Dragon’s Breath Pepper: The Hottest Pepper On Earth?

dragons breath peppers
The Dragon’s Breath chili pepper is unofficially one of the hottest peppers worldwide, with a reported 2.48 million SHU. This chili is so hot that it unofficially beat the Guinness world records record holder (Carolina Reaper) by around a million on the Scoville scale.

What Is A Dragon’s Breath Pepper?

The Dragon’s Breath chili pepper is said to be one of the hottest peppers worldwide, with a reported 2.48 million SHU. It originated from the United Kingdom, developed jointly by NPK Technology and a chili farmer Neal Price, Nottingham Trent University.

You’ve probably watched the chili-eating contests that pit pain and taste bud thresholds against contestants. The Dragon’s Breath chili was only recently introduced to these competitions, where annual Easton (Penn.) Farmer’s Market hot pepper-eating contest champion, Kelly Joel Myers consumed three Dragon’s Breath peppers to cinch the title.

Still, we wouldn’t recommend trying this at home, folks.

Dragon’s Breath pepper is one of the hottest chilis in the world. So, a fair warning, do not consume it as it has 2.48 SHUs rivaling police-grade pepper spray.

What Are The Origins Of The Dragon’s Breath Pepper?

It was developed in an attempt to make a natural topical anesthetic for individuals allergic to the typical anesthetics used in hospitals. It gets its name after the iconic fire-breathing dragon depicted on the Welsh flag.

dragons breath pepper welsh flag
The Dragon’s Breath pepper gets its namesake from the Welsh flag.

So, how does it look? Dragon’s Breath peppers are bumpy and wrinkly, similar to other superhot chili peppers, often with a small tail indicating high heat levels.

The Dragon’s Breath’s pods ripen from green to a vibrant red, providing a fruity flavor with incredible heat. The plants usually grow four feet in height.

In nature, Dragon’s Breath pepper was created by accident, but in the lab, it was developed by Neal Price, Nottingham Trent Univerity, and NPK Technology, a hydroponic store in the United Kingdom.

How Hot Are Dragon’s Breath Peppers?

The Dragon’s Breath pepper was unofficially tested and was reported to reach 2.48 SHUs, awaiting confirmation from the Guinness Book of World Records. If true, Dragon’s breath has surpassed the former number-one Carolina Reaper by about a million Scoville units.

For comparison, the normal jalapeno pepper averages around 5,000 SHUs, making Dragon’s Breath pepper almost a thousand times hotter. The current record-holder is the Carolina Reaper, coming in at around 1.6M SHUs, which barely edged out the up-and-coming Scorpion pepper back in 2017.

Will Eating A Dragon’s Breath Pepper Kill You?

Contrary to the many conspiracy theories out there, eating Dragon’s Breath or other superhot chilis likely won’t kill you.

However, you can overdose on capsaicin, which is the chemical making chili pepper hot. You’d need to consume over three pounds of superhot chili peppers to overdose. There have been reports of individuals being hospitalized in extreme cases after consuming Carolina Reapers which are the world’s hottest chilis presently, especially people with prior medical conditions.

The concentrated capsaicin will activate the proteins on the nerve endings that detect heat. As a result, they wrongly interpret this concentration as a signal of extreme heat. In some extreme cases, consuming superhot peppers can lead to severe burns, anaphylactic shock, and even the closing of your airways, which can be fatal if left unattended.

You’ve also probably heard about the case of a man who burned a hole in his esophagus after vomiting from eating a burger topped with ghost pepper puree. Consuming hot peppers can lead to nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting but cannot burn or tear through any body part. However, your immune system can go into overdrive if the pepper is too hot, leading to extreme discomfort.

How Do You Use Dragon’s Breath Peppers?

The Dragon’s Breath pepper was not intended for consumption, so the average person shouldn’t consume or touch it.

In fact, it was kept in a sealed container during its display and concentration confirmation at the Chelsea flower show.

Nottingham Trent University developed it in an attempt to make natural anesthetics to help people allergic to standard medical anesthetics.

Medically, it all boils down to the chemical compound in all superhot peppers: capsaicin. It is the cause of the heat sensation in all hot peppers and can be used to numb the tissue on which it’s placed. This is why most pain-relieving over-the-counter creams are made from capsaicin.

Another goal is to create oils for anesthesia to help countries that can’t afford the typical anesthetics. These nations can grow Dragon’s Breath peppers in the fields and develop anesthesia for people in need.

Can You Grow Dragon’s Breath Peppers?

Various online sites, such as eBay and Amazon, sell seeds and dried peppers. So essentially, growing Dragon’s Breath peppers is similar to growing other hot peppers.

The primary difference is that the hotter the chili, the longer the seeds will take to sprout. It’s important to note that Dragon’s Breath peppers will take approximately 90 days to grow from seeds to harvest.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to grow Dragon’s Breath pepper

Step 1: Gather the supplies that you’ll need

These include:

  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Spray bottle
  • Fertilizer
  • Seedling heat mat
  • Starter plant containers
  • Potting or gardening soil
  • Dragon’s Breath pepper seeds

Step 2: Set up to grow your seeds indoors

It’s advisable to start the seeds indoors about eight weeks before the last spring frost before transplanting them outdoors. This is where you’ll use the heating mat to keep the seedlings warm as they germinate indoors. The gardening or potting soil and spray bottle keep them moist.

Step 3: Transplant the plants outside

After the seedlings have grown for eight weeks and the last frost is over, you can move the plants outside. You can continue growing them in a container or a garden. If planting in the garden, ensure they’re at least eighteen inches apart to give them ample room to grow. All pepper plants need plenty of full sun to thrive.

Step 4: Support the plants as needed

The plants will grow to about four feet, with branches becoming heavier as the pepper grows and ripens. You can add a stake or a taller object to attach to the main stalk to help the plants from drooping from the added weight of the fruits.

Step 5: Harvest your peppers

You can harvest the Dragon’s Breath peppers once they turn an orange-reddish color or all red. They’ll be firm to the touch or squeeze. Always wear gloves when handling these peppers.


Tabitha's passion for gardening didn't begin until she was in her twenties. She was always interested in plants, but it wasn't until she moved to a rural setting that she realized how much fun it could be. Peppers are part of her edible landscape, and she is constantly looking for new and interesting varieties to try. When she is not gardening, she spends her time reading and writing.

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