Scorpion Pepper vs. Carolina Reaper: Heat Units, Flavor Differences, And Popular Uses!

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Scorpion Pepper vs. Carolina Reaper: Heat Units, Flavor Differences, And Popular Uses!

If you’re looking for some of the hottest peppers on earth, look no further than in comparing Scorpion pepper vs. Carolina Reaper. These two peppers come from different backgrounds and have unique appearances that make them easier to differentiate. They have different flavors, and they also rank separately in terms of the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) scale.

The Scoville Heat Unit was invented by the American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville in 1912. To do the test, you mix alcohol with the capsaicin compound that gives all kinds of peppers their heat. This tests the heat level of spicy peppers in terms of how many times a solution of the concentrated pepper heat is diluted to neutralize the heat. The two peppers rank near the top of the scale in terms of the spiciest peppers, but the Carolina Reaper tops the Scorpion pepper in terms of SHU (via Masterclass). Let’s get into more of the spiciest details about these two unique and flaming hot chili peppers. 

In this post, we’ll discuss the history and origins of both the Scorpion Pepper and the Carolina Reaper. You’ll learn about their heat rankings, their flavor profile, and their nutritional offerings. We’ll talk more about the Scoville Heat Unit and some pepper alternatives if Scorpion Peppers and Carolina Reapers are just too hot! Keep on reading to learn all about the major differences between these spicy peppers.

Scorpion Pepper vs. Carolina Reaper
Scorpion Pepper vs. Carolina Reaper

Scorpion Pepper vs. Carolina Reaper: What Is The Difference?

In comparing the Scorpion Pepper vs. Carolina Reaper, there are a few significant differences to keep in mind. First of all, their appearance is very different. Secondly, they have unique tastes and flavor applications. And finally, perhaps the most important difference when considering spicy peppers, these two peppers have quite the difference in heat scores on the Scoville Heat Unit scale.

What Is A Scorpion Pepper?

A Scorpion Pepper, also called a Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, is one of the hottest peppers by far. This pepper ranks between 1,200,000 – 2,000,000 SHU. Taste-wise, it's described as being slightly sweet upon first bite, however, the spice of the pepper creeps in very fast, so don't be fooled. Appearance-wise, this pepper turns from green to red, to a burgundy red on the vine. They grow between 2-3 inches, and their skin can be wrinkled and textured, with an almost tail-esk taper at the end of their growth. The longer that Scorpio Peppers stay on the vine, the spicier they become. And that's no joke!

History And Origin Of The Scorpion Pepper

Scorpion Peppers hail from the island of Trinidad and Tobago. According to Pepper Joe, it wasn't until the 1990s that this pepper was brought to the attention of the Chili Pepper Institute in New Mexico. This non-profit works to research the Capsicum compound that brings so much heat to chili peppers. In 2012, Scorpion Peppers were declared the hottest pepper on earth. This would soon change due to the SHU score of the Carolina Reaper. More on that in a moment.

Chili scorpion Trinidad moruga red hot, prepared from the garden to sell in the market
Scorpion Peppers change from green to yellow to red on the vine. The darker they are, the spicier!

©iStock.com/anutr tosirikul

Ways To Use Scorpion Pepper

Mostly, Scorpion Pepper should only be used to slightly heat up a dish. You only need a small amount to add a sweet, and very spicy, flavoring to whatever dish you're livening up. Try it out in soups and stews or as part of a marinade for meats. You can definitely add it to a hot sauce, but do some research on the best way to handle the pepper, as it is one of the spiciest on earth. Gloves are a minimum requirement, and it's recommended to do some crash course research on treating chili burn if you're using these. We told you, the heat of these peppers is absolutely no joke!

What Is A Carolina Reaper?

As of May 2023, the Carolina Reaper has retained its status as the hottest pepper in the world. Compared to a Scorpion Pepper's SHU of 1,200,000 – 2,000,000, the Carolina Reaper clocks in between 1,400,000- 2,200,000 SHU. That's 200,000 SHU above Scorpion Peppers, even on the lower end! In terms of taste, Carolina Reapers also have a sweet start to their spicy finish, which is one reason they're quite popular with the extreme hot sauce crowd. Carolina Reaper peppers are a brighter red in color, with wrinkled skin. They grow between 1.5-2 inches and come to a point that resembles a tail (via Pepper Scale).

History and Origin Of Carolina Reaper

Carolina Reapers were first produced in South Carolina in The United States. A company called the PuckerButt Pepper Company created this pepper as a hybrid of red habaneros and the Naja Viper pepper. This company has also created some unstable hybrids of the Carolina Reaper. These hybrids are called Pepper X and the Apollo Pepper.

Ed Currie, the founder of the PuckerButt Pepper Company, actually got into pepper production while researching preventative lifestyle options for cancer. His research showed a correlation between communities with low rates of cancer diagnoses and a diet that included hot peppers. Some of the profits from the PuckerButt Pepper Company go to funding cancer research.

Recipes Using Carolina Reaper

Like other spicy peppers, these peppers are typically only used to augment the flavors or add some spice. You only need very, very little of this pepper to go a long, long, way. Keep in mind that it is the hottest pepper on the planet. Popular hot sauces that use Carolina Reaper peppers include The Last Dab, Lola's Fine Hot Sauce, and Elijah's Xtreme Regret Hot Sauce. Check out some of the hot sauces that use Carolina Reaper on Amazon below.

  1. Carolina Reaper Hot Sauce 5 Dried Whole Chili Peppers Gift Set +2 Free World's Hottest Wicked Reaper 2,000,000 Scoville
    $16.99 ($3.40 / Ounce)

    Comes with a 5 oz. bottle of Carolina Reaper Hot Sauce Wicked Reaper. Also with 6 Whole Dried Carolina Reaper Chili Peppers.

    CAUTION: Do not spicy peppers if you have an underlying respiratory or heart condition.

    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    12/01/2023 11:25 am GMT
  2. Elijah's Xtreme Regret Hot Sauce - Carolina Reaper and Trinidad Scorpion - The 2 Hottest Peppers in the World for an Extreme Fiery Heat
    $11.99 ($2.40 / Fl Oz)

    Xtreme Regret combines the 2 hottest peppers in the world, with undertones of garlic.

    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    12/01/2023 11:25 am GMT

Nutritional Profile

Scorpion Peppers and Carolina Reapers are quite similar when it comes to their nutritional profile. 1 pepper is about 4 grams, and 4 grams of each stack up similarly in terms of protein, and fat content. The Scorpion Pepper is higher in calorie count than the Carolina Reaper. Check out the chart below.

Scorpion Pepper vs. Carolina Reaper
Scorpion Pepper vs. Carolina Reaper

Scorpion Pepper vs. Carolina Reaper: Are They The Same Thing?

When comparing Scorpion Peppers vs. Carolina Reapers, it is clear they are not the same thing. Scorpion Peppers are cultivated in Trinidad. The Carolina Repaer comes from the States. They have different colorations and very different SHU rankings. In terms of peppers worldwide, according to A-Z Animals, the current rankings are as follows:

  1. The Carolina Reaper (1,400,000- 2,200,000 SHU)
  2. Komodo Dragon (Max 2,200,000 SHU)
  3. Chocolate Bhutlah Pepper (2,000,000 SHU)
  4. Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (1,200,000 – 2,000,000 SHU)
  5. Seven Pot Douglah Pepper (1,853,986 SHU)

Possible Alternatives To Scorpion Pepper And/Or Carolina Reaper

Any of the peppers listed above can provide a similar punch of heat to Scorpion and Carolina Reaper Peppers. However, if you want to work with a spice factor that won't possibly hurt your hands if you mishandle it, there are lots of peppers that can provide spice without danger. Martha Stewart recommends the Poblano Chile (1,000-1,500 SHU), and Jalapeño Peppers (2,500-8,000) for absolute beginner spice connoisseurs. There are also Fresno Chiles (2,500-10,000), and Serrano Peppers (10,000-23,000). Getting into the spicier of the mild chilis, you can try a dish using Habanero Chile (100,000-350,000).

Whether you include these dried or fresh in your recipes, be sure to taste test and be sure you're not overpowering your chosen dish with the heat from even these mild chilis. Some of the best chili recipes involve stuffed peppers, soups, salsas, salads, casseroles, and more. There are many ways to incorporate delicious, and milder peppers into your meal planning, just do your research and pick your pepper of choice.

A Quick Comparison of Scorpion vs. Carolina Reaper Peppers

Infographic comparing Scorpion and Carolina Reaper peppers.
The Carolina Reaper is the hottest pepper in the world.

If you want to test your limits, either one of these peppers is a great choice. Both of these pack a ton of heat, with their own unique and interesting histories. The Scorpion pepper is better for those new to the hottest of hot peppers, while the Carolina Reaper is the ultimate test of your resolve. Always exercise caution when trying either of these peppers and don't try either if you're brand new to hot peppers in general. These are not beginner hot peppers.

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very strongly hot pepper Carolina Reaper or HP22B

Carolina Reaper Hot Sauce

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  • Author: MomsWhoThink.com


It's important to use the Carolina Reaper sparingly in recipes to avoid overwhelming heat because it is one of the hottest chili peppers in the world.


Units Scale
  • 1012 Carolina Reaper peppers (use gloves when handling)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1 lime (optional, for added flavor)


  1. Wearing gloves, carefully remove the stems and seeds from the Carolina Reaper peppers. The seeds and membranes are where most of the heat resides, so adjust the number of peppers based on your heat tolerance.
  2. In a saucepan, heat a small amount of oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, chopped carrots, and chopped onions. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes until the vegetables start to soften and the onions become translucent.
  3. Add the Carolina Reaper peppers to the saucepan and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Pour in the vinegar and water, then add the sugar and salt. Stir everything together. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft.
  5. Carefully transfer the hot sauce mixture to a blender or food processor. Be cautious of the fumes when blending hot peppers. Blend until the sauce is smooth and no large chunks remain.
  6. If you want a smoother hot sauce, strain it through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove any remaining solids. Press down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
  7. Let the Carolina Reaper hot sauce cool to room temperature. If desired, add the juice of one lime for extra flavor and balance. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  8. Pour the hot sauce into clean, airtight bottles or jars. Seal them and refrigerate the sauce. The flavors will meld and intensify over time. It can be stored in the refrigerator for several months.

Safety Note: Be extremely cautious when working with Carolina Reaper peppers or any other extremely hot chili. Wear gloves and avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, after handling them. Proper ventilation is essential when cooking with super-hot peppers to avoid inhaling the spicy fumes, which can be very uncomfortable. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling the peppers.

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