The habanero pepper: everything about this hot pepper

Origins and Characteristics

The habanero pepper, originally from Mexico, is an extremely spicy pepper belonging to the Solanaceae family. Also known as the Caribbean pepper, it is renowned for its strength, reaching up to 577,000 on the Scoville scale. Just one drop can burn the lips and tongue, making it one of the hottest peppers in the world.

Use and Cultivation

In Metropolitan France

In Metropolitan France, this pepper is mainly grown for its decorative aspect. However, its use is not limited to ornamentation.

In the Caribbean and the Comoros

In the Caribbean and the Comoros, the habanero pepper is used in a particular way: it is rubbed on food without being eaten directly. Its unique aroma is essential in Caribbean cuisine, adding a distinctive flavor to many dishes.

In Madagascar and Mexico

In Madagascar, where it is called “tsilanidimilahy”, the habanero pepper is used as a condiment alongside rice and other accompaniments. In Mexico, it is used to infuse drinks such as mezcal and tequila, adding a distinctive spicy note.

Common Names and Classification

The habanero pepper is known by different names around the world:

  • Bondamanjak in the Caribbean and Guyana.
  • Piment Cabri in La Réunion.
  • Sometimes called “sept-court-bouillon”, this variety of pepper has a dark brown fruit and an interesting etymology, evoking the buttocks of Madame Jacques.

Its scientific name is Capsicum chinense, mistakenly attributed due to its supposed presence in Chinese cuisine.

Varieties of Hot Peppers

The habanero pepper is part of a large family of intense peppers. Here are some examples of popular varieties:

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Popular Peppers

  • Ají Rocotillo
  • Bhut Jolokia
  • Carolina Reaper
  • Datil
  • Habanero

Intense Pepper Varieties

  • Pepper X
  • Red Savina
  • Scotch Bonnet

Among the Strongest

  • Trinidad Moruga Scorpion
  • Trinidad Scorpion Butch T


The habanero pepper is more than just a condiment; it is a central element in many cuisines around the world. Its incredible strength and unique aroma make it a valuable ingredient, whether to enhance dishes, decorate gardens, or even infuse drinks. Despite its power, it is appreciated for the intense flavors it brings, demonstrating that spicy cuisine is a true art.