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What is Hotter Than a Dragon’s Breath Pepper?

If you love very hot peppers, you have probably heard of Dragon’s Breath peppers, one of the hottest peppers in the world. But is it there anything hotter than Dragon’s Breath peppers?

There are two peppers allegedly hotter than the Dragon’s Breath: the Apollo pepper and Pepper X. These three peppers, Dragon’s Breath, Pepper X, and Apollo peppers are unofficially the three hottest peppers in the world. However, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Carolina Reaper is officially the hottest.

The Dragon’s Breath pepper was created by Neal Price, a chili farmer, and Mike Smith by accident when they were attempting to win Plant of the Year. Mike Smith continued to grow the Dragon’s Breath pepper in pursuit of winning the Plant of the Year award at the Chelsea Flower Show. The best the pepper did was make the Shortlist in 2017.

Close of photo of red Dragon's Breath peppers on white backdrop
Photo by Charlotte Lake

What Peppers are Hotter than Dragon’s Breath Peppers?

There are two peppers that are allegedly hotter than the Dragon’s Breath pepper: the Apollo pepper and Pepper X. The table below compares these peppers:

PepperMakerScoville Heat Units
Apollo PepperEd Currie3.2 million+
Pepper XEd Currie3.18 million
Dragon’s BreathMike Smith & Neal Price2.48 million
The table above shows the 3 unofficial hottest peppers in the world

Apollo Pepper

The Apollo pepper was created by Ed Currie and was revealed to the world in 2020 via the release of the Last Dab Apollo hot sauce. Ed bred Apollo Peppers by combining two of the world’s hottest peppers at the time: the Carolina Reaper and Pepper X. The Apollo pepper tastes sweet, fruity, and earthy.

I have written several articles on the Apollo pepper and have even tried a hot sauce made from them; check out the posts below to learn more about this elusive pepper!

Pepper X

Ed Currie created Pepper X when trying to create a pepper with cancer-fighting sub-capsinoids. Sub-capsinoids are substances in chili peppers that are similarly structured to capsaicin chemically. Capsaicin is the chemical compound that gives chili peppers their heat.

Ed created Pepper X by crossbreeding various peppers and claims the pepper took over 10 years to cultivate and stabilize. Pepper X comes in a variety of colors ranging from yellow, orange, off green, and chocolatey brown.

Ed Currie never disclosed which exact combination of peppers were crossbred to create Pepper X.

More About the Dragon’s Breath Pepper

Neal Price originally developed the Dragon’s Breath pepper to be used as an alternative anesthetic in countries that cannot afford normal anesthetics. An additional use was for people who may be allergic to anesthetics that are commonly used today. The high potency of beneficial compounds produced in the pepper can be placed on the skin or around an area to numb it instead of being inhaled or used through an IV.

If you are interested in reading more about the Dragon’s Breath Pepper, I recommend checking out my other article – Complete Dragon’s Breath Fiery Pepper Guide.

Why it’s Hard to Know for Sure if There is a Pepper Hotter Than the Dragon’s Breath Pepper

Although people submit peppers they claim are hotter than the Dragon’s Breath pepper, they have not been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records for one reason or another. Even the Dragon’s Breath pepper hasn’t been officially certified.

Part of the reason why it’s tough to know what peppers are hotter is it is challenging to consistently maintain high Scoville Heat Unit measurements across multiple test peppers. For example, a Jalapeño pepper can range between 2,500 and 8,000 Scoville Heat Units, which means that one Jalapeño pepper could be 320 percent hotter than another. This extreme variability in Scoville Heat Units exists amongst super-hot chili peppers as well.

A super-hot chili pepper like the Carolina Reaper has been measured to be up to 2.2 million Scoville Units, but the Guinness Book of World Records lists the Scoville Heat Unit at 1.6 million SHUs which is the average level of many tested Reaper peppers. So, the hottest Carolina Reaper can be up to 34 percent hotter than the variety’s average heat level.