A detailed theoretical analysis has been carried out to study efficient microwave processing of 1D emulsion samples placed on ceramic plates (alumina, SiC). The effective dielectric property of an emulsion is a strong function of the continuous medium of the emulsion (o/w or w/o). A preliminary study has been carried out via average power within an emulsion vs emulsion thickness diagram for various cases. The maxima in average power, also termed as 'resonances', are observed for specific emulsion thicknesses and the two consecutive resonances are termed as R1 and R2 modes. The heating scenarios have been analyzed at the dominant resonance mode. Based on spatial distributions of power and temperature for various cases, alumina support at the left side may be recommended as the optimal heating strategy due to greater heating rates with controlled thermal runaway for both o/w and w/o emulsion samples whereas SiC support may be favored for o/w emulsion samples due to lesser thermal runaway. A comparison of the heating characteristics has been illustrated for 50% o/w and 50% w/o emulsion samples to analyze the role of continuous medium of an emulsion on heating effects. The distribution of microwave incidences also plays an important role to minimize thermal runaway for specific o/w and w/o emulsions. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.