Carolina Reaper Vs Jalapeno Pepper (What’s The Difference?)

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Difference Between Carolina Reaper and Jalapeno Pepper



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Comparing the KING of heat (Carolina Reaper) and jalapeño pepper is like asking a cheetah to race with the bragging dog.

Who argues about what might happen at the end of the day when it is crystal clear that the cheetah will win? This fable compares the Carolina reaper vs jalapeño in the Scoville scale. 

The Reaper is unarguably the hottest pepper in the world, dethroning the Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” of about 1,463,700 SHU in 2013. And now has been confronted recently by the two deadliest peppers: Dragon’s Breath and the Pepper X.

Carolina reaper and jalapeno differ in terms of spicy level, flavor, culinary uses, and shape. Carolina reaper has a Scoville scale of 2,200,000 SHU, while jalapeno has a 2,500 to 8,000 SHU.

So, trust me when I say: the jalapeño pepper doesn’t stand a chance. However, they do have some significant characteristics that the Reaper lacks.

That’s why it’s worth the try. 

Carolina Reaper Vs Jalapeno Pepper: Key Differences

Carolina Reaper Vs Jalapeno

Now, let’s quickly look at the differences between Carolina reaper and jalapeno pepper. We will be comparing them with focus on their difference in heat ranking, shape, flavor, and culinary uses.

Let’s get started!

1. Heat Ranking (Pungency)

The Carolina Reaper owns more than one record for the “world’s hottest pepper” — confirmed by the Guinness World record.

Jalapeño has and will never win any due to its low pungency. 

Maybe it might come in the future ONLY if it was crossbred with one of the top 10 hottest peppers. 

But alone, NEVER! 

Jalapeño peppers measure about 2,500 to 8,000 SHU, similar to the Fresno pepper. They are between mildest and lowest spicy pepper on the Scoville scale. 

On the other hand, Carolina Reaper is at the peak of hierarchy, with a Scoville scale of 2,200,000 SHU.

If you wish to know more about this, I encourage you to read our article listing the hottest peppers worldwide. 

That aside, the Reaper beats its previous record with about 71,000 SHU, making it 2X hard to be overthrown by its second. 

They are better described as the demon pepper child invented by man. 

2. Difference in Flavor

Usually, “Super-HOT” peppers have these harsh chemical-like undertones, as though you are tasting the capsaicin itself. 

And this is where the Jalapeño shines gloriously. 

While the Carolina Reaper pepper might have a sweet and fruity flavor, you may not even notice it right before the heat kicks in.

Oddly enough, Jalapeño pepper has excellent flavor and a considerable pungency perfect for stir fry, marinated, salads, and more without overwhelming the flavor of the original dish, unlike the Reaper. 

3. Pod Shape

As for the heat level, there is A Huge difference in their appearance — their shape, texture, and overall look. 

One of the distinctive features of the Carolina Reaper is the “Scorpions tail” — a sign it’s not to be fucked with. 

The jalapeño pepper lacks this quality. 

In addition, the jalapeño is giant, and thinker and could be as long as 6 inches. 

The pods feature smoother skin, unlike the 1 to 2 inches wide and 2 to 3 inches long, gnarly bumps texture of the Reaper. 

4. Culinary Uses

If it’s the question of what to use jalapeño for, your options are limitless. 

You will relish Jalapeños in:

  • Raw in salsas, salads, guacamole, or chutneys
  • Infused in spicy chili oils
  • Pickled as a condiment
  • Cooked in main dishes
  • Smoked as chipotle peppers
  • Baked into egg dishes or cornbread
  • Blended into smoothies
  • Stuffed with meat, pilafs, or cheese

The Carolina Reaper uses including:

  • Pepper Jellies
  • DIY Reaper Hot Sauce
  • Frozen for long term storage
  • Dry Rubs for Jerky or BBQ
  • Dehydrated to make flakes
  • Canned or pepper powders
  • Fresh in any dish 
  • Spice up any pre-made Seasonings

Is The Carolina Reaper Natural?

This question is somewhat tricky. But anyways, the pepper wasn’t found on its own naturally, in remote parts of the world like most hot peppers. 

Instead, it was and is a product of crossing Ghost Pepper and Habanero. But that doesn’t imply it couldn’t have happened in nature, given enough time.

Frequently Asked Question

Can You Die From Eating A Carolina Reaper?

It depends. They only trigger pain receptors in your mouth and throat when taken moderately. The pain isn’t hurting the body. However, there is a “DEATH DOSE” of capsaicin from this super-hot chili. If you ingest 3 pounds of powdered Carolina Reaper all in one sitting, you’d be on your way to your ancestors. 

Is Eating Jalapeno Peppers Good For You?

Jalapeños are spicy and rich in vitamins A, B, C, K, and potassium. More importantly, they contain folate, as well as an antioxidant called ‘carotene,’ that helps fight damage to your cells. 

Is The Carolina Reaper A GMO?

No, it isn’t a Genetically Modified Organism. It is just a crossbreed between the Ghost pepper and the red Habanero.

Which Is Hotter, Red Or Green Jalapeno?

Red jalapeños are hotter than the green ones. The red color shows the pepper has ripened. And the ripeness conveys how hot it is. 

How Long Does A Carolina Reaper Live For?

The Maximum age a Carolina Reaper Plant lives is 10years. They are perennial, meaning they can live extensively — provided they are protected from extreme weather conditions. 


By now, I believe you must have learned one or two things about the difference between the Carolina reaper vs jalapeño. 

As you can see, both of these chilies are fantastic in their unique ways in terms of heat level, usage, taste, and benefits.

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