The use of tumor antigen-loaded dendritic cells (DC) is one of the most promising approaches to inducing a tumor-specific immune response. We compared electroporation of mRNA to lentiviral transduction for the delivery of tumor antigens to human monocyte-derived and murine bone marrow-derived DC. Both lentiviral transduction and mRNA electroporation induced eGFP expression in on average 81% of human DC. For murine DC, eGFP mRNA electroporation (62%) proved to be more efficient than lentiviral transduction (47%). When we used tNGFR as a transgene we observed lentiviral pseudotransduction that overestimated lentiviral efficiency. Neither gene transfer method had an adverse effect on viability, phenotype, or allostimulatory capacity of either human or murine DC. Yet, the mRNA-electroporated DC showed a reduced production of IL-12p70 compared to their lentivirally transduced and unmodified counterparts. Human li80MAGE-A3-modified DC and murine li80tOVA-modified DC were able to present antigenic epitopes in the context of MHC class I and class II. Both types of modified murine DC were able to induce OVA-specific cytotoxic T cells in vivo; however, the mRNA-electroporated DC were less potent. Our data indicate that this may be related to their impaired IL-12 production.