When used appropriately, hot sauce is one of those accouterments that can take an ordinary dish to new heights. The right hot sauce can complement damn near everything. But when hot sauce is used inappropriately, it can make you want to tear the roof of your mouth out. There are some hot sauces out there that are so mind-bogglingly hot that we really, truly, and legitimately cannot fathom why anyone would ever tempt fate and try them. Today, we’re talking about the hottest hot sauces in the world.
The cult of hot sauce has been around for a long time. But the spicy condiment hit the mainstream with the rise in popularity of Hot Ones, a celebrity interview show that features some of the hottest hot sauces around. While that might sound like a subjective term, there are ways to determine how spicy is too spicy.
How to Measure Hot Sauce Heat: Meet the Scoville Heat Scale
Look on the back of most hot sauces these days and you’ll likely see a ridiculously high number of Scoville units (SHUs).
100,000? 35,000? What does it all mean?
The Scoville scale, named for pharmacist Wilbur Scoville, is a measurement of the spiciness of chili peppers based on the concentration of capsaicinoids. Capsaicinoids, the most commonly known is capsaicin, are compounds that activate our taste buds to alert our body that what we’re consuming is pungent, spicy, or hot. The Scoville scale then assigns a numerical value to the level of “pungency” of a pepper.
For reference, bell peppers are extremely low on the scale, maxing out at around 100. Jalapeños can range anywhere from 3,500 to about 8,000. Carolina Reaper commonly known as the spiciest pepper cultivar maxed out at 2,200,000. But the Scoville scale doesn’t stop there. Below you’ll find that the hottest hot sauces can clock in much higher than that.
But, for the record, the Scoville scale only applies to the pepper in its dry form. As a sauce, the pepper’s pungency is diluted so the impact can vary. Still, if a hot sauce advertises a ridiculously high Scoville number, there’s a good chance that hot sauce is hot.
The Hottest Hot Sauces in the World
Here are the hottest hot sauces you can buy right now. Will they taste good? Well, that depends on you. There’s a good chance your taste buds will be severely overpowered by these insanely spicy hot sauces. But, there are those who continue to buy the hottest hot sauces. Why? Because some people just want to watch the world burn.
Blair’s Mega Death Hot Sauce with Liquid Fury
We’re starting things off in the arena of “I can still taste this.” Blair’s Mega Death Hot Sauce with Liquid Fury is unquestionably one of the hottest hot sauces. But, for those who enjoy the spicier side of life, this hot sauce offers an approachable level of heat.
Scoville Unit: 550,000
Da’Bomb The Final Answer
If you’ve watched Hot Ones, you’ll be familiar with Da’Bomb. It’s usually the point in the show when guests start to truly feel the heat. Clocking in at 1.5 million Scoville units, The Final Answer from Da’Bomb is the brand’s hottest hot sauce and certainly packs a punch.
Scoville Unit: 1.5 Million
PuckerButt Reaper Squeezins
PuckerButt’s offerings range from the mild and pleasant to the torturously hot. Reaper Squeezins caps off the sauces as the single hottest hot sauce that PuckerButt makes. Reaper Squeezins uses the proprietary Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper balanced out by some vinegar for a pure hot sauce experience.
Scoville Unit: 2.2 Million
Hot Ones Hot Sauce The Last Dab: XXX
As we mentioned earlier, Hot Ones has managed to bring the niche of hot sauce to a wide audience. Suddenly everyone is interested in the latest and hottest hot sauces. Well, it was only a matter of time before the media company got in on the action themselves. Hot Ones has a whole line of hot sauces and the pinnacle is The Last Dab: XXX. Rated at around 3 million Scoville units and combining three insanely spicy peppers – Pepper X, Chocolate Pepper X, and Peach Pepper X – this is not a hot sauce to take lightly.
Scoville Unit: 3 Million
Z Nothing Beyond
This extract sauce by CaJohn’s is actually the only entry on this list that won an award (not for its ability to melt a literal hole in your toilet, but for its taste). Despite its ungodly 4-million SHU heat classification, the Z Nothing Beyond sauce was the winner of the 2004 Golden Childe Best Tasting Extract Sauce. So if you’re looking to singe your eyebrows off but also potentially enjoy the burrito you put it on, this sauce may very well be your huckleberry.
Scoville Unit: 4 Million
Mad Dog 44 Magnum
Okay, we feel like we need to put this into at least a little perspective. Mad Dog 44 is an extract sauce that clocks in at over 4 million SHUs. The pepper spray that law enforcement officers use to spray people is typically rated at anywhere from 2.5 to 4 million SHUs, which means voluntarily putting this stuff on any of your food is basically like volunteering to let a cop mace you in the mouth. Or, if you think like us, it gives you complete and utter authority over your food. If you’re willing to embrace the hottest hot sauces in the world, start here.
Scoville Unit: 4 Million
This taste bud-singeing sauce extract clocks in at a terrifying 6 million SHUs and, aside from a slight hint of ginger and tropical fruit tossed into the mix, contains caffeine and ginseng. Why? Because this hot sauce wants to set your face on fire and literally make your heart explode. They don’t outwardly market it as such, but there’s seriously no logical explanation for it. This is beyond the realm of pleasant hot sauce. We’re getting into the freaky stuff.
Scoville Unit: 6 Million
You might balk at a hot sauce priced over $100, even if it’s one of the hottest hot sauces available. But considering this hot sauce might literally rock your world, it’s understandable. We were going to write a whole thing for this 7.1-million Scoville Heat Unit hot sauce, but we think this small excerpt from one of the many Amazon reviews should suffice:
“My pupils must have doubled in area. My knees buckled. No one around me could understand the agony I went through past my teary blubbering and groans. The first bite had a profound effect on my senses as the world faded around me, but would only become more intense with time.” -Thunder Turtle
Scoville Unit: 7.1 Million
Mad Dog 357 Plutonium No. 9
We warned you about Mad Dog earlier. This is where things get serious. Mad Dog 357 Plutonium No. 9 was at one point the hottest hot sauce on the market. It’s 60% pure capsicum and, as such, the company does not recommend consuming this directly. It’s effectively pure heat.
Scoville Unit: 9 Million
Pure Evil 13 Capsaicin Drops
The hottest hot sauce on our list isn’t even actually a hot sauce. It’s pure Capsaicin drops. It’s tasteless, odorless, and is essentially just heat in a bottle. The Capsaicin Drops from Texas Creek start at a much more manageable 1.5 million Scoville units. But, those mad scientists have ratcheted up to ungodly levels with the clear, flavorless Pure Evil 13 million capsaicin drops.
Scoville Unit: 13 Million