Naga Viper: A Rare, Hybrid Superhot Chili Pepper

naga viper pepper
The naga viper pepper is among the world's hottest peppers. This hybrid chili from the Trinidad Moruga scorpion, naga morich, and ghost pepper reaches 900,000-1,382,118 SHUs and boasts flavor and eye-watering heat that make it a favorite among bold hot pepper lovers.

What Is A Naga Viper Pepper?

The Naga viper is a superhot chili from the capsicum annum species. The pepper originated from south Cumbria in the United Kingdom, and is a hybrid of three superhot peppers.

This pepper’s name sounds like a warningNaga refers to a cobra snake in Sanskrit, while viper is the English name for a poisonous snake. Think of a venomous cobra; you’ll understand naga viper’s heat stings.

In 2010, British chili enthusiast and owner of a Cumbria-based chili pepper company and farmer, Gerald Fowler, sought to create a record-breaking hot pepper.

He combined three hot peppers, including Trinidad Moruga scorpion, naga morich and ghost pepper, to make one superhot chili – Naga viper.

naga viper hybrid
The naga viper is a hybrid pepper from three superhot chilis.

The pepper’s pungency earned it the Guinness book of records title as the hottest pepper in 2011.

After one brief year, Trinidad scorpion bagged the prestigious title, and in 2017, Carolina reaper pepper broke the record and is still the holder.

Since the naga viper is a 3-way hybrid pepper, it has similar features to its parents, especially heat, appearance, and flavor.


Naga viper chilis share features with its parents with a combination of smooth, bumpy, or sometimes wrinkly skin, with some fruit presenting deep folds and grooves.                                        


Chili naga viper has a sweet, fruity taste like naga morich and an earthy undertone similar to ghost peppers. Additionally, these superhot chilis have a tanginess and a hint of citrus flavor.


Naga vipers feature slender, elongated shapes similar to the naga morich and ghost pepper. The tips are curvy and may sport a short scorpion’s tail like the Trinidad Moruga pepper.


These peppers are green when young, turning into a stunning orange-yellow hue and deep, bright red once they ripen.


Naga viper is small to medium-sized with a mature pepper growing 2- 3.5 inches long. A well-maintained pepper tree gets up to four feet tall.

How Hot Is The Naga Viper?

Nagas are superhot with a range of 900,000-1,382, 118 SHUs on the Scoville heat scale. The painfully hot chilis take after Trinidad Moruga scorpion and naga morich – the parent peppers.

The scorching Carolina reaper (2.2 million SHUs) has a heat level almost twice that of a naga viper chili.

Compared to a habanero chili (100,000-350,000 SHUs), naga viper peppers are 3-14 times hotter. The humble jalapenos (2,500-8,000 SHUs) are dwarfed by naga viper’s heat, making them 113-353 milder in spice.

Is The Naga Viper Pepper The Hottest Pepper In The World?

No. The Carolina reaper is the hottest pepper, with 2,200,000 Scoville heat units. The reaper is followed closely by the Trinidad Moruga scorpion (2,009,231 SHUs), 7 Pot douglah with (1,853,936 SHUs), 7 pot primo (1,469,000 SHUs) and Trinidad scorpion, a.k.a butch T (1,463, 700 SHUs).

Naga viper chilis follow in the sixth position.

Which Is Hotter – A Naga Viper Or Ghost Pepper?

Though with a small margin, a naga viper pepper is hotter than the ghost pepper. The viper has 1,382,118 SHUs on the Scoville scale, while Ghost pepper (bhut jolokia) boasts 1,041,427 SHUs.

How To Use Naga Viper Chili Peppers

You can use naga viper peppers in any recipe that calls for other superhot chilis, like scorpion peppers, Carolina reapers, or ghost peppers. Don’t substitute it in the same amounts for milder peppers.

  • Naga peppers are best for making superhot hot sauces.
  • The peppers taste great in extremely spicy curries.
  • Naga vipers are excellent as stuffed hot peppers.
  • Use this scorching hot pepper in spicy soups and stews
  • Dried and used as chili rubs for meats and seafood.

Use tips:

  1. Be careful. Use gloves before and after handling naga viper peppers, as they can burn your skin.
  2. Wear protective eyewear to prevent severe capsaicin irritation on eyes, skin and face. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after touching any superhot chili peppers.
  3. Use a tiny portion of naga vipers at a time.
  4. Remove seeds and ribs, as they add more heat to your dishes.

Is Naga Viper The Same As The Chocolate Naga Viper?

The chocolate naga viper, a creation by Steve Bender, is a cross between the naga viper chili and a chocolate ghost pepper.

These two peppers are close relatives but different in various aspects, as follows:

  • Origin: Naga viper chilis originated from Cumbria, United Kingdom, whereas the chocolate naga viper is Indian/Bangladeshi.
  • Color: Mature naga vipers have a deep red hue, while chocolate nagas possess stunning dark brown, chocolate colors.
  • Shape: Both Naga vipers have irregular oval shapes and smooth or bumpy skin with grooves and folds.
  • Size: Naga viper peppers are slightly shorter, measuring 3-5 cm long. The chocolate ones have a length of 3-7cm.
  • Taste: Intense spice, fruitiness, and tanginess describe a naga viper’s flavor. On the other hand, chocolate naga vipers are fruitier with a distinctive smoky taste.
chocolate naga viper
Naga viper and chocolate naga viper share many similarities.

What Does It Mean When A Pepper Variety Is “Unstable?”

When a pepper variety is unstable, it has yet to be grown for enough generations to produce offspring with the same consistent features as the parent plants.

This inconsistency is what creates variations in spice, taste, color and shape—the naga viper chili is an excellent example of such unstable varieties. You and your neighbor may both get seeds from the same retailer and end up with very different-looking and tasting peppers!

Where To Buy Naga Vipers

Naga vipers are still undergoing research, making them rare. If you live in the U.K. or nearby areas, you may be able to find them at chili farms or local farmers’ markets.

Your best bet is buying naga viper seeds online from Etsy and Amazon and planting your chilis.

You may also check out Gerald Fowler’s Chilli Pepper Company. He created this pepper, and his company should be the best source of quality seeds.

Can You Grow Naga Viper Peppers?

Like other capsicum chinense varieties, naga viper peppers grow well in warm, moist climates, full sun, rich, well-drained soils and ample water. Naga chilis take approximately 21 for germination and 90 days to fruit.

However, be ready to get naga-like peppers with different tastes, colors, sizes and shapes since the current naga vipers are unstable hybrids.

If you want the exact features of this pepper, you might have to wait for it to get consistent offspring after a few more generations.

Super hot Pepper Substitutes For The Naga Viper

In the absence of naga vipers, Trinidad Moruga scorpion, naga morich and bhut jolokia peppers are the best substitutes.

Since they are naga viper’s parent chilis, they have similar flavor profiles and heat levels. The chocolate naga viper is another chili you can use to give your dishes the sweet tasty flavor of naga viper with similar spiciness.

If you can’t find fresh naga vipers, scotch bonnets and habaneros are the next spiciest peppers available in most supermarkets. However, both of these peppers have a fruitier flavor profile and considerably less heat.


Aside from being a writer, Regie is a food lover. She loves adding chili to almost everything – apart from tea. Within her small compound, she has lots of red and green chilis that grow throughout the year. She looks forward to sharing her love and passion for pepper through crafting informational pieces that you’ll love. Happy reading!

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