We Tried Burger King's New Ghost Pepper Nuggets to See If They're Actually Spicy

Spoiler alert: Heartburn followed.

Photo by Janae Price for Thrillist

I love spicy food. But I'll admit it: nine times out of 10, I can't handle much heat. I'm one of those delusional people who will ask for a spicy dish then be totally surprised when my nose is running and my tongue is on fire. So, when the idea came about to try Burger King's new Ghost Pepper Chicken Nuggets, my spice-loving aspirations pushed me to volunteer.

When Burger King first announced the new nuggets, it described them as "white meat chicken kicked up with fiery ghost pepper" and "the perfect balance between flavor and heat." So, I was naturally curious about how spicy they'd actually be in the real world. After all, fast food chains have launched all sorts of gimmicky menu items with the words "ghost pepper" in their name over the years, and many haven't delivered on the heat you'd expect.

The ghost pepper packs about 850,000 to 1,050,000 Scoville heat units and is known as one of the spiciest chili peppers in the world. So, not only was I curious, I was frankly worried about being able to get through an order. But I decided to forge ahead, and I'm glad I did.

When can you get Burger King's new Ghost Pepper Chicken Nuggets?

The King introduced the nuggets nationwide on October 11, but they'll only be on the menu for a little while. You'll have a choice to get eight-piece or four-piece orders, and both have the option to be made into a meal. I ordered the eight-piece option and waited for my turn to feel the burn.

Photo by Janae Price for Thrillist

Are the new nuggets actually spicy?

Once the spicy nuggets arrived, I gave them a good whiff and examined them. I don't know if this is just me, but I've always felt that one can discern how spicy something is by its smell. The nuggets didn't necessarily smell spicy. They smelled more like well-seasoned, fried chicken, in my opinion. But even though the smell wasn't intense, the orange-ish hue of each nugget definitely signaled spice. I also ripped open a nugget, curious to see if the inside was just as orange as the outside, and sure enough, I was greeted with Burger King's white-meat chicken. So far, so good.

As I took a bite of my first nugget, I remember immediately thinking: This isn't so bad. Then the heat hit me. You know how wasabi spice has a way of walloping your nasal passages, then there are other spices, like a good hot sauce that will make your lips burn? These nuggets offer the type of spice that you feel deeper in your body. One that almost makes you want to breathe out to see if fire will follow. I was pleasantly surprised.

Should you order them?

The heat is manageable, and it doesn't overpower the Burger King salty, seasoned chicken nugget flavor you know from the chain's standard nuggs. I'd even go as far to say that these ghost pepper nuggets might not be all that spicy for people who grew up eating spicy foods or buy hot sauces just for fun. If you're a spice-hesitant person, though, I would caution you to take it slow and maybe order the four-piece instead of the eight.

The good thing about the spiciness level of Burger King's Ghost Pepper Chicken Nuggets is although it peaks quickly, it doesn't linger too much. Well, that is if we don't count the heartburn I experienced shortly after my meal.

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Janae Price is a News Staff Writer at Thrillist. She's a native New Yorker and loves all things cheese, K-pop, and culture. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @janae_larie.