Spicy foods are among the most popular options at many restaurants and to cook at home. Everyone has different levels when it comes to their desired amount of spice. Some people enjoy a smaller level of spice in their life in the form of a light hot sauce or black pepper. However, there are many others that want an intense level of spice beyond simply hot sauce packets or jalapenos. Various scales out there now compare and rank different peppers to figure out which ones provide the most bang for your bite. At the most extreme, there are some peppers that can be considered dangerous to eat if you just bite into them without restraint. These usually come with a warning, whether they’re sold in the form of the pepper itself or as a hot sauce.
We will look at the spiciest peppers in the world as ranked by the respected Scoville Heat Unit. Many shows in pop culture along with credible restaurants and chefs use the Scoville Heat Unit as their reference for how spicy each individual pepper is. Don’t get it wrong: all these peppers are extremely spicy and are not for the faint of heart. However, some of them rank extremely highly above the others as being the all-time spiciest peppers. Find out just which ones even the spiciest eaters have to be cautious with, and which are just extremely hot. These are the twenty spiciest peppers in the world.
20 White Habanero
The white habanero pepper is one of the spiciest in the world today. There is confusion about whether it originated in Mexico or Peru, but both places enjoy the spice from it quite much. The unique look of a white colored pepper makes it appear less intense than some of the established colorful ones, but that is anything but true.
Most people use the white habanero in stews and salsas to give their dishes flavor.
The recommended pepper usage is only a tiny amount as it can easily dominate the rest of the dish. People in Mexico, Peru and various Caribbean islands adore using the white habanero pepper.
The orange colored habanero pepper is even spicier than the white habanero. It is easier to purchase habanero peppers at grocery stores, but they still are extremely spicy and should be used in small spurts. Habanero peppers are often used in pranks or dares, and eating them is clearly a bad decision.
There are various uses for the pepper in hot sauces and additions to meals. Most people like to get a sauce version which doesn’t completely burn them when consuming. It is better served as a small aspect of a larger meal where other flavors blend with it.
The fatalii pepper is not as well known as most of the other peppers on this list, but it is still extremely spicy. This specific one is a chili pepper that originated in Africa. There is a bit of a citrus flavour along with the heavy spices when tasting the fatalii pepper.
Most people prefer to use it as part of a hot sauce. Fatalii peppers can be dangerous if biting into one without a ridiculous amount of cold water or milk. It is still most commonly enjoyed in Africa and various places in the Caribbean. Be wary if seeing fatalii peppers as part of anything you consume in the future.
17 Devil’s Tongue
The name is enough to put the fear into anyone trying this pepper. Devil’s Tongue doesn’t look as intimidating as some of the others with its yellow color, however, the name is obviously referencing just how hot the pepper is with such a bold title.
There is a bit of mystery to the Devil’s Tongue pepper as it was first discovered on a random Amish farm in Pennsylvania. No one knows how far it goes back. Regardless, it is among the hottest peppers one can eat. Adventurous eaters love to have the Devil’s Tongue in a salad or salsa mix.
The tigerpaw pepper has a unique name and look that makes it stand out among the other spicy options. It is another type of habanero pepper that was scientifically engineered in the United States.
The tigerpaw was initially created as resistant to parasites that are common in pepper and tomato plants.
It is not as popular or beloved as some of the other peppers on the list due to how it was created. That doesn’t stop the tigerpaw from being extremely hot and worth a try from anyone out there with a diehard passion for spicy foods. You can easily substitute the tigerpaw for any other kind of habanero pepper.
15 Chocolate Habanero
Don’t get fooled by the name or the cute look of the chocolate habanero pepper. It is still as hot, if not hotter than most other habanero peppers out there. This one originated in Trinidad and became popular in the Caribbean.
No one should risk biting into this pepper despite looking like it has a delicious, chocolate coating. The chocolate habanero is best used as a salsa pepper, as many spicy food enthusiasts vouch for it in that form. Jerk sauce is the most beloved use of the chocolate habanero in the Caribbean islands like Trinidad and Jamaica. Make sure you can handle spicy foods before trying this.
14 Caribbean Red Habanero
Another spicy habanero pepper comes in yet another different color. This one is titled the Caribbean Red habanero for its red outer color. The pepper is one of the most popular ones in Mexico as many recipes include it as part of the cooking process.
Salsas and hot sauces are not surprisingly the food items you’ll find the Caribbean Red habanero in. One of the more surprising food items to exist is an ice cream flavor for the pepper. It mixes the ultimate sweet and spicy flavors for an extremely unique meal. Many kids picking the colorful red ice cream probably regretted it after one taste.
13 Red Savina
The Red Savina pepper is another one that is not for the faint of heart, or for the weak of tongues. It originated in Central America, but the pepper was developed more in California. The unique scent will likely give a glimpse of how hot it is with one whiff.
A big surprise is that the Red Savina was the spiciest pepper in the world up until 2006, when quite a few others passed it. One taste of it will make you think it’s still the hottest one in the world, given the difficulties associated with biting the spicy pepper.
12 Naga Morich
The unique name of the Naga Morich pepper translates to “serpent chili”, which perfectly describes the intensity of the spice. This one originated in India and Bangladesh. Both places often see the Naga Morich pepper eaten raw on its own as a side dish. Most of us would struggle to have it mixed in a stew, let alone biting into one uncooked.
There are small hints of a fruity taste in the pepper comparable to oranges and pineapples.
However, that is an extremely low percentage of the other flavours blended into the intense spice. The Naga Morich was the first pepper to break a one-million ranking on the Scoville Heat Unit.
11 Trinidad Scorpion CARDI
Trinidad is home to the Trinidad Scorpion CARDI pepper. The little stinger opposite the stem of the pepper gives it the scorpion moniker. CARDI stands for the research group that bred the pepper, known as the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute.
Trinidad and Tobago are known for loving spicy foods in just about every form. The Trinidad Scorpion pepper is one of the primary ones used in the pepper sauces served as a condiment in many restaurants. This pepper is so dangerous that it is used in military-grade mace. Think about that if you ever come across trying the Trinidad Scorpion CARDI.
10 Chocolate Ghost Pepper
Many people in North America will recognize the name of the ghost pepper due to the popularity it has attained; this is the chocolate variant of it. Another name used internationally for the pepper is the Bhut Jolokia Chocolate, where it was discovered in India.
The pepper is commonly used in curry and chutney dishes in various cuisines in India.
Another unique use for this pepper is placing it in military weapons and on fences to prevent stampeding elephants from wreaking havoc. You know the chocolate ghost pepper is spicy when it intimidates an elephant. Just imagine the fear you will have getting too close to it.
9 Traditional Ghost Pepper
The normal ghost pepper is even hotter than the chocolate variant. This one also originated in India and has become very popular in North America. Many people like to test their limits by purchasing the ghost pepper and taking a bite of it. There have even been viral videos of folks having meltdowns after trying to eat the ghost pepper.
Many restaurants have started to implement it into meals. They often use an extremely low percentage of the pepper in the entire meal, but it is usually enough to make among the spiciest dishes one can consume.
8 7 Pot Chili
The 7 Pot Chili pepper is another one to hail from Trinidad with its unique name. It was inspired by being hot enough to provide enough spice for seven pots of stew. The pepper is typically found in stew, sauces and marinades at restaurants all over Trinidad.
This pepper gets over 1,000,000 on the Scoville Heat Unit.
Even if you don’t follow the scale, the number of over one million is enough to stand out. There are very few people that can handle biting into such a pepper without feeling the serious burn. Be warned: the sauces and stews made from 7 Pot Chili peppers usually come with a caution message.
7 Gibraltar Naga
The Gibraltar Naga is a human-made pepper developed in the United Kingdom, because there are apparently not enough terrifyingly hot peppers around. Its growing process involves having the plant in enclosed plastic tunnels in extremely hot temperatures in order for it to grow to its potential. This is what causes it to have a unique look, with its skin being so wrinkled.
Curry is one dish that it is supposedly a good fit with the pepper. It would likely be among the spiciest curries you’ve ever had in your life. This pepper deserves a lot of respect before trying in any form.
6 Infinity Chili
Another engineered pepper from the United Kingdom is the Infinity Chili pepper. This one looks like a traditionally hot pepper that will inspire fear once you realize just how hot it is - definitely not for the faint of heart! The Infinity Chili pepper was developed with the intent of becoming the spiciest pepper in the world.
It reached the top of the list for a few weeks, before another one was created to beat it out. This doesn’t take anything away from the Infinity Chili’s spicy punch, as it certainly offers heat that very few people would have the ability to handle in a meal.
5 Naga Viper
The Naga Viper is the next absurdly hot pepper on the list. It is a unique pepper that is a combination of three already established ones. The Naga Morich, the Bhut Jolokia, and the Trinidad Scorpion all merge together to form the Naga Viper.
A human creator is the only one with access to creating the Naga Viper as he owns the seeds. There is a waiting list of over several thousand folks requesting the seeds. All these factors tell you just how hot and rare the Naga Viper is to try. The bad news is you’ll likely never get to try the Naga Viper, but that’s also the good news for your tongue.
4 Chocolate 7 Pot
The 7 Pot Chili pepper was referenced earlier as a spicy one in Trinidad. It comes as no surprise that the Chocolate 7 Pot is the sibling pepper of the chili one. This pepper is another one from Trinidad that is popular across the Caribbean in various countries there.
The chocolate name stems from the color often being brown or purple compared to the other peppers.
Another name for it in Trinidad is the 7 Pod Douglah, as multiple people refer to it by different monikers. The Chocolate 7 Pot pepper can be found in many of the popular pepper sauces used in Trinidad as condiments on countless meals.
3 Trinidad Scorpion Butch T
The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper is not technically another Trinidad pepper. It happens to be the cultivar of the Trinidad Scorpion pepper and was created in the United States. Missouri’s Butch Taylor is responsible for this one. His passion for hot sauce has him owning Zydeco Hot Sauce.
Past interviews have indicated that gloves, masks and suits are required when cooking the pepper due to how hot it is. The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T is certainly dangerous if used in the wrong way. No one should try this unless it’s been blended lightly into a sauce or meal, used in a smaller percentage among all the spices involved.
2 Moruga Scorpion
Trinidad deserves the crown when it comes to creating the spiciest peppers in the world. The Moruga Scorpion is the hottest pepper in Trinidad and the second overall in the world for good reason. It is described as having a fruity taste beneath the intense level of spices.
The Moruga Scorpion pepper held the record as the spiciest pepper in the world for many years and was the first to break the 2,000,000 ranking on the Scoville Heat Unit. Spicy food enthusiasts in Trinidad love the idea of adding an extremely tiny dash of the Moruga Scorpion to any dish they want hotter. Only the true spicy food lovers can handle it.
1 Carolina Reaper
The spiciest pepper in the world is the Carolina Reaper. It has held the spot for about five years now after being engineered in the United States. The state of South Carolina was where this pepper was created, hence the Carolina Reaper name.
A unique look for the pepper even shows the scorpion tail found in some of the other spicy Trinidad peppers we’ve already covered. It is extremely dangerous to take a bite out of the Carolina Reaper as with most on the list. If you’re bold enough to want to try the spiciest pepper in the world, the only safe way would be in a hot sauce, and even that is risky.