Habanero peppers are among the hottest chili peppers in the world. Measuring in between 80,000 - 600,000 Scoville Units, the habanero pepper is sure to bring the heat you crave in spicy recipes, but beware. Some people believe they can handle the heat, but may not be quite prepared for the levels of the habanero. However, we're guessing that if you're here looking for recipes, you probably love the heat as much as we do.
There are a number of varieties of habanero peppers, ranging in ripe colors from orange, red, yellow, chocolate brown, and even white, though some growers argue that anything but the Orange Habanero is not a true habanero. The most popular Orange Habanero typically measure between 100,000 SHU and 350,000 SHU, with most falling in the range of 200,000-300,000 SHU. In comparison, the jalapeno pepper ranks in with 2,500 - 8,000 units. Would you like to learn more about the Scoville Scale? Check it out at Chili Pepper Madness.
Habanero peppers are related to the Scotch bonnet and are named after the Cuban city of La Habana. They grow mainly on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, where they are believed to have originated, though they can realistically be grown anywhere. We ourselves grow plenty of habanero peppers in our own garden in Zone 5.
When asking yourself, "How hot is a habanero pepper?", you'll certainly get a range depending on the habanero peppers you are cooking with. The heat levels can depend on habanero type, but also on growing conditions. Taking a chomp out of a raw habanero will certainly result in a blast of heat for you, so beware. The best way to gauge your habanero pepper heat preference is to cook a single habanero into a large recipe. Allow the meal to simmer a bit with your habanero, then taste. You'll get plenty of heat, but if it the meal isn't hot enough for you, you can always add more habanero peppers to the mix.