This study was designed to investigate the effects of dietary starch structure on muscle protein synthesis and gastrointestinal amino acid (AA) transport and metabolism of goats. Twenty-seven Xiangdong black female goats (average body weight = 9·00 ± 1·12 kg) were randomly assigned to three treatments, i.e., fed a T1 (normal maize 100 %, high amylose maize 0 %), T2 (normal maize 50 %, high amylose maize 50 %) and T3 (normal maize 0 %, high amylose maize 100 %) diet for 35 d. All AA in the ileal mucosa were decreased linearly as amylose:amylopectin increased in diets (P < 0·05). The plasma valine (linear, P = 0·03), leucine (linear, P = 0·04) and total AA content (linear, P = 0·03) increased linearly with the increase in the ratio of amylose in the diet. The relative mRNA levels of solute carrier family 38 member 1 (linear, P = 0·01), solute carrier family 3 member 2 (linear, P = 0·02) and solute carrier family 38 member 9 (linear, P = 0·02) in the ileum increased linearly with the increase in the ratio of amylose in the diet. With the increase in the ratio of amylose:amylopectin in the diet, the mRNA levels of acetyl-CoA dehydrogenase B (linear, P = 0·04), branched-chain amino acid transferase 1 (linear, P = 0·02) and branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase complex B (linear, P = 0·01) in the ileum decreased linearly. Our results revealed that the protein abundances of phosphorylated mammalian target of rapamycin (p-mTOR) (P < 0·001), phosphorylated 4E-binding protein 1 (P < 0·001) and phosphorylated ribosomal protein S6 kinases 1 (P < 0·001) of T2 and T3 were significantly higher than that of T1. In general, a diet with a high amylose ratio could reduce the consumption of AA in the intestine, allowing more AA to enter the blood to maintain higher muscle protein synthesis through the mTOR pathway.