Four first half goals gave the Wearsiders their biggest win of the David Moyes era and a genuine chance in the race to avoid relegation.
Kone scored an early nerve settler before three goals in quick succession just before half time killed the game. Sunderland thumped opposition coached by Sam Allardyce - their former manager - in a truly unpredictable 4-0 outcome.
The Black Cats remain bottom but are now only two points from safety and level on points with today's opponents, who drop to 19th.
Sunderland took an unlikely 4-0 half time lead through Jermain Defoe, Didier Ndong and Lamine Kone. Three goals in under ten minutes after the Black Cats initially looked nervous at 1-0, lead to a scarcely believable scoreline.
Defoe showed his intent early forcing the first meaningful save of the half from Wayne Hennessey. The 34 year old was in behind the Palace defence and held off Joel Ward seeing his lunging effort saved by the Welshman at the near post.
Sunderland's crucial opener came in the tenth minute. Kone competed well at the back post, his deflected header was dropped by Hennessey under pressure from Billy Jones who could have been penalised for throwing himself at the goalkeeper. The monstrous Ivorian reacted first adjusting as he got off the ground to acrobatically volley into the far corner.
Despite the 4-0 scoreline several pivotal moments went the Mackem's way. Sebastian Larsson could have been sent off. Already booked the Swede tripped up Wilfied Zaha after the winger caught him in possession. Referee Andre Marriner was lenient but would likely have sent off Larsson, had the challenge come later in the game.
An even bigger let off came when James Tomkins missed way inside the Sunderland six yard box. The Black Cats half cleared a Palace free kick and Patrick Van Aanholt played Damien Delaney in behind, his hanging cross was missed wide by Tomkins as he rose above Larsson at the back post.
Kone impressed as he denied Christian Benteke at the back post. Scott Dann marauding forward, clipped a ball towards the Sunderland goal, Kone managed to battle with Benteke, deflecting the giant striker's header behind for a corner.
Sunderland's crucial second came as Ndong intercepted from substitute Joe Ledley. The Gabon man drove at the Palace back three before smashing past Hennessey, his rocket crashing off the far post, for his first Sunderland goal.
Just two minutes later it was three with one of the most impressive goals the North East strugglers have managed all season. Starting with debutant, Bryan Oveido's recovery tackle on Zaha. Larsson exchanged passes with Defoe before his first time ball released Januzaj. The Belgian drove in behind the shell-shocked hosts before cutting back to Defoe who need just one touch before finishing across goal with his usual aplomb.
In injury time, Defoe made it four. A perfectly weighted slide rule pass from Januzaj found the Wearside talisman in the box. He took advantage of Dann getting too tight to him and turned and blasted in from close range - clinical as always from the invaluable striker. It gave Sunderland a truly remarkable half time lead.
The beginning of the second half was a lot more sedate after the explosive finish to the first period. The game was further disrupted by two early injuries to John O'Shea and Jack Rodwell.
Benteke had the first notable second half effort for the London club. He reacted first as Sunderland failed to clear from a corner, his bicycle kick went harmlessly over.
Finally with just 20 minutes remaining and the game lost, Palace began to look dangerous boosted by substitutes Andros Townsend and Loic Remy.
Benteke wasted a dangerous free kick at the edge of the Black Cats' area, after effective combination play from Zaha and Remy.
A rare Sunderland attack saw Januzaj drag a shot wide after turning under scarce pressure from the home team.
Fifteen minutes from time Zaha squandered a golden opportunity heading into Mannone's arms unmarked. The 24 year old was found by Townsend who picked him out after outsmarting Billy Jones.
Remy was the next to get at the Sunderland defence, waltzing through on goal before tamely shooting at Mannone.
Incredibly Jason Puncheon was denied, his low drive looked like nestling into the far corner before Jason Denayer's intervention. The Belgian half-cleared Zaha's low cross before reacting first to Puncheon's effort to slice it over his own bar, Mannone might have got a crucial touch also.
Larsson nearly added a spectacular fifth letting fly towards the top corner, his curling effort in the last minute of regulation going just wide and over.
In injury time somehow Sunderland kept their clean sheet. Mannone denied Zaha and Townsend in quick succession before two poor Benteke misses. The towering striker headed straight at Mannone when he should have scored and fired wide on the turn again inside the Sunderland area.
Whilst Sunderland remain bottom the last two performances provide a real platform for another potentially remarkable great escape.