David Moyes was left to rue defensive errors as Romelu Lukaku struck three times in 11 second-half minutes at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland began the game well and often bettered their counterparts as Jermain Defoe broke the offside trap before firing over early on.
The Black Cats continued to pile forward in an action packed first 45 minutes, but Ronald Koeman’s side eased through the gears following the interval when Lukaku headed Everton in front on the hour mark.
Moyes’ side failed to recover and just eight minutes later Sunderland failed to keep tabs on the striker who guided home his second before later racing through to slot past Jordan Pickford to complete his treble.
Speaking post-match Moyes delivered his verdict.
“I thought we did well in the first half; we looked as likely as Everton to get a goal in that opening period,” he said.
“Come the second half Everton were in the game a lot more and we made some basic defending errors and they cost us.
“We didn’t stop crosses, we weren’t in the right positions to defend and they should be simple things to do that we didn’t do well enough.
“We’ve got a lot of youngsters in the side and one or two new faces; while they were culpable of some of the mistakes, a few of our more experienced players were at fault too,” he continued.
“As a back four we did not do the basic things needed to stop a team when they’re attacking.
“We need a team to give us a way to go forward, we’re still trying to find a way of playing that suits all of the players and we’re also waiting for players to come back from injury.
“[Jan] Kirchhoff played for the first time today and it was good to have him back after a while out. We lost Steven Pienaar during the week with a hamstring injury, which was disappointing as he’s done well and we need players like him who keep the ball.”