Komodo Dragon Pepper: Super-Hot With A Slow, Lingering Burn

komodo dragon pepper
If you're one of the many who take pleasure in extreme heat, the super-hot Komodo Dragon pepper is a must-try. The Komodo doesn't offer a quick pop of heat that fades either - this pepper that looks like a cross between a 7 pot and a bhut jolokia has a heat that takes hold of you and won't let go.

What Are Komodo Dragon Peppers?

The komodo dragon pepper is a cultivar of capsicum chinense and is widely known as one of the hottest peppers in the world. It even looks the part, with its red, wrinkly skin and pointed end lending a sinister, dragon-like appearance.

This particular pepper hails from Blunham, Bedfordshire, in the United Kingdom, where it’s cultivated and grown by Salvatore Genovese, who’s also known for creating the Bedfordshire Super Naga.

The development of the Komodo dragon pepper is part of the worldwide race to create the hottest pepper known to man. And with the Komodo dragon pepper, they indeed came close.

You’re not wrong if you think the Komodo Dragon pepper has a familiar appearance. They resemble a combination of the 7 Pot pepper and the Ghost pepper. 

Komodo Dragon Pepper Quick Facts

Origin: Blunham, Bedfordshire

Color: Red

Flavor: Sweet fruitiness with heat that builds and lingers

Size: 1-2 inches

How hot is the Komodo Dragon chili pepper?

As one of the world’s superhot peppers, the Komodo dragon pepper measures a blistering 1,400,000 – 2,200,000 SHUs (Scoville heat units). This is slightly less than the Carolina reaper, the current record holder for the hottest pepper in the world.

To provide a clearer picture of where the Komodo dragon compares to other well-known hot (and not-so-hot) peppers, take a look at the following chart:

Is The Komodo Dragon Pepper the Same as Dragon’s Breath Chili?

While they both have serpantine names, the Komodo dragon pepper and the Dragon’s breath pepper are not the same, and confusing them could be deadly.

The dragon’s breath chili averages 2.48M SHUs, close to 1 million SHUs hotter than the mildest Carolina Reaper.

The dragon’s breath chili wasn’t developed for culinary purposes. Its intended use is as an anesthetic for those allergic to traditional analgesics. Ingesting the dragon’s breath chili could be fatal.

The good news is that it’s difficult to find dragon’s breath peppers, so heat-loving daredevils tempted to risk their health don’t have easy access to this dangerous chili pepper.

What Is The Komodo Dragon Chili Used For?

The most obvious use for the Komodo Dragon pepper is to create a scorching sauce.

Realistically, the heat level of the Komodo dragon pepper makes it an unlikely ingredient for most people.

Those who love heat should be aware of the delayed reaction associated with this chili. The first thing you notice with the Komodo dragon is its fruity flavor, but within seconds it can feel like your whole mouth is on fire. That blistering feeling can take some time to subside as well.

The Komodo can be added to:

  • Salsas
  • Marinades
  • Soups
  • Stews

Or any other dish that calls for peppers. You can also dry them and grind them into a powder for seasoning. Try a sprinkle on popcorn for a fiery treat.

However, it should be done with caution, and care should be taken when handling this pepper. Gloves and face coverings are recommended.

Where To Buy Komodo Dragon Peppers

Komodo dragon peppers are one of the few boutique hot peppers readily found in many grocery stores.

In the United Kingdom, there was such a demand for the extreme chili that local Tesco stores began to keep them in stock. There was such a clamour for the chilis that an Irish media outlet compiled a collection of recipes just for the Komodo dragon pepper.

The trend carried over, and now many stores regularly have a few Komodo dragon peppers available in the produce section.

If your local stores don’t have any, Komodo dragon peppers and pepper products can be easily ordered online.

Can You Grow Komodo Dragon Peppers?

Komodo dragon pepper seeds can be ordered online from many retailers, including Amazon, and are relatively easy to grow.

Start seeds inside several weeks before the last frost, keeping them in a sunny location where the soil will stay warm. Germination typically takes 14-28 days.

Once the seedlings have between 4-6 sets of leaves, they’re ready for transplant.

Komodo dragon pepper plants are bushy and prefer some room to breathe. They also like full sun and to dry out a bit between watering.

They are well suited for container gardening, so transplanting them into a large pot and placing them in a sunny location can keep your pepper plant happy.

Substitutes For Komodo Dragon Peppers

If the Komodo dragon pepper can’t be found, and heat is what you’re after, you can use a Trinidad scorpion pepper or any of the 7-pot peppers in its place.

If you’re looking for a flavor substitute, habaneros are the better bet, but are considerably milder.


Lorin is a writer, editor, photographer, and loves a culinary adventure. She routinely climbs up the Scoville heat ladder using peppers and spice to update and create new recipes for friends. Over the years she's become a pepper aficionado, growing and cultivating several varieties in her home garden.

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