Scoville Heat Scale
The chile pepper is a lovely thing. It ranges from sweet and fruity to bold and spicy and everywhere in between.
There is a very wide range of “heat” experienced from peppers from the non-existent heat in a bell pepper to the
tingling jalapeno to the incredibly hot Habanero. With such a broad range of piquancy someone devised a way to
differentiate or rank the difference in these peppers – it’s called the Scoville Heat Scale
or Scoville Scale. The heat scale, devised by Wilbur Scoville,
is used to quantify the number of Scoville heat units (SHU) in a hot pepper.
In Scoville’s method a specific amount of the peppers heat source, capsaicin oil, is added to increasingly larger
amounts of sugar-water until a small group of tasters can’t detect the heat. The extremely hot habaneros
and nagas chiles have a Scoville rating of 200,000 or more,
indicating that this solution must be diluted over 200,000 times before the capsaicin presence is undetectable.
Jalapeno peppers are usually around 5,000. This test obviously suffers from the variances in people or subjective
nature of humans. Newer methods of measuring the effective heat of these peppers are used, such as
but the result is still in Scovilles.
Below are the hottest peppers known to man. You may be surprised to find out that it's no longer the Ghost Pepper or the Habanero.
Follow this link to see a listing of the common peppers and where they rank on the
Scoville Scale. For more about the hottest peppers read on.
Hottest Pepper in the World
In recent years, the universally known hottest pepper the Red Savina Habanero,
was supplanted with the Bhut Jolokia or more commonly known as the “Ghost Pepper”.
Partly due to man’s competitive spirit, the title of the world’s hottest chile pepper was stolen again in
February 2011 by the Naga Viper pepper
and then again in March to the Trinidad Scorpion "Butch T".
The “Butch T” measures a whopping 1,463,700 Scoville heat units. Now that's HOT!!@!%!
February 2012 update: believe it or not the world's hottest pepper has changed again and it is nearly 1/3 hotter than the "Butch T".
The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion1 has a scoville rating of 2,000,000 making it the new winner!
Red Savina Habanero
"Butch T" Trinidad Scorpion
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion
For the less risk-adversed there is a whole slew of peppers out there to try. Some may be higher on the heat scale than others, but
also have more sugar content that tends to mellow out heat. Take some time to learn about all the peppers,
where they rank and what they're best used for.
Recipes, Hot Pepper Gifts and Other Fun Stuff
Undoubtably 99% of the chile-heads out there won’t be rushing out to get their hands (or mouths) on a “Butch T” pepper, but you know what?
It sure is fun to try some of the sanely hot peppers and even more fun to buy gifts and other cool hot gear.
If you have any recipes to share or care to try some of our favorites be sure to check out our HOT Recipe section.