Pepper X Vs. Dragon’s Breath – How Do They Compare?

Pepper X and Dragon’s Breath are two exceptionally hot peppers. They are both in the super-hot pepper category and among the contenders for the title of hottest pepper in the world. How do these extreme peppers compare in terms of heat? How easy are they to find? Is there a flavor beyond the spiciness? Let’s compare Pepper X vs. Dragon’s Breath.

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Which is hotter, Pepper X or the Dragon’s Breath?

Pepper X’s Scoville rating is considerably higher than the Dragon’s Breath rating. Pepper X comes in at 3.18 million Scoville heat units (SHU), while the Dragon’s Breath pepper gives you 2.48 million SHU. Both, though, eclipse the current official hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper (1.4 million to 2.2 million SHU.) Why, then, isn’t either the official hottest? It comes down to stability.

Both of these chilies are considered unstable, meaning the heat, flavor, and even looks can vary quite a bit. Only stable chilies can vie for the official title, so time will tell – many generations of growing – if either the Pepper X of the Dragon’s Breath can become stable enough to take the top spot.

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

But back to the difference between these two heat levels. Given that we are talking about millions of heat units and that both these peppers are exceptionally hot, is there that much of a difference? There is if you consider the fact that we’re talking about a little more than 500,000 SHU between the two.

The Red Savina habanero has a Scoville rating of a little more than 500,000 SHU, and it was the hottest pepper in the world from 1994 to 2006. So there’s a Red Savina habanero’s worth of heat between these two chilies.

Here, we compare these two chilies by search volume in the United States on Google. Which chili is searched most often? The Pepper X takes top marks here, being searched roughly 18,100 times monthly compared to the Dragon’s Breath pepper at roughly 12,000. Both chilies are among the upper half of most searched chilies, but nowhere near the popularity of the most common chilies (like the jalapeño or the habanero.)

How does each pepper taste?

Yes, there is flavor here for both chilies. Pepper X has been described as fruity-tasting once you get past the intense heat; however, not many people have tasted the pepper by itself outside of hot sauce.

Similar to Pepper X, not many people have experimented with Dragon’s Breath chilies, but the reports of its taste — mainly from one of its breeders named Mike Smith — suggest that it is fruity too.

How do they differ in shape and colors?

As Pepper X is an unstable hybrid, there can be a wide variance in shape. Some Pepper X fruits are somewhat spherical and lobed like Carolina Reapers and have the Reaper’s pointed tail, while others are elongated and shaped like ghost peppers. Pepper X ripens to a yellow-green, and the exterior surface is extremely knotted and pitted. Pepper X chilies are usually two to three inches long and about an inch across.

Dragon’s Breath peppers are much smaller and more consistently spherical. They are about 1/2 an inch across and ripen bright red. Their exteriors have the same kinds of bumpy, wrinkled skin.

Where did each pepper originate?

Pepper X was bred by Ed Currie, a South Carolina Pepper farmer who also developed the Carolina Reaper. Currie says he spent 10 years crossing different peppers to make one hotter than the Reaper. In 2017, Currie said he expected Pepper X to be named the hottest pepper in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records, but that has not yet happened.

Dragon’s Breath comes from a three-way collaboration between Neal Price, NPK Technology and Nottingham Trent University. The result of the collaboration was passed on to a breeder in St Asaph, Wales named Mike Smith who cultivated it. The pepper was supposedly developed to function as a kind of topical anesthetic.

Which is easier to find fresh?

Neither Pepper X nor Dragon’s Breath Peppers are easy to find fresh. Super hot peppers are rarely sold in mainstream grocery stores. Growing either one yourself may not be an option either due to widespread claims of fake seeds being sold.

Which is used most often in commercial products?

Ed Currie partnered with First We Feast — a Youtube channel — and a hot sauce company named Heatonist to create the Last Dab hot sauce. The Last Dab and a Special Edition sauce appear to be the only commercial products available that contain Pepper X.

Dragon’s Breath peppers do not appear to be used in any commercial products.

  • Pepper X Vs. Carolina Reaper: We cover the similarities and difference between these two super-hots.
  • The Hot Pepper List: We cover over 150 chilies here at PepperScale. Search chilies by name, heat level, flavor, or origin.
  • Our Hot Sauce Rankings: Want to explore hot sauces using Pepper X? Other super-hots? See our rankings of over 100 hot sauces.

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on September 10, 2022 to include new content.
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