhut Jolokia, and the Trinidad Scorpion. As such, it is an unstable genetic hybrid as it is impossible for the genes from all three breeds to be incorporated into the offspring. This results in peppers that don’t necessarily look like their parents. It is rather impossible to breed this on your own, thus anyone interested in getting the seeds will have to join the queue to get it from The Chilli Pepper Company, a company founded by Gerald Fowler.
TOP 7 Infinity Chili
The Infinity Chilli is a deep red, wrinkled chilli pepper much like many other chilli peppers on the list. It is engineered by UK breeder Nick Woods and it held the world record for the spiciest chilli pepper for only two weeks before it got beaten by the Naga Viper. Even touching the Infinity Chilli can leave a numbing sensation on your hands, so be sure to handle it with utmost care.
TOP 8 Spanish Naga
Also known as Gibraltar, the Spanish Naga is grown in Spain. However, it was actually engineered from Indian Naga peppers and developed in the UK. The Spanish Naga has wrinkled and knobbly skin but does not have a “tail”. It has a unique citrus-like aroma and is also sweet on top of its extreme spiciness. An interesting point about the Spanish Naga is it has to be grown indoors under hot temperature in order to produce the spicy peppers.
TOP 9 7 Pot Chili
SHU: >1,000,000 SHU
The 7 Pot Chili is another devilish pepper that originates from Trinidad and Tobago. It is also known as “7 pod”. It’s name comes from the saying that one pod of the chili is enough to spice up seven pots of stew, which is not hard to imagine given its spiciness. It is slightly smaller than some other peppers on the list, and has the wrinkly skin characteristic of all ultra spicy peppers.
TOP 10 Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper)
SHU: 800,000 – 1,001,304
The Bhut Jolokia, also known as the Ghost Pepper, is a hybrid chili pepper cultivated in Northeast India. It is bred from Capsicum chinense and Capsicum frutescens, and is a close relative of Naga Morich. It is more spicy and less sweet than the Chocolate Ghost Pepper cultivar, and is used to make some of the spiciest curries and chutneys. On top of that, it has also found its usefulness in military weapons and in warding off elephants from plantations.
Photo credits: Adrian_am13/Shutterstock, Plants With A Purpose, PepperScale, Devon Chilli Man, Chilli Seeds, Naga Viper – World’s hottest pepper Facebook page, Alibaba/Firehousechilli, nagasconnect.com, Chilli Seed Bank, Wikipedia/Asit K. ghosh Thaumaturgist
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