Messenger RNA (mRNA) lipid nanoparticle (LNP) vaccines have emerged as an effective vaccination strategy. Although currently applied toward viral pathogens, data concerning the platform’s effectiveness against bacterial pathogens are limited. Here, we developed an effective mRNA-LNP vaccine against a lethal bacterial pathogen by optimizing mRNA payload guanine and cytosine content and antigen design. We designed a nucleoside-modified mRNA-LNP vaccine based on the bacterial F1 capsule antigen, a major protective component of Yersinia pestis , the etiological agent of plague. Plague is a rapidly deteriorating contagious disease that has killed millions of people during the history of humankind. Now, the disease is treated effectively with antibiotics; however, in the case of a multiple-antibiotic-resistant strain outbreak, alternative countermeasures are required. Our mRNA-LNP vaccine elicited humoral and cellular immunological responses in C57BL/6 mice and conferred rapid, full protection against lethal Y. pestis infection after a single dose. These data open avenues for urgently needed effective antibacterial vaccines. mRNA-LNPs vaccine provides full protection against a lethal bacterium.