Scotch Bonnet Pepper Vs Carolina Reaper (Key Differences)

Posted on

Difference Between Scotch Bonnet Pepper and Carolina Reaper



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.

Today, the fate of the award-winning pepper (Carolina reaper) will be tested by yet another “super-HOT” pepper: the scotch bonnet pepper. 

Scotch bonnet is a famous pepper. It might be ubiquitous than the Reaper in terms of Culinary uses and places like West Africa and the Caribbean. But when it comes to the Scoville scale, the scotch bonnet is no match to Reaper. 

The Carolina Reaper is arguably the hottest pepper globally — owning more than one Guinness world record title for heat. But what’s the difference between scotch bonnet pepper vs Carolina reaper?

Carolina Reaper is much hotter than scotch bonnet with a Scoville scale of about 2.2 million SHU, while scotch bonnet pepper has a heat rating of 100,000-350,000 Scoville units. Carolina reaper and scotch bonnet pepper also differ in flavor, culinary users, and appearance.

Let’s quickly compare both peppers in detail!

Scotch Bonnet Pepper Vs Carolina Reaper

Below is a detailed comparison between scotch bonnet pepper and Carolina reaper. Here, we will look at their heat/spicy ranking, culinary uses, appearance, and flavor differences.

1. Difference in Heat Ranking (Pungency)

Scotch Bonnet Pepper Vs Carolina Reaper

Is Carolina Reaper hotter than Scotch bonnet?

Well, you can never compare the KING of heat to a servant of WARMTH. 

The Carolina Reaper sits audaciously at the peak of the Scoville scale with about 2.2 Million SHU, after dethroning the Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” that fires 1,463,700 SHU. 

Meanwhile, the Scotch bonnet is sluggishly fighting its way to the top with a heat rating of 100,000-350,000 Scoville units. 

You can see a HUGE difference yourself. However, the Reaper was bred for insane heat by crossing a Ghost Pepper and a Red Habanero. 

No doubt the heat of the Scotch bonnet is well-founded to be 40x hotter than the jalapeño pepper

But that is not the case!

They are not even among the top 10 hottest pepper. 

See for yourself at this breakdown of the hottest pepper in the world.

2. Difference in Flavor

Here is where the king falls!

The overpowering heat that gave it an edge over other peppers has come back to bite it. 

While all peppers are fruit and vegetables, having this sweet and fruity taste, Super-HOT peppers like Reapers have a harsh chemical-like undertone.

Eating this pepper feels as though you are tasting the Capsaicin itself. The sweet fruity flavor might be there, but you may not even notice it right before the heat kicks in.

The kick window is too short. One bit from the Carolina Reaper, and your mouth is ablaze while your face melts off. Even though you’re adding it to your food, that should be with utmost care. 

Carolina Reapers are notoriously hot and can overwhelm the flavor of your food. But you can’t say the same for Scotch bonnet pepper. They have a much sweeter flavor. The flavor is fruity, bright, with a hint of sweetness despite the heat level.

Their bright tropical fruit notes make them popular as a critical ingredient in some of the tastiest tropical hot sauces worldwide.

3. Difference Appearance

Both peppers look distinctively different from each other. The Carolina Reaper pepper has a fearsome scorpion-like tail like the Naja Viper and Trinidad Scorpion. 

The Scotch Bonnet Pepper lacks this intimidating look. It only has the shape of a bonnet about 1.5 inches in size. Aside from that, it has four globular ridges at the bottom and varies in bright red, orange, and yellow.

Unlike the bonnet, the Reaper skin has a smooth, bumpy texture and is 1-3 inches long and 1- 3 inches wide. 

4. Difference in Culinary Uses

Carolina reaper and scotch bonnet pepper also have different culinary users, and that is what we’ll be looking at below, starting with scotch bonnet pepper.

What is Scotch Bonnet Pepper used for?

Here are the various uses of scotch bonnet pepper:

  • To flavor a wide variety of dishes and cuisines globally
  • Ideal and are often used in condiments and hot sauces
  • Scotch bonnet pepper is also used for poultry, fish, and meat seasoning before cooking, BBQ, or baking
  • Used in making chili jam and jelly
  • They are natural insecticides in gardens and farmlands

What is Carolina Reaper used for?

The different uses of Carolina reaper include:

  • DIY Reaper Hot Sauce
  • Pepper Jellies
  • 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


So that’s all you need to know about the Scotch bonnet pepper vs Carolina reaper pepper. 

Both of these chilies are nutritiously good for the body. Scotch bonnet peppers are an excellent source of vitamins such as A, C, K, and phytochemicals. They also contain Iron, Copper, and an antioxidant called Capsaicin. Carolina Reaper pepper is particularly rich in vitamins A, B6, C, and E. 

To get the most of both peppers, you need them in their freshest form when red. So you can get all the vitamins.

Related Posts:


You might also like these recipes