The Hottest Peppers in the World

The world's hottest peppers are measured using the Scoville scale.

The Scoville Scale is used to measure the spiciness of peppers. The name was derived from the founder, Wilbur Scoville, a renowned American Pharmacist. The pungency of peppers varies greatly depending on the species of the crop, but some of the other determining factors include climate (humidity and temperature), soil composition, the amount, and type of fertilizer used among a few other factors. Below is a list of the world's hottest peppers.

10. 0 Scoville units - Bell pepper

#10 0 Scoville units - Bell pepper

The bell pepper, also called the sweet pepper, does not register at all on the Scoville scale. They come in many colors such as red, yellow, orange, green, chocolate/brown, vanilla/white, and purple. The bell pepper does not produce capsaicin, and therefore measures as 0 on the Scoville scale.

9. 100 - 1,000 Scoville units - Banana pepper, Cubanelle, paprika

Yellow peppers receive mild ratings on the Scoville scale.

The banana pepper is a mild type of chilli that is sometimes referred to as yellow wax pepper or banana chilli. They occur as bright yellow, green or red in colour. The banana pepper is mild, measuring between 0–500 Scoville units.

The Cubanelle pepper (Italian frying pepper/Cuban pepper) is a sweet pepper variety that is yellow-greenish when unripe and bright red at maturity. It is used in Cuba, Italy, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The cubannele measures around 1000 on the Scoville scale.

Paprika is a mixture of peppers from the Capsicum annuum species. The bigger milder varieties are used for this powder, but some people opt to mix with hotter peppers like the cayenne and chilli peppers.

8. 1,000 - 3,500 Scoville units - Anaheim pepper, Pasilla pepper, Peppadew

#8 1,000 - 3,500 Scoville units - Anaheim pepper, Pasilla pepper, Peppadew

The Anaheim pepper is a cultivar of ‘New Mexico No. 9'. They are named after the Anaheim city in California. Its heat level varies from 500 to 2,500 on the Scoville scale, much lower than its cultivars that are grown in New Mexico.

The pasilla chile is the result of dried chilaca. It gets its name from its dark wrinkly appearance when dry. This member of the species Capsicum annuum, is a mild pepper that rates 1,000–3,999 SHU.

Peppadew is a brand representing peppers of the cultivar Capsicum baccatum discovered in South Africa in 1993. This mild pepper that resembles tomatoes has a heat level of 1,177SHU.

7. 3,500 - 10,000 Scoville units - Guajillo pepper, Fresno Chili pepper, Jalapeno

Dried guajillo peppers.

The Guajillo pepper, a member of the Capsicum annuum species is commonly used in Mexico. Its pungency rating of between 2,500 to 5,000 is considered mild.

"Fresno chili" pepper is another cultivar of the Capsicum annuum. It is a Mexican chilli, grows tip up. It has a Scoville rate of between 2,500 to 5,000 SHU.

The Jalapeno pepper is acultivar of the Capsicum annuum species. The pepper varies in heat rates depending on the cultivar. The highest cultivar is the Chiltepín that goes up to 462,884 SHU

6. 10,000 - 30,000 Scoville units - Byadgi chilli, Serrano pepper, Peter pepper

The Byadgi Chilli.

The Byadgi Chilli is a pepper variety mainly grown in Karnataka, India. It scores between 30,000 to 50,000 SHU on the Scoville test.

Serrano pepper, of the species Capsicum annuum, originated from Mexico. Its Scoville rating is 10,000 to 23,000. The pepper is consumed raw.

Another member of the Capsicum annuum species is the Peter pepper. This chilli whose origin is not known occurs in red and yellow varieties. It has a scoville rating of 10,000-23,000 units.

5. 30,000 - 50,000 Scoville units - Guntur chilli, Cayenne pepper, Tabasco pepper

Dried Gunter chilli peppers.

The Guntur chilli is from the Capsicum chinense species. It is widely grown in the Guntur district of India. It measures between 30,000-350,000 SHU.

Cayenne pepper has many names including Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper, red hot chili pepper, aleva, bird pepper and red pepper. It is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum grown in temperate, tropical areas. Cayenne t measures between 30,000-350,000 SHU.

The Tabasco pepper is of the Capsicum frutescens species and it originates from Mexico.It’s heat ranges from 30,000 to 50,000 SHU. It is commonly used in Tabasco Sauce.

4. 50,000 - 100,000 Scoville units - Malagueta pepper, Chiletepin pepper, Piri piri

Malagueta peppers growing on a bush.

The Malagueta pepper is of the species Capsicum frutescens. Mainly found in Mozambique, Brazil, and Portugal, it has a rate of 60,000 to 100,000 Scoville units.

The Chiletepin pepper (Capsicum annuumspecies) originates from North and South America. The pepper measures between 50,000 and 100,000 Scoville units.

Piri piri is also called pili pili or African bird's eye chili and is a cultivar of Capsicum chinense and widely available in Africa. Some varieties of Pili Pili measure upto 175,000 Scoville units.


3. 100,000 - 350,000 Scoville units - Habanero chili, Bird's eye chili, Scotch bonnet pepper

Scotch bonnet peppers from the Gambia, West Africa.

Habanero chillis are very hot with a Scoville scale of between 100,000–350,000. They are green when unripe, and turn red with maturity. The crop originated from Amazon but spread to Mexico where it became very popular.

The bird's eye chili has several names including bird's chili, chile de arbol, or Thai chili. It is a cultivar of the Capsicum annuum species and is commonly found in Ethiopia and parts of South East Asia. It measures 100,000–225,000 SHU on the Scovillescale.

The scotch bonnet pepper is a Jamaican pepper that goes by several other names. Its pungency is rated at 100,000–400,000 SHU.

2. 350,000 - 580,000 Scoville units - Red Savina habanero

Red Savina Habanero chilli peppers.

The Red Savina pepper is a breed of habanero chilli. It held the hottest chilli title from 1994 until 2006 when it was displaced. Frank Garcia of GNS Spices has been credited with developing this chilli. The pepper scores a high of 577,000 on the Scoville scale.

1. 855,000 - 2,480,000 Scoville units - Ghost peppers, Dragon's Breath, Infinity Chilli

The ghost pepper is among the world's hottest pepper types.

The hottest pepper in the world is called the dragon's breath. Eating the dragon's breath could kill a person, as it has been established that its consumption could lead to anaphylactic shock. This pepper was created by accident by the Welsh horticulturalist Mike Smith.

Ghost Peppers are also among the worlds hottest peppers. They are mostly grown in northeastern India and parts of neighboring Bangladesh. They measure up to 800000 – 1041427 Scovilles.

The infinity chilli, also known as the 7 pot infinity, was the hottest paper for two weeks in February 2011 at SHU 1,067,286. This chilli is a hybrid of Capsicum chinense. Nick Woods, a chilli cultivar from England, is credited for this plant.

More in Environment