Peter Crouch completed a fine Stoke comeback as Wolves squandered the lead and increased their relegation fears.
Stephen Hunt's penalty put the home side ahead after Jonathan Woodgate had fouled Matt Jarvis.
But the visitors stunned Molineux with two goals in 12 second-half minutes to secure a fourth successive top-flight win for the first time since 1981.
Robert Huth's free-kick deflected off Kevin Doyle to make it 1-1 before Crouch sealed the points with a header.
Wolves, who have now lost four of the last five league games, only had themselves to blame for failing to put distance between themselves and the bottom three.
McCarthy feels 'let down' by referee
They face a crucial home game against Norwich on Tuesday and manager Mick McCarthy will be demanding an improvement from his players after throwing away the points.
Wolves looked to be cruising to victory in the first half but went to pieces after Huth's free-kick found the net after a heavy deflection.
These are good times for Stoke.
Not only have they won four top-flight games in a row for the first time in 30 years but they have an attractive Europa League tie with Valencia to look forward to in early 2012.
STOKE'S LAST FOUR PREMIER LEAGUE RESULTS
H v Blackburn W 3-1
A v Everton W 1-0
H v Tottenham W 2-1
A v Wolves W 2-1
Yet Tony Pulis's side, who are now two points behind seventh-place Liverpool, looked to be heading for defeat after Hunt's 17th-minute breakthrough from the spot.
Woodgate could have few complaints as referee Anthony Taylor awarded a penalty after the former England defender hauled down the impressive Jarvis for the second time.
Woodgate was fortunate to escape a red card having earlier been booked for a cynical foul on the same player.
But Woodgate did not stick around for long - Pulis replacing the former Tottenham player with Jermaine Pennant in the 19th minute.
Pulis offers support to McCarthy
Wolves did not look like a team dicing with danger near the bottom of the table.
McCarthy's side dominated for long spells with the busy Hunt denied his second goal by a fine Thomas Sorensen save after the Potters defence had been caught out.
Yet with only one goal dividing the two teams, the game was far from over and Wolves were fortunate to escape unpunished when Matthew Etherington fired straight at keeper Wayne Hennessey from close range in the 42nd minute.
It was a warning Wolves failed to heed as Stoke hauled themselves back on level terms before securing the points during a dramatic 12-minute spell after half-time.
They equalised when Huth's free-kick, which was going wide, deflected off Republic of Ireland striker Doyle before finding the net.
And Crouch was in the right place at the right time to beat Hennessey from close range after meeting Etherington's cross.
McCarthy directed his frustraton at the referee after the game but he knows his players have to learn to kill off teams if they are to steer clear of the bottom three.
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