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Top 5 Hottest Peppers in the World 2023

A new year means a new list of the world’s hottest peppers. Worldwide, pepper growers try to create new, hotter versions of peppers, which is why the list of hottest peppers in the world can change year by year.

In 2023, the official hottest chili peppers in the world are the Carolina Reaper, the Chocolate Bhutlah, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, the 7 Pot Douglah, and the Dorset Naga or Naga Morich. Unofficially though, some say the hottest peppers in the world are the Apollo pepper, Pepper X, and the Dragon’s Breath chili.

Photo of a fiery hot ripe ghost pepper on a white back drop
Photo by Don Valentine

2023 World’s Hottest Peppers (Official)

PepperScoville Heat Units (SHU)
Carolina Reaper2.2 million
Chocolate Bhutlah2 million
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion1.2 to 2 million
7 Pot Douglah923,889 to 1.8 million
Dorset Naga/Naga Morich1 – 1.5 million
This table lists the five official hottest peppers in the world along with their Scoville Heat Units (SHUs).

This post will focus on the top 5 official hottest peppers in the world. If you want to read about the peppers that are considered hotter, but not officially certified as such, check out my post on the top 3 hottest peppers in the world (official and unofficial). Additionally, I have a comprehensive post on the 20 hottest peppers in the world I recommend checking out.

Carolina Reaper (2.2 million SHUs)

At 2.2 million Scoville Heat Units (SHUs), the Carolina Reaper is currently the official Guinness World Record holder for the hottest pepper in the world. Created by “Smokin” Ed Currie of the Puckerbutt Pepper Company in South Carolina, the Carolina Reaper is a hybrid of a La Soufiere pepper from St. Vincent and the Naga Viper pepper from Pakistan, two incredibly hot peppers.

The Carolina Reaper pepper has wrinkly skin and a tail that looks like the curved tail of a scorpion. The peppers measure between one to a few inches long and come in a variety of different colors, including chocolate brown, yellow, orange, and green when unripe. Most people generally associate Carolina Reapers with their deep red color.

While I have not yet tried a fresh Carolina Reaper pepper, I have tried dried versions. While the pepper is extremely hot, it does pack a bit of flavor as well, which was pleasantly surprising.

To learn more about this incredibly hot pepper, check out my others posts on the Carolina Reaper:

Chocolate Bhutlah (2 million SHUs)

Number two on the list of hottest peppers in the world is the Chocolate Bhutlah pepper, which has an SHU of around 2 million and was the hottest pepper in the world before the Carolina Reaper showed up. Chad Soleski in Wisconsin created the Chocolate Bhutlah by crossing a 7 Pot Douglah pepper with a Bhut Jolokia, or Ghost pepper, hence the name Bhutlah, which is a combination of Bhut and Douglah.

Chocolate Bhutlah peppers, like Ghost peppers, are longer in shape. They are also wrinkly and start off green, maturing into their final chocolate brown color. The peppers grow to be about 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cms) in length.

The Chocolate Bhutlah tends to have a bit of sweetness to it, like the Carolina Reaper and most 7 Pot varieties. Although it has the word chocolate in its name, this is more in relation to its color rather than its flavor. The pepper has a nutty and earthy flavor, with a heat that hits you right away.

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (1.2 to 2 million SHUs)

The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper ranks as the third hottest pepper in the world in 2023, and measures at 2 million SHUs. Wahid Ogeer in the small village of Moruga at the southern end of the Trinidad Island created this pepper.

The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper looks a lot like a smaller, wrinklier cousin of the Bell pepper, but of course much hotter! The oils on the pepper’s coat gives it a shiny appearance and the pods are generally between 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cms) long and between half to a full inch (1 to 2.5 cms) in diameter. The pepper has a tail at the bottom that extends out of the center of the pod, much like a scorpion’s tail, hence the name. Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers start out green, turning yellow, orange, and then finally a deep red when they mature.

Like both the Carolina Reaper and the Chocolate Bhutlah, this pepper has a slight sweet taste to it before the heat hits your mouth.

Photo of many red Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers
Photo by Eleni Seitanidou

7 Pot Douglah (923,889 to 1.8 million SHUs)

Number 4 on the list of hottest peppers in the world is the 7 Pot Douglah pepper, which can range between 923,889 to 1.8 million Scoville Heat Units. The 7 Pot Douglah pepper originates from Trinidad and is related to the Trinidad Scorpion pepper. The name Douglah is a Trinidad word that means a person of both African and Indian descent.

The 7 Pot Douglah pepper, like other 7 Pot chili varieties, looks a lot like the Habanero. They are generally 2 inches (5 cms) long with wrinkles. These peppers start out green and then mature to a chocolate brown color. Like other chocolate brown peppers, the 7 Pot Douglah has hints of fruits and nuts, along with its extreme heat.

Dorset Naga/Naga Morich (1 – 1.5 million SHUs)

Rounding out our list of the 5 hottest peppers in the world in 2023 is the Dorset Naga pepper, also known as the Naga Morich, which has an SHU of 1 to 1.5 million. The Naga Morich pepper is native to northeast India and Bangladesh. It is widely cultivated in these areas, but you may also find it in the U.S., Finland, Australia, and the U.K.

Also called the serpent pepper, the Dorset Naga pepper grows to a length of about 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cms) and a width of about 1 inch (2.5 cms). It usually has a yellowish-red color when it ripens, and its skin is thick and slightly wrinkly. Despite its intense heat, the Naga chili has a floral and fruity flavor. When you take a bite, you are met with this sweet flavor, but after about 5 seconds, that sweetness is replaced by its searing heat! At 30 seconds