tabasco pepper

Tabasco Pepper: The American Chili Staple

Uniquely juicy and very popular…

Scoville heat units (SHU): 30,000 – 50,000
Jalapeño reference point: 4 to 20 times hotter
Origin: United States
Products and seeds: Tabasco pepper on Amazon

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last century, you’ve heard of the famous Tabasco hot sauce. It is made in America and is arguably the most popular (and easily found) hot sauce on the planet. The tabasco pepper is the chili behind this tasty concoction and gives the hot sauce its name. With its medium heat and surprising juiciness (unlike any other chili), the tabasco chili has become a kitchen staple because of the wide variety of products in which it is found.

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red savina habanero

Red Savina Habanero: Legendary Heat

One of these things is not like the other

Scoville heat units (SHU): 350,000 – 577,000
Jalapeño reference point: 44 to 231 times hotter
Origin: United States
Products: Red Savina habanero on Amazon

If you think the habanero is hot, then you haven’t met its shock-red sultry sister. The Red Savina habanero once carried the title of hottest pepper in the world. It’s a scorching hot pepper with a dramatic back story and even a bit of government protection. Few other pepper variations can claim that.

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rocotillo pepper

Rocotillo Pepper: A Mild Alternative To The Habanero

Tasty, but hard to find…

Scoville heat units (SHU): 1,500 – 2,500
Jalapeño reference point: Equal heat to 5 times milder
Origin: Peru
Seeds: Rocotillo pepper on Amazon

Sort of like a habanero or Scotch bonnet pepper in shape, the rocotillo pepper comes in way lower in overall heat. It’s really a mild pepper − just a wee bit hotter than the poblano on the Scoville scale, but with a bit more sweetness. The rocotillo is an excellent (though harder to find) alternative to those spicier peppers. And there’s a bit of confusion out there surrounding this chili, making it a strangely intriguing stopping point on the pepper scale.

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Hungarian wax pepper

Hungarian Wax Pepper: Tang With A Spicy Twist

Don’t let its banana pepper look fool you…

Scoville heat units (SHU): 5,000 – 10,000
Jalapeño reference point: Equal heat to 4 times hotter
Origin: Hungary
Products and seeds: Hungarian wax pepper on Amazon

It may look like a mild banana pepper, but really the Hungarian wax pepper has a lot more bite. In terms of spiciness, it’s more akin to a jalapeño with a chance for a bit more heat. This is a great chili for all sorts of cooking (including chiles rellenos) and a popular one to top off a salad with or to pickle.

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Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper: A Jack Of All Trades

Good heat – great versatility

Scoville heat units (SHU): 30,000 – 50,000
Jalapeño reference point: 4 to 20 times hotter
Origin: French Guyana
Seeds: Cayenne seeds on Amazon
Products: Cayenne products on Amazon

The modern kitchen has found a special place for the cayenne pepper. In fact, few cupboards are without a bottle of this chili in powder form. Ground cayenne pepper is a spice staple, and most likely the hottest one you’re going to have around. It’ll bring heat to nearly any dish. But there’s more that you can do with cayenne peppers beyond the spice bottle. Lots of culinary hobbyists love the spicy tastiness of using it fresh, especially in salsa and hot sauces. And it’s purchased quite often as a health supplement in pill form in order to incorporate the benefits of capsaicin into you diet.

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Trinidad moruga scorpion

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion: Super Hot Sting

It’s gettin’ hot in here…

Scoville heat units (SHU): 1,200,000 – 2,000,000
Jalapeño reference point: 150 to 800 times hotter
Origin: Trinidad
Products and seeds: Trinidad Moruga Scorpion on Amazon

To say the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is hot would be like saying the surface of the sun is hot. It’s true, but you’d be really underselling it. This is a scorching hot pepper, a chili so hot people have to wear latex suits and gloves just to work with it without (many) side effects. It’s one of the hottest peppers in the world, only surpassed by the likes of  the Carolina Reaper, the current Guinness Book of World Records title holder.

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Thai pepper

Thai Peppers: Heated Confusion, But Always Spicy!

Many varieties fall into the world of Thai peppers

Scoville heat units: 50,000 – 100,000
Jalapeño reference point: 6 to 40 times hotter
Origin: Thailand
Products and seeds: Thai pepper on Amazon

Let’s start with the confusion. There are dozens of varieties of chilies that fall under the category of Thai peppers. They all share common characteristics, colors, and general heat. And because of that, a little confusion is expected – and it’s totally ok! You’ll typically get what you’re looking for (some solid heat and flavor) out of any chili labeled as Thai peppers.

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Serrano Pepper

Serrano Peppers: Step Up From The Jalapeño

A salsa pepper of choice

Scoville heat units (SHU): 10,000 – 23,000
Jalapeño reference point: Near equal heat to 9 times hotter

If you’ve been a fan of jalapeño peppers and you’re looking for the next jump up the Scoville scale, then a great next landing point is serrano peppers. They’ve got a clean, some say even bright, flavor and a surprising kick without being scorching hot.

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