Carolina Reaper Vs Ghost Pepper (Key Differences)

Posted on



Prep time

Cooking time

Total time


This article may contain affiliate links and if you make a purchase after clicking on a link, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

There are many types of chili peppers out there with different degrees of hotness. These peppers can be used in various recipes for cooking and baking. Chefs that prepare hot sauces love hot peppers because they help to make their recipes spicy.

However, sometimes, there may be a need to substitute a particular chili pepper with another. In the case of Caroline reaper vs ghost pepper, which among these two peppers is the hottest, and which can you easily find in the market?

While both Carolina reaper and ghost peppers are used for preparing many delicious meals and recipes, Carolina reaper is hotter than ghost pepper and is the world’s hottest chili. They also differ in other ways, such as shape, origin, colors, availability, uses, etc.

Below, we expanded more on the key differences between Carolina reaper and ghost pepper.

Let’s get started!

Caroline Reaper Overview

When you talk of the hottest chili peppers in the world, you’d mention Caroline reaper in the list. The name alone tells that this pepper is manmade – a hybrid developed by a South Carolina breeder Ed Currie.

Carolina Reaper is a cultivar of the chili pepper species Capsicum Chinense. Ed Currie crossed ghost pepper and habanero to achieve this extremely hot variety of chili peppers.

It features a unique stature and holds the Guinness World Records as the hottest chili pepper in the world.

Ghost Pepper Overview

Carolina Reaper Vs Ghost Pepper

Well, the ghost pepper is also an extremely hot variety of chili peppers. It is a hybrid gotten from cross-breeding Capsicum Chinense × Capsicum frutescens. This pepper is native to India but can be found in many other regions globally.

Ghost peppers held the Guinness World Record for the hottest chili pepper in the world in 2007 but lost the record to a newer hybrid, Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper, in 2011.

The characteristics and looks of this pepper are pretty distinctive and different from other chili peppers.

Carolina Reaper Vs Ghost Pepper

Hereunder is a comprehensive comparison of two of the world’s hottest peppers (bhut jolokia vs carolina reaper), based on many factors.

1. Origin and SHU Rating

Ghost pepper was cross-bred in India, while Carolina reaper was developed in Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA.

With an average 1,041,427 SHU rating, ghost pepper was the world’s hottest pepper, but Carolina reaper has a whopping 1,569,300 on average SHU and takes away the number position for the world’s hottest chili.

These two chili hybrids are used for cooking and baking; however, you should use them in moderation because they have very high pungency.

 2. Shape and Colors

The Carolina Reaper has a unique shape that no other pepper has; it has a bumpy texture with a pointed tail. Also, when you look at Carolina reaper, the skin looks knotty. Carolina reaper only appears in red.

On the other hand, the ghost pepper is longer – it grows up to 88mm long and 30mm wide.

It appears in many colors, including red (the most common), orange, yellow, and chocolate. Ghost pepper pods are unique in shape and feature very thin skin.

3. Availability and Uses

You’d rarely find these peppers in local supermarkets, especially if you don’t live in regions where they are endemic. The best place to buy either of these peppers is online stores.

Both peppers are used for preparing many delicious meals and recipes. They really have a good flavor and improve the taste of your meals. Typically, chefs use these peppers for grilling and making hot sauces.

4. Cultivation

For gardeners that wish to have these peppers in their garden, the ghost pepper is best cultivated in places where temperature levels stay at 75oF. It takes up to 34 days for the seed of ghost pepper to grow in warm soils of 80-90-degree F.

On the other hand, the temperature requirement for Carolina reaper to grow well is 64–68 °F (18–20 °C). It is also recommended to grow this chili in 30–40 cm pots in a bid to restrict its growth and make it produce fruits sooner.

Can Any Of The Peppers Kill You?

NO. Eating Carolina reapers, ghost pepper, or any other extremely hot pepper (with SHU ration over 1 million) cannot kill you.

However, people with previous medical conditions may experience severe side effects due to the heat/hotness of these chilies.

The possible side effects from eating extremely hot peppers include stomach pain, nausea, purging, vomiting, and a burning sensation in your gut. Hot chilies don’t kill, but they can trigger different side effects in different humans.

Conclusion: Bhut Jolokia Vs Carolina Reaper

Here’s our conclusion of the Carolina reaper vs ghost pepper comparison: Carolina reaper is the hottest among the two and holds the world record as the hottest chili globally.

Both chilies are hybrids created in different countries, in different years. You can use either of these chilies for your meals and recipe. They are commonly available in online gardening or chef stores.

None of these hot peppers can cause death; however, they can trigger different side effects. They are spicy and have distinctive flavors, respectively. Ghost peppers and Carolina reapers are formed from the same species, Capsicum Chinense.

Recommended Posts:


You might also like these recipes