Match ends, Tottenham Hotspur 4, Sunderland 1.
Christian Eriksen scored twice as Tottenham maintained their challenge for a top-four finish and deepened Sunderland's relegation worries.
Patrick van Aanholt gave the Black Cats the lead against the run of play but Eriksen levelled as Lee Cattermole failed to clear on the goalline.
Mousa Dembele fired Spurs ahead before Eriksen's 25-yard shot deflected in off Sunderland debutant Jan Kirchhoff.
Harry Kane then converted a penalty after Kirchhoff fouled Danny Rose.
Tottenham remain fourth in the Premier League, while Sunderland drop a position to 19th following Newcastle's win over West Ham.
Spurs again come on strong in second half
Although routine in the end, it was an important victory for Tottenham having lost two of their previous three home league games to fall away slightly from the leading trio of Arsenal, Leicester and Manchester City.
Mauricio Pochettino's side are now unbeaten in their past 12 league games against Sunderland, although in 11 of them they have been level at half-time.
It was difficult to fathom how that was the case on Saturday as they totally dominated the opening 45 minutes, enjoying 70% possession and 15 shots to the visitors' three.
Dutch left-back Van Aanholt, who netted against Swansea on Wednesday, beat Hugo Lloris at his near post from Adam Johnson's pass to give Sunderland an underserved lead.
Spurs were level within 91 seconds as Lee Cattermole could only deflect Eriksen's shot into the roof of the net on the goalline after Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford - making his Premier League debut - saved from Kane.
Dembele's low left-foot shot gave Spurs a 2-1 lead and they noticeably relaxed from that point, stretching away thanks to Eriksen's second and Kane's 12th league goal of the season.
Kirchhoff caught out
Despite being on the back foot throughout, Sunderland had looked relatively secure for almost an hour and occasionally threatened on the break.
Buoyed by successive league wins over Aston Villa and Swansea, they largely restricted Spurs to shots from outside the box in the first half.
Their failure to protect their lead until half-time proved costly, although former Spurs striker Jermain Defoe - who had scored five in his previous two games - had a chance to restore it early in the second half.
He and Adam Johnson raced clear of the home defence but the counter-attack lost momentum and the 33-year-old fired into the side-netting.
Centre-half Kirchhoff, signed from Bayern Munich, had only made one appearance this season prior to joining Sunderland this month.
He struggled after coming on in the 58th minute, with the foul on Rose for the penalty demonstrating how much he was off the pace.
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce said of Kirchhoff: "It's a bit risky signing players from abroad in January but we have to take that risk. Hopefully he learns from today."
'Outstanding' Pickford makes fine Premier League debut
Sunderland keeper Pickford spent the first half of the season on loan at Championship club Preston and Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce said it would have been wrong not to recall him as he "made such an outstanding impact".
Allardyce hopes he can follow England Under-21 international predecessors Joe Hart and Jack Butland in graduating to the full national team and, despite conceding four goals, he made an impressive league debut, replacing Vito Mannone.
The 21-year-old, who has been on loan at six different clubs over the past four years, made superb saves at full stretch in the first half to deny Kane and Eriksen.
Pickford made further stops from Kane and Rose in the second period and was not at fault for any of the goals.
Man of the match - Christian Eriksen
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino told BBC Sport: "It was a good response to the Leicester defeat. I'm very pleased. We need to be patient.
"We had a lot of shots on target - their goalkeeper was fantastic. I feel very pleased in the last few games. The belief is fantastic. We have a very good, strong squad - today was a good example."
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce told BBC Sport: "Our players put themselves in one fantastic position and then in the space of a minute conceded. It's one of the reasons we ended up losing.
"If we came in at half-time 1-0 up we could have built on that. It was a really sloppy thing to do. We ran out of legs in the end. In the last quarter, physically we were tiring.
"I changed the shape but that didn't work. The scoreline, 4-1, looks more comfortable than it was."
On Jordan Pickford: "Playing a keeper at a young age is not an easy decision to make. But I thought he handled it well. He might not play too many more games this season because Vito Mannone has done a fantastic job. The rest of the team up to 65 minutes were doing the job right but in the last 20 they failed miserably."
The stats you need to know
- Christian Eriksen has now scored in all four of his Premier League appearances against Sunderland (five goals).
- Harry Kane has now scored 11 goals in his past 13 Premier League appearances.
- Each of Sunderland's three goalkeepers (Costel Pantilimon, Mannone and Pickford) have conceded four goals in their first Premier League appearance of 2015-16.
Tottenham travel to Leicester for an FA Cup third-round replay on Wednesday (19:45 GMT), which is live on BBC One, before a league trip to Crystal Palace next Saturday (15:00 GMT). Sunderland host fellow strugglers Bournemouth on the same day (15:00 GMT).
- 19DembéléSubstituted forCarrollat 80'minutes
- 11LamelaSubstituted forOnomahat 73'minutes
- 10KaneSubstituted forSon Heung-Minat 88'minutes
- 7Son Heung-Min
- 3van Aanholt
- 6CattermoleBooked at 46minsSubstituted forRodwellat 53'minutes
- 11JohnsonBooked at 55mins
- 17LensSubstituted forWatmoreat 76'minutes
- 19GrahamSubstituted forKirchhoffat 59'minutes
- Mike Dean
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Tottenham Hotspur 4, Sunderland 1.
Attempt missed. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Son Heung-Min.
Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Danny Rose.
Attempt blocked. Billy Jones (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Duncan Watmore.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Son Heung-Min replaces Harry Kane.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Jan Kirchhoff.
Attempt missed. Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the right side of the six yard box misses to the right. Assisted by Christian Eriksen with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Yann M'Vila.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Jan Kirchhoff.
Offside, Sunderland. Billy Jones tries a through ball, but Jack Rodwell is caught offside.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Tom Carroll replaces Mousa Dembélé.
Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 4, Sunderland 1. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.
Penalty Tottenham Hotspur. Danny Rose draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Jan Kirchhoff (Sunderland) after a foul in the penalty area.
Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Wes Brown (Sunderland).
Substitution, Sunderland. Duncan Watmore replaces Jeremain Lens.
Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jeremain Lens (Sunderland).