Torres gave Chelsea a 2-0 lead at the break volleying home early on, before slotting from the spot on the stroke of half-time.
Juan Mata then followed up shortly after the break with the Blues third, before Adam Johnson got one back for the Black Cats.
Chelsea started the brighter of the two sides as Rafa Benitez selected an unchanged side from the midweek 6-1 trouncing of Nordsjaelland in the Champions League.
Mata and Eden Hazard combined superbly, but Sunderland ‘keeper Simon Mignolet was up to the task denying his Belgium compatriot.
Seconds later a ricocheted clearance fell for Torres only six yards out, except Mignolet was alert enough to smother the Spaniard.
But on 11 minutes the Torres wasn’t going to be denied twice as the former Liverpool striker volleyed an excellent Hazard cross into the back of the net for his first Premier League goal in two months.
The Black Cats started to slowly make their way into the game and just before the half-hour mark Stephane Sessegnon tested Chelsea custodian Petr Cech with a ferocious strike, but the Czech was up to the task punching wide.
If the hosts were going to equalise it’d be via the left flank as the Black Cats threatened with James McClean and Danny Rose utilizing their pace and useful delivery.
Despite Sunderland’s period of dominance the European Champions took a two goal lead into the half-time break.
Ramires was fouled in the corner of the box by a sliding Sebastian Larsson, before Torres stepped up, sent Mignolet the wrong way and slotted into the bottom corner.
It didn’t take long for the Blues to extend their lead after the break as Torres almost grabbed his hat-trick, except the Spaniard struck the upright, but Mata was at hand to follow up with a neat finish past Mignolet.
The third goal really gave Chelsea the momentum as the hosts struggled to create or even keep the ball, while failing to deal with the Blues’ superior attack.
Despite their struggles Sunderland cut the deficit to two as Johnson drilled an effort into the top corner past Cech with just over twenty minutes left.
Johnson could have had his second on 76 minutes, but Cech made a quality save to deny the winger’s great free-kick.
Sunderland could have grabbed another late goal to make the last few moments very interesting, but Craig Gardner struck the crossbar after Connor Wickham has a strike saved by Cech.