A moving title if there ever was one.
The title for the hottest pepper is something that’s challenged more often than you may expect. Every year, hot pepper cultivators find a new mix of hybrid, soil, and temperature to create peppers that will combat for the top position, if not beat it. The competition is fierce. There can be only one in terms of the Guinness Book of World Records, though, and the title changed hands in late 2013.
The current Guinness world record holder
A close runner up…
The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is right on the tail of the Reaper. Sporting an equally killer name, the pepper is from Trinidad and Tobago and gets its moniker from its scorpion like “tail” that looks like the stinger of, you guessed it, a scorpion. How hot is it? Very hot. Say 1,200,000 to 2,009,231 SHU. That top range hits the level of low-grade pepper sprays.
And yes you can still buy the seeds, hot sauces and other goods made with the Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, or other hot peppers listed below, so if you want to challenge your senses, go for it! But do us a favor and read the A word of caution section before blowing out your tastebuds for a few days.
Video: Eating a Trinidad Moruga Scorpion
A word of caution.
Let the names of these peppers – Scorpion and Reaper – be a warning. These peppers are nasty hot. In fact, cultivators typically don body suits and masks just to cook with the things, and still they report affects like numbness to their hands. These are seriously hot peppers that you definitely need to respect for your own safety.
- 7 Pot Douglah (923,889 – 1,853,936 SHU)
- Butch T Scorpion (top rated at 1,463,700 SHU)
- Naga Viper (top rated at 1,349,000 SHU)
- Chocolate Bhut Jolokia (1,000,000+ SHU)
- Bhut Jolokia (The famous ghost pepper, 855,000- 1,041,427 SHU)
The Bhut Jolokia, especially, has taken on a world of its own in popularity, with lots of pepper eating dares, tastings, hot sauces, and recipes forming around it. It carries the name ghost pepper — a direct translation from its Indian name –and it’s really fitting. You definitely see the ghost when eating it as it can be over a million SHU on the pepper scale.
The ghost pepper held the Guinness title for hottest chili pepper in 2007, so it has gotten a lot of fame over the years. In fact, some of its non-culinary uses have given it notoriety. Residents of India use the ghost pepper as a way to keep wild elephants away. They incorporate it into smoke bombs and even smear the pepper onto fences. Those elephants definitely don’t want to tangle with this pepper, but you can if you like!