Scoville Scale Peppers | All Facts On Scoville Heat Unit

You may have seen labels on bottles of hot sauces or wrappers on hot chili products notifying the Scoville Heat Units (SHU) of the product. It’s an indicator of how hot is that chili product.

This article is a detailed guide to the Scoville Scale, its history, and how are the various hot peppers ranked.

What Is the Scoville Scale?

The Scoville scale is the standard testing system for measuring the level of spiciness or heat produced by hot peppers. Capsaicin, a phenolic compound found in chili peppers, is responsible for their characteristic taste and pungency. This scale measures the amount of capsaicin in chili peppers and assigns it a number rating in the Scoville Heat Units (SHUs).

The Scoville Scale is used for measuring the heat of anything that contains capsaicin; not only chili peppers but also anything made from chili peppers like hot sauce, pickles, or chili paste.

It actually measures the concentration of capsaicin in a chili. Capsaicin occurs naturally in peppers along with other capsaiciniods, the natural chemicals that give flavor and pungency to peppers.

Origin of Scoville Scale

The Scoville Scale and Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) were named for scientist Wilbur Scoville in 1912. While he was working at Parke-Davis, a pharmaceutical company, he invented a testing scale called the “Scoville Organoleptic Test”. It’s a subjective assessment derived from the capsaicinoid sensitivity people experience while eating hot chilies. The Scoville Scale Unit is the first standard testing mechanism for measuring the heat or pungency of chili pepper.

The Methodology of Scoville Testing

At the preliminary stages of developing the scale, Scoville would ground up the pepper and mix it with sugar and water, and then a panel of tasters who sipped from these pepper-sugar-water solutions. The guiding principle is how many equal parts of sugar water are required to be added to an equal measure of ground chili pepper until no discernible heat is tasted.

The solution was diluted by Scoville bit by bit until the tasters could no longer sense any heat from it. He assigned a number to the tested chili pepper based on the number of dilutions done to reach zero heat level.

The measurements are divided into multiple of 100. One part per 1,000,000 dilutions of water is rated at 1.5 Scoville Units. On this scale, pure capsaicin is rated between 15 – 16,000,000 SHU.

It is a strenuous lengthy task for the panel of tasters who took the test. They had to carry out several rounds of tasting the concoctions of pepper, sugar, and water, and this process would take several days of tasting until no heat was noticed per pepper type.

The numbers in Scoville Units represent the number of dilutions it took to get no-heat statues for chili pepper. For example, one teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper (30,000 to 50,000 SHU) would take approximately 30,000 to 50,000 teaspoons of sugar-water diluted bit by bit amount to achieve not an iota of spiciness felt in the mouth of tasters.

Merits and Demerits of the Scoville Scale

The measurement of hot chili peppers with the Scoville Scale is a very subjective test. There are factors that affect the findings and the result often varies among different laboratories.

The Scoville Organoleptic Test totally relies on the variability in people’s taste buds. Every individual differs in the amount of spiciness he or she can take, the results of the tasting would vary from tester to tester.

The very same type of peppers grown in different geographical conditions can have a vast difference in their spiciness and flavor. That is to say, the heat of a pepper largely depends on the growing conditions like soil, climate, use of manures, and availability of sunlight and water.

Recently developed High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) tests can also be faulty especially because of the confusion surrounding their conversion into Scoville Heat Units. The conversion tends to position the heat of the peppers on the pepper scale very mildly compared to what a human tester would give.

In short, every method of measuring chili peppers won’t be accurate for the heat varies even in the same type of pepper, and the Scoville Scale is accurate enough to serve our purpose. This measuring scale helps to determine the heat of all sorts of foods that contain capsaicin.

Alternative to Scoville Scale

It’s a strenuous and time-consuming job for a panel of tasters to physically verify and decide the Scoville heat levels of each and every type of chili pepper and other chili-based products.

The ChilliPot is the world’s first Scoville Meter designed to quickly find out the Scoville Units of any chili pepper. This testing device is based on technology developed by the University of Oxford in 2007.

Another refined measuring unit is the Dremann Pepper Hotness Scale (DHS) which was developed in 1984 by Craig C. Dremann of the Redwood City Seed Co., California. It measures how many ounces of salsa will have a detectable level of heat when one ounce of pepper pods is added.

Today, analyzing and testing chili pepper heat is not so subjective. Scoville Scale is gradually being replaced by more efficient High-Performance Liquid Chromatography, or HPLC, which measures the pungency-producing chemicals in pepper and rates them in ASTA pungency units.

Scoville Scale For Peppers

Scoville Scale For Chili Peppers

Here is the list of Scoville Heat Units (SHUs) of peppers from different parts of the world:

Chili PepperScoville Heat UnitsScoville Heat Level
Carolina Reaper (HP22B, Smokin' Ed's Carolina Reaper)1,500,000 - 2,200,000 SHU10+++
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (Moruga, Moruga Scorpion, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Red)1,500,000 - 2,009,231 SHU10+++
Chocolate 7 Pot (7 Pot Douglah)1,000,000 - 1,853,936 SHU10+++
Katie (7 Pot Katie)1,200,000 - 1,590,000 SHU10+++
Trinidad 7 Pot Primo (Primo, 7 Pot Primo)1,100,000 - 1,469,000 SHU10++
Butch T (Trinidad Scorpion Butch Taylor)800,000 - 1,463,700 SHU10++
Komodo Dragon (British Komodo Dragon)500,000 - 1,400,000 SHU10++
Trinidad Red Scorpion (Trinidad Scorpion, Scorpion Pepper)500,000 - 1,390,000 SHU10++
Naga Viper600,000 - 1,382,118 SHU10++
Lucy (7 Pot Lucy)900,000 - 1,359,284 SHU10++
7 Pot Barrackpore900,000 - 1,300,000 SHU10++
7 Pot Jonah800,000 - 1,200,000 SHU10+
Brain Strain (7 Pot Brain Strain)800,000 - 1,200,000 SHU10+
Yellow Brain Strain (7 Pot Brain Strain Yellow)700,000 - 1,200,000 SHU10+
New Mexico Scorpion500,000 - 1,191,595 SHU10+
Bedfordshire Super Naga500,000 - 1,120,000 SHU10+
7 Pot500,000 - 1,100,000 SHU10+
Spanish Naga (Naga Gibraltar)600,000 - 1,086,844 SHU10+
Infinity Chili (Infinity Pepper)500,000 - 1,067,286 SHU10+
7 Pot Madballz (Madballz Pepper)750,000 - 1,066,882 SHU10+
Bhut Jolokia, Ghost Pepper (Bih Jolokia, Naga Jolokia, Ghost, Geisterchili, Red Naga, U-morok, Bombai Morich, Raja Mirch, Saga Jolokia, Indian Mystery Chili, Indian Rough Chili , Tezpur Chili)600,000 - 1,041,427 SHU10+
Bhut Jolokia Chocolate (Naga Jolokia Chocolate, Chocolate Ghost Pepper, Brown Naga)500,000 - 1,001,300 SHU10+
7 Pot Armageddon (Armageddon)855,000 - 1,000,000 SHU10+
7 Pot Bubblegum (Bubblegum, 7 Pot BBG)840,000 - 1,000,000 SHU10+
7 Pot White (White Seven Pot)800,000 - 1,000,000 SHU10+
Trinidad Orange Scorpion (Orange Trinidad, Trinidad Scorpion Orange)700,000 - 1,000,000 SHU10+
Naga Morich (Dorset Naga)600,000 - 1,000,000 SHU10+
Raja Mirch (Synonym for Bhut Jolokia, SHU measurement from India)450,000 - 900,000 SHU10+
Trinidad 7 Pot Cardi (7 Pot Cardi, CARDI)500,000 - 850,000 SHU10+
7 Pot Yellow (Trinidad 7 Pot Yellow)450,000 - 600,000 SHU10
Trinidad Yellow Scorpion400,000 - 600,000 SHU10
Red Savina (Habanero Red Savina)250,000 - 577,000 SHU10
Devil's Tongue Chocolate (Brown Devil's Tongue)400,000 - 500,000 SHU10
Devil's Tongue Red350,000 - 500,000 SHU10
Habanero Francisca (Habanero Francisca Orange)300,000 - 500,000 SHU10
Habanero Chocolate (Brown Habanero)300,000 - 500,000 SHU10
Fatalii Peach (Peach Fatalii)150,000 - 500,000 SHU10
Fatalii White (White Fatalii)150,000 - 500,000 SHU10
Fatalii Yellow (Yellow Fatalii)125,000 - 500,000 SHU10
Adjuma (Aji Umba, Adjoema, Ojemma)100,000 - 500,000 SHU10
Fatalii Red (Red Fatalii)100,000 - 500,000 SHU10
Black Congo Pepper300,000 - 450,000 SHU10
Caribbean Red300,000 - 445,000 SHU10
Devil's Tongue Yellow300,000 - 400,000 SHU10
Hot Paper Lantern300,000 - 400,000 SHU10
Habanero Golden300,000 - 400,000 SHU10
Habanero White Bullet300,000 - 400,000 SHU10
Red Congo Pepper250,000 - 400,000 SHU10
Habanero Red (Red Habanero)150,000 - 350,000 SHU10
Madame Jeanette (Suriname Yellow)150,000 - 350,000 SHU10
Habanero Orange100,000 - 350,000 SHU10
Habanero Peach100,000 - 350,000 SHU10
Habanero Mustard100,000 - 350,000 SHU10
Habanero White100,000 - 350,000 SHU10
Tiger Paw (Tiger Paw Habanero, Orange Tiger Paw)200,000 - 330,000 SHU10
Scotch Bonnet Red150,000 - 325,000 SHU10
Habanero Big Sun150,000 - 325,000 SHU10
Burkina Yellow (Habanero Burkina Yellow, Burkina Scotch Bonnet)100,000 - 325,000 SHU10
Habanero Yellow (Gelbe Habanero)130,000 - 310,000 SHU10
Habanero Orange Devil200,000 - 300,000 SHU10
Habanero Peruvian White200,000 - 300,000 SHU10
Scotch Bonnet Orange125,000 - 300,000 SHU10
Scotch Bonnet Yellow125,000 - 300,000 SHU10
Yellow Congo Pepper150,000 - 300,000 SHU10
Bahamian Goat Pepper (Bahamian Pepper)100,000 - 300,000 SHU10
Datil (Datil Pepper)100,000 - 300,000 SHU10
Billy Goat100,000 - 300,000 SHU10
Jamaican Hot Red (Red Jamaican Hot Pepper)100,000 - 250,000 SHU10
Scarlet Lantern (Peru Scarlet Lantern)50,000 - 250,000 SHU9
Pimenta de Neyde (Pimenta da Neyde)50,000 - 250,000 SHU9
Jamaican Hot Yellow100,000 - 225,000 SHU9
Bird's Eye (Bird Pepper, Bird Eye Chili) (Note: the name is used for several bird pepper varieties)100,000 - 225,000 SHU9
Carolina Cayenne Red (Carolina Cayenne Pepper)80,000 - 125,000 SHU9
Tabiche Pepper50,000 - 110,000 SHU9
Basket of Fire80,000 - 100,000 SHU9
Pico De Pajaro (Cola de Rata, Rat's Tail, Bird's Peak)70,000 - 100,000 SHU9
Charleston Hot (Charleston Hot Red, Charleston Hot Cayenne)70,000 - 100,000 SHU9
Diablo Grande Pepper60,000 - 100,000 SHU9
Yellow Bumpy50,000 - 100,000 SHU9
Chupetinha50,000 - 100,000 SHU9
Aji Limo50,000 - 100,000 SHU9
Indian PC-150,000 - 100,000 SHU9
Thai Chili (Note: the name is used for several Thai pepper varieties)50,000 - 100,000 SHU9
Tepin (Chiltepin, Chiltecpin, Chil Tepin)50,000 - 100,000 SHU9
Pequin (Piquin, Pee-keen)50,000 - 100,000 SHU9
Malagueta (Mala, Malaguetinha)60,000 - 90,000 SHU8
Diablo Grande50,000 - 90,000 SHU8
Thai Dragon35,000 - 90,000 SHU8
Tien Tsin45,000 - 75,000 SHU8
Rocoto Peron (Rocoto Peron Rojo, Red Tree Pepper)30,000 - 75,000 SHU8
Rocoto Rojo (Aji Rojo, Red Tree Pepper)30,000 - 75,000 SHU8
Rocoto Amarillo (Rocoto Manzano Amarillo, Chile Manzano Amarillo, Aji Amarillo, Tree Pepper)30,000 - 75,000 SHU8
Rocoto Canario (Locoto Canario, Yellow Rocoto, Yellow Tree Pepper)30,000 - 75,000 SHU8
Rocoto de Seda (De Seda, Chile de Seda, Tree Pepper)30,000 - 75,000 SHU8
Bangalore Whippet's Tail30,000 - 60,000 SHU7
Jalapeño NuMex Pinata (NuMex Pinata)40,000 - 50,000 SHU7
Maraba30,000 - 50,000 SHU7
Aji Charapita30,000 - 50,000 SHU7
Capsicum Eximium30,000 - 50,000 SHU7
Rocoto Manzano (Chile Manzano)30,000 - 50,000 SHU7
Cayenne (Red Cayenne, De Cayenna)30,000 - 50,000 SHU7
Santaka30,000 - 50,000 SHU7
Prik Kee Nu (Prik Kee Noo, พริกขี้หนู "Mäusekot Chili")30,000 - 50,000 SHU7
Tabasco (Greenleaf Tabasco)30,000 - 50,000 SHU7
Pimenta de Cheiro (Note: the name is used for several Brazilian pepper varieties)20,000 - 50,000 SHU7
Lemon Drop (Hot Lemon, Aji Limon, Aji Lemon)15,000 - 30,000 SHU6
Aji Colorado15,000 - 30,000 SHU6
Aji Pineapple15,000 - 30,000 SHU6
Criola Sella15,000 - 30,000 SHU6
Mushroom Red (Red Mushroom Pepper)15,000 - 30,000 SHU6
De Arbol (Chile de Arbol, De árbol, Spanish Tree Pepper)15,000 - 30,000 SHU6
Royal Black5,000 - 30,000 SHU6
Maule's Red Hot (Maule's Red, Lady Finger)5,000 - 30,000 SHU6
Serrano10,000 - 25,000 SHU6
Chungyang Red (Red Chungyang Pepper)10,000 - 25,000 SHU6
Bishop's Crown (Bishops Crown)5,000 - 15,000 SHU5
Chipotle (Smoked Jalapeño, Roasted Jalapeño Peppers)5,000 - 10,000 SHU5
Hungarian Hot Wax (Hot Wax, Wax Pepper)5,000 - 10,000 SHU5
Aleppo (Halaby pepper, Aleppo Pepper, Pul Biber, Fulful Ḥalabī)5,000 - 10,000 SHU5
Fresno2,500 - 10,000 SHU5
Jalapeño2,500 - 8,000 SHU5
Jalapeño Deep Purple (Purple Jalapeño)2,000 - 8,000 SHU5
Jalapeño Early4,000 - 6,000 SHU5
Guajillo (Guajillo Pepper, Mexican Guajillo, Guajilla)2,500 - 5,000 SHU4
NuMex Mirasol (Mirasol)2,500 - 5,000 SHU4
Hot Cherry Pepper (Cherry Pepper, Hot Cherry Pepper, Hungarian Cherry Pepper, Hungarian Cherry)2,500 - 5,000 SHU4
Candlelight1,000 - 5,000 SHU4
Ancho San Luis (Mexican Large)1,500 - 4,000 SHU4
Cherry Bomb (Cherry Bomb Pepper)1,000 - 3,000 SHU3
NuMex Sandia (Sandia Pepper)1,500 - 2,500 SHU3
Cascabel (Rattle Pepper, Mexican Cascabel Pepper)1,500 - 2,500 SHU3
Anaheim (Magdalena, California Chile, Chile Seco Del Norte, New Mexico Chile Pepper Cultivar No, 9)500 - 2,500 SHU3
NuMex Big Jim (Big Jim, NuMex Heritage Big Jim)500 - 2,500 SHU3
Poblano (Ancho Pepper, Ancho Poblano)1,000 - 2,000 SHU2
Pasilla (Pasilla Pepper, Chilaca, Chile Negro)1,000 - 2,000 SHU2
Alma Pepper (Alma Csipös)1,000 - 1,500 SHU2
Espanola (New Mexico Espanola Pepper)1,000 – 1,5002
Vulcano700 - 1,500 SHU2
Peppadew1,000 - 1,200 SHU2
Coronado700 - 1,000 SHU1
NuMex Sunrise500 - 1,000 SHU1
NuMex Conquistador500 - 1,000 SHU1
Cubanelle Pepper100 - 1,000 SHU1
NuMex Joe E, Parker500 - 1,000 SHU1
Golden Greek (Golden Greek Peperoncino, Greek Peperoni)0 - 1,000 SHU1
NuMex Suave Red500 - 850 SHU1
NuMex Suave Orange500 - 830 SHU1
Santa Fe Grande (Guero Chili Pepper)500 - 750 SHU1
Aji Dulce Amarillo100 - 500 SHU1
Aji Dulce (Aji Cachucha, Ajicito, Ají Gustoso)100 - 500 SHU1
Pepperoncini (Peperoncino, Italian Sweet Pepper, Tuscan Pepper)100 - 500 SHU1
Trinidad Perfume0 - 500 SHU1
Gorria (Piment d'Espelette, Ezpeletako Biperra, Biper)0 - 500 SHU1
Lombardo (Lombardo Peperoni)0 - 500 SHU1
Friggitello (Friggitelli, Italian Piemento, Sweet Italian Pepper)0 - 500 SHU1
Shishito (Shishitōgarashi, Japanese Pimiento, Shishito Pepper)50 - 200 SHU1
Capsicum Rhomboideum (Former: Capsicum Cilliatum, Witheringia Ciliata)0 SHU0
Minibell Chocolate (Minibell Brown, Brown Snack Pepper)0 SHU0
Minibell Orange (Orange Snack Pepper)0 SHU0
Minibell Red (Red Snack Pepper)0 SHU0
Sweet Sunshine (Sweet Sunshine Trailing Pepper)0 SHU0
Süßer Naschzipfel0 SHU0
Corno di Toro Rosso0 SHU0
Corno di Toro Giallo0 SHU0
California Wonder0 SHU0
Yolo Wonder0 SHU0
Bell Pepper0 SHU0