A comparison of microstructure, mechanical properties and fracture behavior of Mg–9Gd–3Y–xZn–0.5Zr (x = 0, 0.2, 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5) (wt%) alloys under different thermal treatment conditions was investigated in this study. The results showed that the as-cast alloys were comprised of Mg matrix, eutectic compounds and cuboid-shaped phases. The eutectics were Mg24(Gd, Y)5 in the alloys of Zn content ≤0.2 wt%, while (Mg, Zn)3RE in the other three alloys. Fine lamellar long period stacking ordered structure formed inside of matrix of the as-cast Zn-containing alloys and its quantity increases with raising Zn content. Mg12(Gd, Y)Zn was observed at grain boundary of Mg matrix after solution treatment in the alloys of Zn content ≥0.5 wt%. Peak-aged Mg–9Gd–3Y–0.5Zn–0.5Zr alloy exhibited a desirable combination of strength and elongation with 244 MPa in yield strength, 371 MPa in ultimate tensile strength and 3.8% in EL. Meanwhile, the fracture behavior of the studied alloys was also investigated.