Apollo Pepper Vs. Ghost Pepper – How Do They Compare?

The Apollo pepper is a newer super-hot pepper gaining quick notoriety for its extreme heat. The ghost pepper has been famous in the US and Europe for about two decades now for its wicked spiciness and fun name. Which of these chilies is hotter? How different are they from each other? Which is easier to find? Let’s compare these two bad boys of the Scoville scale.

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Which is hotter, the Apollo Pepper or the ghost pepper?

Being a newer chili pepper hybrid, the Apollo pepper doesn’t yet have an official Scoville heat rating but reports have its maximum heat level to be 3.18 million Scoville heat units (SHU). Some claim its floor is 2.5 million SHU, but the true range is yet unknown. But at these levels of spiciness, the Apollo pepper would certainly compete for the official title of hottest pepper in the world.

–> Learn More: The Hottest Peppers In The World Guide

The ghost pepper (a.k.a. bhut jolokia) once held the hottest pepper crown (2007), but many chilies have past its heat since then. The ghost pepper ranges from 855,000 to 1,041,427 SHU, which puts it now among the lower end of super-hots. Chilies like the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (1.2 million to 2 million SHU) and Carolina Reaper (1.4 million to 2.2 million SHU, the current official hottest pepper) have left if far behind over the years.

Still, these are extreme levels of heat. Neither chili should be trifled with lightly. Kitchen gloves are a must, and kitchen goggles are also recommended in the handling to keep extreme chili burn at bay.

Here, we compare the two chilies by how often they are searched on Google globally. The Apollo has certainly made a name for itself, and the term “apollo pepper” is searched 10,000 times per month.

But that’s nowhere near what the ghost receives. “Ghost pepper” itself is searched 74,000 times monthly. “Bhut jolokia” is also searched 4,400 times monthly. It’s one of the most popular chilies on the planet.

How does each pepper taste?

For sure, the predominant experience is spiciness, but there is flavor within these peppers, as well. The Apollo Pepper has been reported as having earthy and fruity notes in its flavor profile though few people have had the pepper in its fresh form. Ghost peppers are often described as being fruity, slightly earthy and have a mild vegetal background note.

How do their shapes and colors differ?

The appearance of the fresh Apollo pepper has not yet been made public. The prevailing theory is that it will look like its parent plants, Pepper X and the Carolina Reaper. It is believed to be orange with the same bumpy, gnarled exterior of both Pepper X and the Carolina Reaper.

Ghost peppers ripen red and have elongated pods (two to three inches long) with pointed tails. They tend to being pock-marked, not smooth.

Ghost pepper, ripening on the vine

Where did each pepper originate?

The Apollo Pepper is a crossbreed of two super-hot peppers: Pepper X and the Carolina Reaper. Both Pepper X and the Carolina reaper were developed by the same breeder, Ed Currie. Currie is a pepper cultivator and entrepreneur from South Carolina whose name has become heavily associated with the world of American super-hot chilies. Today, the Apollo Pepper is used in a single hot sauce (see below.) Beyond that, not much has been revealed about the pepper aside from its parent plants.

The ghost pepper’s history is not well documented, but we know that the variety comes from northern India. The Portuguese were the first to bring peppers to the subcontinent from the Americas in the 1500s. The ghost pepper found its way to the states of Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland and was cultivated into the super-hot pepper we have today.

Which is easier to find fresh?

Fresh Apollo Peppers are probably impossible to find. It appears that the pepper has only been made available as a powder and used only for making hot sauce. The fresh fruit is very much under wraps and has not even been made available to the public.

In most places, you probably won’t be able to find ghost peppers short of growing them yourself — the seeds are fairly common and seedlings may be purchased at some plant nurseries. Most mainstream grocery stores don’t carry fresh ghost peppers; however, you may still have an easier time finding them than any other super-hot. Depending on where you live, you may run across them in independent grocers or at farmer’s markets.

Which is used most often in commercial products?

The Apollo Pepper only shows up in a single commercial product: The Last Dab Apollo Hot Sauce from Heatonist, the same company that makes the Last Dab sauce that features Pepper X.

The ghost pepper has been around for longer and has had more than a decade to become familiar to people who enjoy spicy food. You can find a variety of nuts flavored with ghost peppers as well as ramen, popcorn, and countless hot sauces.

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on April 16, 2023 to include new content.
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