Disclosed are ceramic oxide gels (sometimes also referred to as hydrated oxides, and especially xerogels, compositions which are useful in the formulation and fabrication of microwave susceptors for disposable packages for the microwave heating of food items. The compositions include novel microwave absorbing ceramic gel material doped with common salt and a binder. The gel forming materials include alumina, silica, mullite and mixtures thereof. The compositions essentially comprise about 17% to 35% bound water. Preferred materials are xerogels, i.e., ceramic gels dried so as to have a free moisture content of about 0.1% to 10%. The compositions provide good heat generation and a predeterminable upper temperature limit. The materials are common and inexpensive. The compositions can additionally include common salt as a temperature profile moderator.