The Hot Pepper List: Know Your Spice

| Last Updated: September 7, 2019 |

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One hot pepper list to rule them all…

Just like grapes grown for wine, hot peppers are incredibly complex. There are multiple varieties that come in unique shapes, flavors, and, of course, heat. It’s our goal to help you traverse this wide world of spiciness, and it all starts with the Scoville scale through which the heat is measured. Our hot pepper list brings that famous pepper scale to life in many ways.

It allows you to see the heat from mild to hot, as well as get an idea of what that heat is like via our jalapeño reference point. We show you how much hotter (or milder) a hot pepper could be from the jalapeño – a chili most everyone has tried. We find it to be a great way to bring the big numbers on the Scoville scale into perspective. 

To read more about a chili pepper, click on its name to view PepperScale’s full profile on the pepper. Use the advanced search to filter chilies by name (for instance, type “habanero” to see a list of habaneros currently covered by PepperScale.) You can also filter by region to see where chilies hail from (it’s literally around the globe.)

Scroll to the bottom of our hot pepper list to view a glossary of key terms. Note: Due to space constraints on mobile devices, we limit columns to only heat (by color), pepper name, minimum SHU, and maximum SHU. Tablets may also have some columns missing.

wdt_ID | Image Hot Pepper Min SHU Max SHU JalRP Type Origin Use Flavor
1 Mild Bell Pepper 0 0 -8,000 to -2,500 annuum Mexico Culinary Bright, Sweet
2 Mild Gypsy Pepper 0 0 -8,000 to -2,500 annuum USA Culinary Sweet, Floral
3 Mild Purple Beauty Pepper 0 0 -8,000 to -2,500 annuum South America Culinary Sweet
4 Mild Melrose Pepper 0 0 -8,000 to -2,500 annuum USA Culinary Sweet
5 Mild Carmen Pepper 0 0 -8,000 to -2,500 annuum Italy Culinary Sweet
6 Mild California Wonder Pepper 0 0 -8,000 to -2,500 annuum USA Culinary Bitter, Sweet
7 Mild Peperone di Senise 0 0 -8,000 to -2,500 annuum Italy Culinary Sweet, Nutty, Smoky
8 Mild Tangerine Dream Pepper 0 100 -8,000 to -250 annuum USA Ornamental Sweet
9 Mild Chilly Chili 1 100 -8,000 to -2 annuum USA Ornamental Neutral
10 Mild Shishito Pepper 50 200 -160 to -13 annuum Japan Culinary Sweet, Grassy, Citrusy, Smoky


Heat: Mild, Medium, Hot, or Scorching-Hot. You get the picture. We break them down by color (green, yellow, orange, red). This is the simplest way to explore our hot pepper list and get an idea of where things sit. Note – “Medium” is plenty hot here. It contains the likes of jalapeños and cayenne peppers which many with milder tastes find very spicy.

SHU: Scoville heat units. The units by which the Scoville scale is measured (read more about them here). It is the key numerical value of our (or any) hot pepper list.

Min/Max SHU: Even individual hot peppers have a range of heat, depending on where they are grown, how long they’ve matured, and even the amount of sun they’ve received. The minimum SHU is the mildest a pepper could be, the maximum SHU is the hottest possible for the variety.

JalRP: Jalapeño reference point. Our hot pepper list gives you a perspective of how hot these peppers really are by comparing them against a reference point most everyone has tried. A negative number (like -50) means the number of times the pepper is milder. A zero (0) means equal heat. Any positive numbers show the number of times that the pepper is hotter than a jalapeño.

Origin: Where the chili pepper has its roots. Try typing an origin into the search filter to see all chilies from that region.

Use: We reference the typical use case: culinary or ornamental. Note, all ornamental peppers are also edible, so consider that when exploring the list. Many, though, are not as flavorful (and often surprisingly spicy) as they are grown for looks, instead of flavor or mildness.

Flavor: Our hot pepper list breaks down the overall basic flavor of each chili pepper, using a common glossary of terms: sweet, fruity, citrusy, tropical, smoky, earthy, crisp, floral, nutty, bright, grassy, salty, peppery (as in black peppery), and tangy. This is a simplified description to give you a starting point to considering flavor. We highly recommend clicking through to our pepper profile for more detail on the overall heat and flavor profile. As the heat rises on the pepper scale, so does the capacity to taste these distinct flavor nuances beyond the intense heat, but they are still there.

Note: we do use the term “neutral” in flavor. By neutral here we mean simply a standard fresh pepper taste without any distinct flavor nuance.


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James Colglazier
James Colglazier

I like to experiment cross pollenating with jalapeno peppers. I have planted a row of hot jalapenos and then planted a row of tams about 10 – 12 inches away and another row of tams 6 – 8 inches away from the first row of tams. Result was hot, medium and mild. Great for making salsas with varying degrees of heat. What degree of SHU pepper do you think would make the most efficient hot pepper to use and would it change spacing between the rows ? Thanks !


James Colglazier
James Colglazier

Thank you very much for answering my question. I am going to try another cross pollination with a xtra hot or super hot jalapeno and planting felicity instead of tam this time and adding one more row of the mild peppers to the mix. I have read where the cross pollination could also go in the reverse and tame a hot pepper some degree.


Lee Brown
Lee Brown

I had about 4 to 5 different types of peppers growing in one small area this year. White Ghost Peppers, Tabasco Peppers, Jalapeno, Cowhorn, Dragon Cayenne and some Bell Peppers as well. I’m hoping next year that I can use the seeds from the Wite Ghost, Dragon Cayenne and the Tabasco Peppers and POSSIBLY plant them together in one small area. Hopefully to MAYBE have a MONSTEROURS little pepper with a big bite… but I can only hope. I’m going to try to put a little stress on the plants as they grow next year. I’ve heard that if the… Read more »