How-To: Grow Super Hot Ghost Chilis

Food & Beverage Gardening
How-To: Grow Super Hot Ghost Chilis


There’s no better way to spice up your garden than growing one of the world’s hottest chili peppers: Bhut Jolokia, otherwise known as the ghost chili. In 2007, the ghost chili was certified as the hottest pepper in the world by Guinness World Records, 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce and 125 times hotter than the spiciest jalapeño. (The current world record goes to the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.) It’s so hot that in 2009 India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation announced plans to use the peppers in hand grenades. Before you get carried away, though, the ghost chili can be used for peaceful, tasty purposes too. In MAKE Volume 33, Portland, Oregon-based maker Gabriel Nagmay taught us how to grow this lovely little pepper and even shared his recipe for Belizean-style Ghost Sauce. Check out Gabriel’s full how-to and invite the ghost into your garden.





Illustration by Evan Hughes


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16 thoughts on “How-To: Grow Super Hot Ghost Chilis

  1. herki says:

    We got one of these last year, and it thrived all summer in a pot on our deck. It must’ve yielded about 50 peppers- they’re incredibly prolific. We brought it inside for winter, and it bloomed the whole time, though it didn’t get the requisite cooler nights to go fruit, which is good, because we already had way too many peppers. We had to resort to slicing them open and drying them at really low heat for a couple days in our oven, and crumble them into a jar.

    1. Goli Mohammadi says:

      Wow! Did you wear gloves when handling them? In his article, Gabriel says, “Each pepper is so potent that even minimal contact can numb your fingertips.” Was that true for you?

      1. openmakersdaily says:

        What about the Naga Viper Pepper?

      2. openmakersdaily says:

        To answer your question : I could feel heat in my fingers with habanero peppers bought at the local store.

        Hah, new Feb 2012 record :

        1. Goli Mohammadi says:

          Yup — I had mentioned the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion in the post! On a side note, I ran across this crazy video of Anandita Dutta Tamuli attempting to break her 2008 world record of eating 60 Bhut Jolokia in 2 minutes: She then sets a record for rubbing 24 of them in her eyes! Holy smokes!

      3. herki says:

        That wasn’t the case when I was picking them, but I was only touching the outsides with my bare skin. As soon as it came to prepping them, the gloves went on. Much easier to throw out a pair of gloves than deal with oils on your fingers that stay present for hours, regardless of how well you wash your hands.

    2. amyinnh says:

      I’ve had pretty good luck stringing the extra peppers, with a needle and thread or dental floss, and hanging in a sunny window to dry for a couple of days. Can hang in the kitchen on the thread or moved to a glass jar.

  2. craig says:

    But how is the FLAVOR compared to the good old Habenero? I absolutely love the flavor of the Hab, from early green pickings to get just flavor an little heat, to the full blown heat and flavor of the orange mature peppers. The harvest stage and applications of the pepper is an art. If the flavor of the pepper is no good and all you get is burn… What’s the point? That’s like drinking to get drunk. I enjoy the journey now… take it all in and savor the senses.

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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