Goals from Nicolas Anelka (2), Frank Lampard (2) and singles from Florent Malouda, Ashley Cole and Michael Ballack sealed the rout. Sunderland's replies came from Bolo Zenden and Darren Bent.
Chelsea last hit seven in a top-flight game against West Bromwich Albion in 1960 when Jimmy Greaves hit five.
The goal glut started on eight minutes when Juliano Belletti passed to Ballack who responded with a deft through pass to Anelka who ran into the area, rounded Marton Fulop and slotted home a cool right-footer.
Ten minutes later and after a classy build-up, Florent Malouda raced unchallenged to the edge of the Sunderland penalty area and drove home from 20 yards out.
Another four minutes passed before Ashley Cole latched on to a long ball by John Terry. The left-back controlled the ball superbly, checked back and lifted the ball sublimely over hapless Fulop.
Two minutes later, up popped Lampard to volley home number four after precise set-up play by Anelka to Ashley Cole.
Anelka smacked in a shot from 25 yards after 49 minutes which saw Fulop tip the ball on to the crossbar and post before it was cleared.
But a rout was on the cards on 52 minutes when Joe Cole sent a deep right-wing cross into the Sunderland six-yard area and Ballack nodded home with ease past Fulop.
Within three minutes Sunderland pulled a goal back. Kenwyne Jones nodded the ball to substitute Zenden and the former Chelsea winger rifled home a left-footer from the edge of the penalty area.
With 25 minutes still to go, Anelka got hold of the ball punched out by Fulop following Yuri Zhirkov's deep cross and tucked home from 12 yards out into an empty net for number six.
On 90 minutes Lampard powerfully headed home an Anelka byline cross from eight yards out.
Leading Black Cats scorer Darren Bent breached the Chelsea defence with the last kick of the game with a half-volleyed left footer from three yards out, but it made no difference at all to the final outcome.