10 Hottest Chillies in the World! [Hottest Chilli Guide]

Want to learn about the hottest chillies in the world? Check out this hottest chilli guide and discover the spiciest chilli in the world today!


Hoping to learn about the hottest chillies in the world? I hope this post helps!

Are you among the 16% of Britons and 37% of Americans who consider themselves ‘spicy food aficionados’?

Well, whether you’re a chilli lover yourself or you just love watching YouTube videos of people eating the hottest chillies in the world, there’s an amazing amount to learn about those pungent peppers.

What’s currently the spiciest chilli in the world?

How does the hottest pepper scale work?

And, if you’re brave enough to face the heat, what are some tips for safely eating — and even enjoying — fiery hot chillies?

Make sure you have a glass of milk nearby (more on that later) and read on as we count down the top 10 hottest peppers in the world!


Before we learn about the spiciest chilli in the world, here’s a quick lesson on scoville units!

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Understanding the Hottest Pepper Scale: A Quick Guide

Have you heard of Scoville heat units?

Before we dive into our list of the hottest chillies in the world, you first need to understand how scientists determine their heat levels.

Chilli peppers get their heat from a chemical compound called capsaicin.

When this compound comes into contact with human tissue (your mouth, throat, or skin), it creates a burning sensation.

Here’s the really interesting part:

Capsaicin doesn’t actually cause a temperature difference or “burn” in your body.

Instead, it binds with pain receptors to create the feeling of burning.

(And yes, with enough exposure, it is possible to increase your body’s tolerance to spicier peppers!)

The scale we use today was developed by American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville in 1912.

He’d use a Capsaicin-concentrated extract from the pepper and then determine how much sugar water was needed to counteract the heat — in other words, how much sugar water was needed before the taste-tester could no longer detect the pepper’s heat.

For example, if it took 1,000 millilitres of water to dilute 1 millilitre of extract, the pepper would rate 1,000 Scoville heat units.

To put this into perspective, the average jalapeno pepper ranks between 2,000 and 8,000 Scoville heat units (SHU).

A Thai chilli pepper falls somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 SHU.

Remember this is as you browse the list below, which contains peppers that rank over 2 million on the Scoville scale!


Here we go, then: 10 of the hottest peppers you’ll ever come across!

The Top 10 Hottest Peppers in the World

Were you surprised by the amount of science behind the world’s hottest pepper scale?

Are you ready to see how the hottest chillies in the world stack up according to those Scoville units?

Here are the reigning hottest peppers on earth, as of summer 2022.

1. Carolina Reaper (2,200,000 SHU)

Although there are some contenders that claim to have surpassed it, the Carolina Reaper is still officially the world’s hottest chilli pepper.

As you may have guessed, its name is related to the Grim Reaper — specifically, the shape of the pepper’s tale that resembles the Reaper’s scythe.

The average Reaper chilli tips the scales at around 1.6 million Scoville heat units (SHU), but some peppers have been measured at a brain-melting 2.2 million SHU!

To put that into perspective, that’s 200 times hotter than your average jalapeno pepper.

The Carolina Reaper was developed by an American pepper grower named Ed Currie.

He spent years crossing the fiery Naga pepper from Pakistan with the fruitier red habanero pepper from the West Indies.

The result?

A fruity, blazing hot chilli that is (in all seriousness) more intense than many self-defence pepper sprays.

Unless you’re as brave as Mike Jack, who recently set a world record for eating three Reaper chillies in under 10 seconds, the best way to try the spiciest chilli in the world is with an (expertly made) Reaper chilli-infused sauce.

Top tip:

Start with a tiny dab of hot sauce and work your way up.

The Reaper’s heat can bring even the most experienced chilli eater to their knees!

Breaking news: In recent months, three other peppers have made unofficial claims as the world’s hottest chilli. These are the:

  • Dragon’s Breath Pepper (2,480,000 SHU)
  • Apollo Pepper (3,000,000 SHU)
  • Pepper “X” (3,180,000 SHU)

Time will tell whether any of these peppers will ‘officially’ dethrone the reigning champion, or if the Carolina Reaper will maintain its world record status.

2. Komodo Dragon Pepper (2,200,000 SHU)

The famous Komodo dragons of Indonesia don’t literally breathe fire, but you might if you take a bite of the runner-up for the hottest chilli in the world.

The Komodo Dragon pepper has been unofficially measured at 2.2 million SHU, placing it in the same category as the Reaper chilli.

On average, the chilli packs a mind-numbing punch of around 1.4 million SHU.

Chilli enthusiasts describe the pepper as a “sneaky sweet heat” that doesn’t hit you right away.

Rather, it builds slowly with each bite until you can’t feel your tongue…or your throat…or your face…

Although they sound like something you could only try in an exotic faraway land, you can find these spicy chilli peppers on the shelves at Tescos throughout the UK.

If you’re brave enough to try one, proceed with caution and remember that the heat won’t hit you right away.


Super hot chillies aren’t for everyone – especially when they’re 2+ million SHU!

3. Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (2,000,000 SHU)

With a heat that’s described as “straight from the depths of hell,” you’ll want to be fully committed before you take a taste of this relatively new pepper from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.

As the name suggests, this ‘scorpion’ pepper packs a serious sting (and keeps on stinging).

The name comes from its tiny tail that resembles the stinger of a scorpion.

Like other chillis, though, the Moruga Scorpion’s heat comes from the interior placenta.

If you slice open a fresh pepper (wearing gloves and goggles, please), you’ll find that the inside’s almost entirely placenta.

This is where all that fiery capsaicin resides, which explains why the chilli packs so much heat.

Trust me — the average chilli eater won’t taste much of a difference between the 2.2 million SHU of the Reaper and the 2 million SHU of the Moruga Scorpion.

Both peppers are guaranteed to set every inch of your digestive tract ablaze!

4. 7 Pot Douglah (1,850,000 SHU)

Since we’re already on the island of Trinidad, we might as well talk about the current fourth hottest chilli pepper in the world — the 7 Pot Douglah.

There’s actually a whole strain of “7 Pot” peppers, developed by chilli grower David Capiello.

He specifically chose folded, bulbous, and pocky peppers and crossed them until they resembled the human brain.

This sets them apart from other super-hot peppers, which are generally small and smooth with a distinctive “tail” at the bottom.

Fun fact:

The “7 Pot” peppers got their name because one tiny sliver of chilli is enough to ignite seven huge pots of soup or stew!

The 7 Pot Douglah’s unique for its dark purple or brown skin (the other super-hots on this list are red or orange).

People brave enough to try it describe its flavour as sweet and nutty rather than fruity.

There’s even a ‘chocolate’ version of the pepper, but don’t be fooled by its sweet name — it’s not dessert!

It’s still hot enough to feel like it’s melting every brain cell inside your skull.


Have you ever tried one of the hottest peppers in the world? Let me know in the comments!

5. Dorset Naga Chilli Pepper (1,500,000 SHU)

One day in 2001, aspiring chilli growers Michael and Joy Michaud bought a Naga Morich chilli plant from an Asian food store in Dorset, England.

Over the next few years, they chose seeds from the best plants and bred them until the peppers were hot, hot, and hotter.

In 2005, the Naga Chilli ranked 661,000 SHU.

In 2009, it crossed the threshold of 1 million SHU.

Now it routinely ranks in the 1.5 million SHU range, securing its place on our list of the hottest chillies in the world.

Enthusiasts describe its flavour as both sweet and floral — with plenty of heat too, of course.

6. Naga Morich Chilli Pepper (1,500,000 SHU)

If you’ve ever tasted a fiery curry from India or Bangladesh, it was likely flavoured with one of the region’s hottest peppers — the Naga Morich.

Also called the ‘serpent chilli,’ it’s closely related to the ghost chilli pepper.

Its sweet, floral flavour creates a slow burn rather than amping up the heat right away.

Most Naga Morich peppers rate about 1 million SHU, but hotter varieties can rate as high as 1.5 million SHU.

If you’re looking for the perfect heat for your next curry, pick up a bag of ground Naga Morich chillies!

7. 7 Pot Primo Chilli Pepper (1,470,000 SHU)

Remember the 7 Pot Douglah from earlier?

The ‘Primo’ is its slightly less spicy (but still insanely hot) cousin.

A Louisiana horticulturist by the name of Troy ‘Primo’ Primeaux is the mastermind behind this taste sensation.

Starting in 2005, he crossed Trinidad 7 Pot Douglah seeds with traditional Naga Morich seeds.

The result was a fruity, floral pepper that features both the scorpion “tail” and the lumpy appearance of its predecessors.


The title of the hottest chilli in the world changes fairly frequently as new and ever-hotter chillies hit the scene.

8. The Naga Viper (1,380,000 SHU)

This bold chilli took the world record title in 2011, although it lost it to new competitors in 2012.

Whatever the case, it still deserves its place on this list of the hottest chillies in the world!

The Naga Viper is a genetic ‘freak’ – a cross between the ghost chilli, the Naga Morich, and the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.

As a result, the Viper boasts the immediate high heat of the scorpion chilli as well as the slow burn of the ghost pepper.

Its creator, Gerald Fowler, claims that the chilli oil can peel paint…

9. Infinity Chilli Pepper (1,250,000 SHU)

For a few brief weeks in 2011, the Infinity Pepper was ranked the hottest chilli in the world.

Although it soon lost the title to the Naga Viper, it still packs a serious punch.

As its name suggests, the infinity pepper features a slow, delightful burn that lasts long after your meal is finished.

With a floor of 1 million SHU, its heat won’t disappoint you either.

10. Ghost Pepper (1,000,000 SHU)

No list would be complete without the long-reigning champion of hot chillies, the notorious “ghost” pepper.

Also known by its Indian name, bhut jolokia, it held the world record title from 2006 to 2011.

Growers have successfully created hotter peppers, but don’t be fooled — the ghost pepper will still live up to its fiery reputation.

In fact, residents of India continue to use ghost pepper oil on fences to keep wild elephants off their properties!


Got your hands on a hot pepper? Here are a few tips on how to eat it…

How to (Safely) Eat the World’s Hottest Chilli Peppers

Has all this talk of spicy peppers made you want to experience them for yourself?

If so, be sure to follow these health and safety tips.

  • Always wear gloves and protective eyewear when handling fresh chillis
  • If your bare skin comes into contact with chillis, wash your hands and nails thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Thoroughly wash knives, cutting boards, and kitchen surfaces after preparation

What about when you’re ready to taste your spicy creation?

Try having a glass of milk or a bowl of yoghurt or cottage cheese nearby.

Dairy products contain a protein called casein that naturally breaks down capsaicin.

When your mouth starts burning, dairy (or sugar water) is the best way to neutralise the burn.

Avoid both water and alcohol, as these will only spread the capsaicin oils around your mouth and intensify the pain!

Ready to Try the Hottest Chillies in the World?

So, what do you think?

Are your taste buds up to the challenge of the hottest chillies in the world?

If so, make sure you’re prepared to handle the heat!

Use the guide above to determine which peppers to try, and be sure to follow those expert safety tips.

That way, you’ll have an enjoyable, adrenaline-inducing experience as you sample the hottest chilli peppers in the world!

After eating those fiery hot peppers, what challenge will you tackle next?

Click here to see a bunch of dream destinations that should whet your appetite for adventure.