What are Apocalypse peppers?
The Apocalypse Scorpion pepper (a.k.a. Apocalypse pepper) is an Italian super-hot scorpion-type chili whose heat (1,400,000+ Scoville heat units) has been recorded at levels rivaling the Carolina Reaper (1,400,000 – 2,200,000 SHU.) That’s an incredible level of spiciness. But as this hot pepper is not yet completely stable, it has not yet been officially tested to determine a heat range or its ranking among the hottest peppers of the world. It’s scorching, yet behind it all, there’s a sweet and fruity (nearly floral) flavor to this chili that serves well in extreme hot sauces, salsas, and more.
Apocalypse Scorpion pepper fast facts
|Scoville heat units (SHU)
|Median heat (SHU)
|Jalapeño reference point
|175 to 560 times hotter
|Approximately 2 to 3 inches long, stinger tail
|Sweet, Fruity, Floral
How hot are Apocalypse Scorpion peppers?
It’s not clear what chilies were used to create this super-hot hybrid, but we do know it’s a scorpion pepper which certainly provides plenty of provenance for its heat.
Initial tests of this chili show heat that’s at least 1,400,000 Scoville heat units. That’s a level on par with the lowest possible Carolina Reaper (1,400,000 to 2,200,000 Scoville heat units) and a lower mid-range Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (1,200,000 to 2,000,000 SHU). A high and low Scoville heat range has not yet been determined for the Apocalypse Scorpion as this chili is not considered stable yet. Meaning: It has not yet been grown enough to provide consistency on its spiciness (and even other traits.)
But let’s put that 1,400,000 SHU to measure against our jalapeño reference point. Jalapeños range from 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville heat units. If that super-hot level holds true, then the Apocalypse Scorpion pepper is roughly 175 to 560 times hotter than a jalapeño.
Initial responses to the spiciness also point to a slower burn than some other super-hots, more akin to how ghost peppers behave. Instead of immediately hitting you with its full might fast, it appears the Apocalypse Scorpion builds up and lingers, providing ebbs and flows of intensity for 10 minutes or more.
So this is not a chili pepper to be trifled with lightly. If you aren’t able to handle the heat of (at minimum) ghost peppers (855,000 to 1,041,427 SHU), then the Apocalypse Scorpion is likely left to more extreme eaters.
Where do these chilies originate?
This is an Italian chili, which may surprise some. Italy has quite a few chilies that it’s known for (like the Satan’s Kiss, pepperoncini, and Calabrian peppers), but they are typically mild to medium chilies better served for culinary use. The Satan’s Kiss (40,000 to 50,000 SHU), for instance, tops at cayenne pepper level spiciness. The Apocalypse pepper was developed by members of the Italian pepper growing association AIASP, who’ve hybridized some very spicy peppers in their history.
What do they look like?
Like most super-hots, the Apocalypse Scorpion is one wicked looking fruit that screams, “stay away!” The pod grows from two to three inches long and typically features the ominous scorpion pepper stinger tail. Its skin is warped and pock-marked, like it has been melting in the sun.
On a more normal note: It follows a typical color pattern as it matures, aging from green to red while on the vine (and in the process increasing in overall spiciness.)
What do Apocalypse Scorpion peppers taste like?
Your overwhelming experience here will be the intense spiciness of this super-hot pepper. But if you can get beyond the extreme heat, there is unique flavor here. It’s sweet, like many other extreme chilies, but there’s a touch of both fruity and floral flavors here. That floral taste is more uncommon than the fruitiness at this height of chilies.
Cooking with Apocalypse Scorpion peppers
Like with any super-hots, you’ll need to take great care with the handling of Apocalypse peppers. They are so spicy that even handling the chilies whole with your bare hands can end with extreme burning pain. It’s best to use kitchen gloves, kitchen goggles, and even a mask while handling, especially during the cutting and touching of the pepper’s interior and membrane.
We recommend knowing how to best handle chili burn prior to handling an Apocalypse Scorpion. Read our post on treating chili burn, as well as our post on how to relieve chili burn in your eye area. The latter is specific to jalapeños in the post, but holds true for any chili.
- A little goes a long way. Just a sliver of any super-hot pepper can provide spiciness to an entire pot of chili or stew. So, don’t be heavy-handed to start. Use small amounts and build up to get to the heat level you prefer.
- Temper the heat by removing the membrane from the interior of the pepper. That’s where much of the spiciness comes from in hot peppers. Yes, there’s heat in the seeds and walls of the pepper, but nowhere near as much. If you want to lower the spiciness of your Apocalypse, take this measure.
- Know how to make the most of this chili’s heat while cooking. Certain choices you make can increase/decrease a pepper’s spiciness. Since the Apocalypse’s defining feature is its heat, you’ll want to know how to make the most of it. Read our post on whether cooking peppers makes them hotter to understand what occurs during the process (and ways to maintain spiciness.)
What are some good uses for this super-hot?
You’ll mainly operate a sliver at a time with this chili, so it can be quite useful to add spiciness to large amounts of food at once. It’s certainly a way to approach spicing up pots of chili, stews, soups, and more. Just again, approach a small amount at a time.
Its primary use for most would be for extreme hot sauces and salsas. You can use the Apocalypse Scorpion instead of any other super-hot in extreme hot sauce/salsa recipes.
Where can you buy Apocalypse Scorpion peppers?
Again, like most super-hots, you won’t find these chilies at your local store. And as this pepper is less popular than the ghost chilies and Carolina Reapers of the world, it may also be difficult to find at local chili farms. Your best option is to purchase seeds and grow them yourself. Just know, your spiciness may vary as this is still a hybrid chili finding its place on the Scoville scale.
Must-read related posts
- Our Hot Pepper List: This chili is one of many that we cover on our ever-growing list of chili peppers. It covers heat and their flavor nuances, along with links to each chili’s profile on our site.
- Ghost Pepper Salsa Recipe: The Apocalypse Scorpion can sub into this recipe, just be prepared for the heat difference!
- What Is A Hybrid Plant? Learn what goes into hybridizing chilies and how it impacts their characteristics.