The 10 most spicy chili peppers in the world


Lift your Hand if you ever bet to be able to eat very spicy chili peppers without turning red or crying.

And maybe you even won that bet, but did you ever think of which could be the spiciest peppers in the world, other then the ones you usually buy or your grannie makes?

Let’s begin by stating that this varieties are most likely not used in restaurants or our kitchen, as it would cause a rise in mortality rate. It’s nearly impossible to eat these spicy bombs and not suffocate instantly, obviously our Sliced hot chili peppers in our products is of Apulian origin and not at these levels, which makes it a great spicy level to still enjoy your meal with that bit of kick.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Do you know that there is a scale that measures the pungency (spiciness or “heat”) levels of chili peppers?

The pungency (spiciness or “heat”) levels of chili peppers are measured via the Scoville scale.

What is the Scoville scale?

The Scoville scale invented by Wilbur Scoville over 100 years ago, precisely in 1912 is the unity of measure  (in SHU (Scoville Heat Units)) of the pungency (spiciness or “heat”) levels of chili peppers. The chili peppers are fruits of the Capsicum family and contain some substances known as capsaicinoids, like the Capsaicina for example which stimulates the nerve ending that are situated underneath the tongue and communicate that sensation of heat or burning to the brain.

The Scoville test

The Scoville test was originally an organoleptic test, which was made by preparing an extract of the chili pepper, diluted in water and sugar until that burning sensation was not perceptible anymore. Easily put it was depend of the sensibility of the test people.

Today, the methods are much more sophisticated, like the HPLC  (High performance liquid chromatography, known as the “Gillette method”) method., which measures directly the amount of capsaicinoids without the sensibility of the human being.

The highest level of the scale is 16.000.000 SHU, which equals the pure capsaicina. The Scoville scale, indicates the quantity of capsaicina within the chili peppers.

Know that we know how the pungency of chili peppers is measured, let’s find out which are the spiciest in the world.

Furthermore, at the bottom of the page you can find and infographic of the most spicy peppers in the world to help you visualize better.

The top 10 of the spiciest peppers in the world

In decreasing order, we present you the most spicy peppers in the world, starting our very own italian chili pepper.

10. Red hot chili pepper from Calabria

Red hot chili pepper from Calabria

Red hot chili pepper from Calabria

Let’s begin to say that it is not enough to just say the chili pepper from Calabria, as it has its’ self many varieties.

For example there is the one round like a cherry tomato, the horn shaped one, also know as the chili pepper from Soverato or the little devil, known as Calabrese in bunches.

The hot chili pepper represents a medium pungency that measures around 30.000 SHU and is 2-3 cm long. It reaches its final ripening with the intense red coloring. Its used both raw and dried and often to add seasoning to various spicy typical sausages, like soppressata, spianata or the famous spread ‘nduja.

Most of you have probably had the possibility to try this pepper, so it might be easier to compare the level of pungency with the other products.

icons of hot chili pepper Level of pungency of the red hot chili pepper from Calabria is 30.000 SHU

9. Cayenne Pepper

Red hot chili pepper Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper

The name refers to the city Cayenne, departmental capital of French Guiana in Central America.

This variety of peperoncino is mostly used dry or freshly picked and toasted but ultimately grinded, that is why it is most known as Cayenne pepper. Due to its popularity it is grown and harvest almost everywhere in the world, also in Italy.

Its color is bright red and it can be 2 to 5 cm long. Mostly it’s used in the kitchen as grinded pepper and is rich in potassium, alcium, beta carotene, vitamins A, C and E and capsaicin.

icons of hot chili pepperLevel of pungency of the Cayenne pepper is 50.000 SHU

8. Manzano pepper

The Manzano pepper is one of the most fascinating hot chili peppers. It is harvest in Perù and Bolivia where it is known as rocoto or locoto pepper since thousands of years and has a typical red coloring, whilest the yellow variety is more common in the Caribbean or Mexico.

As you can see on the picture the consistency of its flesh is much more thicker than that of other peppers and its seeds are very dark or black.

The Manzano pepper is a perennial plant, capable of bearing fruit on average 3 times a year. The level of pungency start to rise here, with a level of 75.000 SHU.

Level of pungency of the manzano pepper 75.000 SHU

7. Scotch Bonner pepper

Scotch bonnet, also known as bonney peppers, or Caribbean red peppers is a variety of chili pepper named for its resemblance to a tam o’ shanter hat. Mostly harvest in the Caribbean islands but is also known in Guyana, where it is named “ball of fire”, and it can be of either red, orange or yellow coloring.

For the most part the Scotch Bonnets have a pungency level between 100.000 and 350.000 Scoville units, but you can also find some mild varieties called Cachuchas and mostly grown on the Caribbean islands.

Level of pungency of the Scotch Bonnet pepper 200.000 SHU

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