Hottest hot sauce in the world

Some like it hot. Some like it really, really hot. Some brag about tolerance for spicy foods, but have they pushed their limits this far?

The hottest hot sauce in the world is not for the faint of heart—it is spicier than pepper spray and has even sent hard-luck chiliheads to the hospital. 

How far are you willing to go in your pursuit of thrilling heat?

What Makes A Hot Sauce So Hot?

The chemical compound capsaicin is the active component that makes chili peppers spicy. When you bite into a hot pepper and experience a spicy kick on the palette, you’re experiencing capsaicin. 

Capsaicin and its related compounds are called capsaicinoids and are produced by chili peppers as a natural defense mechanism against herbivores. 

The higher the concentration of capsaicin in the pepper, the spicier it tastes. 

How Is Spiciness Measured?

The Scoville scale measures the pungency or spicy heat levels of chili peppers and other spicy foods. 

The Scoville Scale

The Scoville scale, named after its founder, American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville, measures foods’ pungency (spicy heat) in Scoville heat units (SHU). 

Peppers are ranked on the scale according to their capsaicin content. The scale ranges from 0 (no capsaicin) to 16 million (pure capsaicin). 

How Do Different Peppers Rank On The Scoville Scale?

Most peppers fall between 100 to 500 SHUs. Some popular “spicy” peppers, such as jalapeños and serranos, contain 2,500 to 25,000 SHUs. That’s hot, right? Well, not necessarily. 

Scotch Bonnets and habaneros—peppers sure to induce tears—land between 100,000 and 350,000 SHUs. They’re between 12 and 140 times hotter than a jalapeño. That’s a significant heat upgrade.

The world’s hottest chili pepper, the Carolina Reaper, can measure over 2 million SHUs. These peppers are so hot that they are typically used as a food additive rather than eaten whole. And yes, they’re relished in hot sauce by the world’s most serious chiliheads. 

The World’s Hottest Chili pepper

With up to 2.2 million SHUs, the hottest chili pepper in the world is the Carolina Reaper. 

Developed by American breeder Ed Currie, the pepper is red and bumpy, with a small pointed tail resembling the grim reaper’s scythe. 

It was certified as the world’s hottest chili pepper by Guinness World Records on August 11, 2017, surpassing the previous record-breaking pepper, the Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” (1,641,183 SHUs). [1]

What Does The Carolina Reaper Taste Like?

Specialty Produce describes Carolina Reaper chilis as having “a sweet, fruity taste with hits of cinnamon and chocolate, followed by an intense heat that builds and lingers in the throat.” [2]

Fear the Reaper

Eating a whole Carolina Reaper can lead to hours, if not days, of severe discomfort. 

Scientists from the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Bassett Medical Center found that, in severe cases, eating a whole Carolina Reaper pepper has led to childhood stroke and “thunderclap headaches.” [3], [4]

The Carolina Reaper might make you sweat, cry, or run for your parent or guardian. Regardless, it is harmless to your health when consumed responsibly and in small doses.

the Hottest Hot Sauce in the World : 10 Of The Hottest Hot Sauces Ranked

1. Pure Evil 13 Million SHU, $89.99 on Heat Hot Sauce Shop

  • How hot is the world’s hottest hot sauce? At 13 million SHUs, Pure Evil is made with unadulterated capsaicin—not chili peppers. The drops are almost three times as hot as pepper sprays, which measure between 2 million and 5.3 million SHUs. 
  • Pure Evil drops are not for novice hot saucers. We’re not sure why anybody would want a condiment this violently spicy. Again, some like it really, really hot.

2. Mad Dog 357 Plutonium No. 9, $99.99 on Peppers of Key West

  • If you share Mad Dog 357 Plutonium No. 9 with your friends, be sure to draft up a waiver first. With a whopping 9 million SHUs, this hot (understatement) sauce is sure to shoot flames straight from your tastebuds through to your ears. 
  • Mad Dog 357 makes some of the hottest sauces in the game—this one is crafted from pure HPLC certified capsaicin and a sparkling yet diabolical heat. 

3. The Source Hot Sauce, $125 on Dilly Dallies Spices & Sauces

  • The Source Hot Sauce is encased in packaging that resembles an ancient Egyptian-themed card game or a replica figurine. Unthreatening, right?
  • Here’s the thing: The Source Hot Sauce rings in at 7.1 million SHUs. It consists of one ingredient: “Natural Extractives of Chile Peppers.” The bottle’s label has a large-text product disclaimer and liability release for anybody encountering injury or damage after consumption. Use this blazing relish at your own risk.

4. The End Flatline Hot Sauce, $24.99 on Pepper Place

  • We don’t think anybody needs to wonder why this product was named “The End.” 
  • With a solid dose of Carolina Reaper peppers, ghost peppers, scorpion peppers, and a whopping 6 million SHUs, we assume a teaspoon too much of this inferno sauce might feel like the end of your life. It won’t be, though. 

5. Bumblefoot’s Bumblef**ked Hot Sauce, $9.95 on Hot Sauce

  • Most hot sauces measuring 6 million SHUs contribute nothing more than extreme heat to your dish. This is not to be said of Bumblefoot’s Bumblef**ked Hot Sauce. 
  • It’ll have you in tears like the rest, but this hottest hot sauce delivers honey mustard, Caribbean fruits, and ginger, adding depth of flavor to your capsaicin-induced agony. 

6. Z Nothing Beyond Extremely Hot Sauce, $9.95 on Hot Sauce

  • The product description reads, “It won’t kill you, but you’ll wish it did.” If that’s not enough to send customers running, we don’t know what is. 
  • Z Nothing Beyond Extremely Hot Sauce contains an array of tropical fruits, including papaya, guava, and passionfruit. Don’t be fooled by the fruit, though. At 5 million SHUs, a dollop of this hot sauce will have you hollering for help. 

7. Mad Dog 44 Magnum, $46.99 on Mad Dog 357

  • Mad Dog carries some of the hottest hot sauces in the game. With a whopping 4 million SHUs, Mad Dog 44 Magnum is packed with heat and should be used sparingly. 
  • As a pepper extract, this product delivers a sparkling, clear heat and will not impact the flavor of your dish. It’s another of Mad Dog’s ridiculously hot, small-batch condiments sure to get your heart racing. 

8. Hottest Hot Sauce in the Universe, The 2nd Dimension, $27.99 on Pepper Palace

  • This ghost pepper extract sauce will surely throw you into another dimension. Made with forty pounds of ghost peppers in every batch and mixed with aged red peppers and pepper extract, this sauce screams, “Proceed with caution.”
  • Made by Pepper Palace, Hottest Hot Sauce in the Universe, The 2nd Dimension, contains 3.5 million SHUs and is three times as hot as a ghost pepper. Good luck!

9. Reaper Squeezins, $15.00 on PuckerButt Pepper Company

  • Most hot sauces measuring over 2.2 million SHUs are made with pepper extract and pure capsaicin. Reaper Squeezins is the first all-natural hot sauce on this list, made with just two ingredients: Carolina Reaper peppers and vinegar. 
  • At 2.2 million SHUs, Reaper Squeezins is the hottest hot sauce on the market made with whole ingredients. The vinegar in this recipe will add a kick of acidity to your dish but don’t add more than a few drops to your food. 

10. The Last Dab XXX, $20.00 on Heatonist 

  1. If you’ve ever seen the YouTube talk show series Hot Ones, you might recognize this tear-jerker of a hot sauce. It’s the spiciest on the show, the hot sauce that sends celebrities into a figurative inferno (assuming they’re daring enough to try it).
  2. Made with chocolate pepper, peach pepper, and Smokin’ Ed Currie’s hybrid pepper X, The Last Dab XXX measures a ridiculous, naturally occurring 2 million SHUs.

Hot Sauce Safety Precautions

Remember, it’s all fun and games until someone gets burned!

  • Always start with a small amount. You can always add more!
  • Wear gloves when handling very spicy sauces.
  • Keep dairy products close by. They help neutralize the burn.
  • Avoid touching your eyes or sensitive areas after handling hot sauces.

Why Do People Eat So MuCh Hot Sauce?

Paul Rozin, a psychologist from the University of Pennsylvania, developed a theory of “benign masochism” to explain why some people love eating such intensely spicy food. [5] 

The fine line between pain and pleasure—and the endorphins we experience when we eat spicy foods—might contribute to some people’s affinity for agonizingly spicy sauces. 

Hot sauce has numerous health benefits, from nutritional effectiveness and weight loss to cancer prevention and decreased inflammation. [6

That’s enough to convince us to continue testing our limits and upping our capsaicin tolerance. What about you?


[1] “Hottest Chili Pepper.” Guinness World Records, 2017.

[2] “Carolina Reaper Chile Peppers.” Specialty Produce, 2023.

[3] Taylor, C., et al. “Fear the Reaper: Reversible Cerebrovascular Vasoconstriction Syndrome After Hot Pepper Ingestion.” Department of Radiology, University of Mississippi Medical Center, 2020.

[4] Boddhula, S., et al. “An Unusual Cause of Thunderclap Headache After Eating the Hottest Pepper in the World – ‘The Carolina Reaper.’” British Medical Journal Case Reports, 2018.

[5] Baker, B. “Spicy Foods: To Eat, or Not to Eat.” Association of American Universities, 2019.

[6] Ajmera, R. “Is Hot Sauce Good For You? What to Know.” Healthline, 2021.

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