Guinness World Records names new hottest pepper

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Pepper X has scorched its way into the record books as the world’s new hottest pepper, Guinness World Records said Monday. 

Ed Currie, the pepper expert who crossbred and grew Pepper X, previously broke the record for the hottest pepper on Earth a decade ago with the Carolina Reaper. Currie developed Pepper X years ago, but didn’t release it right away, he said in a First We Feast video posted to YouTube on Monday. He said he kept Pepper X in his back pocket in case any other growers released something hotter than the Carolina Reaper. When no one came forward, he decided to bring out Pepper X.

“This is the culmination of a lot of work by a lot of people,” Currie said in the First We Feast video. “People said it couldn’t be done, they called us liars, and we proved to them that Pepper X is actually the hottest pepper in the world, officially from Guinness.”

What are Scoville Heat Units?

A pepper’s heat is determined by how much capsaicin it contains, with that heat expressed with a tool called the Scoville Scale. Pharmacologist Wilbur Scoville invented the scale in 1912. It measures how much water is required to dilute a pepper before its heat can no longer be tasted. 

Pepper X was tested by Winthrop University in South Carolina. It rated at an average of 2,693,000 Scoville Heat Units. For comparison, a Carolina Reaper averages 1.64 million Scoville Heat Units and a jalapeño is around 3,000 to 8,000 Scoville Heat Units. A habanero typically tops 100,000.

How did Currie create Pepper X?

Ed Currie
Ed Currie broke his own Guinness record when he created Pepper X, the hottest in the world.

Courtesy of First We Feast


Currie started growing hot peppers as a hobby, eventually moving on to cultivating them full time. The pepper grower raised 800 hot pepper plants “in every inch of his home and the homes of family, friends and neighbors” in the 1990s, according to his Puckerbutt Pepper Company website.

Currie cultivated Pepper X on his farm for over a decade, according to Guinness World Records. He cross bred it with some of his hottest peppers to increase its capsaicin content.

“When we bred this pepper out, first thing we looked for is something to raise that heat level to what we thought was going to be the maximum, and the second thing is flavor,” Currie told First We Feast.

Part of the development process was also protecting Pepper X. Currie said people have been trying to steal it for years.

Pepper X is considered a proprietary pepper, so pods and seeds will not be sold, according to a press release. The only way to get a taste right now is through Pepper X hot sauces. 

Currie is already working on his next potential record-breaking pepper, according to Guinness World Records. 

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