Carolina Reaper Vs Habanero (Which Should You Use?)

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Difference Between Carolina Reaper and Habanero



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You’ve heard about hot peppers and that the common hot peppers in the world are Carolina reaper, scotch bonnets, Habanero, and ghost pepper. How do these peppers compare to each other?

Well, peppers are ranked by their SHU rating; the SHU rating of a pepper variety determines if the pepper is hot or “extremely hot.” In the case of Carolina reaper vs Habanero, the former is “extremely hot” while the former is “hot.”

Now, what are the differences and similarities between these two varieties of chilies; how do Carolina reaper and Habanero pepper compare to each other?

Let’s quickly find out!

What is Carolina Reaper?

Currently, Carolina Reaper is the hottest chili in the world; it has retained this record since 2017. Actually, Carolina Reaper is a hybrid Capsicum Chinense cultivar gotten from crossing Ghost pepper and Habanero. 

This chili typically looks reddish and gnarled, with a small pointed tail. The SHU rating is over 1.5M; it is extremely hot and can trigger various health issues for some persons.

From the name, you could guess that this hybrid was formed in Carolina, USA. Yes, the Carolina Reaper hybrid was created by a South Carolina breeder, Ed Currie. It is a manmade variety of the Capsicum Chinense species endemic to the Americas.

What is Habanero Pepper?

Habanero is also a variety of the Capsicum Chinense species. However, unlike the Carolina Reaper, it is not a hybrid cultivar. This chili is classified as a “Hot” pepper because of its SHU rating, which ranges from 100,000 – 350,000.

Study shows that the habanero chili comes from the Amazon Rainforest, spread to Mexico, and from there it got to other places. In their unripe state, habaneros are greenish; however, as they mature, they turn red, purple, or yellow.

This chili serves as a vital ingredient in most recipes prepared around the world, thanks to its enchanting aroma and sweet taste.

Carolina Reaper Vs Habanero Pepper | Key Differences

The main differences between these two varieties of chilies are the Scoville rating and appearance. Caroline Reaper has a Scoville rating of 1,569,300 on average, while Habanero has a rating of 100,000 – 350,000 SHU.

Looking at the Scoville scale, Carolina Reaper is almost 10 times hotter than most Habanero sub-varieties. Also, regarding the shapes and appearance, Carolina Reapers have a long tail, and they’re just red (no other colors).

In contrast, habaneros don’t have a tail, and they appear in different colors, including red, orange, purple, yellow, and green.

Below is a comparison chart for these two common hot peppers cultivated in many parts of the world.

Pepper Name/SpecificationCarolina ReaperHabanero
OriginCarolina, USAAmazon Rainforest
SHU Rating1,569,300 on average100,000–350,000 SHU
SpeciesCapsicum ChinenseCapsicum Chinense
ColorsRedOrange, Red, Purple
Scoville ClassificationExtremely HotVery Hot
Closest SubstituteGhost PepperScotch Bonnet
Where to BuyOnline StoresOnline Stores

Similarities Between Carolina Reaper and Habaneros

Carolina Reaper Vs Habanero

Are there any similarities between Carolina Reaper and Habanero? Well, there are a few things these peppers have in common. First, they are from the same family (species), and they are hot.

Secondly, they can cause severe headaches, purging, and other possible health problems. However, none of these chilies can kill a human.

What’s Better About Carolina Reaper?

Well, the Carolina reaper is loved by people who cherish spicy, hot foods. It is used in making hot sauces, and it has a strong tasty flavor.

Basically, the Carolina Reaper and habaneros serve virtually the same purpose and can be used interchangeably.

What’s Better About Habanero Pepper?

The habanero pepper is less hot, and as such, it can be used in more recipes than the Carolina Reaper. Also, habaneros are easier to find in local markets, and they are more affordable, too.

Can HOT Peppers Kill You?

Some people think that eating hot pepper can kill; it does not kill. However, hot peppers can cause severe health issues such as headaches, purging, and other possible irritations. 

Habanero Vs Carolina Reaper: Which Should You Buy?

For homemade meals and recipes, you could buy the Carolina reaper if your family loves hot peppers. However, you must use it in moderation; a little is enough to cook a meal for a family of 6.

On the other hand, chefs may prefer habaneros because they’re less hot. However, if you have customers that lost extremely hot peppers, you can go with Carolina reaper.

The truth is, choosing between habanero pepper and Carolina pepper depends on the recipe you’re preparing. Regardless, the Carolina reaper ought to be used in small quantities due to its severe hotness and possible health concerns it could trigger.

Well, you may not find either of these peppers in your local market; the best place to buy them is from online food stores and have them shipped to your location.

You could use scotch bonnets as substitutes for habaneros and Ghost peppers as substitutes for Carolina reapers.

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