The worlds hottest pepper is officially the Naga Jolokia also known as Bhut Jolokia. When translated in Hindi this means Ghost Chili which is also another common name.
The chili hails from Bangladesh but is also found in Sri Lanka and India. The Guinness Book of Records officially named it the worlds hottest Pepper (or chili) in 2007.
To give you a idea on how hot it is, Jalapenos are about 6000 Scoville Scale units, while Tabasco measures in at about 195000 scoville scale units. The Naga Jolokia is a burning 1 million scoville scale units.
This is about 400 times stronger then Tabasco. When eating this chili it BURNS!! then it gets worse. Effects can last up to 30min. Milk can help sooth the burning but will not eliminate it.
Characteristics of the Naga Jolokia or Bhut Jolokia Chili plant
Plant height 45–120 cm Stem color Green Leaf color Green Leaf size 10-14.5cm by 5.5-7.5cm Leaf width 5.4–7.5 cm Fruit color at maturity Red Fruit shape Sub-conical to conical Fruit length 5–9 cm Fruit width at shoulder 2.5–3 cm Fruit weight 6–9 grams Fruit surface Rough, uneven Seed color Light tan Seeds per chili 19–35
This chili is so hot, that in 2009, scientists at India’s Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) announced plans to use the chillies in hand grenades, as a non lethal way to flush out terrorists from their hideouts and to control rioters. It will also be developed into pepper spray as a self defense product.
We would love to hear from you if you have tried this chili or grown it. We hope to obtain some Naga Jolokia/Bhut Jolokia Seeds shortly.
TheHabanero chili is one of the worlds hottest peppers!!! The chili’s name derived from the name of the Cuban city of La Habana, which is known as Havana in English. Although it is not the place of origin, it was frequently traded there. Mexico is the largest consumer of this spicy ingredient but its flavor and aroma have become increasingly popular all over the world.
The Habanero chili most likely originated in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and even to this day the crop is most widely cultivated there. In fact about 1,500 tons of Habaneros are harvested each year in Mexico. Panama, Costa Rice and several states in the USA also grow and produce the chilly. It is often mistakenly referred to as the hottest pepper in the world and once upon a time it was until the mighty Bhut Jolokia came along! Habanero chili peppers are rated 200,000–350,000 on the Scoville scale.
A ripe habanero is 2–6 centimetres (0.8–2.4 in) long, 3-5cm (1 to 2 inches) in diameter and they are lantern-shaped, round or oblong. Habanero’s are green until maturity when they then turn to colours such as orange, red, white, brown, and pink.
Habaneros are similar to most other chilies and thrive in hot weather. Morning sun is ideal with slightly moist soil. In tropical regions the Habanero is one growing chilli that can produce all year round. Colder climates the plant will die off in the winter.
The Habanero’s heat, its fruity citrus-like flavor, and its floral aroma have made it a popular ingredient in hot sauces and spicy foods. In some cases, particularly in Mexico, Habaneros are placed in tequila bottles for a period ranging from several days, to several weeks, to make a spiced version of the drink.
Have you ever wondered about the worlds hottest pepper?
Which pepper is it?
How do they measure its heat?
Is it safe to eat?
In this article we have answered all your questions about the world’s hottest pepper.
We’ve also squeezed in tonnes more interesting and useful information on the topic, so you feel totally clued up on this spicy fruit by the end.
Let’s take a closer look at the world’s hottest pepper:
How Is The Worlds Hottest Pepper Measured?
The world’s hottest pepper is measured in the same way as other peppers, which is with the Scoville Scale, which is often written as SHU which stands for Scoville Heat Units.
The higher the number, the hotter the pepper.
This scale was created by a person called Wilbur L Scoville who created something called a Scoville Organoleptic Test in 1912 whilst working for pharmaceutical company Parke-Davis.
This test was used to measure the amount of capsaicin in any peppers that were tested. Capsaicin is a chemical naturally present in peppers with the highest amounts usually found in the seeds and capsaicin glands (pepper innards).
It is capsaicin that gives you the spicy heat on your tongue when you eat a pepper, and that same heat can also be felt on your skin and other parts of your body.
You might already know this if you have ever accidentally touched your eye after touching a hot pepper!
In this instance Mr Scoville was not testing the heat in peppers for the reasons of cooking, but rather for the use of the peppers in a topical ointment that naturally produces heat when applied.
To find out the amount of capsaicin in any pepper he would dilute an alcohol based liquid mixed with the pepper and sugar until the heat was negligible to those testing the mixture.
This method was then equated to Scoville Heat Units EG: a 1500 SHU pepper would mean a person would need to be diluted with 1500 cups of water to not detect any heat in that water any more.
These days, humans don’t need to go through the same tasting method used by Wilbur in order for a chili to have its heat deciphered.
Instead, something called high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is used, which measures the capsaicin levels inside a pepper, but the numbers created are then converted back into Scoville units.
Interestingly, whilst you might expect that the original Scoville test was widely subjective (depending on a person’s tastebuds) but not the HPLC because it is the most up to date measuring tool.
In fact, the HPLC has been questioned in regards to its ability to accurately measure pepper heat.
Some people feel that the way the test is done, and then converted to Scoville units places the heat of the pepper lower than it would be if it was put through the original Scoville testing method.
What Is The Worlds Hottest Pepper?
At the moment the Carolina Reaper, a cross between a bhut jolokia pepper and a red habanero, is the world’s hottest pepper, officially.
It is tested to have 2,200,000 SHU at its maximum – 200 times hotter than a jalapeño pepper. It was officially the hottest in 2013, but lost its crown until being tested in 2018 where it was found to be even hotter.
Originally named HP22B (Higher Power, Pot 22, Plant B), the Carolina Reaper is bred for its heat and was originally made by Ed Currie.
The fruit must be handled with gloves and although the main source of heat is the capsaicin glands in this pepper, you should use gloves when handling any part of the fruit.
The same can be said for any products with Carolina Reaper powder on, like the Paqui Chips original One Chip Challenge chip that featured all over Youtube a few years ago.
Trust me, this is not the kind of chili pepper you ever want to get into your eye.
Are There Hotter Peppers Than The Official Hottest Pepper?
There is a rumour that something called Pepper X, also created by Ed Currie (Carolina Reaper breeder) could be hotter than the Carolina Reaper and therefore could be the world’s hottest pepper.
Currie has suggested that the pepper could be double the heat of a Carolina Reaper, but it has not yet been tested and confirmed by the Guinness World Records team as of 2021.
Growers have suggested that the pepper is safe to eat (in a limited quantity) but realistically, even if you are in fantastic health you should be aware of the risks of eating the worlds hottest pepper.
The Paqui One Chip Challenge 2021
The original Paqui One Chip challenge featured Carolina Reaper pepper powder on one chip which you eat as a challenge.
It was featured on British TV and on pretty much every influencers channel. It was so popular, in fact, you couldn’t buy one of the chips for a long time because they were sold out and everybody wanted to try it.
The 2021 Paqui One Chip Challenge is even more extreme because it features a chip with the Carolina Reaper powder AND Scorpion pepper powder, the world’s second hottest chili at 1.2 million SHU’s.
It’s even more dangerous than eating the Carolina Reaper alone so proceed with caution.
Will You Try The Carolina Reaper?
Whether you try the Carolina Reaper or not, the fact is that the world’s hottest pepper has made a real impact on popular culture.
If you try it yourself, the chances are it will make a real impact on your tastebuds too!
If you do choose to give the hottest pepper in the world a try, please do consider the risks – this little fruit is not something to be messed with!
This guide will follow the exact steps I took to grow the Bhut Jolokia. From obtaining the chili seeds to harvesting the first fruit. It should take 4-6 months for the process to be complete and we encourage you to join along with your favorite hot chili.
Thanks to Auki Henry co-founder of HighRPM and the maker of How to make a cosmopolitan for his kind donation of the Bhut Jolokia chili. A nice big fat chili was given to me to remove the seeds and start the growing chili process.
The first step was to cut the chili in half to get the Bhut Jolokia seeds. Great care was taken not to get the chili oils or seeds on my hands. Handling was done from the stem only and a sharp knife was used to remove the bhut jolokia seeds. This was a simple process which involved cutting the chili in half then cutting out the seeds.
WARNING: the Bhut Jonokia / Naga Jonokia is the world’s hottest pepper. The Scoville Scale rating is 1million Scoville Units. Extreme care must be taken to prevent contact with the eyes and other sensitive areas. Handing the chili or the seeds should be avoided and if you need to do so wear disposable gloves.
Once the seeds were extracted from the chili we had to soak them in water for 20min. This will make the seed softer and water the inner seed to start the growing process.
Once the seeds were nice and wet they were ready to plant. We simply used a plastic cup filled with normal potting soil to germinate the seeds. We placed the seeds in the cup and covered them with no more then 5-10mm of soil. We watered the seeds well and ensured all the soil was moist. Keeping the soil moist in the next week or so is vital. The seeds need water to grow and the seeds must stay soft so that the sprout can break out and start to grow.
for the germination process we recommend placing the chili seeds in the most warm and humid location as possible, but not in direct sunlight.
We hope to have half a dozen sprouts penetrate the soil in the next 7-10 days. Please return to the site to see the next installment.
After a long week wait and constant watering the Bhut Jolokia Seeds a single sprout emerged. I was a bit upset to see just 1. After reading my notes on the plant I then decided to leave the sprout and seeds as is and watered waiting for more sprouts to hopefully emerge. I’m glad I did because as the days past I noticed more and more green shoots popping out of the soil. Our Bhut Jolokia plants life has begun.
In fact these leaf looking things are called cotyledons which is part of the seed and serve as food sources until true leaves form. While the plant has no true leaves its not ready to move. I waited another week before i started to notice true leaves growing.
While the chili plant is growing its true leaves the cotyledons are no longer needed, therefor it will die and drop off. This is when the plant begins to photosynthesis (the process that converts carbon dioxide into organic nutarians, using the energy from sunlight) so the sprout container must be moved into a sunny area.
Once the sprouts are healthy with 4 leaves its time for the next big step. We must transplant the young chili trees into their adolescent pots. Choose a pot that is 3-5 inches tall. This will be the plants home for the next couple of months and will allow the growing chili plant to establish a solid root system and grow.
Transplanting a chili plant is delicate work as they are quite fragile especially at this young age. Ensure you minimize the root disturbance when you are separating the sprouts and if there is too much of a tangle it is best to choose the strongest looking ones and chop the other sprout. Do not transplant during the hottest part of the day, pick a cool time such as late afternoon.
Once the chili plants are setup in their new pot and had a few days to settle down fertilization is essential. Use a balanced fertilizer preferably one high in nitrogen and potassium, to encourage good roots and healthy growth.
Going forward the plant should be slowly introduced to full sunlit conditions. The Bhut Jolokia plant will need lots of sunlight and a daily watering. The next step we will need to take is move the plant to a bigger pot but this wont be for 2-3 months.
Follow my steps for transplanting your seedlings.
1. Ensure you have setup some new pots for the young plants, they should be about 3-5inches tall to accommodate a few months of growing. It needs to be filled with a good potting mix with plenty of drainage. 2. Loosen the soil that is currently holding the chili plants, do so by squeezing the containers sides. Once loose enough you should be able to carefully tip out the young chilli sprouts. 3. Thin the sprouts if you can but be gentle, if you cant separate the chili sprouts your better off cutting the less healthy looking ones then damaging the roots of all. 4. Only handle the leaves of the chillie plant, the stem is very fragile and if injured will end the plants life, leaves will always grow back. 5. Make a hole in the soil of the new pots with your finger big enough for the sprouts to be placed in. Carefully move the chili sprouts into the new pot and lightly pack the soil in so the plant is held firmly and in a upright position. 6. Water the plant well and and put in a calm but sunny place. 7. A week later fertinilise with a high in nitrogen and potassium product.
If you love a spicy hot chilli pepper you have no doubt seen or heard of the Scoville Scale before. The higher the amount on the scale, the hotter your chilli.
As you, like many of us, have been busy enjoying the sumptuous heat of hot chilli peppers you may not have paid much mind to how their heat is measured using this scale.
We know it measures the heat, but how does it do it? How was it invented? Which is the hottest chilli on the scale?
So that you can feel much more clued up on the Scoville Scale, we’ve collected all the information you need to know about it and more:
Scoville Scale – The Measurement of a Chillies Heat
The Scoville scale is the world recognized scale for measuring the heat in chillies and other peppers. The scale was created in the early 1900’s by Scoville Scale pharmacist Wilbur L. Scoville.
Scoville’s method was simple, yet very effective. He soaked each different variety of pepper separately in alcohol overnight. Because capsaicin is soluble in alcohol, the soaking extracted the pungent chemicals from the pod.
He then took a precise measure of the extract and added sweetened water in incremental portions until the heat was barely detectable on his tongue.
This process was groundbreaking in measuring the heat of chillies and no other method has been found to be as effective, which is why the Scoville Scale is still used today, albeit in a different processing format.
Scoville Heat Units (SHUs)
An SHU is the actual number assigned to the heat of a pepper. A chilli with a rating of 0 Scoville Heat Units (SHUs), means that there is no heat detectable.
As an example, in the case of Japanese chillies, it took sweetened water in volumes between 20,000 to 30,000 times the pepper extract before the heat was barely discernible.
The Scoville Scale then rated the Japanese chillies 20,000 to 30,000 Scoville Heat Units. Jalapenos were rated 3,000 to 5,000, and Tabasco 30,000 to 50,000.
The hottest chilli Scoville tested was a naga jolokia which is primarily found native to Bangladesh, which he measured at a massive 850,000-1,000,000 Scoville units.
Scoville’s name has since become closely associated with the measure of pungency (heat), but the oral test is now being slowly replaced by a modern machine.
Using High Pressure Liquid Chromatography, analytical chemistry has now replaced the testing that used to be performed by the sensitive human tongue and, unlike Scovilles original method, numerous tests can be conducted each day.
Which Chillies Should I Grow Based On The Scoville Scale?
When you are considering which chillies to grow based on the Scoville Scale, there are two main factors to consider.
One consideration is what you want to grow the chilli plants for. If you want to grow them to eat, the chances are that there will be a cap as to how hot you like your chillies. Most people love chillies around 2,500 – 8,000 on the Scoville Scale such as the jalapeño, which is fresh, crunchy and delicious.
If you want to go a little hotter, the Serrano chilli pepper is a good choice, although it can reach 23,000 on the Scoville Scale in heat.
True lovers of super hot chillies will move towards the Habanero which can top 200,000 on the Scoville Scale or more.
If you want to grow chillies to sell or make products from, there are two directions to go in. One direction is making hot products most people will love, in which case peppers with good flavour and less overall spice like yellow hot peppers, jalapeños and the like will be a good choice.
If you’re going for the novelty factor, then you should choose the hottest peppers you dare grow, like the Carolina Reaper, which gained much notoriety after the one chip challenge became so famous a few years ago.
The Carolina Reaper can reach over 1.5 million SHU on the Scoville Scale.
If you do want to grow very hot peppers, you have to consider various growing factors that come with growing a product like this.
Handling, for example, of the peppers has to be done with gloves and precautions as to not touch your eyes or skin whilst handling the products.
You may well also have to include a warning with the peppers if you do sell them or products containing them.
They can cause some pretty strong reactions and it is important that anybody buying your produce understands the risks involved in consuming this kind of chilli.
How Hot Will You Go On The Scoville Scale?
Hot chillies are delicious, and knowing where on the scale your favourite peppers sit is really interesting.
There will be many more types to try in the future too, as more and more people have been trying to grow chillies that top the hottest chilli on the Scoville Scale to top the current Guinness World Record holder for hottest chilli – the Carolina Reaper.