Yellow Fatalii chili on plant isolated on white background.

Fatalii peppers: A guide to heat, flavor, and uses

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If you’re looking for a unique and fruity pepper, you’ll love the Fatalii. Packing a punch of instant heat and citrusy sweetness, these peppers stand out in the pepper universe.

Read on to learn everything from its flavor profile and heat level to its culinary uses and growing tips.

Facts about
Fatalii peppers

Heat level:
125,000 – 400,000 SHU
Capsicum chinense

What are Fatalii peppers?

Fatalii peppers are a distinct variety classified under the Capsicum chinense species. These peppers are an African heirloom variety, specifically native to the Central African Republic and other parts of central and southern Africa. Their lineage can be traced back to peppers transported to Africa from Central and South America during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Fatalii has several color variations—yellow, white, and red—with yellow being the most commonly encountered.

yellow fatalii chili pepper isolated on a white background.

How hot are Fatalii peppers? (Scoville score)

Fatalii peppers pack a significant heat punch, registering between 125,000 and 400,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). To put this in perspective, they can be up to 146 times hotter than a standard jalapeño pepper. 

Given their heat intensity, caution is advised when handling Fatalii peppers, especially for those particularly sensitive to spicy foods. Direct contact can cause skin irritation, so consider wearing gloves when you handle them.

Flavor profile

The flavor profile of Fatalii peppers is both complex and exciting, featuring a citrusy sweetness that evokes notes of lemon and lime. This fruitiness is more pronounced when compared to some other hot peppers, such as Scotch Bonnets. 

Alongside these bright flavors, the Fatalii also delivers a significant spiciness, reinforcing its position as a very hot pepper.

Common uses for Fatalii peppers

Fatalii peppers are highly versatile and can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. They are a popular choice for hot sauces and can be seamlessly incorporated into a variety of marinades, sauces, and salsas. These peppers are often paired with fruits like pineapple and mango to complement their own tropical notes. 

Beyond the culinary realm, Fatalii peppers have even found their way into the brewing industry. For instance, Fatali Four by Upright Brewing is a well-known craft beer that features an infusion of Fatalii peppers.

What’s unique about Fatalii peppers?

What sets Fatalii peppers apart is their combination of intense fruitiness and immediate, quick-burning heat. Unlike some peppers, where the spiciness takes time to build, the heat from a Fatalii pepper is felt instantaneously upon consumption. 

Additionally, despite their fruity overtones, they generally exhibit less sweetness compared to other peppers with similar fruity characteristics.

Fatalii peppers vs. habaneros

Fatalii peppers and habaneros are believed to be closely related, and they share several similarities. Both peppers are comparable in size and bear a general resemblance in appearance. However, Fatalii peppers are thinner and more tapered, contrasting with the rounder form of habaneros. 

When it comes to heat levels, they are quite similar, but Fatalii peppers can reach up to 400,000 SHU, making them slightly hotter than orange habaneros. It’s worth noting that other variations of habaneros, such as chocolate habaneros, can surpass the Fatalii in heat intensity.

How to get Fatalii peppers

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Finding Fatalii peppers can be challenging, as they are not regularly stocked in mainstream American grocery stores. However, select hot sauces feature Fatalii peppers, such as Carnival Hot Sauce by Karma Sauce and Hellfire’s pineapple Fatalii BBQ hot sauce. Fatalii pepper powder is also available from a few specialized brands. 

Seeds are relatively easy to source for those interested in growing their own. Vendors like Pepper Joe’s and Truelove Seeds offer Fatalii pepper seeds to grow at home.

Tips for growing Fatalii peppers

Growing fatalii peppers at home is often the easiest way to get them fresh. The plants are relatively compact, generally reaching only 2-3 feet tall. 

A key consideration when deciding to grow them is the maturation period: Fatalii peppers require more than 100 days to fully mature after transplantation, so a sufficiently long growing season is essential for a successful harvest. In alignment with best practices for Capsicum chinense varieties, starting your Fatalii seeds indoors approximately 8-10 weeks before the last frost date in your area is advisable. Ensure the plants are situated in a warm, sunlit space for optimal growth.

Fatalii peppers offer a unique combination of citrusy sweetness and intense, immediate heat, making them a standout in the world of spicy peppers. Whether you want to incorporate them into hot sauces, pair them with fruits, or even infuse them in craft beers, their versatility is impressive. With flavors and heat levels comparable to, yet distinct from, habaneros, Fatalii peppers are certainly worth exploring for any spicy food enthusiast.