Optical glasses possessing large third-order optical nonlinear susceptibility and fast response times are promising materials for the development of advanced nonlinear photonic devices. In this context, gold nanoparticle (NP)-doped borate glasses were synthesized via the melt-quench method. The nonlinear optical (NLO) properties of thus prepared glasses were investigated at different wavelengths (i.e., at 532 nm using nanosecond pulses, at 750 nm, 800 nm, and 850 nm wavelengths using femtosecond, MHz pulses). At 532 nm, open aperture (OA) Z-scan signatures of gold NP-doped borate glasses demonstrated reverse saturable absorption (RSA), attributed to mixed intra-band and interband transitions, while in the 750‒850 nm region, the OA Z-scan data revealed the presence of saturable absorption (SA), possibly due to intra-band transitions. The NLO coefficients were evaluated at all the spectral regions and further compared with some of the recently reported glasses. The magnitudes of obtained NLO coefficients clearly demonstrate that the investigated glasses are potential materials for photonic device applications. © 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.