List of Hot Peppers From Hottest to Mildest

Updated February 21, 2017

Used the right way, hot peppers add delicious flavour to an otherwise unexceptional dish. Used the wrong way hot peppers can make a dish inedible. The capsaicinoids in hot peppers are what create the burning sensation, watering eyes, runny nose and perspiration that so many hot pepper connoisseurs have come to love. Whether you fancy a hot or mild pepper, it's best to know what you're getting into before putting it in your mouth.

Habanero Chili Pepper

Habanero chilli peppers are one of the most intensely hot and spicy chilli peppers. Habanero chilli peppers are primarily grown on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico and are generally coloured either yellow-orange, orange, or bright red, depending on the point in which the pepper is harvested. Habanero chilli peppers size around 1 to 2 1/2 inches long and 1 to 2 inches in diameter and are tam-shaped.

The habanero chilli pepper gets its name from the Cuban city of La Habano, which is called Havana in English.

Habanero chilli peppers are rated 100,000 to 350,000 on the Scoville scale, which is used to measure the hotness of a chilli pepper based on the amount of capsaicin it contains. The higher the rating, the hotter the pepper.

Scotch Bonnet Chili Pepper

Scotch bonnet chilli peppers are tam-shaped like the habanero and also found in the Caribbean. Other names for Scotch bonnet chilli peppers include booney peppers, Bonney peppers, scotty bons and goat peppers. Mature Scotch bonnet chilli peppers are generally red or yellow coloured. Scotch bonnet chilli peppers, which are a cousin of habanero chilli peppers, are what give Caribbean jerk dishes (pork or chicken dishes) and other traditional Caribbean dishes their unique flavouring.

Scotch bonnet chilli peppers are rated between 100,000 to 325,000 Scovilles.

Thai Chili Pepper

Thai chilli peppers are small chilli peppers that rarely grown larger than 1 to 3 inches long and less than 1/2 inch wide; they are extremely potent for their size. Thai chilli peppers, otherwise known as Bird's eye chilli peppers, are generally grown in Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. They are used in cuisines across Southern Asia, from the Philippines to South India.

Thai chilli peppers come in two colours (bright red or deep green) and are easily spotted by the sharp point at the bottom of the chilli.

These chilli peppers are rated between 50,000 to 100,000 Scovilles.

Rocoto Pepper

Rocoto peppers, otherwise known as Manzano peppers, are normally found in South American countries like Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. The Rocoto chilli pepper is one of the oldest domesticated chilli peppers, having been cultivated for consumption up to 5,000 years ago. Rococo chilli peppers have thick skins, much like red bell peppers, and are often red as well.

Rocoto peppers are rated between 50,000 to 100,000 Scovilles.

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About the Author

Ariel Phillips is an editor and writer living in Portland, Ore. He has written for "n+1 Journal" and "The Rumpus Magazine," among others. He maintains an interest in a variety of subjects, including art, culture, the environment, media, the sciences and sports. He earned bachelor's degrees in art and philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara.