Carolina Reaper hot sauce

Carolina Reaper Pepper Hot Sauce

In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a new top dog in the world of spiciness. You probably know all about jalapeños, maybe even serranos and habañeros. If you’re a true spice afficianado, you might even be aware of the previous holder of the record for the world’s hottest: the Scorpion Pepper.

Well, since August 7, 2013, the new top dog in town, crowned by the Guinness Book of World Records, is a gnarly looking pepper with a shape reminiscent of a flame: the Carolina Reaper.

Bred as a child of the previous record holders the Bhut jolokia (also known as the Ghost Pepper or ghost chilie) and a red habañero, the Reaper was developed by pepper expert Ed Currie in South Carolina. A man driven by the pursuit of health which led to the pursuit of heat, Ed has been breeding and processing peppers for several decades.

One day while strolling, I noticed a bush, with some strange looking orange fruits. Of course I was interested, as an incurable foodie and forager. I snapped some pictures and went home to research. In short order I found out the above information, and confirmed these were indeed Carolina Reaper peppers! They happened to be in a public garden space, so I quickly snatched a few with no recipe in mind, but a burning curiosity (see what I did there??).

Carolina Reaper pepper plant

Once I got home with my trio of terror, I started googling recipes. Turns out not many people want to tangle with the Reaper in their kitchen, and for good reason. Too much heat can produce burning sensations, raise your temperature and blood pressure. In extreme cases, you can lose feeling in your hands or face, start shaking or even have a seizure, and become unable to breathe.

The way pepper heat is measuring is using the Scoville Heat Unit scale. An average jalapeno hits about 8,000 SHU, whereas pepper spray (the kind meant to completely disable attackers) is around 2 million SHU. The Reaper averages about 1.5 million, with the hottest plant on record hitting 2.2 million Scoville units.

So basically, a Reaper is the equivalent of pepper spray.

This recipe is for a homemade hot sauce; if you are using Reapers or other similarly strong peppers, please use caution. Make sure you have food-grade gloves to protect your hands, and make it in a well ventilated area. Leaving the seeds in always makes it hotter, so if you truly want to bring the pain, leave in the seeds. I did not…

The recipe works with all types of hot peppers, so you can sub in your favorite kind, or mix and match. This makes about 14 ounces of hot sauce.

Carolina Reaper hot pepper hot sauce ingredients


  • 2 Carolina Reapers
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • garlic salt to taste

Carolina Reaper pepper hot sauce ingredients

Step 1: Cut the tops off the peppers and discard. In a food processor or blender, chop the garlic, onion, and peppers. Add the vinegar and spices. If you want it totally smooth, add the tomatoes and blend well until liquid. Otherwise, add the tomatoes just before canning.

Carolina Reaper pepper hot sauce

I could have cooked the sauce down to thicken it a bit more, but I didn’t want to take the chance. Even just boiling it on a stove might create fumes that I didn’t want to deal with.

I jarred it in two glass jelly jars. If you want to process them in a canning or pressure bath the sauce can be stored in the pantry for years. Otherwise, store in the refrigerator for up to one year.

Hubs insisted on labeling the sauce appropriately: “Death For Sure”.

He had a burger, and put about 4 drops on it, spread all over the patty. He said that was a good amount to create a “nice burn” for the next several hours. I stuck a fork in the sauce, let the actual sauce drip off, then licked the fork, and my mouth and tongue tingled for at least 2 hours after… suffice it to say, I won’t be using much of this! The sauce should last us a good long time.


Have you ever, or would you, try a Carolina Reaper? Do you make your own hot sauces?

17 thoughts on “Carolina Reaper Pepper Hot Sauce”

      1. I’d say go for it! Hubs is officially addicted now, he puts it in his burritos, I added some to yesterday’s stir fry, and it’s going in tonight’s curry too. It may not last as long as I’d hoped. I’m praying the farmers’ markets here are stocked this summer! Worst case, we are definitely continuing homemade hot sauce/salsa with any hot peppers we can get our hands on.

  1. Wow, BE. I’m with Mrs. PP. I’m very intrigued. I would love to try it on a burrito. But where the heck do you get it? And do you also need a mask and goggles when you’re making the sauce?

    1. Well, I’m hoping since it’s called the Carolina Reaper they will have some at the markets here in Carolina! You can also buy the peppers, seeds, and pepper products from the guy’s website who created it (linked in the post). Or, if you send me a private email, I saved the seeds and can send you some to try your hand at growing them! I’m going to try this spring too, and will report back on if they grow or not. *fingers crossed*

        1. Well, the thing is, I definitely should have labeled them this year! >.< I have tons of peppers coming up, but I won't know until they fruit if they are bell, cayenne, serrano, jalapeno, or Reaper!

        2. Buy some seeds from Smokin’ Ed Currie, the man who developed the Carolina Reaper. Then follow his instructions on how to grow them. I started mine indoors on Jan. 2 this year and had a good germination rate and am just now harvesting the peppers. I live in north Georgia. Best of luck to you.

    1. This year was a good harvest! I ended up making over a half dozen pints of salsa, plus a half dozen jars of straight Reaper concentrate in the freezer. Saved some seeds too, so we will see if any come up this spring for 2019.

  2. Last summer found one Carolina reaper plant at a swap meet. Planted it got two Pepper’s off it late plant. Have not been able to find another plant in town yet. We live in Fresno California the San Joaquin valley. All other peppers grow great in my garden. My husband loves hot peppers the hotter the better. If you could direct me where to go to find seeds or the plant I would be very happy. And so would he. LOL we have gotten some ghost pepper sauce and he loves that my brother-in-law uses it to spray on the drip system for his grapes the coyotes are biting the lines. Stop them from wrecking the line. LOL

  3. I’m actually growing my own Carolina Reaper peppers, so I’m looking for recipes regarding my favorite pepper <3 can't wait for mine to start coming to fruition and I can try this! <3

    I've actually eaten the pepper once before, and it was like a living hell, tasty, but I was in so much pain.

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