Scorpion Pepper Vs Carolina Reaper – What’s The Difference?

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As you can guess by their names, the Scorpion pepper and the Carolina Reaper are two very hot peppers. But which one is hotter and how do you use these peppers?

What are the differences between the Scorpion pepper and the Carolina Reaper? The Carolina Reaper is hotter than the Scorpion pepper, with the Carolina Reaper topping out at 2.2 million SHU while most Scorpion pepper varieties vary from 1.2-1.6 million SHU. Additionally, unlike the Scorpion pepper, the Carolina Reaper is a hybrid.

In this article, we have compared Carolina Reaper with Trinidad Moruga and Trinidad Butch T Scorpion peppers to find out their similarities and differences.

You will also learn how to survive the heat of these peppers and what are the symptoms you may experience after eating them!

What Are The Differences Between Scorpion Pepper And Carolina Reaper?

Carolina Reaper and Scorpion peppers are very hot and look somewhat similar. But there are key differences between these two pepper varieties. 


Carolina Reaper was grown by Ed Currie, an American chili pepper breeder. It is a cross between two peppers: the Saint Vincent and Naga Viper peppers.

No wonder Carolina Reaper came out so hot as both of these peppers are very spicy too! In fact, the Naga Viper pepper was declared to be the world’s hottest pepper in 2011. 

Unlike the Carolina Reaper, the Scorpion pepper is not a specific pepper variety.

The name refers to a few types of Scorpion peppers, including Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and Trinidad Scorpion Butch T. These Scorpion peppers are Capsicum Chinese cultivars

Both of these Scorpion peppers are indigenous to the Caribbean republic of Trinidad and Tobago. 

Where Do The Names Come From?

Scorpion pepper and Carolina reaper both have rather intimidating names.

Scorpion pepper is called so because of how it looks. It has a pointed end that looks like a scorpion stinger! 

As for Carolina Reaper, Carolina is the name of the state where the pepper was developed: South Carolina! And “Reaper” comes from the shape of the pepper. It has a tail that looks like the scythe the Grim Reaper carries. 


As noted above, Scorpion peppers have tails resembling the tail of a Scorpion. Ripe Scorpion peppers are red and have a bulbous squatty shape. They are typically 1.5 inches wide and 2 to 3 inches long. 

Carolina Reaper is usually 1.5 to 3 inches long and 1 to 3 inches wide. It has a rounded shape with a little tail extended from it.

Red Carolina Reaper peppers are the most popular. However, you may also come across the yellow, peach, and brown varieties of this pepper. 

So, appearance-wise Carolina Reaper and Scorpion peppers do have some similarities. They both have a scorpion-like tail. You can take this as a sign of extreme heat as some of the hottest peppers in the world have it. 

In addition to their scorpion-like tail, both peppers have glossy wrinkly skin. 


As Carolina Reaper and Scorpion peppers are very hot peppers, you may think that they don’t have any actual flavor to them, and all they taste like is heat. But these peppers do have other favor notes aside from spiciness. 

Carolina Reaper and Scorpion peppers are all said to have fruity notes. Carolina Reaper tastes pleasantly sweet and fruity when you first bite it. But it quickly gets unbearably hot thanks to the high concentration of capsaicin. 

Trinidad Moruga and Trinidad Butch T Scorpion peppers also have fruity undertones. The overall flavor of these peppers can be described as a combination of sweet and heat. 

Level Of Heat 

In 2017, Guinness World Records declared Carolina Reaper to be the hottest pepper, thus surpassing the Scorpion peppers.

The batch of Carolina Reaper tested in 2017 measured 2.2 million SHU. But it can range from 1.6 to 2.2 million Scoville units

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and Trinidad Scorpion Butch T peppers are both less hot than Carolina Reaper. 

On average, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion measures 1.2 million SHU. Trinidad Butch T Scorpion measured 1.46 million in a test conducted in 2011 and this pepper was considered to be the hottest pepper in the world for a short while. 

If you didn’t know, SHU stands for Scoville Heat Units, and the Scoville scale is a scale measuring the pungency of chili peppers against capsaicin in its pure form. 

For your reference, pure capsaicin falls in the range of 15 million to 16 million SHU. Jalapeno peppers we all love measure only 2,000 to 8,000 SHU. So, you can only imagine how hot Carolina Reaper and Scorpion peppers are. 


While Carolina Reaper and Scorpion peppers are very hot, you can use them the same way as you would any other hot pepper.

Just be very careful with how much of these peppers you use. Start with the smallest amount possible and add more if you want. 

You can use these peppers for sauces, stews, salsas, marinades, soups, stir-fries, and much more!

Another thing you can do is to make Carolina Reaper or Scorpion pepper-infused oil by putting fresh or dried peppers into your favorite cooking oil.

You can then use this oil to drizzle it on pizza, and pasta, as well as cook with it. 

You can get Carolina Reaper and Scorpion pepper in a few different forms. While the fresh version of these peppers is something every pepper lover would want to have a look at and give a try, they may not always be available where you live. 

Luckily, you can get these peppers in whole-dried and powdered forms. Powdered Carolina Reaper and Scorpion peppers are very versatile and easy to use.

Additionally, it is easy to control the amount you use when these peppers are in powdered form.  

When using Carolina Reaper and Scorpion peppers for cooking, make sure to wear rubber gloves.

Remove the gloves as soon as you are done working with the peppers. We don’t recommend working with bare hands. And don’t touch your face after you have touched the peppers. 

What Happens If You Eat A Carolina Reaper Or Scorpion Pepper? 

As hot as Carolina Reaper and Scorpion pepper are, eating these peppers won’t kill you. In fact, no hot pepper will ever kill you. 

There are hundreds of videos on the internet of people eating very hot peppers, including Carolina Reaper which some people describe as being hotter than molten lava!

So, you can imagine how it will make you feel a second after you have taken a bite. 

And though Scorpion peppers are not as hot as Carolina Reaper, don’t expect the consequences to be significantly milder. 

Eating these peppers results in a severe burning sensation in the mouth or throat and mouth numbness. More extreme reactions can include nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.

If you don’t eat these peppers carefully, they may also burn the skin around your mouth or your hands if you are not wearing gloves. 

The good thing about eating these extremely hot peppers is that they will build up your heat tolerance. 

How To Survive The Heat

Before you eat Scorpion pepper or Carolina Reaper, we recommend learning about ways to survive the burn these extremely hot peppers cause. 

Here are a few important things you should know:

  • Start small. Even if you are someone who likes a lot of heat in their food, these peppers are not for the faint of heart. If you have decided to eat them, start with a very small bite. 
  • Have some dairy at hand. While many people reach for water when they experience a burning sensation in the mouth and down their throat, dairy products, such as milk or cream, are a lot more efficient. This is because the fat in dairy products is able to break down the capsaicin.
  • Reach for something acidic. If you are eating dairy-free or simply don’t have any milk-based product with you at the moment, grab something acidic—orange juice, tomatoes, lemonade, etc.  Acids are capable of neutralizing capsaicin compounds. 
  • Eat starchy foods. A piece of bread, cooked rice, potato puree, and other starchy foods can also be helpful if you are trying to survive the heat of spicy peppers. 

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over the key differences between Carolina Reapers and Scorpion peppers, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

Are Carolina Reaper peppers genetically modified?

Being unusually hot and looking very different from the chili peppers we all know and eat, many people think that Carolina Reaper peppers are genetically modified.

But they aren’t! Carolina Reaper peppers are simply a hybrid of two very hot peppers

Is there a pepper hotter than Carolina Reaper?

According to Guinness World Records, Carolina Reaper remains the hottest pepper in the world. However, there are unconfirmed reports that there is a pepper that beats the reaper—Pepper X. 

Testing has shown that Pepper X measures over 3.18 million SHU, which is hotter than not only Carolina Reaper but even most peppers spray. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the origins of the Carolina Reaper, here’s a great video on the subject!

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