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The Hottest Chilli Pepper in the World & The Secret of Its Hotness

Shipra Singh
Shipra Singh
Carolina Reaper plant

Do you know which is the hottest pepper in the world? It’s Carolina Pepper. The name may sound sweet; but the pepper can burn you down! The pepper measures more than 2 million Scoville Heat Units. On August 11, 2017, it entered the Guinness Book of World Records for being the hottest chilli pepper in the world, toppling the previous record holder – The Trinidad Scorpion.  

It’s a cross and it’s really hot!  

Carolina Pepper is a cross between: 

  • La Soufriere pepper, which is famous for being “nastily hot” from the Caribbean Island of St. Vincent 

  • Naga Viper Pepper from Pakistan  

The hottest pepper in the world is named “Carolina Reaper” because it was bred by a South Carolina breeder named Ed Currie, hence “Carolina.” The word “Reaper” is because of the shape of the pepper’s tail.  

The Winthrop University has tested the pepper and it comes at more than 2.2 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Its average is 1,641,000 SHU. 

Why is it so hot? 

The pungency of this pepper lies in the density of capsaicinoids, especially capsaicin, which is directly related to the intensity of heat and SHU scale of a chilli pepper.  

The big deception 

The name of this pepper is sweet and, in no way, proves that it is the hottest pepper in the world. The big deception lies in its taste. As you take a bite, it tastes fruity and, hold your breath, sweet!  

And then comes out the truth – the sweetness turns into “molten lava” and you are on fire!  

So, do not go by its name and the first bite. The pepper is very, very hot.  

Comparing it to other hot peppers 

Jalapeno pepper gives an average of 5000 SHU. So, now you can see how hot Carolina Pepper is. It is 175-880 times hotter.  

Ghost pepper is yet another hot pepper and was one of the original superhot ones, before Carolina came and toppled its hotness in the SHU scale. Ghost pepper gives a range of 855,000 to 1,041,427 SHU. Now you compare it with Carolina Reaper’s SHU figure and you will realize Carolina is twice as hot as Ghost! 

Carolina Reaper chilli pepper cut in half

An example of what small can do 

Carolina Reaper is small in size, as you can see in the image above. It is just 1-2 inches wide and 2-3 inches long. Mature pods show a vibrant red color. Its skin shows a bumpy texture, though a few of them can show a smoother texture.  

A unique feature of Carolina Pepper is its Scorpion-like tail, similar to that of Scorpion pepper.  

Other super hot peppers 

There is no doubt, as of now, Carolina Reaper is the hottest pepper in the world. The other peppers closely following in the heels of Carolina are: 

  • Ghost Pepper/Bhut Jolokia (this is just a few points lesser in hotness than Carolina) 

  • Tombsone Ghost Pepper 

  • Trinidad Moruga Scorpion 

  • Devil’s Tongue 

  • Yellow Brain Strain/Yellow 7 Pot 

  • Trinidad Scorpion 

  • Bhut Jolokia White 

  • Bhut Jolokia Purple 

  • White Habanero Peruvian Lightning 

  • Trinidad Scorpion Butch T  

  • Jamaican Hot Chocolate (trust us, it’s a chilli pepper, not chocolate!)  

A pepper not meant to be consumed  

Dragon’s Breath is in close competition with Carolina Reaper. In fact, a few reports state that Dragon’s Breath is the number one in hotness. It is hotter than Carolina. However, if this is true, then, according to dieticians and doctors around, this pepper is not for human consumption.  Its hotness could kill you! Its SHU figure is 2.48 million. This is almost one million units more than Carolina.  

It truly is Dragon’s breath.  

However, we stick to Carolina Pepper as the hottest pepper in the world because here we are talking about foods that we can eat, even though it’s only a single bite.  

So, if you are looking for hotness unlimited in chilli peppers, it’s Carolina Pepper for you.  

Also know about top 10 chilli varieties in India.  

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Hey! I am Shipra Singh. Did you liked this article and have suggestions to improve this article? Mail me your suggestions and feedback.

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