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Scotch bonnet pepper | Uses and health benefits

Scotch Bonnet Pepper

What is Scotch Bonnet Pepper?

Widely known by names like Bahama mamas or Jamaican hots, Scotch Bonnet peppers are hot! A scotch bonnet pepper may sound timid, but in reality, it is nothing of that sort. With a Scoville Heat Unit ranging between 100,000 to 350,000 units, you might not want to take a bite if you are not a spice lover.

Scotch Bonnet peppers are found in the Caribbean islands and are in fact THE hottest pepper in that region. In some regions, this pepper grows longer with less of a squashed appearance, but it is still the same, spicy hot pepper used in Caribbean cooking. Scotch bonnet is used in all sorts of Caribbean cuisine, including the well-known jerk chicken (or jerk pork). Its sweet, tropical flavor pairs perfectly well with island tastes.

Today, the Scotch Bonnet remains a staple of Caribbean cooking. Because the chili pepper has a sweet and tropical taste, it’s traditionally used to make pepper sauce. This popular condiment is used on everything from chicken to casserole.   

What do Scotch Bonnets look like?


Whenever you visit the Caribbean islands and inquire about a hot pepper, you are most likely handed the Scotch Bonnet pepper. They grow in a flattened shape resembling a ‘Scotsman’s bonnet’, more like a squashed appearance. Because of their squat dimensions, these fruity firecrackers look like tam o’ shanter caps. They are relatively petite peppers ranging from 1 to 2½ inches in length and approximately 1 to 2 inches in diameter.

Being a close relative to habanero, they are considered spicier than jalapenos. This is especially the case if you purchase them in areas of the U.S. with high Caribbean populations who like their dishes hot. The peppers can be used whole, sliced, or chopped. Scotch bonnets are expensive, and priced several times higher than jalapeño peppers.

When considering how they appear and what colors they are available in, Scotch Bonnet peppers are most commonly found in bright Yellow color and fiery Red colors. Other subvarieties include:

  • The Chocolate Scotch Bonnet has a chocolatey appearance and offers an earthy flavor with hints of smokiness.  
  • The Sweet Scotch Bonnet has just a hint of heat with a sweet, tropical taste.
  • The Jamaican Scotch Bonnet is the spiciest cultivar commonly used in jerk sauces. 


Scotch bonnets are hot peppers, extremely hot, but they can have an almost sweet, fruity underlying flavor beneath all that spice. This can vary somewhat from region to region, however, because it depends on the soil conditions in which they are grown. You may think of them being spicy as hell and citrusy at the same time. A great combination for spice lovers!

Scotch Bonnet Uses and Health Benefits

How to cook using Scotch Bonnet peppers

If you are looking to cook some authentic Jamaican jerk chicken or pork, you might want to use Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Peppers which are most widely used in Caribbean cooking. Cooking with Scotch Bonnet requires some safety measures of eye protection and gloves. It is highly recommended to never prepare the peppers without basic precautions, which are as follows:

  • Do not ever touch the eyes or unprotected skin when working with Scotch Bonnets and thoroughly wash any surfaces or utensils that come in contact with the peppers.
  • After slicing the pepper, use cold water to wash your rubber gloves, the chopping board, the knife, and any other utensils that came into contact with the pepper or its seeds. This is important: the Scotch bonnet pepper is one of the world’s hottest chili peppers (If you are not careful, they can cause some serious irritation).
  • Use kitchen gloves and goggles when cutting scotch bonnet peppers. The true potential for pain comes from chopping these chilies. Then, the capsaicin oils (particularly in the white membrane) are exposed and a simple touch can lead to an uncomfortable burning sensation. Using gloves helps keep a barrier between you and those oils. And goggles keep you from mistakenly rubbing your eyes while working with these chilies.
  • It is advised to have prior knowledge of handling chili burn before you start handling scotch bonnets. In case you get the burn, keep milk at hand. Water certainly will not work well for you.

Scotch Bonnet Health Benefits

Scotch bonnet peppers are a type of chili pepper that is popular in Caribbean cuisine. They are known for their spicy flavor and distinctive shape, which is similar to a bonnet or hat. While they are mainly used for their taste, Scotch bonnet peppers also offer several health benefits:

Rich in nutrients: 

Scotch bonnet peppers are a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, folate, and dietary fiber.

May aid in weight loss: 

The capsaicin found in Scotch bonnet peppers can help boost metabolism, which can aid in weight loss efforts.

May help reduce inflammation: 

Capsaicin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation in the body and prevent chronic diseases.

May help reduce pain: 

Capsaicin has also been shown to have analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, which can be beneficial for conditions such as arthritis and neuropathic pain.

May improve heart health: 

Some studies have suggested that consuming spicy foods like Scotch bonnet peppers may help improve heart health by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

However, it is important to note that Scotch bonnet peppers are very spicy and can cause discomfort for some people. They should be consumed in moderation and with caution, especially by those with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues.

Where to Buy?

The Scotch Bonnet is not an item that is typically found in local supermarkets, though some areas with a substantial Latin population may carry them. The easiest way to procure the peppers is to search for an online retailer. For those that want to try growing some themselves, there are also sources where the seeds and plants can be purchased.


Store your Scotch bonnet peppers in a zipper bag and in a drawer. They shall stay fresh for up to 3 weeks. If you cannot use them up, you can either freeze them or hang them dry in the sun. To freeze them, just wash, cut, and freeze them on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Once firm, transfer to zip-top bags and freeze for up to a year.

Another option is drying them. Wash them, cut them into pieces if desired, and then use a needle and cotton thread to make a strand of peppers. Hang them up in a sunny area to dry. Store them in the freezer or an airtight container and rehydrate them with warm water before using them.

Scotch Bonnet Peppers are a versatile ingredient and are used in amazing recipes like Jerk Chicken, Fish Tacos, African Mofongo, etc. Dingolay hot sauces are extremely popular when it comes to exploring the world of spice and fiery foods! Try our hot sauces and you will not regret it one bit! Satisfy your spice cravings with our Scorpion, Mango, Pineapple, and our Original Hot sauce. Visit us online and place your order today!

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