Chile Heat Scale

Sarah Mickey All Recipes, Culinary Tips & Techniques, Dried Chilies Recipes, Fresh Chiles Recipes 29 Comments

Given the wide selection of options in our Dried Bulk Chilies section, we thought it would be a good to list each chili in terms of its heat level and flavor to help you decide between them.

The Scoville Scale:
The Scoville heat scale (developed in 1912) is the oldest and most commonly referenced method of measuring pepper heat. The testing method is actually pretty simple: a panel of five or more judges is subjected to a taste test featuring the paste form of each pepper that has been diluted with sugar syrup. The degree of dilution required for the judges not to detect any capsaicin in the mixture determines each pepper’s rating on the scale. Despite its inherent subjectivity, this scale is still a useful way of ranking peppers relative to other peppers.

Chile Heat Scale:

Pepper Flavor Profile Scoville Heat Level
Bell Pepper 0
Nora Chilies Nora Chilies (earthy, little or no heat) 0-500
Buy Fresh Shishito Peppers Shishito Peppers (grassy, citrusy, very mild) 50-200
Aji Paprika Chilies (mild) Up to 500
Pepperoncini 100-500
Aji Panca Chilies (mild and fruity, poblano-esque) 500-1,500
Red Anaheim Chilies (sweet, fresh form of New Mexico Chilies) 500-1,500
Poblano 500-2,500
Mulato Chilies (chocolate/licorice-like flavor) 500-2,500
Organic New Mexico Chilies (dried red Anaheim peppers) 500-2,500
New Mexico Chilies (dried red Anaheim peppers) 750-1,250
Organic Aji Panca Chilies (mild and fruity, poblano-esque) 1,000-1,500
Green Anaheim Chilies (immature fresh New Mexico Chilies) 1,000-1,500
Ancho Chilies (dried poblanos) 1,000-1,500
Pasilla Negro Chilies (good in moles) 1,000-2,000
Guajillo Chilies (mild flavor, some heat) 2,500-5,000
Diced Dried Jalapenos Jalapeño Chilies (some heat, grassy-earthy flavor) 2,500-8,000
Red Fresno Chilies (fresh chilies, good in sauces & soups) 2,500-10,000
Puya Chilies (similar flavor to Guajillo, more spice) 5,000-8,000
Organic Chipotle Morita Chilies (smoked, dried Jalapeño) 5,000-10,000
Yellow Caribe Chilies (fresh chilies, great baked or in soups) 5,000-15,000
Aji Amarillo Chilies (essential in Peruvian food) 5,000-25,000
Brown (Meco) Chipotle Chilies (smoky & spicy) 7,000-18,000
Chipotle Morita Chilies (smoked, dried Jalapeño) 7,000-25,000
Urfa Biber Chilies (sweet, citrusy & smoky) 7,500
Cascabel Chilies (round, with seeds that rattle) 8,000-12,000
Smoked Serrano Chilies (savory, not fruity heat) 8,000-22,000
De Arbol Chilies (similar to cayenne) 15,000-30,000
Japones Chilies (medium-strength asian chile) 15,000-36,000
Organic Aji Amarillo Chilies (essential in Peruvian food) 40,000-50,000
Pequin Chilies (spicy, hint of citrus, sweetness) 40,000-50,000
Aji Limo Rojo Chilies (organic, slightly sweet, crisp) 50,000-60,000
Tepin Chilies (powerful but brief heat) 50,000-70,000
Fresh Thai Chilies (available red or green) ~50,000-100,000
Dried Thai Chilies (used in Thai, Chinese cooking) 50,000-100,000
Aji Cereza Chilies (organic, milder substitute for Habaneros) 70,000-80,000
Habanero Chilies (very hot, fruity/floral flavor) 100,000-200,000
Organic Habanero Chilies (very hot, fruity/floral flavor) 100,000-300,000
Scotch Bonnet Chilies (similar heat to Habanero, fruitier flavor) 75,000-325,000
Ghost Chilies (very, very hot with slight smokiness) 300,000-400,000
Scorpion Chilies (incredibly hot) Up to 800,000


What is Capsaicin?

Capsaicin is the naturally occurring molecule in chili peppers (likely evolved to deter mammals from eating them) that causes a burning sensation when it comes into contact with any tissue. Recent biological studies have demonstrated that it also actually activates heat receptors in the human mouth (just as menthol activates cold receptors).

Too Hot?

One of the easiest ways to tone down a chile pepper is by removing the seeds and inner ribs. This will significantly decrease the total capsaicin level of the pepper.

Comments 29

  1. Pingback: How many dried ghost chilies are in a pound? « Ask Marx Foods

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  3. Ghost Beef Jerky

    1 Cup Soy Sauce
    2 TBSP Garlic Powder
    2 TBSP Onion Powder
    3 Ghost Peppers
    1/4 cup Water
    4 TBSP Lemon Juice
    1 Pound Londo Broil ( beef of choice )

    In small food processer add 1/2 cup soy sauce and peppers. Blend till liquid. pour into glass bowl. Slice beef into 1/4″ strips. mix all ingredents together add beef. Marinaite over night in refer and dehydrate. A dehydrator is best.

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  9. Do you ever have either Urfa or Aleppo peppers in stock? These are both out of the middle east and a bit hard to find, both have excellent characteristics of heat, flavor and a bit of smokiness.


  10. Hi Tim,

    While we don’t currently carry them on the site, we may be able to special order crushed Aleppo peppers for you in bulk. Send us an e-mail (info (at) marxfoods (dot) com) or give us a call (866-588-6279) if you’d like a custom quote!


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  12. Hi Travis,

    We’re not sure when the fresh ghost chilies will be back in stock, but if you’d like we’d be happy to notify you when we have them again. Unfortunately we can’t predict at this time what the price is going to be when they return.


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  14. Every other place has ghost peppers as topping out at one million scoville units. Why are yours rated so much lower?

  15. Hi JG,

    Ghost chilies, like all chilies, can vary in heat level from chile to chile and from origin to origin. How & where they are grown can make a huge difference. That million scoville units you see elsewhere online is, in our opinion, better described as “up to 1 million scoville units”. It’s not our impression that it’s based on the actual chilies being sold, but instead the highest test results known being applied to the variety as representative of all ghost chilies.

    In our case, the number you see on this chart was provided by the company importing the chilies for us, and is the result of them actually testing their chilies. While there will be variance even within our supply, we felt it was better to err on the side of being accurate rather than sensational.



  17. Congrats on entitling your article using the correctly spelled word “chile”. I was pleasantly surprised – so many web publishers get it wrong. Alas, I am dismayed to see that, when writing the word chile in the plural form, you have incorrectly added the letter “i” (resulting in “chilies”). The correct plural is “chiles”.

    I know. You’ll go to other sources on the web (or even in print), written by Gringos, and find “chilies”. But they have it wrong. Look at Mexican and other Latin American cookbooks and you’ll see “chiles”.

    It is a responsibility of publishers dealing with cultural subjects, like cuisine, to spell words properly rather than perpetuate incorrect spellings.

    Bravo for including this comment on your page. You are clearly a publisher with integrity.

  18. You have a nice chile Heat Scale. However it is a little out of date and the chiles at the top are quite hotter than what you state.
    Ghost Chilies 855,000 SHUs – 1,041,427 SHUs
    Scorpion Chilies (incredibly hot) Up to more than 2 million
    Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper®
    World’s Hottest Pepper Guinness World Records since August 07, 2013. It averages a 1,569,300 on the Scoville scale with peak levels of over 2,200,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU)

    and unoffically

    Ed Currie has developed the HP56 Chilie that is almost 3 million SHU. some people are dubbing it the HP56 Death Strain

  19. Hi Billy,

    Thanks for commenting and providing all that great info! Our chile scale is actually based on the scoville testing for the chilies we offer. In some cases at the very top of the scale the specific chilies we carry have tested at a level that is lower than the “ideal”.

    Rather than set up false expectations, we’ve used the numbers we’ve been provided to ensure the scale is as accurate to our products as possible.

    Marx Foods

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