When ceramics are heated inside a microwave cavity, a well-known phenomenon is the occurrence of hot spots – localised regions of high temperature. This phenomenon was modelled by Kriegsmann ((1997), IMA J. Appl. Math. 59(2), pp. 123–146; (2001), IMA J. Appl. Math. 66(1), pp. 1–32) using a non-local evolution PDE. We investigate profile and the stability of hot spots in one and two dimensions by using Kriegsmann's model with exponential non-linearity. The linearised problem associated with hot-spot-type solutions possesses two classes of eigenvalues. The first type is the large eigenvalues associated with the stability of the hot-spot profile and in this particular model there cannot be instability associated with these eigenvalues. The second type is the small eigenvalues associated with translation invariance. We show that the hot spots can become unstable due to the presence of small eigenvalues, and we characterise the instability thresholds. In particular, we show that for the material with low heat conductivity (such as ceramics), and in the presence of a variable electric field, the hot spots are typically stable inside a plate (in two dimensions) but can become unstable for a slab (in one dimension) provided that the microwave power is sufficiently large. On the other hand, for materials with high heat conductivity, the interior hot spots are unstable and move to the boundary of the domain in either one or two dimensions. For materials with moderate heat conductivity, the stability of hot spots is determined by both the geometry and the electric field inside the microwave cavity.