Abstract A theoretical analysis has been carried out to study efficient microwave heating of porous dielectrics. The heating effects are analyzed for two types of porous material: beef-air (b/a) and beef-oil (b/o) with and without ceramic supports (Al 2O 3 and SiC). Three test cases for porosities ( ϕ) 0.3, 0.45 and 0.6 are considered. The maxima in average power corresponding to resonances occur at various sample thicknesses for all porous materials with and without supports and two dominant resonance modes R 1 and R 2 are considered where the average power at R 1 is larger than that at R 2. It is interesting to observe that average power absorption is enhanced for samples (b/a and b/o) in presence of Al 2O 3 support whereas the average power is smaller with SiC support. From the analysis on spatial distribution of electric field, power and temperature, it is seen that runaway heating is observed at the face which is not attached with support for b/a samples, and the intensity of thermal runaway increases with porosity whereas lower thermal runaway is observed for b/o samples at all porosity values. An efficient heating strategy has been investigated for various distributions of microwave incidences. It is observed that one side incidence may correspond to the largest heating rates whereas distributed sources may correspond to smaller thermal runaway for both beef-air (b/a) and beef-oil (b/o) samples.