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Heat Scale Updated PDF Print E-mail
by Dave DeWitt

In 1989, with the help of Dr. Ben Villalon of the Texas A&M Agricultural Experiment Station and Dr. Paul W. Bosland of New Mexico State University's Department of Plant and Environmental Science, I compiled and published the first chile heat scale in Chile Pepper magazine. The heat scale proved to be enormously popular and was reprinted (sometimes with credit!) in hundreds of newspapers, magazines, books, Web sites, and catalogs.

 

Fiery Foods Official Heat Scale

 

Scoville Units

1 Million

Chile Varieties and Commercial Products

'Bhut Jolokia'

100,000-500,000

Habanero, Scotch Bonnet, South American chinenses, African birdseye

50,000-100,000

Santaka, Chiltepin, Rocoto, Chinese kwangsi

30,000-50,000

Piquin, Cayenne Long, Tabasco, Thai prik khee nu, Pakistan dundicut

15,000-30,000

de Arbol; crushed red pepper; habanero hot sauce

5,000-15,000

Early Jalapeño, Aj Amarillo, Serrano; Tabasco ® Sauce

2,500-5,000

TAM Mild Jalapeño, Mirasol; Cayenne Large Red Thick; Louisiana hot sauce

1,500-2,500

Sandia, Cascabel, Yellow Wax Hot

1,000-1,500

Ancho, Pasilla, Española Improved; Old Bay Seasoning

500-1000

NuMex Big Jim, NuMex 6-4, chili powder

100-500

NuMex R-Naky, Mexi-Bell, Cherry; canned green chiles, Hungarian hot paprika

10-100

Pickled pepperoncini

0

Mild Bells, Pimiento, Sweet Banana, U.S. paprika

 

Despite the accuracy of HPLC testing, we should remember, as Dr. Villalon points out, "Capsaicin can and is quantitatively measured by high performance liquid chromatography, to exactness for that particular pod, that particular plant, that particular location, and that particular season only." Thus, chiles will often deviate from published heat levels because of local environmental conditions. As there are many factors affecting the pungency of any variety, and there are many varieties within the various species and pod types, the measurements listed below are necessarily approximate.

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