Goals from Craig Westcarr and Lee Hughes sent Paul Ince's side into the draw for the fourth round at the expense of a poor Sunderland.
Barely five minutes into the game, the visitors took a surprise lead when Ben Davies sent a left-wing cross into the box towards Westcarr, whose flick was spilled into the net by Simon Mignolet.
The Black Cats had chances to draw level before the break through Andy Reid and Asamoah Gyan but a poor first-half performance was matched with poor finishing.
The second half was much of the same until Steve Bruce introduced Jordan Henderson and Ahmed Elmohamady.
Henderson especially made an instant impact but again chances went begging with Steed Malbranque's fierce shot going wide and Darren Bent's glancing header also going close.
Then, in the 75th minute, Notts County doubled their lead. Mignolet made a great save from Lee Hughes but the home side failed to clear the ball and it fell to the County striker again, who finished well from a tight angle.
Bent did pull a goal back in the 81st minute to give Bruce's side some hope, when he finished from the spot after Reid had been brought down, but it wasn't to be and the Black Cats were deservedly dumped out by the League One side.