The visitors opened the scoring after 22 minutes when Conor Sammon latched onto Mehdi Taouil’s clever pass and smashed the ball low past Dusan Pernis in the United goal.
However Peter Houston’s men got back on level terms within a minute when Johnny Russell prodded the ball past Bell for his second goal for the club.
The second half failed to produce as much goalmouth action as the opening period but some of Kilmarnock’s passing was a joy to watch, with on-loan midfielder Alexei Eremenko at the heart of most that was good for the Rugby Park outfit.
United made two changes from the side that slumped to a 2-1 home defeat to St Mirren on Wednesday evening, with Barry Douglas and Russell preferred to midfielder David Robertson and striker Danny Cadamarteri, who both dropped to the bench.
Unsurprisingly Killie, on the back of three consecutive 3-0 victories, were unchanged from the team that defeated Hamilton in midweek, with defender Frazer Wright shrugging off a back injury to take his place in the starting XI.
After an impeccably well observed minute’s silence in honour of Remembrance Day, the match kicked off with David Goodwillie, full of confidence after receiving his first call-up to the Scotland senior squad, trying an audacious shot from the halfway line that Cameron Bell managed to gather at the second attempt.
United’s positive start continued as Prince Buaben’s driven cross was headed just wide by his skipper Garry Kenneth.
The Scotland defender created the home side’s next opening when he showed a terrific piece of skill to control an awkward long pass before sending an enticing cross into the box for Russell, who should have done better than head wide.
The visitors weathered the early storm and had a goal ruled out when Wright headed home an Eremenko corner for a foul on Kenneth.
And the Ayrshire side opened the scoring after 22 minutes when striker Sammon raced onto Taouil’s intelligent through-ball and the Irishman drilled the ball past Slovakian stopper Pernis.
But United restored parity within 60 seconds when Russell was quickest to react to Buaben’s cute pass into the area and prodded the ball past the advancing Bell.
Paul Dixon prevented the visitors restoring their advantage when he slid in to prevent Craig Bryson tapping into an unguarded net after Pernis had made a fine save to keep out Sammon’s powerful left-foot drive.
Eremenko’s curling free-kick bounced back off the upright before United made an enforced change on the half-hour mark when Scott Robertson limped off to be replaced by Stuart Armstrong.
United ended the half on top, with Killie defender Mahamadou Sissoko making a last-ditch block to cut out Morgaro Gomis’ goalbound effort before Douglas whipped a free-kick inches past the post.
Eremenko was cautioned within five minutes of the restart for simulation after he fell to ground too easily under pressure from Kenneth.
The omnipresent Finnish midfielder was then unfortunate to hit the side-netting after some direct running from playmaker Taouil.
United still looked dangerous on the counter-attack with Russell using great control to dart away from full-back Ben Gordon, but Bell was equal to his low shot.
The visitors continued to push for the winner with United keeper Pernis relieved to watch an Eremenko effort take a wicked deflection of Ghanaian midfielder Buaben and bounce out for a fruitless corner.
With 11 minutes remaining substitute Armstrong was replaced by Danny Swanson, who was making his comeback from injury.
Both sides survived a few scares in the closing stages, with United substitute Jon Daly guilty of spurning two excellent chances, to each take a deserved point from an exciting 90 minutes.