various super hot chile peppers including carolina reapers and 7 pot

About Superhot Chile Peppers

Carolina Reapers, 7 Pots, Ghost Peppers and more

If you check on Guinness Book of World Records, Pepper X is currently listed as the hottest pepper in the world. This was certified according to tests performed at Winthrop University in South Carolina in August of 2023. This pepper is proving quite elusive to buy fresh, as the seeds haven’t been released. They are being saved for exclusive hot sauces, which is a great business decision, but somewhat disappointing to see chili peppers going the same way as patent trolling big Pharma companies.

Pepper X Scoville Rating

The official Scoville rating of Pepper X is 2,693,000 These rankings take the averages of multiple peppers, so this level is nearly 50% higher than the Scoville rating of Carolina Reapers. Averages are important, as the variance of heat level on different peppers can be quite dramatic, even if they come from the same plant though. That means that some Pepper X might run up close to 3 million. For reference, the hottest New Mexico chile cultivar, Lumbre, runs around 10,000, or about a serrano or fiery jalapeno. Pepper X is on average over 200 times hotter than the hottest “Hatch Chile.”

Former hottest peppers

Going back to the 1990s, the hottest known peppers on record were the Habanero and Scotch Bonnet. Both chile peppers ranged around 300,000 Scoville Heat Units, or SHUs for short. For a long time, they were the top dogs in the spice world, and although the Red Savina overtook them in 1994, it never became particularly famous like habaneros, Scotch Bonnets, Ghost Peppers, and the like.

The Ghost Pepper and a new wave of spice

In 2001, Dr. Paul Bosland of the Chile Pepper Institute visited India in search of a fabled super hot pepper. This pepper, known as the Bhut Jolokia or Ghost Pepper, was measured to be over 1 million SHU. According to him, it “opened the floodgates,” and we can see that clearly in how fast the progression of spice accelerated after that. In 2007, the Ghost Pepper was certified as the hottest chile in the world by Guinness. Within just a few years, it was overtaken by the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion. After this, it was passed by the Naga Viper, which was then passed again by the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T which measured at 1,463,700 Scoville.

a bowl full of ghost peppers and some 7 pot varieties.
The red peppers are ghosts, and 2 different varieties of 7 pots

A new ascendant to the spice throne

Finally in 2017, the Carolina Reaper took its place as the hottest pepper in the world. Along with this came the rise of spice challenges on different apps such as Instagram and Tiktok. This has pushed peppers like ghost peppers and Carolina Reapers into an almost cult like status, with many people using peppers to demonstrate toughness or bravery. While we don’t recommend taking on a chile that is too spicy for you, we do sell fresh superhot chile peppers at 2010 Eubank Blvd NE in Albuquerque, New Mexico during the chile season. My recommendation is fermented hot sauces, as it pulls the heat in with a lovely sourness which gives a nice bright and refreshing heat to any dish.

Carolina Reaper Scoville

Prior to Pepper X, the Carolina Reaper held the spice record since 2017, with an average tested Scoville rating of 1,641,183. For comparison, this is about 5-600 times hotter than a Big Jim chile out of Hatch, New Mexico. When you consider that this Scoville ranking was an average, and some people have tested their Reapers at over 2 million Scoville, the fire is real. Carolina Reapers really bring the heat, even if they are not the most hot pepper around anymore.

a bunch of carolina reapers in a box
These Carolina Reapers still pack a punch, even if they aren’t Pepper X

The hottest chiles in the future

Although the Carolina Reaper still maintains its place at the head of the table in the Guinness Book, it might not actually be the spiciest thing around anymore. Reapers have gotten slightly hotter than in the past, due to selective breeding, but other peppers have also risen to the same general level. As someone who has tried several varieties of 7- pot peppers, I can’t honestly tell the difference in heat between them and Carolina Reapers. More than just that, certain new varieties, such as Dragon’s Breath are said to be more spicy. The creator of the Carolina Reaper has also come out with a pepper, known as Pepper-X which he says is hotter than both Dragon’s Breath and the Carolina Reaper, along with other varieties as well.

So, what is the hottest chile/chili?

I don’t know. The official record holder now is Pepper X, but so many people are growing their own unique varieties of superhot chili peppers now. I believe no one really knows, and at this point I think it doesn’t even matter. There are so many different superhot chiles of every shape, texture, and even flavor around nowadays, that I think it is better to choose a pepper based on the flavor profile. Many superhots taste incredibly fruity, like passionfruit or mango. Others have somewhat of a subdued chocolatey feel. It is really remarkable how chile peppers can be so hot, yet taste so different from each other. Every grower will say their chile is the hottest, but what keeps me excited is the new flavors.

New Chile flavors

It is so fun making a lactofermented hot sauce with new tropical flavored chile peppers that can give a really unique feeling to any food it goes on. Store bought sauces bore me, they always have chemicals, stabilizers, and gums in them. In the future, I will probably write more recipes, but I’m not a passionate content creator. It might take years. If you want to hear my ideas, come by my store in Albuquerque during the chile season. If I’m not too busy, I’ll be very happy to share. Flavor and heat is one of my main passions in life.

Non superhot chile

In addition to superhot chile, we also have a lot of other varieties of chile at our store located at 2010 Eubank Blvd NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Whether you are looking for fresh roasted New Mexico green chile, or just want to check on the state of the New Mexico chile season of 2023, we have a lot of chile products available for you. In September, we have the best selection of chile ristras in Albuquerque, which you can also use to make chile sauce or red chile enchiladas!

Aji Charapita

The most expensive chili pepper in the world, the Aji Charapita is native to Peru in South America. This chile pepper is not insanely hot, but is a lot more spicy than typical New Mexico chile. I would compare the level of spice to chile pequin, or chile de arbol in Mexico. The flavor of it is incredibly fruity however, with a really tropical and citrusy taste. Although many chili peppers are fruity like this, especially among other Aji varieties, this pepper has a bit of a cult following. We have regular customers that come multiple times during the season to pick up more of these little fireballs!

These little orange chile peppers are super expensive, but taste great!