Scoville heat scale

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How are chillies graded by heat
Scoville heat scale

The Scoville scale is a measurement of the spicy heat (or piquance) of a chili pepper. The number of Scoville heat units (SHU) indicates the amount of capsaicin present. Capsaicin is the nerve stimulant that gives chillies their hot 'taste'. A chilli with an SCU of 200,000 indicates that its extract must be diluted over 200,000 times before the capsaicin presence is undetectable.

The scale is named after its creator, American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville. His method was devised in 1912.

Scoville heat units Relative guide † Examples
5,000,000–5,300,000 and above n/a Law enforcement grade spray, irritant ammunition
855,000–1,463,700 10++/10 Naga Viper pepper, Bhut Jolokia chili pepper
350,000–580,000 10/10 Red Savina habanero
100,000–350,000 8/10 to 9/10 Habanero chili, Scotch bonnet pepper
50,000–100,000 7/10 Bird's eye chili, Piri piri (African bird's eye), Pequin pepper
30,000–50,000 6/10 Cayenne pepper, Ají pepper, Cumari pepper (Capsicum Chinese), Chipotle
10,000–23,000 5/10 Serrano pepper, Aleppo pepper
3,500–8,000 4/10 Jalapeño pepper, Guajillo pepper, New Mexican varieties of Anaheim pepper, Tabasco sauce
1,000–2,500 3/10 Anaheim pepper, Poblano pepper, Peppadew
100–900 1/10 to 2/10 Banana pepper
0 0/10 No significant heat, Sweet pepper (Bell pepper)

† relative guide

Please see the comments page regarding the figures used in this column.