Scotch Bonnet vs Carolina Reaper (This Secret Difference!)

Having Scotch Bonnet pepper vs. Carolina Reaper is like comparing which of these hot peppers can produce a stronger volcanic eruption on the palate. So what can we say about these popular peppers?

Short answer: Carolina reaper majorly outclasses the Scotch Bonnet pepper on the Scoville scale. While the Scotch Bonnet pepper is hot with Scoville units of 100,000 – 350,000, the Carolina reaper stands at the top of the summit with about 2.2 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU).

But you might be asking yourself – is this the only difference between the Scotch Bonnet and the Carolina Reaper?

Just stick around, and all your questions shall be answered!

In this article, we’ll dive into further details about:

  • What Scotch Bonnet and Carolina Reaper are,
  • Their physical features,
  • Color,
  • Taste,
  • Uses,
  • And other related questions are often asked.

Let’s put the heat on!

What Are Scotch Bonnet Peppers?

image of Scotch Bonnet

The Scotch bonnet pepper (also known as Caribbean red peppers, or Bonny peppers) is from the chili pepper family.

Scotch Bonnet was given this name due to its resemblance to a Scottish hat or floppy beret.

Although it has an innocent-sounding name, one should not be fooled by it.

While it might not be ranked in the top 10 hottest peppers, the Scotch Bonnet is still savagely spicy.

It is commonly found in the Caribbean and is commonly used in salsas and eating contests.

Fun fact: The Scotch Bonnet is closely related to the Habanero pepper with its sweet and fruity taste and can range from 100,000 – 350,000 SHU.

What Are Carolina Reapers?

image of Carolina Reaper Pepper

The Carolina reaper is an extremely hot chili pepper that currently holds the Guinness world record for the hottest pepper globally. (*)

It was developed by Ed Currie, a grower/pepper enthusiast. (*)

It came into existence when a Pakistani Naga was crossbred with a Red Habanero type from the Island of St Vincent.

Fun Fact: Compared to a regular jalapeno pepper (about 5,000 SHU), the hottest Carolina reaper (2.2million SHU) is about 440 times hotter. That’s insanely hot!

What Is the Difference Between Scotch Bonnet vs. Carolina Reaper?

image of Scotch Bonnet vs Carolina Reaper

1. Physical Features

They tend to resemble a typical bonnet-style hat.

Most Scotch Bonnet peppers have a squished appearance.

Viewing from the top, they resemble a tiny gourd, while they look like a belly button viewed from the bottom.

However, there are a view strains of the specie that will appear elongated, making them resemble the shape of a jalapeno.

Most Scotch Bonnets are around 1.5-2 inches in length (the size of a golf ball).

One distinctive feature of the Carolina reaper is its scorpion-like tail resembling that of the Trinidad Scorpion and Naja Viper pepper.

Compared to the Scotch Bonnet, the reaper tends to have a bumpy texture, while a few strains have a smoother texture.

It is normally 1-3 inches in length and has a width of 1-3 inches.

2. Color

Scotch Bonnets may vary in color depending on the variety.

When ripe, colors vary from yellow and red and even brown for the Jamaican variant.

The most common color for the Carolina reaper is red.

However, there are yellow, chocolate, and peach variants that exist.

3. Taste

A simple answer to how a Scotch Bonnet pepper taste is spicy. Well, it is VERY SPICY!

The pepper gives a fruity, bright, and sweetish taste despite it being super-hot.

That is, you will be able to taste the flavor if you can get past the heat of the pepper.

They are used in many tropical hot sauces because they offer a bright, fruity taste, and of course, they are hot.

Most peppers have a sweet and fruity taste since all peppers are fruits and vegetables, but super-hot peppers like the Carolina reaper give a severe chemical-like taste.

Eating this pepper gives the sensation of eating the capsaicin itself (a chemical that produces a sensation of burning).

The sweet/fruity flavor is there, but it might not register before the heat sets in.

One bite of a reaper will give the sensation of your mouth being on fire.

You will feel as if your face is melting!

4. Uses

The scotch bonnet pepper is widely known for its sweet and earthy flavor. Some of the common uses are for:

  • Hot sauces and condiments
  • Season for fish, poultry, and meat before cooking, baking, or BBQ.
  • Chili jelly and jam.
  • Natural insecticides can be used in farmlands and gardens.
  • Sauces and jerk seasoning in the Caribbean.

The Carolina reaper is widely known for its heat and is commonly used in:

  • Pepper jellies
  • Hot Sauce
  • Jerk or BBQ seasoning
  • Pepper powders
  • Cooking (in moderation)

5. Nutritional Value

The Scotch Bonnet particularly contains Vitamins A, K, C, and phytochemicals.

This hot pepper also provides copper, iron, and capsaicin (an antioxidant).

Carolina reaper is a rich source of Vitamins A, B6, E, and C.

6. Price

Both the Scotch Bonnet and Carolina reaper can be relatively cheap and expensive depending on the package being bought.

However, the Carolina reaper might cost a little extra over the Scotch Bonnet pepper.

But for quality, the price difference is not a significant one.

The price is also dependent on the packaging brand and source of the pepper.

But for the price, it is worth it. Whether online or in a supermarket, both ingredients can be easily procured.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is hotter than a Scotch Bonnet (besides Carolina Reaper)?

There are several chili peppers present now that is hotter than the scotch bonnet pepper. The nagabon, a cross between a ghost pepper and scotch bonnet, is one such example. It reaches a heat of about 750, 000 – 800,000 SHU. Some other examples include:

  • Naga Viper (1,349,000 SHU)
  • Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” (1,463,700 SHU)
  • Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (2,009,231 SHU)

2. What is Scotch Bonnet good for?

A Scotch Bonnet can be used to treat several illnesses and pain such as osteoarthritis pain, headaches, painful diabetic neuropathy, rheumatoid pain, and inflammatory heat.

This is due to the Capsaicin present in it.

3. What can I substitute for Carolina Reaper?

If you’re looking for a substitution for the heat, then the following peppers can be used:

  • Naga Viper (1,349,000 SHU)
  • Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” (1,463,700 SHU)
  • 7 Pot Primo (1,469,000 SHU)
  • 7 Pot Douglah (1,853,936 SHU)
  • Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (2,009,231 SHU)

4. Can a Carolina reaper burn your skin?

Because of how hot a Carolina reaper is, they can burn both the inside of your mouth and your skin.

However, the Capsaicin present is only tricking the brain into believing the skin is being burnt.

But there is no real damage occurring to the skin cells.

5. Is Carolina reaper bad for you?

Although no real damage is being done, eating too much at once can be bad as it will put the body in immense pain.

In moderation, it is good for the body as it is a rich source of vitamins and minerals.

Final Thoughts

Everything that one needs to know about the Scotch Bonnet vs Carolina reaper has been discussed in this article.

Both chili peppers are natural sources of vitamins and minerals and are naturally good for the body.

So, what are you waiting for? Take your dish to a whole new level of hotness!

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