Ghost Pepper vs Carolina Reaper – Which One Is Spicier?

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The ghost pepper and the Carolina Reaper are some of the hottest peppers in the world. Too hot to be eaten raw, these peppers add blazing heat to any dish and are most commonly used to make hot sauces.

So, what’s the difference between ghost pepper vs Carolina Reaper? Ghost peppers and Carolina Reapers are intensely hot. The Carolina Reaper is the hottest pepper in the world rated at over 2 million SHUs on the Scoville scale. The ghost pepper has a traditional pepper appearance, while Carolina Reapers have a bulbous shape and a scythe-like tip on the bottom.

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Carolina Reaper peppers and ghost peppers.

What is Ghost Pepper?

Also known as bhut jolokia, the ghost pepper originated in Northeast India, but can be found worldwide. This spicy pepper is a hybrid, developed by crossing Capsicum Chinense and Capsicum frutescens.

The ghost pepper is rated at more than 1 million Scoville heat units and held the Guinness world record as the hottest pepper in the world from 2007 to 2011.

The heat level of the ghost pepper was surpassed by the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper and then the Carolina Reaper pepper.

What is Carolina Reaper?

The Caroline Reaper is a manmade hybrid developed by an American breeder Ed Currie, in North Carolina. It is a crossbreed between a Naga pepper from India and La Soufriere pepper from Saint Vincent. 

From 2017, the Carolina Reaper holds the Guinness world record as the hottest pepper in the world. The hottest Carolina Reaper pepper was measured at 2.2 million SHU.

This pepper is named “Reaper” because of the scythe-like shape of its tail. 

Difference between a Ghost Pepper and Carolina Reaper

Although ghost peppers and Carolina reapers are some of the hottest chiles in the world, they differ in many ways, including appearance, spiciness level, origin, and flavor. 

Let’s take a look at these differences in more detail:

1. Appearance

It’s easy to spot differences between a Carolina Reaper pepper and a ghost pepper when placed side-by-side. 

Ghost peppers measure 2.4 to 3.3 inches in length and have a more traditional pepper shape. These peppers are long and slender, with a slightly pointed end and very thin skin that comes in red, yellow, chocolate, or orange color. The red ghost pepper variety can have smooth or bumpy skin. 

On the other hand, the Carolina Reaper is smaller, measuring 1.5 to 2 inches in length. The Carolina Reaper pepper has a bumpy look with gnarled red skin and a scythe-shaped stinger located at the bottom of the pepper. 

Like the ghost pepper, the Carolina Reaper comes in many colors such as yellow, chocolate, purple, and peach. 

2. Spiciness Level

Both Carolina Reaper and ghost pepper are extremely hot. The ghost pepper was the world’s hottest pepper before it was overthrown by the Carolina Reaper. 

An average ghost pepper ranks at around 1 million SHUs on the Scoville scale and is 170 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. 

While ghost pepper is hot, the Carolina Reaper is even hotter, clocking at over 2 million SHUs on the Scoville scale.

3. Flavor

If you’re going to eat a raw ghost pepper or a slice of Carolina Reaper expect to be hit with a wave of heat. 

In addition to intense heat, ghost peppers have a distinctive floral-fruity flavor that goes well with different spices. 

When eaten raw, the Carolina Reaper has a fruity and sweet flavor, which is quickly replaced with heat that will leave your mouth on fire. 

4. Cooking

Ghost peppers are most commonly used to make hot sauces. The pepper’s sweet and fruity flavor and intense heat make it a great choice for increasing the spiciness of a recipe without using too many ingredients. 

Use ghost pepper when making hot sauce or chili oil, or when preparing pasta, salads, or spicy marinades. 

The best way to use the Carolina Reaper is to prepare the hottest hot sauce. This pepper is too spicy to be used in everyday cooking and can make the dish inedible for those unaccustomed to spicy food. 

5. Growing

Ghost peppers are more difficult to grow than other hot peppers. These peppers require specific levels of humidity and heat that match the climate conditions in their native India. 

On the other hand, the Carolina Reaper pepper is as easy to grow as most other peppers. The Carolina Reaper thrives in full sun and can be transplanted outdoors as soon as the daily temperature is at least 70 degrees F. 

How many Ghost Peppers Equal a Carolina Reaper?

About two ghost peppers equal one Carolina Reaper pepper. Reaching 2 million SHUs on the Scoville scale, the Carolina Reaper is twice as hot as an average ghost pepper. 

What is the Deadliest Pepper in the World?

The Carolina Reaper is certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the hottest pepper in the world. The hottest Carolina Reaper pepper reached 2.2 million SHUs on the Scoville scale. Due to its extreme spiciness, the Carolina Reaper is most commonly used to make hot sauce. 

Eating a Carolina Reaper pepper won’t kill you. But, it’s possible to overdose on capsaicin, the substance that makes peppers hot. In order for this to happen you’ll have to eat more than 3 pounds of Carolina Reapers.


The Carolina Reaper is the hottest pepper in the world. Reaching over 2 million SHUs on the Scoville scale, the Carolina Reaper is two times hotter than the average ghost pepper. 

Due to their extreme heat, Carolina Reapers can overwhelm most recipes and are best used for hot sauces. Ghost peppers aren’t as intensely hot as Carolina Reapers and can be used as a direct ingredient when cooking various dishes, hot sauces, or chili oils. 

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