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How Chili Peppers Rank on the Scoville Heat Scale

Chilihead #1 “I had Da Bomb! My eyes rolled back and I started sweating and shaking for 10 minutes!”


Chilihead #2 “Well I straight up ate a reaper, my face went numb and I started cramping for three hours. I ate something way hotter than you did. 


Chilihead #1 “Well Da Bomb is so hot that it makes people react like this when they try it


Among chiliheads and hot sauce lovers there have been debates on how to quantify the level of heat a pepper brings, but it got a lot easier after Wilbur Scoville developed the Scoville Scale in 1912. 


The Scoville Scale measures the heat of peppers, which almost entirely comes from the compound capsaicin in chili peppers. Peppers are ranked in SHU (Scoville Heat Units) and you will oftentimes see a range of SHU because food is always a little different and heat will vary pepper to pepper. 

Below you will see how some peppers range on the Scoville Scale. 

Leading off for the pepper team is the good ole Jalapeño. Jalapeños vary with their rankings but they rate at about 3,000 SHUs. The number is large, but just you wait. Jalapeños are mild peppers, especially compared to some of its brethren.


Up next the Serrano pepper. A Little more kick but you can still handle it. These peppers are quite common in green hot sauces and ding in at 10,000 to 20,000 units. Many chilli heads consider Serrano peppers still as very mild peppers. 

The Cayenne Pepper ranks next. Cayenne is the main pepper in Frank’s Red Hot. Still a bit hotter these peppers are about 10-15 times hotter than the Jalapeno and rate between 30,000-50,000 SHUs.


A native pepper to Florida the Datil pepper can be quite sweet, but don’t let these hot peppers fool you because it can pack a punch. The Datil Pepper ranges from about 100,000 - 300,000 SHU

Don’t get the Orange color of the Habaneros confused with a carrot because you’ll be quite surprised. Habaneros have a bit of a citrus flavor to them, but a lot of bite. Habaneros go up to 350,000 Scoville units. Over 100 times hot peppers and 100 times hotter than the Jalapeno.


The Red Savina is red for a reason. Danger! The Red Savina grows best in the hot and dry climate of California and in best conditions these peppers have ranked as high as 580,000 on the Scoville rank. These are no mild peppers at all. 


The bhit jolokia, aka naga morcich, or known to many as the ghost chili pepper. This pepper is one of the hottest peppers in the world. The Bhut Jolokia pepper ranks at 850,000-1,050,000 SHUs. Up to 350 times hotter than the jalapeno.

Finally, the hottest pepper out there right now is the Carolina Reaper.  This almost doubles the heat of the ghost chili pepper and is between 1,400,000 and 2,200,000 SHUs. 

There are some hot sauces out there with intense pepper combinations. You can post below to brag to the hot sauce community the high scoville sauce you’ve ever had.

1 Response

Albert Prince

Albert Prince

May 30, 2022

I have been eating and experimenting with chili peppers for abut 50 years and in my experience Habanero is my favorite to eat as a garnish straight, with meal. I use even hotter chili varieties in small quantities in cooking and larger quantities in marinating. I am also fond of Scotch Bonnett, Pimento, Tobasco, Chipotle, and Caribbean Red as garnishes and sauces. I eat chili almost every day.

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