Ghost Pepper vs Scotch Bonnet – Know the Difference!


Ghost pepper vs. scotch bonnet – An intriguing pepper showdown for every ambitious chef.

Using these unique peppers easily elevates any delicacy’s hotness! So the question is, which of the two wins the ultimate clash?

Short Answer:

Both peppers may belong in the family, but they are pretty distinct from each other. Ghost pepper used to hold the world’s “hottest chili pepper,” while the Scotch bonnet is about 3x less in terms of their Scoville heat units. 

Brace yourself to discover:

  • What ghost pepper is
  • What scotch bonnet is, and
  • The essential differences between ghost peppers and scotch bonnets.

What Are Ghost Peppers?


As the 2007 Guinness World Records holder for the hottest chili pepper, the ghost pepper is an exceptionally hot spice. (*)

They are cone-shaped and red, typically, when mature, but yellow and orange varieties also exist.

Northeast India provides the most auspicious conditions for their inter-specific vines’ growth.

Aside from its overwhelming hotness, ghost peppers contain capsaicin. It is an antioxidant that can help relieve abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Plus, ghost peppers are low in fat and calorie too!

From chili oil to hot sauces, spicy salads to curry dishes, ghost peppers are perfect wherever hot spice is required.

What Are Scotch Bonnets?

image of Scotch Bonnet

Next, we have the naturally yellow to scarlet red spice, Scotch bonnet.

Its name is derived from its resemblance to a tam o’ shanter hat, a traditional Scottish bonnet.

Scotch bonnets are very common in West Africa and the Caribbean.

They flavor numerous traditional cuisines like rice and beans, beef patties, ceviche, and hot sauces in many other regions too.

Health fact: Like the ghost pepper, Scotch bonnets contain capsaicin. They can, hence, treat headaches, rheumatoid pains, inflammatory heat, and diabetic neuropathy. Science has also proven its efficacy in reducing cancer risk.

Ghost Pepper vs Scotch Bonnet – What Are Their Differences?

1. Nutritional Profile

This hybrid cross between Capsicum frutescens and Capsicum Chinensis contains a handful of phytochemicals.

These include metabolites such as flavonoids, carotenoids, alkaloids, phenols, vitamins, and capsaicinoids, responsible for the pepper’s spiciness.

In terms of its nutrition, sodium is the only known mineral found in ghost pepper. And it also contains a few amounts of vitamin C.

Capsaicin is also responsible for scotch pepper’s hotness.

They contain other antioxidant carotenoids like ferulic acid, sinapic acid, violaxanthin, capsanthin, and lutein.

Unlike ghost pepper, they contain more minerals such as potassium, copper, and iron.

Vitamins such as A, C, B6, and K1 are present as well.

2. Color

The unripe ghost pepper is green. It turns yellow when it matures.

What’s more? Ghost pepper variants that come in purple, peach, white, orange, green, and chocolate!

On the other hand, Scotch bonnets are green when unripe. Over time, it turns scarlet red to yellow.

Other varieties of Scotch bonnet come in colors orange, chocolate, peach, and purple.

3. Taste

Ghost pepper has an intensely fruity and sweet taste before the hotness hits hard.

However, the flavor of ghost peppers may slightly shift when it is cooked and mixed with other ingredients in a dish.

Again, the effect is not that overpowering as well.

Some people claim to experience a mildly smoky aftertaste when they eat ghost peppers.

Beware: The intense spiciness of ghost peppers can last for 20 minutes. If you feel you aren't tolerant to last that long, please try another kind of pepper that's friendlier for your palate!

Scotch bonnet’s flavor can vary from one region to another based on the difference in soil content.

They are mostly sweet and vaguely fruity before their extreme hotness hits you.

Some people confirm that the taste of Scotch bonnets reminds them of an interesting combination of tomatoes with cherries and apples.

Fun fact: The Habanero pepper is closely related to the scotch bonnet in terms of heat but slightly less sweet!

4. Uses

The overpowering hotness is not that scary for spicy food-loving cooks.

The distinct flavor of ghost peppers works well with dishes such as pasta, chili oils, curry dishes, chicken wings, pizzas, salsa, and bacon.

Ghost peppers also contain medicinal properties. It can potentially kill bacteria that cause ulcers.

And ghost peppers can help boost body metabolism and support weight loss.

Scotch bonnets are enjoyed in many types of cuisines.

Some traditional ones include spicy pig ears, Jamaican beef patties, Jamaican scotch bonnet pepper sauce, jollof rice, and vegan stew peas.

People also eat them to prevent bad breath and treat various body pains.

Furthermore, it also improves high blood pressure and strengthens immunity.

5. Price

The prices apparently vary in terms of how expensive or cheap these peppers are.

For Northeast Indians, ghost peppers are affordable as they are readily cultivated in their area. On the other hand, scotch bonnets are more expensive locally.

Similarly, scotch bonnets are cheaper in West Africa and the Caribbean.

Both peppers also have variants. Most times, the most obscure ones are more expensive than the ubiquitous ones.

Also, various brands that directly sell both peppers will determine their prices.

So visit supermarkets around you to compare the prices or check out online stores.

FAQs on Ghost Pepper vs Scotch Bonnet

Final Thoughts

There you go! The most salient contrasts between ghost peppers vs scotch bonnets.

Regardless of which you’d fancy on a regular day, it’s difficult not to admit that they are both excellent spices.

Your choice would most likely depend on your hotness tolerance, ghost peppers being superior.

So grab your credit card, head down to a supermarket, purchase both, cook, and enjoy!

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