Packing the heat of 400 jalapenos, the scorpion pepper has on occasion taken the top spot for the world’s hottest pepper. One of these things contains as much capsaicin – the chemical compound that gives people a burning sensation by activating heat receptors in their nerve endings – as a shot glass full of pepper spray. And who doesn’t want to put that in their mouth?
Hormel’s Ghost Reaper Chili
Canned chili, liked all supermarket ready made chili, never usually strays from the average person’s tolerance to heat, but Hormel’s Ghost Reaper Chili is different. It boasts the claim of the hottest canned chili in the world thanks to its mixture of Carolina Reaper and ghost pepper. Lather some of this stuff on a hot dog if you want to kick things up a notch.
I think it’s safe to say most of the western world’s introduction to wasabi was seeing Steve-O snort, and then violently throw up, a line of the stuff in 2002’s Jackass: The Movie. This Japanese horseradish is usually served as a punchy condiment with sushi. Its taste is similar to that of hot mustard and while no the spiciest thing you could ever put in your mouth it does the capacity to make your eyes water. Especially if you ingest it through your nose.
Ghost Pepper Spicy Chicken Noodles
Are these the spiciest instant noodles you can find on a shelf at a reasonable price? Probably. They do contain ghost pepper, after all. Customers have been raving about this product for a long time now. Bear in mind, the whole ‘taste’ aspect might have been overlooked in the pursuit of heat, with one reviewer saying: “Maybe they make this so hot that most normal people don’t notice how much actual flavour it’s lacking. Ghost peppers are delicious and even a little earthy & tangy; that flavour isn’t reflected in this noodle cup.”
The humble jalapeno pepper may be shadowed by its stronger siblings but it still deserves a place at the table for offering the perfect amount of pungency in any chili-based meal. Plus, it’s a fun word to say, so that helps. If one isn’t enough for your dish, you can always add another 400 to replicate the intensity of a Carolina Reaper.
Vato Loco Cocktail
Although not strictly food, this Vato Loco cocktail is the hottest drink on earth. “I am aware that partaking in this activity can result in serious tearing of the eyes, a severe burning sensation on the tongue, bright red colouring of the face, smoke coming out of the ears, and possible fire shooting out the mouth,” the waiver reads. “I understand, however, that drinking ‘The Hottest Drink on Earth’ will make me instantly cooler than anyone who has not tried it.” It was created by the Tippling Brothers for Food Network’s Heat Seekers.
Mad Dog 357 №9 Plutonium Hot Sauce
“WARNING,” Mad Dog’s website reads, “DO NOT CONSUME DIRECTLY - FOOD ADDITIVE ONLY!” To me, that sounds like a challenge! No but seriously, maybe go easy on this one. It stands at a whopping 9,000,000 Scoville units after all. “This is for the hot pepper aficionado,” says hot sauce manufacturer David Ashley. “The one who has to have the hottest, the purest, the best - and there is nothing close to it on the market.
As per Staten Island’s Gringo’s Taco’s restaurant, the Reaper Taco includes, Reaper pepper dusted tortilla, 6 spicy pepper jelly, super hot fried chicken, ghost pepper hot sauce, Gringos X-Rated hot sauce, 357 Magnum hot sauce, diced habanero, diced jalapeno and flaming hot Cheetos dust. This challenge, in which two of the tacos are served in a coffin, offers the brave just five minutes.
Isoyama Shoji Instant Ramen
Clocking in at over 1 million Scoville units, this normal looking instant ramen, Isoyama Shoji, is so spicy it is actually banned in Japan. The seasoning sachet within the packet is made with bhut jolokia, around 400 times spicier than Tabasco. The Ramen Rater tried them not long ago and said: “This is the spiciest instant noodle I’ve ever had. It burned bad, twisted my gut up, laid waste to my soul. It makes every spicy variety I’ve had thus far taste like sugar water. Not only that, I think it tastes horrible.” Fair.
Nuclear Buffalo Wings
What happens if you douse buffalo wings in a sauce made from white distilled vinegar, habanero, red bell pepper, ghost pepper, Carolina Reaper and lime juice? You get the Nuclear Buffalo Wings, a YouTube sensation that separates the men from the boys. Though don’t exactly need to see the list of ingredients to get the jist of them. If a food has the word ‘Nuclear’ any in it, you’re not in for a good time.
Flaming Ron Pie
Who ate all the pies? Whoever it was, they probably skipped the Flaming Ron. This fiery pie is served up at the Bremen Patisserie in Umina Beach, Australia. Made with the Carolina Reaper, habanero and Naga Viper chillies, Ron Bruns sadistic invention is one of the country’s toughest food challenges. Like most of its kind, a waiver has to be signed before digging your teeth into the Flaming Ron.
Ready meal curries found on the shelves of supermarkets are hardly too hot to handle. In fact, they’re so tame, they serve as an entry level gravy for any rookie looking to get into the game. But there is one outsider, one rebel, that pulled the rug out from under the general public’s feet. The Volcanic Vindaloo comes in at £5 and boasts the same heat levels as any restaurant Vindaloo. After removing it from their shelves, Morrison’s were forced to bring it back due to popular demand.
The 4 Horsemen Burger
A burger? One of the hottest things in the world? Yes! Well, this burger anyway. This patty is so brutal you have to be 18 years of age and sign a waiver just to have a shot at finishing one. Whipped up at Chunky’s Burgers in San Antonio, Texas, this challenge was attempted by Man vs. Food’s Adam Richman. It includes a sauce made from jalapeno, serrano, Indian ghost powder and habanero. Ouch.
The Carolina Reaper
Chances are you’ve heard of the Carolina Reaper. If you’ve ever tasted a fraction of one, chances are you have frequent nightmares about the pain you felt, the waves of sweat dropping off your chin as you fought for every breath. At 2,200,000 million Scoville units, the Carolina Reaper is the hottest pepper on the planet and if you have any sense about you, you’ll avoid it like the plague. Unless your name is Chili Klaus or Sean Evans.
Widower Curry, maybe one the bleakest name for any meal, is a curry you’ll find in Bindi, a restaurant in Grantham, England. Made with 20 infinity chillies, it claims to be the world’s hottest curry. That infinity chili pepper is a hybrid of the Capsicum chinense species created in England by Nicholas Woods of Fire Foods. For two weeks in February 2011, it held the Guinness World Record for the world’s hottest chili with a Scoville rating of 1,067,286.
Chilli Seed Bank Corn Chips
“The World’s Hottest Corn Chips” Chilli Seed Bank are infused with a triple pressed Carolina Reaper, Scorpion pepper and Bhut Jolokia puree and then dusted with Carolina Reaper powder just to be on the safe side. The company advises customers to chase the heat with a helping of milk or ice cream. Don’t buy these if you’re looking for a casual movie snack. Unless you are crazy.
Paqui Carolina Reaper Chip
Imagine a chip so intense, so debilitating, that packets only contain one. That’s the way it goes with the Paqui Carolina Reaper Chip. Naturally, this novelty release has a pretty big social media presence under the #OneChipChallenge hashtag, where punters attempt to eat a Paqui Chip without eating or drinking anything in the immediate aftermath. Last anything above 30 minutes and you’ll get the reward “Supercharged.” You’ll also probably get “Explosive Diarrhea.”
Death By Pizza
Death by Pizza might seem a bit much when it comes to naming spicy food, but when you consider the fact this bad boy contains 12 MILLION Scoville units, everything starts to make sense. Packed with 20 Trinidadian moruga scorpion chillies, this 12-inch pizza pie has been known to make customers’ tongues bleed. Bleed! What do you get for your efforts? A measly £20. And that’s only if you finish it within 30 minutes and drinking no more than one drink.
Chocolate Bhutlah Pepper
Don’t be a fool. Just cause this has the word chocolate in it doesn’t mean it is, by any stretch of the imagination, chocolate-like. It should really be called Extremely F***ing Hot Bhutlah Pepper. It does have an enticing, brownish hue to it though, and a slight floral note upon first taste. But that’s all quickly displaced by a 2,000,000 Scoville heat unit.
Spicy Tuna Rolls
You can get spicy tuna rolls all over the shop if you know where you’re going, but it’s in Bushido in Charleston, South Carolina, where the real fun is at. This Japanese restaurant’s Seppuki Challenge (seppuki being the ritual suicide disembowelment samurai committed in shame!) requires diners to put away 10 sizzling hot tuna rolls stuffed with tuna, cucumber and habanero peppers.
This right here, like others on this list, is basically a nice meal. Donkatsu is a deep-fried pork cutlet, similar in taste to a schnitzel. It’s only when they douse it on hot sauce (and I mean douse) that it becomes intolerable. “I started to hiccough, and my oesophagus began to spasm,” one reviewer wrote. “I felt like I just swallowed molten lava. Culinary adventures can only go so far until you realise that its your health at stake and you have to live with the consequences of your choices.”
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Jerk Chicken is a melting pot of every great Caribbean ingredient. From cloves to cinnamon to spring onions, nutmeg to thyme and garlic, this is chicken you’re gonna be dreaming about forever after. It’s fairly hard to find truly authentic Jerk outside of Jamaica and by ‘authentic’ I mean ‘worryingly hot, keep away from children’. True Jerk will be coated in nuff spice, including scotch bonnet peppers.
If you’re ever in Ethiopia and find yourself hankering for a meal that will blow your head clean off, start asking locals where the nearest batch of Doro Wat is. This piping hot, bright red dish is mostly indebted to the Berbere spice blend, which if you aren’t prepared, will destroy your taste buds for life (maybe). It’s more or a less a chicken curry, with a few boiled eggs thrown in for good measure. Replace the chicken with beef and you get a Sega Wat.
Ma Po Tofu
How does a bowl of tofu pieces braised in a rich, savoury sauce, fresh garlic and scallions and ground pork served with a handful of steamed rice sound to you? Mouth watering? Something you want this very second? Probably. But be warned. This lovely sounding dish is spicy as all Hell. The Sichuan peppercorns and chili oil make this veggie meal a good old fashioned nose-runner.
Gaeng Tai Pla
You don’t associate fish with hot, antisocial food do you? Fish is refined. It’s what you order when you go to fancy restaurants. In Thailand, however, no fish is safe from a burning broth. The Gaeng Tai Pla is a curry made from fermented fish entrails. Plied with a bucket load of peppers, this dish can be wildly hot depending on where you get it. Approach with caution.
Arguably the most common way of eating aged Kimchi, the Kimchi Jjigae is a steaming bowl of spicy goodness containing tofu, mushrooms, green onions, garlic, and countless red chilli peppers. They’re crazy for this stuff in Korea, with most households eating it numerous times a week. You may have seen it on offer in certain restaurants. The majority will serve it at a tolerable spice level but if you ask nicely, I’m sure cooks will be happy to accommodate your desires.
Korea this, China that. It seems like there’s not an awful lot spicy representation anywhere else at times, which is why we’re heading over to Indonesia for this one. Sambal Oelek is a tourist favourite made from a host of fiery chili peppers, as well as shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar and lime juice. That means its tasty as well as sweat-inducing! You can’t go wrong with this, even if you’re just dipping some Doritos into it.
Sichuan Hot Pot
Everybody loves a hot pot. No matter your culture, someone, at some point in history, has thrown a bunch of things into a pot and brought it to the boil. In the winter months, it’s a quick and easy way to warm yourself up. The Sichuan Hot Pot will meet this need and then some. Raw pieces of meat, garlic, onion, and vegetables bubble away in a scorching hot broth littered with Sichuan peppers in this entry.
Time for another broth! This time the Tom Yum, a mixture of beef, seafood and noodles. The taste itself is aromatic thanks to its depth of ingredients and herbs. But once they add the chillies? Hoo boy. It’s game over, my friend. And they pile them in. These chillies have the same Scoville heat units as your everyday habanero. Have a glass of something cold on standby for the next time you’re in Vietnam and sat opposite a fearsome plate of Tom Yum.
Thought Vindaloo was the be all and end all of hot curries? You thought wrong. Phaal is actually the world’s hottest curry and by a country mile too. This dish is so hot, cooks who prepare it have to wear GAS MASKS. I am not joking. Google it. You’ll see the pictures for yourself. Even touching this stuff can cause a burn so do not mess around with it. Just *one* of the peppers used here has a Scoville rating of 1,000,000.
Lil’ Nitro Gummy Bears
Did the world really need spicy gummy bears? Probably not. But that hasn’t stopped the Flamethrower Candy Company from making them anyway. Lil’ Nitro Gummy Bears claim to be the word’s hottest gummy bear, although, in all fairness, it’s not like they have a lot of competition. At least you can now indulge your sweet tooth whilst also getting a fix of endorphins. Truly, these are remarkable times that we live in.
Pepper X is the product of the same twisted mind that brought the world the Carolina Reaper. Apparently unsatisfied with the level of agony offered by the Reaper, Ed Currie – the proprietor of the PuckerButt Pepper Company – devoted himself to creating a chilli that packed twice as much heat. He succeeded, and the result is Pepper X, an intimidating-looking misery-fruit that packs an astonishing Scoville rating of 3.18 million.
Da Bomb hot sauce
Anyone who’s ever watched the celebrity interview series Hot Ones will know the fearsome reputation that Da Bomb hot sauce has. Despite not quite being the spiciest condiment on the show, Da Bomb is frequently rated as the most unpleasant by Hot Ones guests. The sauce is made from chilli pepper extract, as opposed to the more traditional method of simply mashing peppers, giving it a uniquely stinging pain that Gordon Ramsay colourfully described as “like battery acid.”
Arby’s Diablo Dare sandwich
Spicy offerings from fast food outlets are generally pretty lacklustre, with companies more concerned about appealing to a wide audience than giving spice-lovers their fix. However, one item that definitely bucks this trend is the Diablo Dare sandwich at Arby’s. Customers can choose between chicken or beef brisket, but one ingredient is non-negotiable: pain. The sandwich’s Scoville rating has been estimated to be over 1 million, enough to bring tears to the eyes of even the most seasoned heat-head.
Tum Mak Hoong
Sugar is supposed to be one of the best things for taming spice, but the sweet papaya in Tum May Hoong does nothing to protect from the scorching heat. This Malaysian salad is swiftly gaining popularity outside of its country of origin, largely due to spice addicts wanting to test themselves against its ferocious heat. The kick in Tum May Hoong comes from the excessive amount of fresh chilli that is added to the dish, with the recipe calling for three whole chillies per person.
Vat 19, The World’s Hottest Chocolate Bar
Chilli chocolate isn’t a new phenomenon; there is evidence that the Aztecs were adding the spicy fruits to chocolate almost a thousand years ago, and chocolatiers like Lindt and Green & Black’s have long made chilli chocolate a staple part of their ranges. However, Vat 19 – a novelty food company – have raised the stakes by creating The World’s Hottest Chocolate Bar, which contains a pepper extract with a 9 million-unit Scoville rating. Sounds like a surefire way to ruin Easter.
Culley’s, The World’s Hottest Ramen
New Zealand hot sauce company Culley’s produced The World’s Hottest Ramen to test the mettle of self-proclaimed spice addicts. The fearsome instant noodles come infused with Carolina Reapers grown by the company in New Zealand. According to the packaging, the ramen delivers over 1.6 million Scoville units, enough to take the head off anyone without a serious tolerance to spice.
Sik Sik Wat
Sik Sik Wat is an Ethiopian stew containing beef, vegetables, and red wine. The dish also contains two of Ethiopia’s hottest spice mixtures – berbere and niter kibbeh. These are created out of a blend of herbs, spices, and an intense amount of chilli seeds. As any self-respecting spice lover knows, the capsaicin that gives chillis their heat is contained in the seeds, making Sik Sik Wat a potent concoction liable to cause runny noses and watering eyes.
The extent of most westerners’ experience with wasabi is the little packets that come with store-bought sushi, which is why we don’t tend to think of the green paste as particularly hot. However, the traditional version of the condiment contains a much higher concentration of Japanese horseradish, the plant from which wasabi is made, and it packs a serious punch. If you go for sushi in Japan, proceed with caution, because the chef will definitely judge you if you cry.
This hearty comfort food originated in Louisiana and is most commonly found in regions along the Mason Dixe line in the United States. The main ingredients of creole are shrimp, chicken, onions, bell peppers, and celery. So far, so mild. However, the dish is then spiked with copious amounts of fresh chilli and cayenne pepper, a duo that is likely to leave creole-consumers breathing fire.
Papa A La Huancaina
A Peruvian favourite, this dish contains boiled potatoes, eggs, and olives, served in a creamy Huancaina sauce. It’s the sauce that brings the heat to the table, with a hefty content of tastebud-scorching Amarillo peppers. This chilli doesn’t get much attention outside of South America, but, whilst it doesn’t score as highly on the Scoville scale as some of the other entries on this list, it certainly isn’t one to be messed with lightly.
Lo Bok is a popular coleslaw-style salad from China that is often served as an accompaniment to fried food. The secret to Lo Bok’s intense spice comes from the synergistic combination of Sichuan peppercorns and birds eye chillies. Sichuan is known to heighten sensory perception in the mouth, allowing the searing heat from the chillies to be felt even more acutely and making this the rare example of a salad that thrill seekers will love.
Suicide chicken wings
It should probably go without saying that any dish with the word ‘suicide’ in the name is going to take you to some pretty uncomfortable places. A favourite amongst spice-addicts (and masochists), suicide chicken wings are an American dish consisting of fried wings coated in a fiery combination of Tabasco, chilli flakes, and exorbitant amounts of freshly chopped chillis. The dish can frequently be found in American bars, where drunken patrons use it to prove their tolerance for suffering.
Otak-Otak is a Southeast Asian dish consisting of ground fish mixed with a variety of herbs and spices and grilled in a banana leaf parcel. The dish is particularly popular in Malaysia and Indonesia, where it is loved for its aromatic flavour and intense spicy kick. The heat in Otak-Otak comes from the excessive amounts of ground chilli and garlic that are added to the mixture, as well as an Asian root vegetable that looks a bit like ginger but packs some intense spice.
Thai Drunken Noodles
Pad Kee Mow is a chilli-heavy dish more commonly known as Thai Drunken Noodles, due to the fact that its heat is capable of reviving a reveller from their drunken stupor. Drunken Noodles are a common street food item that can be found in areas of Thailand with an abundance of nightlife, and they are popular with locals and tourists alike. The dish is also likely to come in handy the day after a night of excess, as the extreme heat can sear away a hangover with ease.
Supposedly the world’s hottest hot dog, Harakiri Sausage is named after the ritualistic disembowelment that disgraced Samurai practised as a form of suicide. That should probably tell you all you need to know about the sausage, which clocks in at over 1.4 million on the Scoville scale and is sold by the appropriately named Hell Dog food truck in Stockholm. As if all of this wasn’t terrifying enough, Hell Dog literally make you sign a waiver before you eat the sausage, absolving them of any guilt should you suffer “any damages, physical or psychological.”
Naga Chilli Vodka
Probably the world’s spiciest drink, Naga Chilli Vodka claims to pack around 500,000 Scoville units. The drink has been widely available for a number of years, suggesting the drink has found a lucrative niche in the market, although it’s hard to imagine why you’d want to make a vodka shot even more unpleasant. One thing is for certain, if you’re using Naga Chilli Vodka to make a Bloody Mary, you can probably forego the Tabasco.
Grim Reaper Pizza
In 2020, UK supermarket Morrisons unveiled the Grim Reaper Pizza, a 14 inch ready-made pizza that came topped with Carolina Reaper chillies. Spice addicts immediately descended on the supermarket’s outlets, and they weren’t disappointed, with the pizza living up to the warning label that it printed on the box. As if adding the world’s then-hottest chilli to the toppings wasn’t enough, Morrisons also snuck a bunch of birds eye chillies into the base.
The Flaming Hell Sandwich
In an unassuming sandwich shop in Cheshire, England, a monster lurks: meet the Flaming Hell Sandwich, a sarnie so extreme that customers are given latex gloves to wear before attempting to eat it. The sandwich’s unbearable heat comes from the inclusion of two different hot sauces, made from the Trinidad Scorpion and the Bhut Jolokia, two of the world’s most ferocious chillies. The potency of the sandwich has been likened to pepper spray, and anyone who can eat it in under ten minutes gets free sandwiches for a week.
The Hellfire Burger
A strong contender for the dubious distinction of world’s most painful burger, the Hellfire Burger can be found at the Xtreme Smokehouse in Washington, Iowa. Daredevils wishing to go toe-to-toe with the Hellfire will first have to sign a waiver, presumably in case the experience leaves lasting damage. The burger is also presented on fire, as a nice little visual reminder that this burgers heat is going to drag you straight to Hell.