How Do You Test Peppers for Scoville Units?

The dream for many hot pepper growers is to end up on the World’s Hottest Peppers List. But how will you ever know if you have a winner on your hands if you can’t get it tested for a Scoville heat rating? Here is a guide to help you get your own chili or hot sauce officially tested for SHU.

Find a Scoville Testing Lab

First, you need to find a lab that will conduct a high-performance liquid chromatography on your peppers. This test will decide the number of parts per million of heat-causing alkaloids that are in each of your individual peppers.

Testing Lab for Peppers
High performance liquid chromatography lab

In order to do this, your peppers will have to be liquefied and the resulting liquid will then be divided into different parts. You can usually find a university with a lab that will run this test. Winthrop University and Southwest Bio Labs are just two examples of Scoville testing labs. Find a lab and schedule a Scoville heat testing time for your peppers.

Keep in mind that getting your peppers tested will cost you, but it’s probably not as much as you think. Each lab will differ, but it will probably cost you around $65. Ask the lab for a price before scheduling a Scoville heat testing time.

Transport Your Peppers

Next, you need to get your peppers to the Scoville testing lab. If you’re close by, you can probably drop them off. But if not, your best option is shipping fresh or powdered peppers. If you choose to powder your peppers, cut them and use a food dehydrator to make them brittle. Afterward, you can use a coffee grinder or a small blender that will turn your peppers into a fine powder. Package your powder and ship it to the lab.

Powdered and fresh paprika peppers
Example of fresh and powdered paprika

Follow Guinness World Records’ Guidelines

If you think you may have a record-holder on your hands, you’ll have some more work to do. Check out Guinness World Records’ website for the official guidelines on applying as well as collecting and submitting evidence that proves your pepper is a record holder. You will need a signed statement of authentication from an expert in horticulture. You’ll also need at least two witnesses who will have to give their own statements and submit them to Guinness.

Make sure you thoroughly read all the requirements and follow them to the letter. You might have only one chance to prove your pepper’s worth!

Waiting for Your Answer

Then you wait. You may have to wait months or it may take just a couple weeks. Guinness World Records should correspond with you to let you know if you were accepted or rejected. If they accept your evidence, you may have a winning pepper on your hands that goes down in hot pepper history!

Hopefully, now you feel ready to get your hot pepper or hot sauce professionally tested. You’ll never know if you don’t try! Since the process is fairly inexpensive, you really have nothing to lose!


  • Thought Co.: Scoville Scale Organoleptic Test
  • Wikipedia: Paprika

The Popularity of Scoville Testing Over Time

Popularity of Scoville Testing Over Time via Google
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