Taylor, who played for Steve Bruce at Wigan, curled home a superb 62nd-minute free-kick to settle a typically hard-fought derby at the Stadium of Light.
Alan Pardew's men might have won more comfortably had they been awarded a clear first-half penalty when Larsson handled Joey Barton's goalbound heade on the line, but Howard Webb did not spot the offence.
Black Cats keeper Simon Mignolet had to make good saves from Yohan Cabaye and Jonas Gutierrez, while Tim Krul had to be similarly alert to keep out two Stephane Sessegnon efforts.
Sunderland have now won just once on home soil against their neighbours in 31 years.
Barton spent the opening weekend of the season in the headlines for the wrong reasons, although the controversy was not all of his own doing, and he found himself in the thick of the action once again within 14 minutes of a pulsating derby, although innocently so on this occasion.
Having weathered an early storm which saw them pinned deep inside their own half for long periods, the Magpies won a left-wing corner which Cabaye delivered to the far post.
Shola Ameobi, who went into the game with six derby goals to his name, met the ball with a firm header which Barton helped on towards the top corner.
But as he prepared to celebrate, Larsson threw out an arm and blocked the ball on the line, sparking a mass protest from the men in black and white.
Webb consulted his assistant, but then awarded only a corner, much to the horror of the visitors and the relief of their counterparts in red and white.
Having enjoyed a major slice of fortune - Larsson would surely have been sent off had the penalty been awarded - the Black Cats resumed their efforts to atone for their derby no-shows last season.
Sessegnon was proving a thorn in Newcastle's side and forced a fingertip save from Krul with nine minutes gone and a second diving stop eight minutes before the break.
Sunderland were dominating possession and Sessegnon, Jack Colback and Ahmed Elmohamady were seeing plenty of the ball in promising positions.
However, too often the final pass was wayward to allow the visitors off the hook as they defended in committed fashion, but often at full-stretch.
Newcastle continued to look dangerous from set-pieces and Mignolet had to pull off a fine 32nd-minute save to keep out Cabaye's swerving, dipping shot from distance.
Cabaye, Wes Brown and Ryan Taylor were all booked for rash challenges in a fiercely-contested first half, but there was drama deep into injury time when Gyan turned neatly and curled a left-foot shot on to the top of the crossbar.
Barton worked his way into a good position 10 minutes into the second half, but saw his shot charged down by Anton Ferdinand, and Mignolet had to get down well to palm away Jonas Gutierrez's effort six minutes later.
But Newcastle did take the lead within seconds after Gutierrez had been tripped by Lee Cattermole.
Ryan Taylor curled the resulting free-kick high over the stranded Mignolet and into the top corner to spark delirious celebrations on and off the pitch.
Bruce introduced Craig Gardner and Ji Dong-won for Elmohamady and Kieran Richardson with 19 minutes remaining and time fast running out.
But Sunderland's efforts were looking increasingly laboured with Gyan scuffing a 77th-minute shot wide from close range and Gardner looping a header into Krul's arms three minutes later.
Bardsley was sent off for a second bookable offence in the final minute of normal time to cap a miserable afternoon for Sunderland.