Everything You Wanted To Know About Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper is a hot pepper variety native to Moruga, Princes Town, and San Fernando in Trinidad and Tobago. It was officially crowned as the world’s hottest chili pepper in 2012 by the Guinness World Records, with an average heat level of over 1.2 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU). This pepper is known for its intense heat and fruity flavor, making it a popular choice among hot sauce enthusiasts and chili lovers. This article will delve into the history, characteristics, and uses of this fiery little pepper.

What is Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper? 

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper, also known as “Butch T” or “Moruga Red,” is a variety of chili pepper that belongs to the species Capsicum chinense. It is closely related to other hot peppers like the Bhut Jolokia and the 7-Pot Primo, which have also held the title of the world’s hottest pepper at some point. The name “scorpion” comes from the pointed shape of its tail, which resembles that of a scorpion. This pepper is typically red, but it can also come in shades of orange or yellow.

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper

History and Origin of the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper 

The history of the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper can be traced back to the Caribbean island of Trinidad. It is said that this pepper was first cultivated by the native Amerindian tribes, who used it for both culinary and medicinal purposes. With the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498, this pepper spread to Europe and other parts of the world.

However, it wasn’t until 2000 that the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper was officially discovered and named. Farmer Wahid Ogeer, also known as “Butch T,” found this pepper growing in his garden in the Moruga district of Trinidad. He shared seeds with fellow farmer Marcel Rodriguez, who began cultivating and selling the peppers commercially.

Since then, this pepper has gained popularity and is widely grown in various countries, including the United States, Australia, and India. Due to its extreme heat level, it has also been featured in many spicy food challenges and hot sauce competitions.

Characteristics of Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper 


The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper is characterized by its unique appearance. The pepper is small, measuring 2-3 inches in length and 0.5-1 inch in width. It has a distinctive bumpy texture and a stinger-like tail at the bottom.

Heat Level

This pepper packs a punch with a Scoville heat level ranging from 800,000 to over 2 million SHU, making it one of the hottest peppers in the world. To put this into perspective, a jalapeno pepper typically measures around 2,500-8,000 SHU.


Despite its intense heat, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper has a fruity flavor with hints of citrus and apricot. This unique combination of heat and flavor makes it popular among chili enthusiasts.

Seasonality and Availability Throughout the Year of Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper 

The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper is seasonal and typically available during summer. In countries like the United States, where the climate can be hot and humid, this pepper is usually harvested from June to August. However, the harvest season may vary in countries with colder climates, such as Australia and India.

Farmers often use greenhouses to grow these peppers to ensure a steady supply of Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers throughout the year. This allows for a controlled environment where the temperature and humidity can be regulated, creating optimal growing conditions for the pepper plants.

Additionally, dried Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers are available year-round. These peppers are picked at their peak ripeness and then dehydrated. Dried peppers have a more concentrated heat and flavor, making them popular in salsas, rubs, and hot sauces.

Growing Conditions Required for Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper

The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper is known for its intense heat, measuring up to 2 million on the Scoville scale. This pepper has gained worldwide recognition and is highly sought after by spicy food lovers. However, growing this fiery pepper requires specific conditions to achieve optimal results.


Temperature is one of the most important factors in growing Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers. These peppers thrive in hot and humid environments, with daytime temperatures ranging from 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They are particularly sensitive to cold temperatures, so it is important to provide adequate protection if you live in a colder region.


Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers require full sun exposure for at least 6-8 hours daily. This means they should be grown in an area with direct sunlight and minimal shade. If you are growing them indoors, ensure they have access to natural light or use grow lights to provide the necessary amount of sunlight.


The soil conditions for Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers should consist of well-drained, fertile soil with a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5. The soil should also be rich in organic matter and have good moisture retention capabilities. Avoid using heavy clay soils or sandy soils, as they can negatively impact the growth and health of the plant.


As mentioned earlier, these peppers require high humidity levels to thrive. This means they need to be watered frequently but not to the point of over-saturation. The soil should always be moist but never soggy. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist throughout the growing season.


Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers are heavy feeders and require regular fertilization to produce optimal results. Use a balanced fertilizer high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You can also use organic fertilizers such as compost or manure.

Preparing for Planting Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper

As the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper is one of the hottest peppers in the world, it requires special care and attention when preparing for planting. Here are some tips to help you successfully grow this fiery pepper:

Step 1: Choose the right location

The first step to successfully grow the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper is to choose the right location. This pepper thrives in warm and sunny climates, so select a spot that receives full sunlight for at least 8 hours a day. The plant also needs well-drained soil, so avoid areas prone to flooding.

Step 2: Prepare the soil

Before planting, it is essential to prepare the soil. Enrich the soil with organic matter such as compost or manure to provide the nutrients for healthy growth. The pH level should be slightly acidic, ideally between 6.0 and 6.5. You can test the pH level of your soil using a kit from your local garden center.

Step 3: Starting seeds indoors

Starting the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper seeds indoors about 8-10 weeks before the last frost date is recommended. This will give them a head start and ensure they have enough time to mature before the colder months. Fill small seedling trays or pots with potting soil and plant 2-3 seeds each. Keep the soil moist but not soaked, and place the trays in a warm location.

Step 4: Transplanting

Once the seedlings have grown to about 6 inches tall, they can be transplanted into their permanent home. It is crucial to handle them carefully and avoid damaging the delicate roots. Plant the seedlings in a hole that is twice as wide and deep as the root ball. Gently backfill the soil around the roots, making sure not to compact it too tightly.

Step 5: Providing support

As the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper plant grows, it will need support to keep it upright and stable. You can use stakes or cages to provide support for the plant. This is especially important as the peppers form and weigh down on the branches.

Growing and Caring for Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper

Now that your Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper plant is in the ground, it’s time to focus on proper care and maintenance to ensure a bountiful harvest. Here are some tips for growing and caring for these fiery peppers.

Sunlight and Watering

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers thrive in full sun, so choose a sunny spot in your garden for planting. These peppers are also quite sensitive to over-watering, so it’s essential to water them sparingly and only when the soil is dry.


To help promote strong growth and abundant fruiting, fertilize your Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper plant every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer. Be sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging to avoid over-fertilization, which can damage the plant.


Pruning your Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper plant is necessary for a healthy and productive plant. Regularly remove any damaged or diseased foliage to prevent the spread of diseases. You may also want to prune off any suckers that grow at the base of the plant, as they can compete for nutrients and hinder growth.

Pest Control

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers are generally resistant to pests, but you may encounter aphids or whiteflies that can damage the plant. If this occurs, use an insecticidal soap spray to control the pests. Follow instructions carefully, as these peppers can be sensitive to strong chemicals.

Harvesting  of Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper 

The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper plant can mature up to 120 days, depending on the growing conditions. The peppers start green and gradually turn red as they ripen. It is crucial to wait until the peppers are fully ripe before harvesting them, as this will ensure maximum heat and flavor.

To harvest the peppers, use scissors or pruning shears to clip them off the plant. Wearing gloves when handling these peppers is essential, as they can cause skin irritation and intense burning sensations. Avoid touching your face or eyes while handling the peppers.

Best Practices for Harvesting

Here are some best practices to follow when harvesting Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers:

  • Harvest the peppers in the morning when they are still cool, as this will help preserve their heat and flavor.
  • Use a sharp tool to clip off the peppers, as pulling them off by hand can damage the plant.
  • Avoid harvesting wet peppers, as this can lead to mold growth.
  • Store harvested peppers in a cool, dry place with good air circulation to prevent them from rotting.
  • Always wash your hands after handling the peppers, and avoid touching your face or eyes.

Storing Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper

Once harvested, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers can be stored in various ways, depending on your preference and intended use.

Storing Fresh Peppers

If you plan to use the peppers within a few days, store them at room temperature. Be sure to handle them carefully as they are delicate and bruise easily. You can also store them in the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag to help them last longer.

Drying Peppers

Another popular way to store Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers is by drying them. Drying the peppers prolongs their shelf life and intensifies their heat and flavor. Here’s how you can dry the peppers:

  1. Wash and dry the peppers thoroughly.
  2. Cut off the stems and slice the peppers lengthwise.
  3. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, ensuring they are not touching each other.
  4. Preheat your oven to its lowest setting (around 150°F or 65°C) and place the baking sheet inside for about 8-10 hours, flipping the peppers occasionally.
  5. Once the peppers are completely dried and slightly brittle, remove them from the oven and cool.
  6. Store the dried peppers in an airtight container, away from moisture and direct sunlight.

Freezing Peppers

Another option for storing Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers is by freezing them. Freezing preserves their heat and flavor and keeps their texture intact. Here’s how to freeze the peppers:

  1. Wash and dry the peppers thoroughly.
  2. Cut off the stems and slice the peppers lengthwise.
  3. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, ensuring they are not touching each other.
  4. Freeze the peppers for 30-60 minutes until they are slightly firm but not completely frozen.
  5. Transfer the peppers into a freezer-safe plastic bag or airtight container, removing as much air as possible.
  6. Label the container with the date and store it in the freezer for up to 12 months.

Other Storage Methods

Apart from drying and freezing, there are other ways you can store Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers:

  • Pickling: You can pickle the peppers in vinegar to preserve their flavor and heat. Cut off the stems, slice the peppers, and place them in a jar filled with vinegar. Keep the jar refrigerated for up to 6 months.
  • Making hot sauce: If you have an abundance of Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers, consider making your homemade hot sauce. Blend the peppers with vinegar, garlic, and other spices of your choice.
  • Dehydrating: If you don’t have an oven to dry the peppers, you can use a dehydrator or air fryer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

No matter which method you choose, handle Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers with caution. Wear gloves and avoid touching your eyes or face while handling them. 

Uses of Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper 

Apart from their intense heat, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers are prized for their unique fruity and floral flavor. They can add a fiery kick to a variety of dishes, such as:

  • Hot sauces: These peppers are a popular ingredient in hot sauces due to their high heat level and distinct flavor.
  • Marinades: Adding minced or pureed Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers to marinades can add spicy flavor to meats and vegetables.
  • Salsas: For those who love spicy salsa, using Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers instead of traditional peppers can take it to the next level.
  • Rubs and seasonings: Finely ground or crushed Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers can be used as a seasoning or rub for meats, adding heat and flavor.
  • Pickled peppers: Pickling the peppers not only preserves them but also creates a zesty condiment to be used in sandwiches, salads, or as a topping for burgers.

In addition to their culinary uses, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers are also becoming popular in competitive chili pepper-eating challenges. These peppers have been known to cause intense burning sensations and even temporary numbness in the mouth, making them a top choice for those seeking a fiery challenge.


In summary, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers are not for the faint of heart. With their extreme heat levels and unique flavor, they should be used cautiously in cooking and enjoyed responsibly in chili pepper-eating challenges. So, if you dare to take on these peppers, follow proper handling precautions and enjoy the intense heat and flavor they offer. But for those who prefer a milder spice level, it’s best to stick with more mild varieties of peppers. 

Whatever your taste, the world of chili peppers offers diverse flavors and heat levels to satisfy all types of palates. So next time you reach for a hot sauce or add some heat to your dish, think of the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper and the rich history and unique qualities that make it a sought-after ingredient in the culinary world.

Mitch Baylis

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