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8 Ways to Cook with Carolina Reaper Peppers

With peppers as hot as the Carolina Reaper, it might be tricky to figure out the best ways to consume these spicy treats. As one of the hottest peppers in the world, you have to be careful when cooking with these peppers, as a little can go a long way.

The best ways to cook with Carolina Reaper peppers is to add them to dishes or condiments to increase the spice levels. You can do this by using dried, roasted, powdered, or fermented Carolina Reapers to make hot sauces, salsas, marinades, and seasonings.  

Here are eight ways you can use Carolina Reapers to spice up your dishes. For all the methods, keep in mind that a little goes a long way, as this pepper is so incredibly hot. The nice thing about each method is that there are several variations, so you can try out different recipes for each method.

Photo of super hot peppers ripening on the vine

Carolina Reaper Hot Sauce

Probably one of the most popular ways to eat Carolina Reapers is through a hot sauce. Since these peppers are so hot, sauces are one of the best ways to enjoy them, since you can add as little or as much sauce as you like to spice up any dish.

There are many recipes for hot sauces using Carolina Reapers. Some are straight forward, calling for onions, garlic, and vinegar. While others get more exotic, with ingredients like papaya, pineapple, and mango.

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Some popular readymade hot sauces you can try include Hot One’s the Last Dab Reaper Edition, Torchbearer Sauces’ Garlic Reaper Hot Sauce, and Puckerbutt’s Squeezin’s Carolina Reaper Hot Sauce.

Carolina Reaper Seasoning

Another great way to use Carolina Reaper peppers is to dry them out and grind them into a fine powder to use as seasoning. Like any other chili powder, ground up Carolina Reaper peppers can be used by themselves, or added to other ingredients like cumin, coriander, garlic, and other powders to create a delicious spice blend. You can then add a pinch of this powder to any dishes you are cooking, create a dry spice rub, or add it to yogurt and create a marinade.  

Carolina Reaper Pepper Flakes

If you’re thinking of another way to lightly sprinkle in the heat of Carolina Reaper peppers in your meals, you could consider making pepper flakes out of them. As with the seasoning, you can grind up dried peppers to create this, but not grind it all the way into a powder. You can keep the seeds in, but you may want to remove them if you want your flakes to be less spicy. Pepper flakes make a for a great way to add controlled spice to dishes like pasta or pizza.

Carolina Reaper Pickled Peppers

Another fun way to eat Carolina Reaper peppers is by pickling them. Because they are so hot, it’s best to pickle these peppers alongside other items, such as onions or sweeter peppers. In fact, it’s a good addition to any other items you’re planning to pickle, as it adds a good hint of spice. So, the next time you plan on making pickled slaw or carrots, consider adding in a Carolina Reaper to add an extra kick!

Carolina Reaper Salsa

If you’re looking for that fresh Carolina Reaper pepper taste, and don’t just want to eat one plain, you could opt for a fresh salsa. For extra flavor, consider using roasted Carolina Reaper peppers, and add in some sweeter notes like a mango or pineapple to balance out the spice. Like with the hot sauces, you can make so many variations of salsa, so it’s a versatile way to use your Carolina Reaper peppers.

Carolina Reaper Pepper Jelly or Jam

There’s nothing better to balance out a sweet strawberry or raspberry jam or jelly than with the kick of a fresh Carolina Reaper pepper! It’s a bit unorthodox, but there is just something about adding a bit of spice to sweet things like jam. You can use it like a spread as you would regular jam or treat it like a chutney or a sweet and spicy dip.

Carolina Reaper Fermented Peppers

Fermenting Carolina Reaper peppers can add another layer of depth and flavor. After fermentation, you can use the peppers in hot sauces or salsas. This is also a good way to keep your Carolina Reaper peppers fresh if you have a lot of them and are not able to use them all right away. Fermentation is a great way to preserve peppers and use them over time, without losing their heat or going bad.

Carolina Reaper Spice-infused Vodka

Another 21-year-old and over way to use your Carolina Reaper peppers is to make some pepper-infused vodka. This is a fun way to use your hot peppers. You can mix them with your favorite vodka to create delicious cocktails like a Bloody Mary or other spicy mixed drinks.