The winger had seven shots at goal during the contest, with three on target - and all three found the back of the net.
His performance was a sign that he is ready to really start building on his potential, and help Derby's promotion campaign.
Ince doubled his tally for the season thanks to his hat-trick, finding the net for the first time since scoring against Brentford on October 3.
It was the first hat-trick scored by a Derby player since Craig Bryson's treble against Nottingham Forest in 2014.
Ince, 23, signed permanently at Derby this summer after a loan spell last season, and could be a transfer which comes back to haunt promotion rivals Hull City who sold him.
Derby remain in the hunt for the automatic promotion places, three points ahead of fourth placed Hull, and two behind Middlesbrough and Brighton and Hove Albion, in first and second place locked together on points.
Here is a look at how Derby fans reacted on Twitter to his performance...
Think the Ince or Russell debate is put to bed now. Was never a tough one for me anyway. Quality over ordinary any day. #dcfc— Ian Redfern (@redfern_ian) December 16, 2015
Great result for #dcfc. Thorne substitution perfectly timed. Clement really influential tonight & Ince my MOM even before last 2 goals.— David Page (@davidjpage) December 15, 2015