About Carolina Reapers

Carolina Reapers: The Hottest Pepper in the World

Are you a chili enthusiast looking for the hottest pepper to challenge your taste buds? Perhaps you have traveled all over the world, tried all the so-called “spiciest” chilies the various states have to offer, but at the end of the day, they all made no more than a slight pinch on your tongue and throat, no milk needed. Enter the Carolina Reaper, the officially hottest pepper in the world, with no less than the Scoville Scale and the Guinness World Records to back up its claims.

Scoville Scale Rating

The Scoville Scale is a widely used method of measuring the spiciness of chili peppers. Their measurements are listed in Scoville Heat Units, and this is how we see how different chili peppers across the world measure up to each other. The average jalapeño is already quite spicy for the average person, and it measures around 5,000 Scoville Heat Units. The Carolina Reaper? A whopping 1,400,000 to 2,200,000 Scoville Heat Units. If the magnitude of just how spicy the Carolina Reaper doesn’t sink in just yet, think of it this way: the Carolina Reaper is around 440 times hotter than your average jalapeño!

Perhaps you’ve also heard of another variant on the chili market that’s way spicier than a jalapeño: the ghost pepper. For a long time, the ghost pepper has been regarded as the hottest pepper, but it measures just 855,000 – 1,041,427 on the Scoville Heat Scale. The Carolina Reaper easily surpasses the ghost pepper at least twice. 

The Guinness World Records

Now this is where it gets really official. In 2017, the Carolina Reaper was officially declared by the Guinness World Records to be the hottest chili pepper in the world. Others say that there are lots of hotter chili peppers out there, like the Dragon’s Breath or Pepper X, but the measurements of these other chilis have not yet been officially confirmed with a Scoville Scale, so for now, the record still stands: the Carolina Reaper stands head and shoulders above the rest of the competition.

Trying Out the Carolina Reaper: How Does it Taste?

So now maybe you chili pepper enthusiasts are seriously looking into trying out the Carolina Reaper. Perhaps some of you are intimidated by how high it measures in the Scoville Scale, thinking that it tastes really bad, to say nothing of how spicy it is. But let us assure you, putting the Carolina Reaper’s spiciness aside, it actually tastes really good. How good? It has a fruity and sweet taste to it. Now you might be wondering, how could the spiciest chili pepper in the world taste fruity and sweet? And we won’t blame you, it really does create a sort of counterintuitive impression at first.

But that just adds to the appeal and uniqueness of the Carolina Reaper. It’s more than just a challenge ingredient for those with brave hearts, it’s actually used as an ingredient in other recipes.  

The Carolina Reaper as an additional Ingredient for Other Dishes

The Carolina Reaper can be ground into a dried powder to add heat, flavor, and texture. It can also be used as a hot sauce. It mixes really well with cuisine that is traditionally spicy, like Indian and Thai food.

The official website for the Carolina Reaper offers five variants of the chili: fresh chili peppers, chili powder, dried peppers, seeds, and flakes, with the latter three unavailable as of now but will be coming soon. That way, culinary specialists and enthusiasts will have more options for adding a huge punch to their spicy recipes.

Now don’t be fooled by the sweet and fruity taste of the Carolina Reaper: it is still the spiciest pepper in the world, after all. Use it sparingly or not too often, at best, it should be used to add taste to a recipe, but it should not be the mainstay of the whole thing. Otherwise, you would be turning a fun family dinner party into an unwelcome chili-eating contest. 

Is It Safe to Eat the Carolina Reaper Directly?

You might be wondering, given just how spicy the Carolina Reaper is, if it is even safe to consume. Will it kill you? Give you a heart attack? Destroy your taste buds? Thankfully, consumption of the Carolina Reaper is a pretty safe affair; you won’t die just because you ate one or two pieces.

But it is possible, however, to overdose on the chemical component that is responsible for the spiciness of the Carolina Reaper: capsaicin. The good news is that you would need to eat a lot of Carolina reapers to even overdose on it. We are talking 2to 3 pounds of reapers. Knowing just how spicy the Carolina Reaper is, though, we doubt you would last enough to even reach one pound. But if for some reason you do (we won’t judge!), just make sure to measure the quantity you eat. You might not die, but you will have a really, really bad time if you take in too much capsaicin.


The Carolina Reaper has been in the mainstream consciousness for more or less three years, so it probably isn’t too hard to source it nowadays. It definitely has a unique appeal to it, especially for challengers who like taking their dishes (or their taste buds) to the furthest extent possible.

Despite the records it has set and broken, there are a variety of ways to use the Carolina Reaper, with the safest being to use them as an added touch to commonly spicy recipes. Just add a sprinkle of a few reaper flakes or reaper powder and you could find yourself or your guests being pleasantly surprised at the new dimension you just added to your dish.

However, the Carolina Reaper is not for everyone. If you do get your hands on a reaper, play it safe and be considerate, and we hope you enjoy the new world of flavor that it brings to the kitchen.