Skip to main content

These are the hottest hot sauces in the world – are you brave enough to try them?

We're not going anywhere near this stuff. Are you?

Hot sauce peppers
Ernesto Andrade / Flickr

There’s a special kind of person who loves hot sauce to an unhealthy degree. Most of us know one or two of these people. They are the ones who order the hottest of the hot chicken wings, boasting that nothing will bring them down. They are the proud wearers of T-shirts that say things like, “No heat, no eat.” They are the loud, the proud, and the fearless when it comes to all things hellish and fiery. They’re also the ones turning what should be a pleasurable eating experience into a potential trip to the ER. But hey, to each their own.

If you’ve ever wondered what makes hot sauce hot, the answer lies in the peppers used. Peppers’ heat is ranked on what is called the Scoville Scale, a scale that ranks peppers according to their pungency and capsaicin levels.

A bell pepper, for example, registers 0 Scoville heat units (SHUs), because it contains no capsaicin, the ingredient responsible for the heat, pain, terror, euphoria, and everything else involved in eating spicy foods. A jalapeno? A paltry 5,000 SHUs. A Carolina Reaper, one of the hottest peppers on the planet, clocks in at 1.5 million SHUs. And pepper spray — the stuff used to stop criminals — is around 5.3 million SHUs.

For these lovers of heat, eating is less an enjoyable way to deliciously nourish our bodies and more of a hard-core death metal sport. And those who participate would likely agree wholeheartedly, as it seems to be a spritely, fiery group of enthusiasts when it comes to the world of hot sauce fandom. For these enthusiasts, and for the less brazen (sane) supporters looking for a spicy gift or two, these hot sauces are the hottest of them all.

According to Scovillescale.org, Blair’s Death Sauce and Snacks makes the hottest hot sauce in the world that you can actually purchase and use in your own kitchen. You know, if you’re looking to really scare off your mother-in-law or something. Blair’s three hottest condiments all top out at an unholy 16 million SHUs and include:

Chilli World

Blair’s 16 Million Reserve (pure capsaicin crystals)

Only 999 of the 16 Million Reserve bottles were produced, so getting your hands on a bottle is a fiery feat in and of itself. These capsaicin crystals were awarded the World’s Hottest Product by the Guinness Book of World Records and will set you back about $600.

Blair's 6. A.M.
Peppers of Key West

Blair’s 6 A.M. Reserve (pure capsaicin crystals)

Peppers of Key West calls this product a “masterpiece,” ranging in SHUs from a “mere” 10.3 million to 16 million and absolutely blowing the socks of any brave soul who dares to try it. You can buy this one from Peppers of Key West for a mere $700.

Blair’s Halloween Reserve 2009
Peppers of Key West

Blair’s Halloween Reserve 2009 (extract)

This particular varietal comes in a special pumpkin bottle made from handblown glass and filled with jolokia ghost chili. This special reserve is an absolute steal at just $2,000 from Peppers of Key West.

What to eat or drink after eating hot sauce to cool the mouth

That burning sensation in your mouth after indulging in some hot sauce caused by capsaicin isn’t fun. While water might seem like the go-to solution, it actually spreads the capsaicin around, making the fire worse. Here are some effective drinks and foods to cool down your mouth after a hot sauce adventure.

  • Milk: The casein protein in milk binds to capsaicin, effectively neutralizing its burning effect. Opt for whole milk, as the fat content further helps trap the capsaicin.
  • Yogurt: Similar to milk, yogurt’s probiotics and casein protein offer soothing relief. Choose plain yogurt for maximum cooling effect.
  • Ice cream: If you’re looking for a more indulgent option, a scoop of cold ice cream can do wonders. The combination of milk, fat, and coldness effectively numbs the burning sensation.
  • Citrus juices: The acidity in juices like orange, grapefruit, or lemon can help counterbalance the capsaicin’s alkalinity.
  • Tomato juice: The acidity and natural sweetness of tomato juice can provide relief, especially if you enjoyed the hot sauce on a tomato-based dish.
  • Coconut water: The electrolytes and natural sweetness in coconut water can help soothe the burning sensation and rehydrate you.
  • Honey: A spoonful of honey can coat your tongue and provide a temporary barrier against the capsaicin, offering some relief.

If you do decide you’re crazy enough to actually buy one of these, just make sure to take a video. And have plenty of milk nearby. And a hospital.

Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
If you want the world’s best steak, you’ll have to go to Buenos Aires
The top places to grab a steak on earth
Steaks on a plate

The best steak in the world is in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At least that's what one of the top authorities on the subject says. The gold medal went to Parilla don Julio, a classic spot for meat, wine, and exceptional service.

The 2024 list from World's Best includes steakhouses from all over the globe. The top ten involved many countries, with just one American establishment — New York's COTE — making the grade. Other restaurants of note include Bodega el Capricho in Spain (number 2), Margaret in Australia (number 3), and Carcasse in Belgium (number 5). The number four spot went to COTE.
What makes Parilla don Julio the world's best steakhouse
So what makes Parilla don Julio the one to beat? For one, the embedded steak culture in Argentina, a nation with serious protein-over-open-flames prowess. The restaurant itself holds a Michelin Star and is run by a man with steak in his blood. Chef and owner Pablo Rivera comes from a meat-centric family, as his parents were cattle breeders and his grandmother a butcher.

Read more
How to make your own hot honey at home (so you can add it to your food and drinks)
The possibilities are endless on how you can use hot honey
Hot honey on meat

The combination of "spicy" and "sweet" holds a lauded position in many international cuisines, with chefs and diners celebrating the way these seemingly contradictory flavors complement each other. From General Tso’s chicken to Mexican chocolate, the popularity of spicy-sweet foods shows no signs of dying down, much to the delight of this writer, a self-proclaimed lover of heat.

In recent years, a condiment that perfectly encapsulates the spicy and sweet appeal has carved out a major niche for itself, and its name is "hot honey." Companies like Mike’s Hot Honey and Bushwich Kitchen (Bees Knees Spicy Honey) successfully sell pre-made versions of this treat, but it’s surprisingly easy to make at home, and we’re here to guide you through the process.   
What is hot honey?

Read more
How to open a beer bottle without an opener – you have lots of options
Don't worry, you will get that bottle open
Opening a bottle with a lighter

The crisis? You want to enjoy a beer, but you have no bottle opener. Don't panic, because we're going to get through this thing. After all, it's surprisingly easy to open a beer bottle without an opener. All the bottle opener does is use a bit of leverage to bend the cap, anyway. So let's create some leverage, and then let's drink some beer.

A quick note before we get started: It's easy to open beer bottles using rings, but the potential for damaging your ring or your metacarpal is very high, so we've left that one out.
How to open a beer bottle with a lighter

Read more