I want to make a wicked spicy dish that involves Capsaicin, and regular chicken wings. I did the research to find two answers. "Capsaicin at the right amount can kill you" and "No amount of capsaicin can kill you but will result in massive pain".

My question is, for 20 decent wings, how much Capsaicin should I add to make it the equivalent to the taste and heat of a Carolina Reaper?

  • This sounds like an experiment destined to go badly wrong… why not just buy a bag of reapers, or put 6-10 habaneros or scotch bonnets in it instead (cost about $£€ 0.50)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 17:21
  • 2
    What's the source of capsaicin going to be? Extracts don't behave the same way as peppers (or pepper pastes). They don't taste the same, either. You could theoretically produce wings using OC spray as an ingredient and measure it at the same SHUs as an actual Carolina Reaper wing sauce... but why would you do that? It would almost certainly be horrific.
    – Air
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 17:29
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    The obvious best way for you to prepare hot wings with the spiciness and flavor of a Carolina Reaper sauce is to use Carolina Reaper peppers as an ingredient. And there's still a ton of room for variety in the sauce you get that way, so there's no clear goal for us to help you achieve.
    – Air
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 17:32
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    Any powder or extract that spicy is going to present a serious hazard to you. Believe me, one reaper is going to destroy anyone eating it. If you want something ridiculously spicy there's plenty of bottled sauces on the market that you could just pour on.
    – GdD
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 18:22
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    Additionally, no powdered extract is going to taste like a chilli. It's going to be 'just heat'… which in itself isn't much fun. It just all sounds like some poor 'frat joke'. Why not pop round to the local Indian & get a phall? At least it will have some flavour & some of the more challenging places will give you it for free if you manage to eat it all.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 18:37

1 Answer 1


So the start of this is pretty simple math.

Carolina Reaper flesh is around 2 million SHU.

Pure capsaicin is around 16 million SHU.

So reaper peppers are 1/8th the heat of pure capsaicin crystals.

But, the second part is more challenging. Do you want to suppliment the wings with 1/8 the volume, weight, or surface area of capsaicin powder? Weight is the easiest to figure; it would suggest that you want 13g of capsaicin per 102g average-sized wing.

However, what you bite into is the surface of the wing, and there's a good argument to be made that's where you're concerned with capsaicin density. This is harder to figure though, partly because there are no published stats on the average surface area of a chicken wing, nor the average dispersion of pure capsaicin crystals.

So the best approach is probably to handle this experimentally: start with half the weight calculation above, adding 6.5g of capsaicin per wing. Take a bite of chicken, wash your mouth out with two gallons of warm milk, and then take a bite of reaper pepper. Decide which is hotter, and adjust.

Oh, and probably talk to your doctor before attempting this.

  • I'm not sure where you came up with 13g of capsaicin, if you're saying it's 8X the power of reaper peppers then that's the equivalent of 104g of them per wing. Reapers average about 6 grams, so that's over 17 per wing, which is insane.
    – GdD
    Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 8:26
  • That's what the OP asked for. I agree it's insane.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 21:59
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    Thank you, and yes, its insane, and i might regret it, but i also like experimenting. Commented Apr 14, 2021 at 22:17

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