Pepper X Guide: Heat, Flavor, Uses

Pepper X is a variety of chili pepper recognized currently as the hottest pepper in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. It was bred by Ed Currie, who also created the Carolina Reaper, previously the world’s hottest chili pepper. The Scoville Heat Units (SHU) of Pepper X in the record books is an average of 2,693,000 SHU, but it reportedly can reach up to 3.18 million SHU, surpassing the raw heat of many commercially sold pepper sprays.

The exact genetic makeup of Pepper X is a closely guarded secret, but it is known to have been developed over a decade of careful cross-breeding. Despite its extreme heat, Pepper X is also noted for its fruity, floral flavor, making it a popular choice for hot sauces and other spicy food products. However, due to its extreme heat, it should be consumed with caution.

The Last Dab: Xperience
The Last Dab’s hot sauce is one of the few ways to experience this super-hot, made from 91% Pepper X. So expect extreme heat!

Last update on 2024-07-13. We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. 

Pepper X
Pepper X

Pepper X fast facts

Scoville heat units (SHU)2,693,000 
Median heat (SHU)TBD
Jalapeño reference point336 to 1,077 times hotter (approximately)
Capsicum speciesChinense
OriginUnited States
UseCulinary
SizeApproximately 2 to 3 inches long, stinger tail
FlavorSweet, Fruity, Floral

How hot is the Pepper X?

It’s nearly on its own level. Seriously, based on the reported average of this super-hot (2,693,000 SHU), very few other super-hot chilies come close. Only PuckerButt Pepper Company’s other new extreme-heat sensation, the Apollo pepper, is fabled to be as much (and potentially more.)

Its closest competitor (and previous record holder), the Carolina Reaper, taps out at a maximum of 2.2 million SHU. So the Reaper is commonly 400,000 SHU milder than the Pepper X. To put that into perspective, that 400,000 SHU is more than a whole habanero pepper’s worth of spiciness (100,000 to 350,000 SHU.) No small sum in terms of impact.

–> Learn More: Carolina Reaper Vs. Pepper X–How Do They Compare?

Let’s also compare it to more common chilies. Compared to the jalapeño, our go-to reference point, the Pepper X is up to 1,077 times hotter than the mildest jalapeño. At minimum, it’s 336 times hotter. But let’s not stop there. Compared to the preciously mentioned habanero? For many, the habanero is the the upper end of eatability (and a very hot chili in its own right.) Compared to the mildest possible habanero, it’s 27 times hotter. The super-hot ghost pepper (~1,000,000 SHU)? Three times hotter.

–> Learn More: Pepper X Vs. Dragon’s Breath

Yes, this is a level of heat typical of commercial pepper sprays and super-concentrated capsaicin extracts. In other words, eater beware.

What does it look like and taste like?

The Pepper X has a shape similar to a Carolina Reaper, bulbous often with a scorpion-like tail (but other photos show them a little more elongated, looking more like a ghost pepper.) These are gritty-looking chilies, to put it lightly: pock-marked, gnarled, and misshapen. If the devil is a gardener, this would be his fruit of choice. They just look evil, very befitting for the beyond intense heat they hold.

But there is flavor behind this incredible spiciness. Ed Currie (and his Puckerbutt Pepper Company) is known for his desire to breed super-hot chilies with flavor depth. Here, the Pepper X has a sweet, somewhat floral flavor. Of course, you would barely experience that before the heat punches full-force, but it makes the Pepper X more than just a heat source for hot sauces. It can add to the overall flavor experience.

Can you cook with it?

Finding this super-hot chili fresh is not possible. So, for now, cooking with it is not an option. And even if it were, we don’t recommend amateurs (or even semi-professionals) try it. Pepper X takes extreme caution when handling, with a lot of safety measures in place. This is a level of heat that you don’t get near without kitchen gloves, kitchen goggles, and even a gas mask. The chili burn possible would be severe and prolonged, and common chili burn remedies would likely only make a dent. We recommend leaving the cooking to the pepper professionals for this one.

What’s available now: Pepper X hot sauces

The best use case for chilies of this magnitude is extreme hot sauces. And there’s currently a few on the market featuring the Pepper X: The Last Dab Xperience and Hot Ones Last Dab XXX.

–> Read Our Review: The Last Dab XXX Hot Sauce

The Last Dab is the brainchild of PuckerButt, in collaboration with First We Feast’s Hot Ones and Heatonist. Both feature Pepper X in all its infamous glory. Perhaps what’s best about The Last Dab sauces is the fact that they bring this extreme heat with fresh and dried peppers. Many super-hot sauces use capsaicin extract to get their extreme spiciness. There’s no taste to capsaicin extract, just 100% spiciness, so the sauces can be lacking in overall peppery flavor. Not here. The Last Dab sauces are made from Pepper X mash, so the flavor of the chili is intact in the sauce itself.

Must-read related posts

  • The Hot Pepper List: This super-hot is one of more than 150 that we profile on our list, covering heat, flavor, origin, and use.
  • Our Hot Sauce Rankings: Looking for your new “best hot sauce”? Check out our rankings of over 100 hot sauces. We rate flavor, heat balance, usability, and collectibility.
  • Our Spicy Recipes: Enjoy hundreds of spicy recipes, using chilies from mild to super-hot.

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on May 10, 2024 to include new content.
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tarunkrsnadas

Hey Barbs, I grew up in the ‘gong many, many years ago. We had a steelworks at Cringila back then, “blast furnace Scovilles” was off the scale hot hot hot!

tarunkrsnadas

It depends on the taste. I’m not interested in heat for heats sake but if it tastes good, fruity, floral, then why not utilize it for what it’s good for? Use it if you enjoy it; otherwise forget it!

Barbs from Wollongong

Simply to dangerous to use! And I use Reaper alot….. I am curious, but wouldnt touch it…. risk reward ration is way out of whack 🙂

Mike

I have heard so much about x pepper that I have already decided that I will NEVER in this lifetime even touch one for fear of accidentally getting the juice on my hand and touching my eyes or mouth.