Carolina Reaper

Carolina Reaper
Species Capsicum chinense
Hybrid parentage Bhut jolokia × red habanero
Breeder "Smokin" Ed Currie
Origin Fort Mill, South Carolina
Heat Hottest
Scoville scale 1.6 million (official record) SHU

The Carolina Reaper, originally named the HP22B,[1] is a cultivar of chili pepper of the Capsicum chinense species. It is red and has a gnarled, lumpy pod with a tail like a scythe.[2] As of 2013, Guinness has dubbed it the hottest chili in the world, surpassing the previous record holder, the Trinidad Scorpion "Butch T".[3]

Origin and use

Bred in a Rock Hill, South Carolina greenhouse by "Smokin" Ed Currie, proprietor of the PuckerButt Pepper Company in Fort Mill, the Carolina Reaper has been certified as the world's hottest chili pepper by Guinness World Records since August 7, 2013.[4][5] The original crossbreed was between a Ghost pepper (a former world record holder) and a red habanero and is named 'Reaper' due to the shape of its tail.[6][7] The official Guinness World Record heat level is 1,569,300 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), according to tests conducted by Winthrop University in South Carolina. The figure is an average for the tested batch; the hottest individual pepper was measured at 2.2 million SHU.[4][5][8]

At the second Annual New York City Hot Sauce Expo on March 30, 2014,[9] Guinness World Records presented Ed Currie with his world record. There, an eating competition occurred and Russel Todd won the contest, consuming three Carolina Reapers in 12.23 seconds, a new Guinness record.[10] This record was beaten in September 2014 by Jason McNabb, who finished three peppers in 10.95 seconds.[11]

The pepper has been described as "a good all-rounder to try at home" by UK ethnobotanist James Wong who said that they require temperatures of at least 18-20C and suggested growing in 30-40cm pots to restrict growth and produce fruit sooner.[12] It has been described as having a fruity taste, with the initial bite being sweet and then immediately turning to "molten lava".[6][13][14] When fully ripe, it is typically about the size of a ping-pong ball.[15]

Wayne Algenio[16] of Jamaica, Queens, broke the world record at the Puckerbutt Pepper Company's Smokin' Ed's Reaper Eating Challenge at the NYC Hot Sauce Expo in Brooklyn on April 24, 2016 by eating 22 Carolina Reapers in 60 seconds.


  1. "About Us". PuckerButt Pepper Co. Smokin’ Ed gained the pepper industry’s attention in November 2011 when an NPR Reporter stopped by to eat an HP22B pepper–now known as Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper®.
  2. Hunt, Nicholas (Sep 2013). "So God Made the World's Hottest Pepper". The Atlantic.
  3. "Confirmed: Smokin Ed's Carolina Reaper sets new record for hottest chilli". Guinness world records. 2013-11-19. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  4. 1 2 "Hottest chili". Guinness World Records. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  5. 1 2 Hallock, Betty (December 26, 2013). "World's hottest pepper hits 2.2 million Scoville heat units". Los Angeles Times.
  6. 1 2 Tu, Chau. "Eating the 'Carolina Reaper' pepper is 'like eating molten lava'". pri.
  7. Duffy, Jim (Habanero). "Carolina Reaper". Super hot chiles. Ed created this chile plant variety by crossing a Ghost pepper (Bhut Jolokia) with a Red Habanero type from St Vincents Island in the West Indies.
  8. Collins, Jeffrey (December 26, 2013). "World's hottest pepper is grown in South Carolina". Associated Press. Archived from the original on July 1, 2015.
  9. "Guinness World Record Pepper Eating Attempt To Take Place At 2nd Annual New York City Hot Sauce Expo". PR Newswire. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  10. Gross, Matt (March 31, 2014). "What's It Like to Eat the World's Hottest Chile Pepper?". Bon Appetit. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  11. "Fastest time to eat three Carolina Reaper chilis". Guinness World Records. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  12. Wong, James (February 28, 2016). "Gardens: the hottest chilli ever grown". The Guardian. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  13. Smithers, Rebecca. "UK shoppers to feel the heat as world's strongest chilli hits the high street". The Guardian.
  14. "Carolina Reaper - HP22B - World's Hottest Chiles". Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  15. "Carolina Reaper - HP22B - World's Hottest Chiles". Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  16. "Man Smashes Guinness World Record for Most Reaper Peppers Eaten in 60 Seconds". ABC News. April 26, 2016. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
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