Statement of problem: Strength-gradient zirconia combining 3 zirconia formulations with different flexural strengths has been reported to have outstanding mechanical properties. However, data concerning the effect of different sintering protocols on the fracture strength of 3-unit monolithic gradient zirconia fixed partial dentures (FPDs) are sparse. Purpose: The purpose of this in vitro study was to test the effect of different sintering protocols on the fracture strength of 3-unit monolithic gradient zirconia FPDs. Material and methods: Two custom-made stainless-steel master dies were designed to replicate a mandibular right second premolar and second molar prepared to receive a 3-unit monolithic zirconia FPD. Thirty monolithic zirconia FPDs were milled from gradient zirconia blanks and allocated to 3 groups (n=10) according to the sintering protocols: high-speed sintering, speed sintering, and conventional sintering. The FPDs were cemented onto the corresponding dies with traditional glass ionomer cement. All FPDs were cyclic loaded (600 000 cycles/49 N/1.7 Hz) in a mastication simulator. Fracture load measurements for each FPD were determined by using a universal testing machine. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) at ×80 magnification was used to examine a fractured FPD from each group. A representative specimen from each group was examined with SEM at ×30 000 magnification to determine the grain size. One-way ANOVA, pair-wise Tukey honestly significant difference (HSD), and Pearson correlation tests were used for statistical analysis of the data (α=.05). Results: The high-speed sintered FPDs recorded the highest statistically significant fracture load mean ±standard deviation value (2526 ±300 N), followed by the speed sintered FPDs (2136 ±127 N), while the lowest statistically significant fracture load mean value was recorded with the conventionally sintered FPDs (1361 ±181 N) (P<.001). In addition, the mean ±standard deviation grain size values were 488 ±272 nm for the high-speed sintered specimen, 578 ±409 nm for the speed sintered specimen, and 832 ±551 nm for the conventionally sintered specimen (P<.001). A significant negative correlation was found between fracture strength and grain size among the 3 groups. Conclusions: The fracture strength of 3-unit monolithic gradient zirconia FPDs sintered by using a high-speed protocol was significantly higher than that of speed and conventionally sintered FPDs (P<.001). The high-speed sintering protocol reduced the mean grain size of gradient zirconia FPDs compared with that of both speed and conventional sintering protocols.