Do you think you know the Hottest Chillies in the World ?

by Thelurch on March 2, 2013 · 1 comment

in Chilli Varieties

I get many emails from people the world over asking the same type of question, “what is the hottest chilli in the world?” or “what are the top 10 hottest chillies?”  This is not a straight forward question to answer, with new varieties, strains or mutations appearing all the time, and factor in a lot of varieties are far from stable and can produce pods with vastly differing heats, it is complicated.

For a chilli to be called the worlds hottest, it has to be verified and recognised by Guinness World Records. Many newer varieties have tested higher, but until they have been officially recorded by Guinness they are just a set of numbers.

The following 5 varieties have been officially authenticated and have held the world record how ever briefly:

1) The worlds hottest chilli is still the Trinidad Scorpion ‘Butch T‘. This chilli was grown by The Chilli Factory (Australia) and rated at 1,463,700 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) according to tests conducted by EML Consulting Services in Morisset, New South Wales, Australia, on 1 March 2011. For our original report on the Butch T Follow this link

2) The Naga Viper had a rating of 1,382,118 SHU. It is a three-way hybrid produced from the Naga Morich, the Bhut Jolokia and the Trinidad Scorpion. Gerald Fowler from the Chilli Pepper Company bred this variety and on 25 February 2011 it was recognised by Guinness. To read our original report follow this link

3) The Infinity Chilli or Infinity 7 Pot  created in England by Nick Woods of Fire Foods, Grantham, Lincolnshire. For two weeks in February 2011, the Infinity Chilli held the Guinness World Record title for the world’s hottest chilli with a rating of 1,067,286 SHU mentioned here

4) The Bhut Jolokia or Ghost Chilli  In 2005, at New Mexico State University Chile Pepper Institute, Professor Paul Bosland found the Bhut Jolokia grown from seed in Southern New Mexico to have a rating of 1,001,304 SHU. Bhut or Bhoot translates to “Ghost” and Jolokia translates to “Pepper”

Bhut5) The Red Savina was the record holder for a number of years until the Bhut Jolokia. It is a cultivar of the Habanero Chilli (Capsicum chinense Jacquin), which has been selectively bred to produce hotter, heavier, and larger Chillies. They have been measured to reach as high as nearly 580,000 SHU.

So there you have the 5 Hottest Guinness Recognised Chillies which have each held the World Record.

There are lots of others which have been tested and do fit in between these five, like various Nagas and 7 Pots, and most recently the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion. This Chilli has been tested at the New Mexico State University’s Chili Pepper Institute and in February 2012 it reported a rating of 2,009,231 SHU. This rating is as yet still to be officially recognised by Guinness.

What is important to point out is that the 2 million rating of the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion was the highest score out of a number of tests. In fact the mean (or average) rating came in at 1,200,000 and the lowest rating was well below 1,000,000. This is the same for every chilli tested, the highest rating is always quoted, but Guinness as far as I’m aware will go with the average heat in samples submitted.

Even with these highest SHU,  the top rating is only a potential highest, there are so many factors involved which will affect the chillies potential heat, like seed quality, compost and feed used, growing temperatures, humidity, availability of water to the plant. These and many more will more than likely stop you achieving the same SHU as it says on the seed packet.

Carolina Reaper

2012 saw a number of new varieties announced, these included the ‘HP22B’ which became the Carolina Reaper (pictured above)from Ed Currie at Puckerbutt . This chilli is very close to having its SHU announced, and also the Jay’s Peach & Red Ghost Scorpion’s (pictured below) from Jim Duffy at Refining Fire Chiles.

Guinness do not just require a recognised SHU test result but evidence of the DNA of the plant/pods to prove that the chilli is new and not an existing variety.

In the UK anyone can get HPLC Testing done via Warwick University. You need to supply a minimum 25g of whole dried pods. It currently costs just under £30 per variety per test.

So there you have it, defining the hottest chillies on the planet is a bit of a minefield, hopefully this has helped clear things up, but tomorrow everything could change again!

Incidentally there is also a recognised Guinness world record for the heaviest chilli which is currently held by Ed Currie for a chilli which weighed 290g

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar Jim Duffy March 4, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Hello Chris, Just want to clarify a few things. Guinness has no requirement for mean/average heat. It is simply stated hottest chilli or hottest spice. Of course one can submit their entire average high heat for their application or they can just submit their highest number. As long as they can prove their number. CPI got their high average from two plants over 25 pods per plant. So the mean average of those plants was over 2,000,000 SHU and was submitted. All previous record holders gave their high average as well. In the case of the Red Savina it was only a single test of one sample. The average for the Bhut Jolokia was one large sample divided and sent to three labs and then the results of three labs averaged over 1,000,000 SHU. So there is no requirement or set standard to define how you take the average. In other words anyone going for the record does not have a set amount of tests, plants etc they have to go by. So the numbers of CPI are valid and so are Ed Curries. The applications are pending not because of a mean average low score as some are presuming with Moruga. This is misinformation. Again you can take the average of 100 plants or 1 plant. So a two plant average for high number is good enough and the rest of the plants can be thrown out when going for a record. If in the future Guinness does decide to make everyone go by an average then all would have to grow the same amount of plants, take the same amount of random samples and have the same amount of tests. For there has to a a formula/ requirement to determine an average. Guinness has asked both CPI and Ed Currie to have them (Guinness) come to America to verify testing procedures, paperwork and lab settings. This will cost CPI and Ed Currie thousands of dollars in expenses. Now some may ask why does this have to happen. If you look at the past few years there have been 3 new records and scores of applicants for new ones. I think Guinness has decided that this is getting ridiculous so therefore is making all parties for future records show even more proof than before. Thats bad news for those that live far away like CPI but not a problem for those that live close by Guinness. If you have any questions about this to verify what I am saying you may Contact Danise Coon at CPI. Her E mail is


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