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What is the Most Expensive Pepper in the World? (Solved!)

Due to their widespread availability, normal peppers, whether Bell, Tabasco, or Serrano peppers, are usually moderately priced and pretty affordable. But as you move further up the hierarchy, you’ll discover rare peppers that can cost more than $20,000 per kilogram. So, what is the most expensive pepper in the world?

The most expensive pepper in the world is the Aji Charapita, valued at $25,000 per dried kilogram or $11,300 per pound. Famously nicknamed “the mother of all types of peppers,” the Aji Charapita is grown in Peru but is rare in most parts of the world.

Curious to learn more about the most expensive pepper in the world? Read on as we break down the main characteristics of the Aji Charapita, the cost of its seeds, and whether you can grow it at home.

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Photo of orange Aji Charapita peppers growing outdoors
Photo by Hana Richterova

What Type of Pepper is the Most Expensive and How Much Does it Cost?

The most expensive pepper in the world is the Aji Charapita, one of Peru’s greatest exports. The pepper has a distinct citrus aroma and has heat levels in the same range as the Cayenne pepper, so it’s not especially high on the Scoville heat scale. Due to its exclusivity to Peru and overall rarity, the Aji Charapita retails at an unbelievable rate of $25,000 per kilogram.

How Many Aji Charapita Peppers are Equivalent to a Kilogram?

So, you’re thinking about trying to grow enough Aji Charapita peppers to make $25,000? Might want to think twice about that plan as it is no easy task. You will need 70,000 – 80,000 Aji Charapita peppers to equal 1 kilogram of dried product. Each plant will produce 100 to 200 peppers per season so you will need about 625 plants to produce $25,000 worth of peppers per growing season!

How Much Do Aji Charapita Seeds Cost?

The cost of Aji Charapita seeds largely depends on the seller. Some sites sell the seeds at $4, while others charge $9. When buying the seeds online, be sure to check the cost per seed before making a purchase, as some sites require you to buy a minimum amount of seeds. Either way, the cost of Aji Charapita will mostly depend on the seller you’re buying from. If you’re looking for some Aji Charapita seeds I recommend these ones by Refining Fire Chiles found on Amazon.

Everything About Aji Charapita, the Most Expensive Chili

The Aji Charapita is native to the Peruvian jungle and grows as a wild bushy plant that produces hundreds of tiny, round, Tepin-like hot peppers. In Peru, chili is grown on a small-scale basis and widely used as a fresh finishing spice for chicken, fish, and rice dishes. Moreover, the Aji Charapita’s fruity flavor adds a unique tropical touch to sauces and salsas. 

How Hot is the Aji Charapita Pepper?

The Aji Charapita is a tiny pepper measuring about 0.25 inches, meaning it’s the same size as the Chiltepin pepper or a pea seed. Despite their tiny round appearance, these chilis pack up some moderate to intense heat as they boast a range of between 30,000-50,000 Scoville heat units.

This means the Aji Charapita is in the same heat range as its Peruvian cousin, the Aji Amarillo, and the Cayenne pepper.

The Appearance of the Aji Charapita

The Aji Charpita chilis start as green when young before transforming to yellow once mature. The chilis are tiny and round which makes them resemble pea seeds. In its natural habitat, the Aji Charapita plant is bushy and, more often than not, produces hundreds of chilis. A single plant is enough to deliver a huge return of Aji Charapita chilis.

What do Aji Charapita Chilis Taste Like?

Despite being a chili, the Aji Charapita delivers a fruity citrus taste without being too hot. Not many peppers within the same Scoville range as the Aji Charapita pack the same level of fruitiness. This explains why the chili is often used as a finishing spice. Its juices are released by squeezing the chili and works well when used in chicken, fish, and rice dishes. 

Although not the hottest chili, Aji Charapita delivers a great punch when used in spicy delicacies. The chili’s hot and somewhat sweet, fruity taste makes it a beloved ingredient for culinary experts. The Aji Charapita also stands out due to its versatility as it can be used when preparing soups, main courses, and even salads.

Where Can You Buy Aji Charapita Peppers?

Although difficult to source, you can buy Aji Charapita seeds online from a host of sellers on sites like Amazon and Walmart. When buying Aji Charapita seeds, always check customer reviews to determine whether the seller has quality seeds. Many online buyers complain of small harvests, so do your research before you buy your seeds. As mentioned earlier these are the ones I recommend.

Photo Aji Charapita pepper ripening to an orange color outdoors
Photo by Hana Richterova

Can You Grow Aji Charapita at Home?

Yes, you can grow Aji Charapita at home, especially if you live in a hot, humid area. The Aji Charapita thrives in soils that have high organic matter. And although this chili is commonly found in the northern parts of the Peruvian forest, it can be grown at home provided you can create a conducive environment for the seedlings.

The seeds of the Aji Charapita pepper are mostly sown in winter, and the fruits mature by summer, when they are then harvested. In a home setting, the best time to grow this pepper is after winter. The plant usually takes between 60-120 days to bear fruits and can continue to produce the fruits for up to 60 days, depending on the soil and the climate.

A mature Aji Charapita plant will continue to bear fruits for up to six years, although the amount of fruit production will reduce over the years. On average, a mature Aji Charapita plant will produce approximately 80-140 fruits over its lifetime.

Is Growing Aji Charapita Seeds at Home a Good Idea?

You can successfully grow the Aji Charapita pepper at home as long as you provide its basic growing requirements. As mentioned earlier, this expensive pepper in its natural hot, humid environment grows as a wild bush. Moreover, this pepper tends to thrive when grown in rich soil.

To have a healthy Aji Charapita plant in your home garden, you’ll need to replicate the Peruvian climate. Avoid planting the Charapita plant during the winter, as chances of a successful harvest will reduce significantly. And since these plants take approximately 120 days to bear fruit, you won’t have to worry much about the weather if you plant during spring.

However, remember these plants tend to grow like bushes. This means you’ll need to provide a large enough container if you opt to plant in a pot. If you intend to plant several Aji Charapita seeds, then it is best to space them well enough as they tend to grow wide as they grow tall.

Aji Charapita Uses in Peru

In Peru, Aji Charapita peppers are among the most popular house plants as they’re grown and harvested mostly for cooking applications than for commercial purposes. When grown locally, these plants are often allowed to grow to their maximum bushy-like appearance. Aji Charapita plants are most common in the San Martin and Loreto regions of Peru.

The popular Aji Charapita peppers have a variety of uses in Peru as they’re used to flavor patacones and tacacho (roasted bananas seasoned with peppers and spices with pork). Aji Charapita chilis are also widely used in Peruvian dishes like Juanes, a mixture of eggs, meat, spices, and peppers wrapped and boiled in Bijao leaves.

Although recently produced for commercial use, Charapita chilis are predominantly grown wild in the northern Peruvian cities of Iquitos and Pucallpa. You’ll easily spot these peppers at Peruvian markets either in their fresh, dried, or ground states. In North America, Aji Charapita seeds are mostly sold through online seed and plant catalogs for home garden purposes.

Closing Thoughts

Due to its exclusivity to Peru and general rarity, the Aji Charapita is easily the most expensive pepper in the world. The pepper is loved for its fruity, tropical taste and medium heat, which makes it a great ingredient for a variety of dishes.

If you want to plant Aji Charapita seeds in your home garden, be sure to buy the seeds from a trusted merchant to increase the chances of a successful harvest.