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Chilies not only differ in their taste and appearance, because the degree of spiciness also varies enormously. In addition to extremely mild representatives of the Capsicum family, there are also incredibly hot specimens that even made it into the Guinness Book of Records. We have summarized the hottest chili varieties in the world for you in these top 10!

Hotness of chili

The hotness of chili is perceived individually by people; what is hot for one person may still be extremely mild for another. One of the reasons for this is that humans are able to get used to spicy food. The regular consumption of spicy food ensures that you get used to the sharpness and at the same time increases the tolerance limit. This makes it possible for chilli fans to consume really hot pods without serious problems.

  • Do not eat chillies with a high degree of heat without further ado!
  • possible consequences: circulatory collapse, severe stomach problems
  • Extremely hot chillies can be toxic

Scoville table

With the Scoville scale it is possible to assign the individual chilies to a degree of spiciness. This is given in Scoville Heat Units (SHU) or Scoville Units (SCU) and indicates the proportion of the substance capsaicin. This substance creates the sharp sensation in the mouth, such as irritation of the oral mucosa. Pure capsaicin has an unbelievable degree of sharpness of around 16 million Scoville Units. To illustrate, if you dribbled two drops of this into a pool of water, you could still taste the spiciness. An overview of the different degrees of spiciness and the associated varieties can be found in the table below:

Scoville Heat Units degree of sharpness Chili Varieties
0-100 0 Sweet Peppers, Sweet Banana Chilis
100-500 1 Hot peppers, canned green chillies
500-1.000 2 various supermarket chilies, cherry mild
1.000-1.500 3 Ancho, Pasilla, Jalapeno Numex
1.500-2.500 4 Sandia, Cascabel, Yellow Wax Hot
2.500-5.000 5 mild jalapeno, for Tabasco sauce
5.000-15.000 6 spicy jalapeno
15.000-30.000 7 Lemondrop
30.000-50.000 8 Thai, Cayenne
50.000-100.000 9 Tabasco, Rocoto
100.000-300.000 10 Habanero, Caribbean Red
300,000-1 million 10+ Habanero Francisca, Bih Jolokia
1.4M -1.5M 10+++ Trinidad Scorpion Butch Taylor
1.5M -2.2M 10++++ Carolina Reaper, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion

notice: The Dragon's Breath strain was reportedly measured to have an SHU of over 2.48 million, making it hotter than the current #1. However, this value was never confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records, which is why it is not listed here.


The flesh of chillies is hot, but by no means the hottest! Because the largest proportion of capsaicin is found inside the fruit, in the so-called "placenta", which is why this is also the hottest part of the chili. The kernels themselves do not contain any capsaicin, but since they sit on the placenta, they can definitely take on the heat. Of course, the content itself depends on the type of chili, but it can be influenced by the following factors:

  • growing area
  • floor
  • weather
  • irrigation
  • temperature
  • sun exposure

Note: Chili peppers that are watered less are usually hotter. The same applies if these are cultivated in particularly bright and very warm locations.

The 10 hottest chillies in the world

10th place: Trinidad Scorpion

The Trinidad Scorpion is a Caribbean variety and grows on bushy plants. The Trinidad Scorpion owes its name not to its sharpness, but to its appearance. Because the chili pepper has a small sting, which is reminiscent of a scorpion. Although it has an exotic, fruity aroma, its heat should not be underestimated. In 2012, the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University declared it the hottest chilli variety in the world.

  • Sharpness level: 1,200,000 SHU
  • Taste: exotic, fruity aroma

9th place: 7 Pot Barrackpore

The name of the 7 Pot Barrackpore already suggests the degree of sharpness, because one pod is said to be enough to sharpen 7 pots. The chili peppers are comparatively large with a length of around five centimeters and have an uneven surface. The 7 Pot Barrackpore has thin fruit walls, which is why its pods can be dried well and then processed into powder.

  • Sharpness level: 1,300,000 SHU
  • Taste: aromatic fruity, less sweet

8th place: 7 Pot Brain Strain

At number 8 is another representative of the 7 Pot strains, namely the 7 Pot Brain Strain. This not only impresses with its high degree of spiciness, because the shape of the fruit is also unusual: the relatively large chili peppers have an uneven surface and a dented tip. As a result, their shape is reminiscent of that of a brain.

  • Sharpness level: 1,350,000 SHU
  • Taste: sweet, lemony aroma

7th place: Naga Viper

With the Naga Viper, an English breed can be found in the top 10 of the hottest chili varieties. The chili pepper was bred from three different varieties by Gerald Fowler, a chili farmer. Because the Naga Viper is a hybrid of Naga Morich, Bhut Jolokia and Trinidad Scorpion. The pods grow on bushy plants, which are about a meter high and are very productive.

  • Sharpness level: 1,382,118 SHU
  • Taste: initially very fruity

Note: The Naga Viper made it into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2011.

6th place: Komodo Dragon

Another European variety of Capsicum Chinense is the Komodo Dragon. This was bred by Salvatore Genovese in Bedfordshire (UK). The Komodo Dragon was then put up for sale at Tesco, one of the world's largest retailers. According to Tesco, it was the most popular chilli in 2015.

  • Sharpness level: 1,400,000 SHU
  • Taste: fruity aroma

5th place: Trinidad Scorpion Butch T

In 2011, the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T carried the title "Hottest chili in the world", today it "only" ranks 5th with its 1.4 million Scoville extremely hot habanero. Due to its lemony aroma, it goes well with fish and light meat dishes. But it is also often used to refine spicy desserts.

  • Sharpness level: 1,463,700 SHU
  • Taste: fruity, lemony aroma

4th place: 7 Pot Primo

The 7 Pot Primo belongs to the Capsicum Chinense chili genus and was bred in Louisiana in 2005 by Troy Primeaux, whose nickname was "Primo". This chilli variety is a cross between Naga Morich and a 7 Pot from Trinidad. The fruits of the 7 Pot Primo appear a bit lumpy, but take on a bright red-orange colour.

  • Sharpness level: 1,473,480 SHU
  • Flavor: floral and fruity

3rd place: 7 Pot Douglas

The 7 Pot Douglah is a mix of Habanero and Bhut Jolokia. The result of this crossing is an enormously hot chilli variety, which not only impresses with its sharpness. Because their play of colors is also extraordinarily beautiful: the 7 Pot Douglah is initially pungent green, but turns bright violet to chocolate brown as it matures.

  • Sharpness level 1,853,936 SHU
  • Taste: fruity with a smoky note

2nd place: Trinidad Moruga Scorpion

The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion comes from the Caribbean and is one of the most well-known representatives of the Trinidad family. According to measurements from the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion averaged 1,207,764 Scoville Heat Units. However, it was the first chili plant ever to reach peak values of over two million SHU and was considered the hottest chili in the world in 2012.

  • Degree of sharpness: 2,009,231 SHU
  • Taste: fruity sweet

1st place: Carolina Reaper

The Carolina Reaper has been unbeaten in first place since 2013, with peak values of 2.2 million SHU. This chilli pepper is incredibly hot and should therefore only be consumed with extreme caution! However, if you are familiar with particularly hot chillies, you can use the Carolina Reaper to season dark meat. It is also suitable for refining dishes with tomato or pepper sauce.

  • Sharpness level: 2,200,000 SHU
  • Taste: fruity sweet with roasted aromas

notice: The Carolina Reaper is really incredibly hot and is only suitable for die-hard chili fans! Inexperienced eaters should not eat the chili pepper under any circumstances!

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