Hot Spices – Spices to Get the Heat Going

Cayenne Pepper

If you are reading this article, it would mean that you are probably a fan of the hot spices. Though there are many people who avoid hot spices like a plague, there are a few who absolutely love the taste and zest that hot spices can add to food. The passages below will go over some of the very popular hot spices that are found in various parts of the world. Before, we go into the description of hot spices, you must know that the hotness of a spice is measured in terms of a metric that is known as Scoville heat units or SHU.

Cayenne pepper

Of all the hot spices, cayenne pepper is probably the most well known hot spice to the western world. Cayenne pepper has a hotness of 40,000 SHU. It is the hottest ground red pepper that is currently available in any market.


Baharat is one of the lesser known hot spices in the western world although it is very popular in Middle Eastern countries. It is quite a unique spice as it provides both a sweet taste and a lingering heat as well. This hot spice actually contains a mixture of many ingredients such as black pepper, cumin, cardamom and paprika as well.

Curry powderHot Spices - Curry Powder

Curry powders are native to India, the home of the word “curry”. Curry powders are not considered to be hot spices in India although they make the list of hot spices in many western countries. Curry powders will often contain several different Indian spices that will add a hot taste that is not overwhelming. One of the most popular curry powders is “Garam Masala” which literally translates to “Hot spices”

Ghost peppers – Caution!

Ok, if you really want to know what the extreme end of hot spices tastes like, try getting your hands on a pepper called the Bhut Jolokia. If you thought cayenne pepper is hot at 40,000 SHU, you will be amazed to know that one little Bhut Jolokia pepper has 1,000,000 SHU. That is correct, 1 Million SHU! This pepper is also native to India and powders made from these peppers are considered to the hottest spices in the entire world.

Aleppo pepper

Aleppo pepper is a hot spice that comes from the Mediterranean country of Syria. This spice lends a fruity taste that also offers some heat. The heat is strong enough to just tickle the throat although it will dissipate quite quickly. If one is only willing to try spices that are rather mild, this will be a very good choice. These are mild enough to be used as toppings on pizzas or salads.


If you are looking for spices from the African continent, you should definitely try Harissa that is actually a mix of various spices and ingredients like garlic, oil and chilies. It is native to an African country called Tunisia and the natives there use it as a spread on sandwiches and also as a seasoning ingredient in many dishes.