There has been increasing interest in hornet peppers over the last few years, popularized in part by Marie Sharp’s Red Hornet Pepper Sauce. In fact, Marie Sharp’s cultivated their own unique type of hornet pepper from the Trinidad scorpion pepper, one of the hottest peppers on earth, and so they are sometimes also referred to as “Trinidad hornet”.

It seems that “hornet pepper” broadly refers to different recently cultivated, ultra hot peppers from the Capsicum Chinense family. Most were cultivated from scorpion peppers, however, the KS Starracha Hornet is a cross between the yellow scotch bonnet and the Carolina reaper.

Aside from Marie Sharp’s Red Hornet, no other form of hornet pepper has become widely popular.

How hot?

1,400,000+ Scoville Heat Units (SHU)

Scientific name

Capsicum Chinense


Hornet peppers are extremely spicy, so if you eat them plain you are unlikely to notice any taste other than pure heat. They have also been described as bitter and slightly floral.


Hornet peppers are incredibly spicy, making them an up-and-coming option for extra-spicy hot sauces. They are also dried and ground into powders and flakes. Because of their extreme heat, they are not a pepper that most people would want to use in home cooking.

Where to buy hornet peppers

For the most part, hornet peppers are not widely commercially available yet aside from Marie Sharp’s Red Hornet sauce, which you can purchase below. You can also grow your own hornet peppers at home, depending on the specific type you are interested in. Be sure to wear gloves and goggles when you process hornet peppers at home.

Hot sauces with hornet peppers

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Hornet pepper seeds

There are a variety of peppers referred to as “hornet peppers”, so do thorough research to determine if the seeds you are buying are the exact type that you are looking for. Atlantic Pepper Seeds sells seeds for a Trinidad Hornet, as well as a Trinidad Hornet Chocolate. Jimmy Pickles Product Line LLC sells their own type of hornet pepper, which is a cross between a yellow scotch bonnet and Carolina reaper.