Dorset Naga: Hand-Picked For Greatness

The super Naga Morich…

Scoville heat units (SHU): 1,000,000 – 1,598,227
Jalapeño reference point: 125 to 639 times hotter
Origin: United Kingdom
Products and seeds: Dorset Naga on

What happens when you hand-pick and grow only the best seeds of one of the hottest peppers in the world? A super subspecies is born. That’s the case with the Dorset Naga. It’s technically a subspecies of the Naga Morich, but its heat and intense popularity, especially in Great Britain, have given the Dorset Naga a place at the pepper scale round table. It’s a subspecies that’s talked about like its own pepper variety, and it has the fangs to back it up. As both the Naga Morich and Dorset Naga are cousins of the ghost pepper, they both rank right up there as some of the hottest peppers in the world.

How was the Dorset Naga developed?

It’s a story of two chiliheads with a dream of super-hot perfection. Joy and Michael Michaud of Dorset, England purchased a Naga Morich plant from a local specialty shop. They took the seeds from the best pods of this original Naga Morich, and grew them. They did the same for each new crop – choosing the seeds of the best Naga Morich pods each time. After a few years, and multiple rounds of heat testing, the Dorset Naga was born, and it’s been a favorite for the region – and around the world – ever since.

How hot is the Dorset Naga?

The Dorset Naga – like the Naga Morich – is a close cousin to India’s infamous ghost pepper. That’s super-hot even before you consider the selective breeding for the Dorset Naga. It weighs in from 1,000,000 to nearly 1,600,000 Scoville heat units. That’s the potential to be ever so slightly hotter than the Naga Morich at the top end of its scale. Plus, the heat of the Dorset Naga tends to grow even more slowly than the Naga Morich which makes it feel even hotter.

In terms of our jalapeño reference point, the Dorset Naga is at least 125 times hotter (hottest jalapeño, mildest Dorset Naga), and it can tip the scales at 639 times hottest when comparing mildest to hottest. It’s easily one of the hottest peppers in the world, which means take all precautions when handling – gloves are a must.

How else does the Dorset Naga differ from the Naga Morich?

The differences are subtle. Really, when putting two next to each other, you’d be hard-pressed to tell them apart. The skin of the Dorset Naga tends to be slightly smoother and the walls of the chili, too, tend to be slightly thicker and juicier.

Beyond that, the tastes, the shape, and the size are nearly identical. It’s a sweet pepper (like the ghost pepper) with a floral fruitiness. It looks like a ghost pepper with a slightly worse complexion – two to three inches long, growing to a point, and maturing from green to red.

How can you use Dorset Naga chilies?

Super-hot hot sauces and marinades are a good place to start. The sweetness and slow burn allow real flavor to kick in prior to the intense heat, and mixed into a sauce help dilute some of that insane intensity. Just a sliver, too, will provide enough heat for soups, stews, and sweet curries. This is an extreme eat, for sure, so cooking with Dorset Naga should be done with the utmost care and conservativeness in the amount used.

Where can you buy Dorset Naga?

The ghost pepper is much easier to find as the staple super-hot in North America. You can find Dorset Naga seeds online, but it’s hard to come by otherwise.

In the United Kingdom, where it’s most popular, check out Joy and Michael Michaud’s website  Sea Spring Seeds. As the team behind this chili, they, of course, carry the Dorset Naga.

Remember to go in eyes wide open when climbing the pepper scale heights to the likes the Dorset Naga. Chilies at this level are not to be taken lightly. This is an extreme food that at its weakest is typically hotter than the hottest ghost pepper. Make your way to it slowly and smartly.

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on March 19, 2022 to include new content.
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