13 Apr Chef Andrew Dove’s list of the world’s 25 hottest Chillies
Chef Andrew Dove’s list of the world’s 25 hottest Chillies
Before we start, just let me say that if you think Jalapeno Chillies are hot, you are in for a rude awakening. As the don’t come anywhere near this list weighing in at around 5,000 SHU.
A Chillies heat level is measured by the Scoville Heat Unit Scale.
The Scoville Heat Unit is a subjective scale used for measuring the spicy heat of Chillies (and other hot foods). It’s a function of capsaicin concentration, though it’s not as accurate as the actual measurement of the capsaicin content of a Chilli because it’s assessed empirically by panels of testers.
From number 25 to number 1 here’s how the hottest Chillies in the world rank
- Bahamian Bird Chillies (95000 – 110000 SHU)
Originating from the Bahamas, the Bahamian Bird Chilli grows to only about 2-3 cm long and ½ cm wide, and may be found in an assortment of colours, including yellow, orange, green and red. the Bahamian Bird Chillies is a member of the Capsicum annuum family, it grows upright in clusters, unlike most Chillies that hang from their stems. They are hotter than the cayenne, but not quite as hot as most habaneros. They make a deliciously spicy addition to many foods and dishes.
- Guyana Chilli (Wiri Wiri) (100,000 – 350,000 SHU)
These little beauties originally come from the small country of Guyana situated in the north eastern sector of South America. This is where the relatively rare Guyana Chilli, commonly as the Wiri Wiri Chilli comes from. The Wiri Wiri Chilli is a 1 cm round pepper that grows upright, and is quite hot. They turn from green, to orange, to red when mature. It is so cherry-like in appearance that sometimes it is called the Hot Cherry or Bird Cherry pepper.
- Hot Paper Lantern (150,000 – 350,000 SHU)
The Hot Paper Lantern is a habanero type Chilli so it belongs to the Capsicum Chinense tribe. More productive and larger than regular habaneros, these elongated, pendant shaped fruits are 6-10cm long, but they pack the same mouth-blistering heat. They ripen from lime green to orange and finally to a bright scarlet red. The wall of the Chilli very is thin, making them great for drying. They are almost as just as hot as orange habanero, except it has a different sweeter initial taste before the heat kicks in, while the regular orange habanero has a sharper heat that attacks the tongue much faster. Great for seasoning, salsa, hot sauce or roasting.
- Madame Jeanette (225,000 -350,000 SHU)
The Madame Jeanette hails from Suriname (Caribbean) and is a lovely smooth, yellow pod that packs a surprising punch. Named for a prostitute from Paramaribo, it has neither fruity nor floral undertones, it’s just hot. It is another of the Capsicum Chinense family. The Madame Jeanette can commonly be found in traditional Suriname and Antillean cuisine, often tossed into dishes whole to add spice to every bite. It is used in almost all facets of Surinamese cuisine. Its flavour is described as fruity, with hints of mango and pineapple.
- Scotch Bonnet (100,000-350,000 SHU)
One of my Favourites, The Scotch Bonnet is a Caribbean Chilli, A member of the Capsicum Chinense Family, it gets its name from a perceived resemblance to the Scottish Tam o’Shanter (those floppy woollen hats that you see Rastas wearing). It has a little bit of Tropical sweet to go along with all that spicy and is most commonly found in hot Caribbean dishes like jerk chicken or jerk pork, though it crops up in recipes as far away as West Africa. They’re one of the main ingredients in the famous West Indian hot pepper sauces, which differ from country to country but can be found in almost every household in the Caribbean.
- White Habanero (100,000-350,000 SHU)
The first of many varieties of the famed habanero to make the cut, also a member of the Capsicum Chinense clan, the white is particularly rare and difficult to cultivate. These Chillies grow on tiny bushes, but each one produces an exceptionally high yield. There’s some debate about whether they originated in Peru or Mexico (some people go so far as to differentiate between Peruvian White Habaneros and Yucatan White Habaneros), regardless of its origins, these Chillies can be found lending heat to traditional Mexican stews and salsas. Their influence has even extended out into the Caribbean, where they’re employed in sauces and marinades.
19.Orange Habanero (150,000-350,000 SHU)
My Favourite Chilli for making my Caribbean style Sauces. This habanero is the orange kind you can now buy in the Woolies and Coles, but just because they’re readily available doesn’t mean they’re less vicious than any of their cousins on this list. Originating in the Amazon Basin, this Chilli was brought northward through Mexico (where most of them are grown commercially now). One domesticated habanero, which was dated at 8,500 years old, was found at an archaeological dig in Peru. It takes its name from the Mexican translation, meaning from Havanna. The habanero which is a member of the Capsicum Chinense family is actually a different variety of the same species as the Scotch Bonnet, though it’s used more in Mexico than in the Caribbean, lending a fruity and floral kick to Yucatan food. Check out the Jondy Ring Sting Sauce at the Festival.
- Fatalii (125,000-325,000 SHU)
The first Chilli on the list from the Eastern Hemisphere, the Fatalii is a chilli originally from Central African Republic and southern Africa. A member of the Capsicum Chinense variety. Some claim that its flavour is notably citrusy (though how anybody can taste anything through that much burning is beyond me), and so it’s used largely in fruity hot sauces from its native Africa through the Caribbean.
- Devil’s Tongue (125,000-325,000 SHU)
These a very similar in appearance to the Fatalii, and another member of the habanero family, the Devil’s Tongue was first discovered growing in Pennsylvania among its habanero relatives. Nobody’s quite sure where it originated or how it came to be growing in the field of an Amish farmer, but it’s become renowned for its bright, fruity, and sometimes slightly nutty taste. Because its past is a mystery, however, there are no real ‘traditional’ uses for the Devil’s Tongue. However like other Chillies from the Capsicum Chinense varieties I recommend eating them fresh in salsas or salads, if you can take the heat.
- Tigerpaw NR (265,000 — 328,000 SHU)
This new type of habanero Chilli was scientifically engineered, rather than naturally cultivated. The “NR” in the name signifies nematode resistance, as the US Department of Agriculture’s research division (ARS) developed this particular Chilli plant to be resistant to root-knot nematodes, a parasite common to many Chilli and tomato plants. Geneticist Richard Fery, who developed TigerPaw NR with plant pathologist Judy Thies, says the chilli got its name when a fellow scientist saw a picture of its fruit and claimed they looked like tiger paws. Because of its distinctly unnatural upbringing, the Tigerpaw, like the Devil’s Tongue, lacks traditional use in cuisine. However, its similarity to the traditional orange habanero means it’s easily substituted in any of the multitude of habanero recipes used throughout Mexico. However It tends to pack a bigger burn than its more traditional relative.
- Chocolate Habanero (aka Congo Black) (300,000-577,000 SHU)
Chocolate Habaneros originated in Trinidad and in fact have absolutely nothing to do with the Congo. Another of the Capsicum Chinense clan. This one’s a favourite of many ‘chilli heads,’ who somehow remain conscious long enough to detect a rich, smoky flavour buried somewhere under all that heat. Chocolate habaneros have been dubbed the “ultimate salsa Chilli,” though you’re more likely to find them in the fiery Jamaican jerk sauces and rubs. I hear that Ironhide Jerky has Chocolate Hab flavoured Jerky.
- Caribbean Red Habanero (300,000-475,000 SHU)
An upgraded version of the orange habanero, clocking in at almost twice the spice, this sexy little chilli approaches heinous levels of heat. Like many of the Chillies on this list, the Caribbean Red likely hails from the Amazon basin, and parts of Belize, although the Mexicans argue of its Yucatan origins and it is a staple in Mexican cooking, where it can be commonly found in salsas and hot sauces. More creative uses of this Chilli include a guest appearance in “Caribbean Red Chilli Surprise” ice cream that is sold in the States, though, according to one consumer, “The surprise is, your brain is on fire, and your taste-buds are in love, but your fillings have melted.”
- Red Savina (200,000-580,000 SHU)
Yet another habanero of the Capsicum Chinense clan, this evil little bugga has been selectively bred for generations to produce larger, heavier, and spicier fruit . to give you some idea of where this list is headed, the Red Savina was the hottest Chilli in the world from 1994 to 2006, and as it is Chilli number 13 we’re not even halfway through my list. As a close relative to the habanero Chillies, the Red Savina shares the well-established Central American origin story but was developed further in California.
- Naga Morich (aka Dorset Naga) (1,000,000-1,500,000 SHU)
Naga Morich means “serpent chilli” in Bengali. Another of the Capsicum Chinense tribe. Sister of the famed Ghost Pepper, this little beauty is native to northern parts of India and Bangladesh, where it’s often eaten in its green unripened state and raw, as a side dish and rubbing it on to the foods they are preparing. The Dorset Naga is a particular strain of the Naga Morich Chilli that was selectively bred for maximum heat. It was the first Chilli on earth to break one million SHU (double the rating of the Red Savina). Aside from mind-numbing heat, they also boast a fruity flavour; some claim to taste notes of orange and pineapple, which makes me laugh, because I am unable to taste anything after eating these.
- Trinidad Scorpion CARDI (800,000-1,000,000 SHU)
The Trinidad Scorpion gets its name from its homeland and its appearance; its Trinidadian origins are self-evident, as is the rest of it, once you get a look at one. Another of the Capsicum Chinense mob. They have a little stinger opposite the stem, which looks like the poisonous barb on the tail of a scorpion. The “CARDI” addendum stands for Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, the research group responsible for the cultivating this Chilli. We are now entering the Zone known to Chilli Heads as the SUPER HOT ZONE., A fact further evidenced by the two main uses of the Trinidad Scorpion CARDI: firstly, in military-grade mace, and secondly, mixed in with marine paint to prevent barnacles from growing on the bottoms of boats. Me I prefer to add it to my pizza.
- Bhut Jolokia Chocolate (800,000-1,001,304 SHU)
The Bhut Jolokia (aka Naga Jolokia) is more commonly known by its Americanised name, the Ghost Pepper. It is a hybrid of the Capsicum Chinense and Capsicum frutescens. The chocolate variant of this Chilli is a very rare naturally occurring permutation of the standard red and is named not only for its rich colouring but also for its notoriously sweet flavour. Don’t be fooled by the sweetness, though it’s just as spicy as its red cousin, at over a million SHU. Native to India, the Ghost Pepper is responsible for some of the most brain-searing, tongue-sizzling sauces, curries and chutneys in the entire world. However, it’s also used in military weapons and smeared on fences to ward off stampeding elephants.
- Bhut Jolokia (aka Ghost Pepper) (800,000- 1,041,427 SHU)
There’s not much to be said here that hasn’t already been covered in the section about the Chocolate Ghost Pepper. Another Capsicum Chinense and Capsicum Frutescens (hybrid). The Bhut Jolokia has been around for many centuries, but was only introduced to the western world in 2000. In 2007 The Ghost Pepper was certified as the hottest Chilli on the planet in The Guinness Book of World Records. The first flavour you will notice is an intense sweet chilli flavour, the heat does not kick in for 30 – 45 seconds. Once the heat kicks in, expect sweating, watery eyes, hiccups and shortness of breath. The burning generally intensifies over 10 – 15 minutes and subsides after 30 – 40 minutes. The standard red variant of this Chilli is much easier to find than the chocolate and is the fuel for restaurant challenges and idiotic videos on Youtube.
- 7 Pot Chilli (over 1,000,000 SHU)
The 7 Pot Chilli gets its name from its alleged ability to provide enough heat and spice for seven pots of stew, and at over a million SHU, I believe it.it is one of the Capsicum Chinense variety. Unsurprisingly, this little duppy (Caribbean evil spirit) is also from Trinidad, where evil Chillies grow like weeds. The heat of the 7-Pot Chilli is similar to the Bhut Jolokia but with a more fruity and nutty flavor, like other Caribbean Chillies. You’ll find it in many of the same dishes as the other Caribbean Chillies in the habanero family such as stews, goat curries, marinades, and hot sauces. The 7 Pot (sometimes called the 7 Pod) displays all-over blistering on the skin of the fruit, a texture only found in the spiciest of Chillies.
- Gibraltar (aka Spanish Naga) (1,086,844 SHU)
The Spanish Naga is grown, of course, in Spain however it was actually developed in the UK. As with most the Super hots, it is in the Capsicum Chinense family. Like the 7 Pot, this one’s so fiendishly spicy that its skin is bubbling and wrinkled, an effect probably exaggerated by the unique conditions under which it’s grown: The plants have to be kept indoors in enclosed plastic tunnels and subjected to blisteringly hot temperatures in order to churn out Chillies this spicy. With a fruity, citrus like aroma, the Spanish Naga packs a lot of sweet with its extreme heat. They have a very savory, sweet taste with them. Since they’re largely man-made, there aren’t any traditional dishes that use the Gibraltar chilli, but they’re available in Western Europe if you’re interested in concocting a Spicy meal and destroying your taste buds in the process
- 7 Pot Infinity Chilli (1,176,182 SHU)
Most of the Chillies on rest of this list have been engineered by humans. Another Capsicum Chinense. I guess once we identified the hottest Chilli in the world, all we could do from there was make them hotter ourselves. The Infinity Chilli was engineered in the UK by breeder Nick Woods, but it only held the world record for two weeks before it was ousted by the next contender, the Naga Viper. Like the previous two, this Chilli is red and wrinkly, blistered and bloody ugly to some people.
- Naga Viper (1,382,118 SHU)
By all rights this Chilli shouldn’t even exist. It’s so strange, so very unholy in its spiciness, that the plants can’t actually produce offspring exactly like the parent. The Frankenstein of the Chilli family. An abomination of nature. Surprise it’s a Capsicum Chinense. It’s an unstable three-way genetic hybrid between the Naga Morich, the Bhut Jolokia, and the Trinidad Scorpion, which can’t naturally incorporate the genes from all three breeds into its seeds. If you want to grow it, you have to get the seeds from its human creator, Gerald Fowler But be prepared to wait as there are already thousands in line ahead of you.
- 7 Pod Douglah (aka Chocolate 7 Pot) (923,000-1,853,396 SHU)
The Bastard sister of the 7 Pot Chilli from the Capsicum Chinense tribe, the Douglah , better known as the Chocolate 7 Pot, is easy to recognise by the heavily textured dark brown or even purple skin. This Chilli comes agonizingly close to 2 million SHU, so one would imagine flavour is the last thing anyone’s thinking about as you are rolling around on the floor, weeping and wailing, moaning and nashing their teeth. That said many say the Douglah is one of the most deliciously flavourful Chillies, with a full-bodied Tropical fruitiness unmatched by others of its spice level. Hailing from Beautiful island of Trinidad, land of the brutal Chillies, this variety can be found in many of the same dishes as the other Caribbean contenders.
- Trinidad Scorpion Butch T (1,463,700 SHU)
This evil Chilli a Variety of the Trinidad Scorpion is the pride and joy of Butch Taylor, owner of Zydeco Hot Sauce in Mississippi. Tiny, red, and friggen evil, this Chilli has a little stinger on the end, characteristic of the Trinidad scorpion Chilli . The Scorpion Butch T is so spicy you have to wear safety gear to cook with it (that means masks, Goggles, gloves and Bio hazard suits, I shit you not), Chefs and cooks alike have claimed numbness in their hands for up to two days afterwards.
- Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (2,009,231 SHU)
The Moruga Scorpion, was the first Chilli ever to break 2 million SHU, held the world record for spiciness for several years and hails from, that little Chilli paradise of Trinidad. One more time from the family Capsicum Chinense. Each fruit is about the size of a golf ball and contains as much capsaicin as 25 mils of police-grade pepper spray. This is the spiciest naturally occurring Chilli known to man, but, like the Douglah, it’s also famously fruity and flavourful. I recommend adding a small amount to any dish for an explosion of apocalyptic flavour, as well as the endorphin rush that accompanies the consumption of something that spicy. These scare me.
- Carolina Reaper (1,569,383-2,200,000 SHU)
This is it. The big one. The god father, the Don of Chillies. Respect must be given, as it takes no prisoners, leaves no survivors. The Carolina Reaper claimed its crown in November of 2013 as the spiciest Chilli of all time, blowing the Moruga Scorpion’s measly 2 million SHU away by over 200,000 units. And it’s one nasty-looking Chilli, fully equipped with the texture and scorpion tail of the Trinidadian heavyweights, though it lacks the natural heritage of the Moruga Scorpion. The Reaper was engineered in South Carolina by Ed Currie, owner of PuckerButt Pepper Co. Ed Currie began growing Chillies because of his interest in the health benefits of hot Chillies, born from his family’s history of early death from heart disease and cancer. He found that indigenous populations from around the world who eat hot Chillies with meals have extremely small instances of these diseases, prompting his focus on Chillies as a delicious and healthy food staple. Typically super hots have chemical undertones, as if you can actually taste the capsaicin. The Carolina Reaper has a sweet and fruity flavour, right before the heat kicks in. There’s a lot more flavour to the Carolina Reaper then you’ll find in most extremely hot Chillies. Try them at the Queensland Fiery Foods Festival if you’re brave.Australian Extreme Chilli Condiments use these in their Bad Boy Bangers. The Chilli Addiction will have Atomic Carolina Reaper Candy on sale. Personally, I like the taste of food, so I pass on these Monsters. I fear the Reaper. And like my intestines.