I know about the pungency Scoville heat unit. Different chillis have different SHU.

I saw one chilli sauce specification where a 43 ppm pungency units were 'required'. How much chilli puree should I add to get a result of 43 ppm pungency in the final product (chilli sauce)?

  • 1
    this is getting too complex, no ? just add some chilies and if not hot enough, add some more ?
    – Max
    Sep 21, 2016 at 18:18

1 Answer 1


Unless the chili puree you are using is an industrial product that comes with a narrow and clear specification (in SHU or ppm capsaicin), OR unless you are capable of measuring the SHU or capsaicin content yourself, this is not possible to do with any degree of accuracy - if you are processing fresh or dried chili yourself, the actual content is very dependent on natural variation and your process.

Also, these scales (ASTA ppm vs SHU) only roughly translate because of weight vs volume vs dry mass vs ... issues, and because SHU itself is not considered a truly accurate measurement.

Naively calculated (this means: if you need a plausible and demonstrably calculated BS result because somebody needs some number on some piece of paper, here is how you get your BS result), 16.000.000 SHU would be a (non*)food consisting of 100% capsaicin, so 1000ppm would be equivalent to 16000 SHU, 1ppm to 16 SHU, 43ppm to 688 SHU. If your capsaicin-bearing ingredient has eg 6880 SHU (not unrealistic!), you would use 10%.

*nonfood indeed. Pure capsaicin, while perfectly safe when incorporated into food in sufficient dilution, would be very harmful to ingest on its own!

  • While I agree with your first and second paragraph, -1 for your naive calculation. SHU is a subjective perception scale, and does not scale linearly with the amount of capsaicin. This kind of calculation is extremely misleading and should not be attempted.
    – rumtscho
    Sep 21, 2016 at 14:20
  • That's why I clearly labelled it as such, rather than giving a non-answer. Do what you want. Sep 21, 2016 at 14:25
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    "There is no way to calculate it" is an answer. Suggesting a wrong calculation when a right one does not exist is much worse.
    – rumtscho
    Sep 21, 2016 at 14:28
  • Clarified it a bit. Sep 21, 2016 at 14:38

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