Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Guide: Heat, Flavor, Uses

What are Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers?

To say the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is hot would be like saying the surface of the sun is hot. It’s true, but you’d be really underselling it. The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper is a scorching hot chili (1,200,000 to 2,000,000 Scoville heat units). It’s one of the hottest peppers in the world, only surpassed by the likes of the Carolina Reaper and a handful of potential contenders for the title. Like many other super-hots, there is some flavor here, a fruity sweetness, if you can handle the extreme heat. It’s a popular chili for extreme hot sauces, salsas, and other on-the-edge-of-sanity dishes.

Trinidad moruga scorpion

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion fast facts

Scoville heat units (SHU)1,200,000 – 2,000,000
Median heat (SHU)1,600,000
Jalapeño reference point150 to 800 times hotter
Capsicum speciesChinense
SizeApproximately 2 to 3 inches long, stinger tail
FlavorSweet, Fruity

How hot is the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion?

If there could be a category on the Scoville scale named “sweat just thinking about them” hot, the Trinidad Scorpion pepper would be one of those leading the pack. Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers range from 1,200,000 to 2,000,000 Scoville heat units (SHU) on the Scoville scale. That puts it squarely among the hottest of the hottest peppers in the world. The infamous Carolina Reaper comes in hotter (1,400,000 to 2,200,000 SHU), as well as some other contenders for the top spot that aren’t yet fully stable, like the Dragon’s Breath, Pepper X, and the Apollo pepper.

Compared to the jalapeño, our reference point: The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion makes a jalapeño look like child’s play − they range 150 to 800 times hotter than a jalapeño. Even the still very hot habanero pepper is way distant in overall heat. The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is at least 12 times hotter than a habanero, with the potential for 20 times hotter if you get the right chili. And versus a ghost pepper? The Moruga Scorpion is much scarier with nearly double its median heat.

–> Learn More: Moruga Scorpion Vs. Ghost

Like the ghost, the heat of eating the Moruga Scorpion raw is not something that hits you right away. It takes some time to build. And when it starts, it builds for quite a long time. It’s sort of like a fire building from inside of you, and you most likely will experience hiccups, sweating, numbness and even more along the way. This is a heat level that borders on military-grade pepper sprays, so keep that in mind.

Other scorpion pepper varieties provide different heat levels, appearances, and flavors. Here are just a few to compare:

What does it look like?

These chilies grow to approximately two to three inches in length. Its shape is bulbous, tapering often (but not always) to a stinger-like tail. The Moruga Scorpion’s skin is slightly wrinkled and pockmarked, hinting hard at the danger hidden within its wall.

The common variety ages from green to red on the vine. And as the pepper matures and changes color, it also grows in spiciness and flavor (if you can get beyond the extreme heat.)

What does a Moruga Scorpion taste like?

Like many other super-hots, there is a flavor here. The Moruga Scorpion has a sweet, fruity taste that tends to grow in depth as it ages on the vine to its final red color. You get that taste typically right at the start of eating the chili, and its soon drowned out by the intensity of the spiciness.

Cooking with Trinidad Moruga Scorpion

The sweet, fruity flavor sitting atop this extreme heat does make the Moruga Scorpion a natural to pair with tropical fruits and other sweet ingredients, particularly in extreme hot sauces and salsas. It’s there that this extreme chili shines the most.

If you’re using it in general cooking, a Moruga Scorpion can be used to heat up any dish. Just remember, a little goes a very long way when it comes to super-hot chilies. A small sliver can provide enough spiciness for an entire pot of soup or stew. Don’t be heavy-handed here as its potency can certainly ruin a dish. If you need some ideas on how to temper an over-spiced meal, read our post on making food (in general) less spicy.

More cooking tips:

  • Take precautions when handling Moruga Scorpion peppers. Again, this chili sits among the hottest in the world. Handling them, even whole without cutting, can provide severe discomfort in the form of chili burn. Wear kitchen gloves at minimum, especially when cutting. We also recommend wearing kitchen goggles as one rub of an eye with the capsaicin from the scorpion can be extremely painful.
  • Know how to treat chili burn. Do your homework before even touching this chili. Read our post on combatting chili burn (spoiler – milk is #1), as well as our post on how to handle chili burn when it’s in your eye. The latter is specific to jalapeños, but the solutions work for any pepper.
  • This chili is often found as dried pods for use in cooking. You can rehydrate the pods or simply grind them into flakes and powders, depending on the use case you need. But a cautionary note: The capsaicin level (the compound behind the heat) is still the same in a dried Moruga Scorpion. Don’t think because it’s dried that you can ignore the precautions listed above.
  • Understand how cooking impacts overall heat of a chili pepper. If you’re cooking with super-hots, the extreme spiciness was likely the draw. Certain cooking methods can impact the overall spiciness of your dish. Read our article, Does Cooking Peppers Make Them Hotter? It will provide the detail you need to maximize (or minimize) the overall spiciness of your recipe.

Where can you buy Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers?

These are not chili peppers that you’ll find at your local grocery store, that’s for sure. More than likely, you won’t even find many of the products made with it either. You’re going to need to buy online to get the best options, including Trinidad Moruga Scorpion seeds, dried scorpion peppers, hot sauces, and seasonings. For most people, their experience with this super hot chili will come in the form of those hot sauces. And there are some amazing ones out there.

So the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is no chili pepper to be trifled with lightly. Proceed with caution. But there are lots of surprisingly tasty (and mega-hot) sauces and seasonings through which you can try this bad boy of the chili world out. They’ll introduce you to flavors and heat that you’ve never experienced before.

Must-read related posts

  • Tabasco Scorpion Pepper Sauce Review: Tabasco jumps into the super-hot game with its scorpion-based sauce. We review it in detail
  • The Hot Pepper List: The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is only one of over 150 chilies that we profile. See our sortable list that covers heat, flavor, uses, origin, and more.
  • Our Hot Sauce Rankings: Looking for your next “best hot sauce” to try? We review in detail 100+ hot sauces, covering flavor, heat balance, usability, and collectibility.

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on April 7, 2022 to include new content.
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