Family caregivers are critical sources of support to cancer survivors, but they also need to cope with the distress brought by the caregiving process. This study ascertained the resilience levels of the family caregivers of cancer survivors and then examined the relations between resilience, caregiver burden, and quality of life. This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted between June and October 2019. The participants were recruited from the oncology ward of a hospital in Turkey. The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, Zarit Burden Interview, and Caregiver Quality of Life Index- Cancer were used to collect data from 210 family caregivers of cancer survivors. The caregivers reported low levels of resilience (49.63 ± 16.30, range = 0–100), which we found to be associated with great caregiver burden (range = −0.39 to −0.63, all P < 0.01 or 0.05) and poor quality of life (range = 0.31–0.75, all P < 0.01 or 0.05). The findings showed that resilience negatively mediated the caregiver burden (β = 0.203; 95% CI, - 0.374–0.018) and positively predicted the QoL (β = 0.431; 95% CI, 0.683–0.207). The total effects of CDRS on burden and QoL were 0.203 (CI = - 0.374–0.018) and 0.431 (CI = - 0.683–0.207) respectively. The present findings underscore the direct and indirect predicting role of resilience on QoL and caregiver burden. The family caregivers reported low levels of resilience, which in turn was associated with greater caregiver burden and poorer QoL. • The findings underscore the significant influence of resilience on caregiver burden and quality of life. • The findings clearly show that resilience is a significant contributor to the quality of life and caregiver burden of FCs. • FCs reported low levels of resilience, which in turn was associated with greater caregiver burden and poorer quality of life.