Interleukin (IL)-12 is a proinflammatory cytokine generally regarded as a master regulator of type 1 T cell mediated immunity against intracellular pathogens, including T. gondii and cancers. A critical measure of IL-12 activity is its ability to induce IFN-γ production by NK and T cells. Using a transgenic T. gondii expressing ovalbumin (OVA), we show here that by flow cytometry analysis T. gondii-OVA infected BL6 IL-12-/- mice generate OVA-pentamer+CD8+ T cells similar to WT and surprisingly, T. gondii-infected IL-12-/- mice produce more IFN-γ +CD8+ T cells than T. gondii-infected WT mice (avg 9.6% in IL-12-/- vs 3.7% in WT). We confirmed that function of OVA-specific CD8+ T cells in IL-12-/- was comparable to BL6 WT using an in vivo OVA+ target lysis assay. As expected, IFN-γ +CD4+ T cells decreased from an avg 29% to 9% in WT mice compared to IL-12-/- mice respectively when infected with T. gondii. These results demonstrate a novel IL-12-independent pathway to CD8+ CTL that may be less dependent of CD4+ T cell help than previously thought.