The development of effective cancer vaccines remains an urgent, but as yet unmet, clinical need. This deficiency is in part due to an incomplete understanding of how to best invoke dendritic cells (DC) that are crucial for the induction of tumor-specific CD8+ T cells capable of mediating durable protective immunity. In this regard, elevated expression of the transcription factor X box-binding protein 1 (XBP1) in DC appears to play a decisive role in promoting the ability of DC to cross-present Ags to CD8+ T cells in the therapeutic setting. Delivery of DNA vaccines encoding XBP1 and tumor Ag to skin DC resulted in increased IFN-α production by plasmacytoid DC (pDC) from skin/tumor draining lymph nodes and the cross-priming of Ag-specific CD8+ T cell responses associated with therapeutic benefit. Antitumor protection was dependent on cross-presenting Batf3+ DC, pDC, and CD8+ T cells. CD103+ DC from the skin/tumor draining lymph nodes of the immunized mice appeared responsible for activation of Ag-specific naive CD8+ T cells, but were dependent on pDC for optimal effectiveness. Similarly, human XBP1 improved the capacity of human blood- and skin-derived DC to activate human T cells. These data support an important intrinsic role for XBP1 in DC for effective cross-priming and orchestration of Batf3+ DC-pDC interactions, thereby enabling effective vaccine induction of protective antitumor immunity.