Abstract The relationship between the Zn concentration and stretch formability of the rolled Mg– x wt.%Zn–0.2 wt.%Ce (Mg– xZn–0.2Ce here after) alloys was investigated. Zn addition of a dilute concentration of more than 0.5 wt.% effectively modified the basal plane texture, which was characterized by the splitting basal pole toward the TD. However, further Zn addition showed no strong effect on the distribution and intensity of the basal plane texture. The Mg–1.5Zn–0.2Ce alloy showed significant stretch formability. On the other hand, further Zn addition deteriorated the stretch formability of the Mg– xZn–0.2Ce alloys, although it showed no effect on the distribution and intensity of the basal plane texture. The deterioration of the stretch formability of the Mg– xZn–0.2Ce alloys with high Zn concentrations was suggested to be ascribed to solid solution hardening. Moreover, it was suggested that not only the texture but also solid solution softening plays an important role in the enhanced stretch formability of the Mg– xZn–0.2Ce alloys.