How hot are your chile peppers? As you have probably figured out, the heat level depends up the variety of the chile. The Scoville Chile Heat Chart is here to help you determine which one to use and which varieties are comparable.
Scotch bonnet chiles (pictured above) rate a 9 on the Scoville scale, which is pretty hot for most folks. The Scotch bonnet is a must in most Caribbean dishes. With the wide variety of chile peppers available in most markets these days, it is essential to know how hot each one is in order to select the right chile for your recipe.
Scoville Chile Heat Chart Origins
Peppers are rated based on Scoville Units, a method developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912. The original method used human tasters to evaluate how many parts of sugar water it takes to neutralize the heat. Nowadays human tasters are spared and a new process called HPLC, or High Performance Liquid Chromotography measures the amount of capsaicinoids (capsaicin) in parts per million. Capsaicin is the compound that gives chiles their heat. Capsaicin is now used in nasal allergy remedies due to its numbing properties.
Cooking With Chile Peppers
The heat level in hot chiles may be reduced somewhat by removing the inner seeds and membranes. However, do not depend upon this method greatly reducing the heat. Long cooking will also reduce heat levels somewhat, but if you begin with a hot pepper, you will still end up with a spicy result. Your best bet is to select the proper chile for your recipe using the chart below.
By all means, do wear gloves when handling and chopping hot chile peppers. Only the most seasoned chefs will dare to handle hot chiles without gloves. The capsaicin can leave your hands burning for hours upon hours. Heaven forbid you accidentally touch an eye or other sensitive part of your body. Washing your hands after handling chiles just doesn’t do the trick. The capsaicin seeps into your pores and takes a very long time to wear off.
Is it “chile” or “chili?”
The term “chile” is often referred to as “chili.” To help you differentiate, chili is the beef and/or bean stew made with chile peppers. Speaking of chili, most national chili competitions specify no beans. However, most home cooks will add beans whereas the chili purist will not. If you like beans, by all means, add them!
New chile hybrids are being cultivated constantly to serve the demands of chile-heads. The Scoville Chile Heat Chart below rates the most common peppers, with 0 being mildest and 10 the highest heat.
Try these recipes using chile peppers:
Scoville Chile Heat Chart
|Sweet Bells; Sweet Banana; and Pimento||
|Negligible Scoville Units|
|Mexi-Bells; New Mexica; New Mexico; Anaheim; Big Jim; Peperonicini; Santa Fe Grande; El Paso; Cherry||
|100-1,000 Scoville Units|
|Coronado; Mumex Big Jim; Sangria; Anaheim||
|1,000 – 1,500 Scoville Units|
|Pasilla; Mulato; Ancho; Poblano; Espanola; Pulla||
|1,500 – 2,500 Scoville Units|
|2,500 – 5,000 Scoville Units|
|Yellow Wax; Serrano; Jalapeno; Guajillo; Mirasol||
|5,000 – 15,000 Scoville Units|
|Hidalgo; Puya; Hot Wax; Chipotle||
|15,000 – 30,000 Scoville Units|
|Chile De Arbol; Manzano||
|30,000 – 50,000 Scoville Units|
|Santaka; Pequin; Super Chile; Santaka; Cayenne; Tobasco; Aji; Jaloro||
|50,000 – 100,000 Scoville Units|
|Bohemian; Tabiche; Tepin; Haimen; Chiltepin; Thai; Yatsufusa||
|100,000 – 350,000 Scoville Units|
|Red Savina Habanero; Chocolate Habanero; Indian Tezpur; Scotch Bonnet; Orange Habanero; Fatali; Devil Toung; Kumataka; Datil; Birds Eye; Jamaican Hot||
|350-855,000 Scoville Units|
|Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia aka Naga Jolokia); Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (hottest to date at almost 2.1 million SHU||
|855,000-2,100,000 Scoville Units|