In a comparison of scotch bonnet vs ghost pepper, it is sensible to start with talking about the heat first. After all, both of these are well-known to be very hot chili peppers. Although there is more to this comparison than just heat. After all, the ghost pepper has held the crown of being the hottest chili pepper, if only for a couple of years.
So, let’s see the key characteristics that define these chili peppers.
Ghost Pepper vs Scotch Bonnet: Key Considerations
The Heat: How Do Both These Peppers Square Up
Ghost pepper is perhaps the most famous super hot pepper. It is well-known for its impressive heat and for a few years, held the world record for being the hottest pepper. While it has been superseded by others in heat, Ghost Pepper still has an enduring legacy for its heat.
On the Scoville Scale, ghost pepper generally scores between 855,000 to 1,041,427 SHU. This numbering makes it way hotter than a conventional scotch bonnet.
The hotness of a scotch bonnet is often reported in the range of 100,000 to 350,000 SHU. However, there is better evidence to say that it falls within the range of 350,000 to 855,000 SHU.
It’s not nearly as hot as the ghost pepper, though both these chilies are pretty darn hot! For comparison, the jalapeno scores 2,500 to 8,000 SHU on the Scoville scale. If you thought jalapenos were hot, you can as easily imagine how blisteringly hot the scotch bonnet and ghost pepper could be.
In fact, it is often recommended to avoid touching the ghost pepper unless you’re wearing gloves!
Interestingly, both these hot peppers have undertones of a fruity sweet flavor that lends itself well to some recipes, especially chili sauces where these peppers are used. However, if the recipe isn’t well-managed, the intense heat of these peppers will easily overpower other flavors.
The Appearance And Shape
Scotch bonnet and ghost pepper have remarkably different shapes and appearances.
Ghost pepper has something of a conical shape. It is broad and somewhat curved at the top and then tapers to a sharp tip. Usually, a ghost pepper is about three inches long and about an inch wide. Ripened ghost peppers have a bright to deep red coloring.
Scotch bonnets have a curvy shape that’s somewhat evocative of bell peppers. The top is rounded and slightly tapers towards the tip, which in turn is rounded as well. Scotch bonnet peppers are available in several colors. As with most chili peppers, it has a ripened red variety, though you can also get green scotch bonnets. Orange or yellow scotch bonnets are available as well.
What Is Scotch Bonnet?
Scotch bonnet belongs to the Capsicum Chinense variety. This variety is home to some of the hottest peppers in the world, and scotch bonnet is a worthy member of this family. Scotch bonnet is native to Jamaica and is often used in the Caribbean and West African cuisine.
Knowing The Ghost Pepper
Ghost pepper is primarily cultivated in India and is locally known as bhut jolokia. It is a hybrid of two chili pepper varieties, the Capsicum chinense and Capsicum frutescens. The English name is a direct translation of the Indian term for this pepper (bhut translates to ghost, jolokia to chili pepper).
Other common names of this chili pepper are bih jolokia, naga jolokia, and king pepper.
Where To Buy Scotch Bonnet Peppers?
Scotch bonnet peppers are often not as easily available as other hot peppers. Even the more exotic bhut jolokia (ghost pepper) might be more easily available. However, you can find it in some specialty food shops. If this isn’t possible for you, try checking Walmart’s online store and Amazon for scotch bonnets. Though it’s not always in stock, both these websites do often have offerings of scotch bonnet peppers.
Is A Scotch Bonnet A Habanero?
While habanero and scotch bonnet are closely related, these are two distinct chili peppers and have a fair number of differences. They have a different shape and flavor, though the heat is quite similar on average. Habaneros typically have a conical/teardrop shape, while scotch bonnets are more rounded. Also, scotch bonnets have sweet and fruity flavors, though habaneros add an additional bitter note to the flavor.
The Hot Chili Breakdown
As we see in this scotch bonnet vs ghost pepper comparison, both these chili peppers are remarkably different from each other. While they are both very hot peppers, they differ in terms of heat, color, shape, and taste notes.