Not all people fancy chili peppers. Most can’t even bare the thought of a spicy, super hot chili pepper touching their tongue. But some people the world over seem to spend their time hell-bent on finding new and unusual ways of putting their tongues (and other resulting body parts) through a certain degree of trauma, in search of the spiciest foods known to man. Of course, all spicy foods come right back down to the chilies used to make them, so, for the real heat, you really have to go right back to the raw ingredients. That being said, unless you have the desire to undergo hospital treatment it would be a good idea to approach any of the frontrunners raw, in this list of the hottest chili peppers in the world today – and please, no Anthony Kiedis jokes at this point…

featured image credit: Takeaway – Wikipedia

The Standard Bell Pepper

0 Scoville heat units
Colored Bell Peppers
photo: Wikimedia

It would only really be fair to kick off with the most popular and versatile pepper in the world today, which although packs no heat of its own is certainly as important as any other. So, ladies and gentlemen, we kick our list off today with the humble and beautifully understated bell pepper.


The Pimiento (Cherry Pepper)

100 to 500 Scoville heat units
Pimiento aka Cherry Peppers
photo: Jordan Davis

One slight step up in the right direction from the humble bell pepper, the Pimiento might be more commonly known as “those little bits of pepper found stuffed into olives” either by the jay or via a quaint little tapas joint. Either way, these zesty and tasty peppers could not go without a mention, though are hardly likely to see anybody reaching for the fire extinguisher.


The Poblano / Anaheim Pepper

500 to 2,500 Scoville heat units
Poblano Pepper - Chili Pepper
photo: stef yau

Turning up the fire just a tiny notch now comes the slightly lesser-known (at least in global circles) Anaheim Pepper. This is a relatively mild example that originates from deep within Mexico and is a hugely popular staple across the country and indeed, the US. An excellent pepper to cook with; dry out or eat raw. Most would find the heat acceptable and far from sweat-inducing.


Jalapeno Pepper

2,500 to 8,000 Scoville heat units
Sliced Jalapeño Peppers
photo: Wikimedia

Moving into more familiar territory now, the jalapeno pepper is perhaps the current world favorite and found in thousands of dishes, salads, and garnishes covering every cuisine imaginable. Their heat is moderate and usually serves as an ideal base for new chili-heads to build upon – though those preferring their tastes completely mild might find a glass of water is called for when attacking a raw jalapeno.


Chipotle Peppers

10,000 to 23,000 Scoville heat units
Chipotle Peppers
photo: Wikimedia

Coming in at up to five times the heat of the now seemingly humble jalapeno, the chipotle pepper is hugely popular in its native land of Mexico. Chipotle peppers are famous for adding a wonderfully smoky taste to the dishes they feature in, with a burn that follows smoothly rather than immediately blowing the heads of those consuming them.


  1. I’m surprised you didn’t write that Chipotle peppers are smoked Jalapenos. Thus, they’re the same heat level.