Chocolate Bhutlah Guide: Heat, Flavor, Uses

What is the Chocolate Bhutlah?

Just how hot a Chocolate Bhutlah is is up for debate, but there’s no questioning it’s among the hottest peppers in the world (roughly 2,000,000 Scoville heat units or SHU.) Some even argue this hybrid chili is even hotter than the Carolina Reaper. But in the world of “world records,” stability is key, and the Chocolate Bhutlah is likely generations away from having an official shot at a top spot. Still, extreme eaters know this is one wicked hot pepper, and it’s sought for its sweet earthiness and quick (and dangerous) bite.

Chocolate Bhutlah
Chocolate Bhutlah

Table of Contents

Chocolate Bhutlah fast facts

Scoville heat units (SHU)~1,500,000 – 2,000,000
Median heat (SHU)~1,750,000
Jalapeño reference point~187 to 800 times hotter
Capsicum speciesChinense
OriginUnited States
UseCulinary
SizeTwo to three inches long, elongated
FlavorSweet, Fruity, Earthy, Smoky

How hot is the Chocolate Bhutlah?

While a range of heat has not been established, the Chocolate Bhutlah tops out at around 2,000,000 Scoville heat units (SHU). We give it a floor of 1,500,000 SHU here, but again – that’s officially undetermined. That’s hot. Real hot. And it’s known for a quick heat, so it hits fast, making it seem even hotter. Against our jalapeño reference point, the Chocolate Bhutlah ranges from approximately 187 to 800 times hotter than a jalapeño.

It sits at the pinnacle of the Scoville scale, with the likes of the Trinidad Scorpion (1,200,000 – 2,000,000 SHU), Komodo Dragon (1,400,000 – 2,200,000 SHU), and Carolina Reaper (1,400,000 – 2,200,000 SHU). However, it doesn’t come near the potential heat of current unofficial upstarts like the Dragon’s Breath (~ 2,480,000 SHU max), and the Pepper X (~3,180,000 SHU).

It’s no surprise this pepper sits among the world’s hottest peppers as its roots, although a little murky, are super-hot studs. It’s a hybrid of a Bhut Jolokia (a.k.a. ghost pepper) and a 7 Pot Douglah (a.k.a. chocolate 7 Pot or chocolate douglah), hence the clever “Bhut-lah” name. Though, there may be another pepper in the mix leading to its murky heritage.

It was originally (and unintentionally) cross-pollinated by Chad Soleski and further refined (perhaps with an additional chili variant) by Steven McLaurin. No matter what, it led to one wicked hot pepper.

Chocolate Bhutlah cut open
Chocolate Bhutlah cut open, showing the interior, membrane, and seeds

What does this chili look like?

These are larger pods than most 7 Pot peppers. But otherwise, they have a similar elongated shape and wrinkled skin you expect with super-hot peppers. They age from green to chocolate brown. It’s in their mature state that they take on their true flavor and extreme heat.

What does the Chocolate Bhutlah taste like?

Like most 7 Pots (and other super-hots) there’s a sweetness – almost floral – to the chili. That’s paired with the subtle earthiness you typically get from chocolate varieties of different peppers (like the chocolate habanero). You can also get hints of fruitiness and smokiness from the flavor, too. But, of course, the spiciness is so great with the Chocolate Bhutlah that most won’t ever get to the flavor.

Cooking with Chocolate Bhutlah

The Chocolate Bhutlah, like most super-hots, is sought out mainly for extreme hot sauces. Though, you can use both the fresh and dried pods to add heat to soups and stews (only a sliver – it goes a LONG way), as well as salsas.

Handling Chocolate Bhutlah should be done with extreme care. Keep the following in mind if you’re using this super-hot in your cooking:

  • Kitchen gloves are a must, and kitchen goggles are highly recommended. Improper handling of super-hot chilies of any type can lead to intense chili burn. You want to protect your hands and eyes from the capsaicin in the chili (the chemical that creates the heat.)
  • Remove the white membrane of the Chocolate Bhutlah to remove a decent portion of its spiciness. While capsaicin is within most parts of a chili, it’s especially prevalent in the white membrane (or pith.) Removing it can help lessen the intensity you’d experience.
  • Remember – a little goes a long way. Chocolate Bhutlah is a hybrid from 7 Pot peppers. Those chilies are aptly named as one chili can heat 7 pots of soup. You don’t need much of a Chocolate Bhutlah to make a statement.
  • Know how to treat chili burn prior to handling. You don’t want to have to find out after the case. Read our post on treating chili burn (hint, milk not water.)

Where can you buy Chocolate Bhutlah?

While not as widely known as the ghost pepper, the Chocolate Bhutlah is still very popular. Products – including Chocolate Bhutlah seeds, dried chilies, and Bhutlah hot sauces – are often available online. The hot sauces, like PuckerButt Pepper Company’s Chocolate Plague, often play off the Chocolate Bhutlah’s earthiness to bring something different to the table. In fact, Chocolate Plague is only made from Chocolate Bhutlah and vinegar. It’s all about the unique flavor of this chili.


UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on February 12, 2023 to include new content.
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Coran "Spicefreak" Sloss

At several points in this article you state roughly 2 million SHU to be the upper limit of the chilli’s heat. Do you have a source for that?