Abstract Quantum dot light-emitting diodes (QD-LEDs) have been considered as potential display technologies with the characterizations of high color purity, flexibility, transparency, and cost efficiency. For the practical applications, the development of heavy-metal-free QD-LEDs from environment-friendly materials is the most important issue to reduce the impacts on human health and environmental pollution. In this work, heavy-metal-free InP/ZnS core/shell QDs with different fluorescence were prepared by green synthesis method with low cost, safe, and environment-friendly precursors. The InP/ZnS core/shell QDs with maximum fluorescence peak at ~ 530 nm, superior fluorescence quantum yield of 60.1%, and full width at half maximum of 55 nm were applied as an emission layer to fabricate multilayered QD-LEDs. The multilayered InP/ZnS core/shell QD-LEDs showed the turn-on voltage at ~ 5 V, the highest luminance (160 cd/m2) at 12 V, and the external quantum efficiency of 0.223% at 6.7 V. Overall, the multilayered InP/ZnS core/shell QD-LEDs reveal potential to be the heavy-metal-free QD-LEDs for future display applications.