Background Tumor ablation techniques, like cryoablation, are successfully used in the clinic to treat tumors. The tumor debris remaining in situ after ablation is a major antigen depot, including neoantigens, which are presented by dendritic cells (DCs) in the draining lymph nodes to induce tumor-specific CD8 + T cells. We have previously shown that co-administration of adjuvants is essential to evoke strong in vivo antitumor immunity and the induction of long-term memory. However, which adjuvants most effectively combine with in situ tumor ablation remains unclear. Methods and results Here, we show that simultaneous administration of cytidyl guanosyl (CpG) with saponin-based adjuvants following cryoablation affects multifunctional T-cell numbers and interleukin (IL)-1 induced polymorphonuclear neutrophil recruitment in the tumor draining lymph nodes, relative to either adjuvant alone. The combination of CpG and saponin-based adjuvants induces potent DC maturation (mainly CpG-mediated), antigen cross-presentation (mainly saponin-based adjuvant mediated), while excretion of IL-1β by DCs in vitro depends on the presence of both adjuvants. Most strikingly, CpG/saponin-based adjuvant exposed DCs potentiate antigen-specific T-cell proliferation resulting in multipotent T cells with increased capacity to produce interferon (IFN)γ, IL-2 and tumor necrosis factor-α in vitro. Also in vivo the CpG/saponin-based adjuvant combination plus cryoablation increased the numbers of tumor-specific CD8 + T cells showing enhanced IFNγproduction as compared with single adjuvant treatments. Conclusions Collectively, these data indicate that co-injection of CpG with saponin-based adjuvants after cryoablation induces an increased amount of tumor-specific multifunctional T cells. The combination of saponin-based adjuvants with toll-like receptor 9 adjuvant CpG in a cryoablative setting therefore represents a promising in situ vaccination strategy.