Making Fun of Habaneros

The statement overheard at a food market went something like this…

He brought the hot and the extra hot chili sauce. There’s also an extreme sauce made with habaneros. I don’t know why he didn’t bring that; there are always people at these sorts of things that want to blow their face-off.

Who knew that people still considered habaneros hot? We sure didn’t. There are much hotter chili peppers out there. If a fast-food chain sells something called Ghost Pepper Fries, you get the feeling that habaneros are just, well habaneros. They’re not explosive. They’re not violently hot.

They’re the sort of peppers that serious chili heads make fun of… a little.

How Hot Are Habaneros?

Before we get into the actual heat of your standard, run-of-the-mill habanero pepper, we need to let you know that there isn’t just one kind out there.

Habaneros are more of a family of chilies. In that’s family, you’ll find Peruvian white and mustard habanero peppers, along with the granddaddy of them all, the red savina habanero. The latter is a hell of a lot hotter than its family members.

The gentler sounding chilies in this family have Scoville ratings around 300,000. That’s not bad. The average habanero (you know, the habanero that you’ve grown to know and trust) can sit as high as 350,000 Scovilles.

And that red savina? It may reach as high as 580,000.

Any of those chilies would indeed blow the head off anyone not accustomed to their heat levels. We need to put an extreme caution on our Mad Dog 357 Hot Sauce and that is 357,000 Scoville.

Why Aren’t Habaneros Fashionable Any Longer?

Okay, we’ve established that these peppers can indeed be damned hot… and we probably shouldn’t be making fun of them.

But it doesn’t stop the smirks from chili heads in food markets when people say things like this habanero sauce will blow your face off.


The heat of a habanero doesn’t even fall on the same radar as the hottest chili peppers out there. You have to multiply the heat of habaneros nearly six times before you get to reaper level. You’d still need to multiply it three times to reach the intensity of a ghost pepper.

That said, habaneros are almost 44 times hotter than jalapeños. And, you know there are those people that believe that’s the height of heat. We should be poking fun at them rather than habaneros; there’s much more to peppers than their intense burn. And, the lovely citrus flavor of habaneros makes them indispensable in hot sauces and cooking.

They’re delicious, and by all accounts, they’re not a weak pepper. Sure, you won’t find as many videos of people falling over from their fire. But, when you see people sampling habanero sauces at food markets, and their faces are as red and inflamed as their tongues, it can be totally worth it – whether they’re eating habaneros or something hotter.

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