Have a glass of ice water handy because what you’re about to read might have your eyes watering!
For those that love their food with heat, the spicier the better, but when it comes to cheese have you ever wondered what the hottest kinds are?
We’ve dug deep to uncover the spiciest cheeses out there, the types of peppers they use, and much more.
To help you find what you’re looking for, we’ve grouped the spiciest cheeses below from mild to extremely hot. The cheeses are ranked based on the heat the ingredients produce on the Scoville Scale, which measures the concentrations of heat within chili peppers.
The heat measured is known as a Scoville Heat Unit and ranges from zero, where bell peppers fall on the scale, up to 2.2 million, which is the measurement for the notorious, and aptly named, Carolina Reaper pepper.
So, get your tastebuds ready, they’ll be on fire before you know it!
Mild Spicy Cheese
Black Pepper Cheese and Smoked Black Pepper Cheese
Black pepper doesn’t have a Scoville rating since it doesn’t contain capsaicin, which is the ingredient in chili peppers that imparts heat when tasting. Instead, the mild spiciness in black pepper comes from an alkaloid called piperine. Black pepper cheeses are typically made with white cheese that can be hard, soft or smoked with a nutty flavor and hint of spice from the pepper.
|Mild Spicy Cheese
|Black Pepper Cheese, Smoked Black Pepper Cheese
|White cheese that is infused with black pepper. The spiciness comes from piperine, an alkaloid in black pepper. Can be hard, soft, or smoked. Has a nutty flavor with a hint of spice.
Medium Spicy Cheese
Most chipotle cheeses you’ll find will be on the milder side since the chipotle peppers range from 2,500 – 8,000 heat units on the Scoville scale, putting them in the milder category. Popular cheeses used with chipotle include jack cheese, gouda cheese, and chevre.
Similar to chipotle, sriracha peppers are toward the lower end of the Scoville scale and have heat units that range from 1,000 – 2,500 making them tolarable to those who like a hint of spice. Popular blends using sriracha include jack cheese and cheddar cheese.
It might surprise you to see jalapenos classified as medium here, but the Scoville Scale puts them in the same category as chipotle with heat ranges not exceeding 8,000. Popular jalapeno cheese blends include muenster, cheddar, jack and juusto among others.
If jalapenos are too hot for you, then you don’t have any reason to read on, the heat only rises from here!
|Type of Spicy Cheese
|Medium Spicy Cheese
|Cheese that has a noticeable but tolerable level of spiciness, typically ranges from 2,500 to 8,000 heat units on the Scoville scale.
|Made from chipotle peppers, a variety of chili pepper that ranges from 2,500 to 8,000 heat units on the Scoville scale.
|Made from sriracha peppers, a variety of chili pepper that ranges from 1,000 to 2,500 heat units on the Scoville scale.
|Made from jalapeno peppers, a variety of chili pepper that ranges from 2,500 to 8,000 heat units on the Scoville scale.
Hot Spicy Cheese
Buffalo Wing Cheddar Cheese
Buffalo wing cheddar is a favorite of partygoers and for good reason. The creamy mildness of the cheddar takes the edge of the heat from the buffalo wing sauce. Since some wing sauces have a Scoville heat unit of over 300,000, that’s a good thing!
|Type of Spicy Cheese
|Hot Spicy Cheese
|Cheese that has a strong and intense level of spiciness, typically ranges from over 8,000 heat units on the Scoville scale.
|Buffalo Wing Cheddar Cheese
|Made by infusing cheddar cheese with buffalo wing sauce, which can have a Scoville heat unit of over 300,000.
Very Hot Spicy Cheese
Habanero Pepper Cheese
The heat from habanero peppers starts at 100,000 and goes all the way up to 577,000 Scoville Units for the chocolate habanero. Some cheese makers use it sparingly, but most of the habanero cheeses on the market are plenty hot! You’ll typically find it blended with jack or cheddar cheeses.
|Type of Spicy Cheese
|Very Hot Spicy Cheese
|Cheese that has a very strong and intense level of spiciness, typically ranges from over 100,000 heat units on the Scoville scale.
|Habanero Pepper Cheese
|Made by infusing cheese with habanero peppers, which can have a Scoville heat unit of 100,000 to 577,000, depending on the variety.
Extremely Hot Spicy Cheese
Ghost Pepper Cheese
The ghost pepper has its origins in India, where it’s known as Bhut Jolokia. It packs an eye watering 850,000+ Scoville Heat Units into each bite, so beware! Most cheese makers use cheddar with the ghost pepper. It can be deceptive since the heat is said to accumulate slowly so it’s best to use caution.
Chili Pepper Cheese
For the truly adventurous, cheeses in this category will send you running for the nearest glass of ice water.
Carolina Reaper Cheese. This cheese features specially grown peppers known as, you guessed it, Carolina Reapers. To call these hot doesn’t do it justice. For comparison, the average cayenne pepper can have up to 50,000 Scoville units, while Carolina Reapers boast a mouth singeing number that can reach as high as 2,000,000 Scoville units!
Running a close second to the Carolina Reaper is Scorpion Cheddar. This cheese is no slouch in the heat department either checking in at 1.2 million Scoville units.
|Type of Spicy Cheese
|Extremely Hot Spicy Cheese
|Cheese that has an extremely strong and intense level of spiciness, typically ranges from over 850,000 heat units on the Scoville scale.
|Ghost Pepper Cheese
|Made by infusing cheese with ghost pepper, which can have a Scoville heat unit of 850,000+.
|Chili Pepper Cheese
|Cheese that features very hot peppers, such as Carolina Reaper and Scorpion. The Carolina Reaper has a Scoville heat unit of 2,000,000 and Scorpion Cheddar has 1.2 million Scoville units.
Other Types of Spicy Cheese
We’ve included some other cheese below that while not technically rated on the Scoville Scale might still be considered spicy by some, so they’re worth a mention. Instead of deriving their heat from capsaicin, cheeses in this category derive the heat sensation you experience from allyl isothiocyanate.
Allyl isothiocyanate vaporizes quickly. As a result, you experience the heat sensation in your nostrils, as opposed to your tongue. Unlike the heat from chili peppers, it doesn’t linger but passes much sooner.
Horseradish Cheese and Wasabi Cheese
As previously mentioned, both horseradish and wasabi deliver their heat via allyl isothiocyanate, which doesn’t have a Scoville rating. Instead of experiencing the heat on your tongue, you will experience it in your nostrils. Another common example of food with allyl isothiocyanate is hot mustard. Cheeses used in this group are usually white cheddar, yellow cheddar or havarti.
Hiya! I’m Kimberly, a contributing writer here at Miss Buttercup. I was born and raised in the UP, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for those who don’t know, the land of beautiful, beach-filled sunny summer days and bone-chilling long winters. Growing up there made me appreciate all the little things about life, especially the way a delicious meal can bring people closer together. I try and put that same feeling into each article I write and I hope it comes across that way!