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10 chilli peppers in order of hotness

If you think the Red Hot Chili Peppers are hot – you should check out some of these bad boys.

The Scoville Organoleptic Test makes it possible to measure the chemical compound that produces the burning sensation when we eat chillies. So, bearing in mind that the standard variety of capisicum (or bell pepper) you buy in the supermarket scores a zero on the test, these are the top 10 hottest chilli peppers in order of spice…

10. Pimiento

Only a small step up from the aforementioned garden-variety capiscum, the pimiento is not likely to have you withering away in a puddle of sweat, reaching for a fire extinguisher to put out the flames. 

These peppers, commonly found in the green olives served at Spanish tapas restaurants, typically rate between 100 and 900 Scoville heat units (SHU).

9. Jalapeno

One of the most popular “hot chillies” in the world, the humble jalapeno is hot by many people’s standards and yet it scores a relatively low 2,500-10,000SHU. 

8. Cayenne pepper

That’s right; the cayenne pepper ranks only a lowly eight on this list of some of the world’s hottest chilli peppers. They’re fairly hot, though, scoring between 30,000 and 50,000 on the Scoville test. You may need a glass of water immediately after eating one.

7. Bird’s eye chilli

You’ll find the bird’s eye chilli in a lot of Thai and Indian dishes. It clocks in at 50,000-100,000 SHU. For most people, this will mark the cut-off point between hot and dangerously hot peppers.

6. Habanero and the Scotch bonnet

One bite of a habanero or Scotch bonnet pepper will likely leave you reaching for a jug of milk to put out the fire inside your mouth. These typically rank anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000 on the Scoville test.

5. Red savina

Developed from the habanero chilli, the red savina is more than 100 times hotter than a jalapeno. It’s so hot, in fact, that it held the world record for hottest chilli from 1994 to 2007. It’s been clocked at 577,000SHU.

4. Ghost pepper

The ghoulishly named ghost pepper has fooled many unwitting travellers to India or Bangladesh, where they’ve ordered a curry made from the pepper, locally known as the bhut jokolia. It’s so hot that it has even been used in smoke bombs. The ghost pepper scores over one million on the Scoville test.

3. Naga viper

Now we’re getting atomic. The naga viper was cultivated in England – but don’t let that fool you. This chilli pepper typically reaches up to 1.35 million on the Scoville test. Apparently it’s so hot to eat that your stomach will hurt for the rest of the day. We wouldn’t want to find out for ourselves.

2. Trinidad scorpion Butch T

This pepper is so hot that, to cook it, its cultivators have to wear chemical masks and body suits for fear of their hands and arms going numb. It was the hottest chilli pepper in the world in 2011, when a laboratory test measured it at nearly 1.5 million SHU.

1. Trinidad moruga scorpion

What is it with Trinidad and hot chilli peppers? The moruga blend of the Trinidad scorpion pepper is the world’s hottest cultivated chilli pepper, and it’s so deadly that it can rate as high as two million on the Schoville scale. We’d hate to think what they’ll come up with next…

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