Hull City loanee Tom Ince was also on target in the first-half to cancel out Matt Richie’s 12th-minute opener, before Callum Wilson gave the home side the lead for the second time just before the break.
But substitute Bent, who replaced the injured Chris Martin after just 15 minutes, popped up on 67 minutes to fire a Simon Dawkins cross past Artur Boruc and keep Steve McClaren’s side level with their opponents on 58 points in the Championship table.
The on-loan Aston Villa striker’s contribution was not lost on head coach McClaren, who moved to single him out for particular praise during his post-match interview.
"Darren Bent has come on and showed his quality,” he told the BBC. “Losing Chris Martin was huge and we had to change things around but Darren gave us something different.
"He has had to be patient and wait for his chance but he will get the opportunity to play some games now.
"The game was a credit to both clubs and I thought we were magnificent. We showed great character to come back twice.
Arriving last month on a deal for the remainder of the season, Bent has been frozen out of the picture at Villa Park in recent campaigns, but now seems to be showing Paul Lambert just what he’s missing.
With his relegation-threatened parent club recording just 12 goals in 25 Premier League games, and Christian Benteke recently dropped from the side, fans are certainly starting to wonder why the England front man is at the iPro Stadium and not back in the West Midlands.
On a night in which he seemed to send another message to his critics, here’s how Rams fans reacted to his performance.
On current form, Bent has to be our 1st-choice striker; irrespective of Martin's injury, but if he is going to be out cover is needed #dcfc— Ian Redfern (@redfern_ian) February 11, 2015
Good result for Derby tbh, would of took a point before the game. Got to play Bent upfront next game!!! #DCFC— Reece Allen (@reece1725) February 10, 2015
Would love it if we can make the signings of Ince and Bent permanent. 7 goals between them already. #dcfc— smam miguel (@DCFCMiguel13) February 10, 2015
I think both teams can play better, was a bit nervy at times, good job we have Mr bent on that pitch #dcfc— Lewis mutton (@MuttonsTweets11) February 10, 2015
Bent now surely has to start on Saturday to let martin recover #dcfc— claire (@oblivionmurs) February 10, 2015
Not bad when your 1st choice striker gets injured and you get Darren Bent to come on, assist one and score another #dcfc— DAN (@DANPRATT21) February 10, 2015
Both Bent and Ince doing a great job, and just shows what happens when you put them in a quality team with quality players #dcfc— Kyle Hudson (@Kyle95Hudson) February 10, 2015
Darren Bent has to be knocking on the door for a start #DCFC— Rory Kiernan (@RoryK00) February 10, 2015
Anyone know if bent can be recalled.....He's vital to us especially if Martin is gonna be out injured #dcfc— stuart jackson (@jackostu21) February 10, 2015
A couple of games out for Martin will do the team and himself good. Bent has to start the next game for me. #dcfc— Ross Mckeown (@Ross_McK10) February 10, 2015
Darren Bent assist and goal. Brilliant yet again. Time for him to start with Martin injured. Lets go. #dcfc— Steven (@SJD289) February 10, 2015