Hibernian fought back from two goals down for a share of the spoils in a thrilling finish to an eventful game.
United streaked into a two-goal lead courtesy of David Robertson
The home side were on top in a lively first half but were unable to break down stubborn United.
David Robertson then scored with two headers as United chased their first win at Easter Road in five years.
But Abdessalam Benjelloun's strike after 77 minutes hauled Hibs back into the game and Mickael Antoine-Curier's penalty completed the comeback.
The result keeps both sides locked on 26 points but they lost ground on Celtic and Rangers at the top of the table.
Hibs came close to taking the lead within the first minute when Darren Fletcher managed to get beyond the United rearguard.
The striker brushed off the challenge of Sean Dillon before drilling a shot across goal and just wide.
John Collins' side enjoyed the bulk of possession during the early exchanges and were keen to utilise the pace of Alan O'Brien on the left wing.
O'Brien was giving United defender Dillon a hard time and he set up Fletcher in the 13th minute but the striker's spectacular attempt at a volley went well wide.
United registered their first shot on target in the 15th minute although Morgaro Gomis' deflected shot was well held by Yves Ma-Kalambay.
Soon after, O'Brien wasted a good opportunity and United goalkeeper Grzegorz Szamotulski made a great save from Merouane Zemmama's dipping free-kick.
United striker Jon Daly, recently returned from a long injury lay-off, had to be withdrawn following an 50-50 challenge with Hibs defender Chris Hogg.
Manager Craig Levein brought on defender Garry Kenneth and pushed Lee Wilkie in attack.
The towering defender put his height to good use in the 30th minute, getting on the end of Dillon's cross but his header cleared the bar.
The post came to United's rescue five minutes before the break as Fletcher could not get enough contact on Jones' knockdown to divert the ball in from a tight angle.
Fletcher was again guilty of missing a great chance two minutes after the restart.
Kevin McCann's deflected shot fell kindly for Fletcher inside the box but he pulled his effort well wide with only Szamotulski to beat.
The youngster was in the thick of the action again in the 50th minute but his shot was blocked by the goalkeeper.
At the opposite end, Ma-Kalambay got down well to Robertson's tame effort from 16 yards after a cross from Dillon.
With the game entering the final third, Hibernian made a statement of intent with the withdrawal of midfielder Ross Chisholm for striker Benjelloun.
But it was United who took the lead in the 65th minute when Robertson got on the end of Dillon's teasing cross to head home from eight yards.
Seven minutes later Robertson seemed to have secured the points with an exact replica of his opening goal.
However, Benjelloun pulled one back on 77 minutes when he drilled in a low from 12 yards.
Hibs were piling forward in the closing stages and Dillon upended David Murphy as the left-back raced into the penalty box.
The defender was shown a red card and Antoine-Curier tucked the resulting spot-kick low past Szamotulski to rescue a point for the home side.
Hibernian: Ma-Kalambay, McCann, Hogg, Jones, Murphy, O'Brien (Antoine-Curier 75), Kerr, Chisholm (Benjelloun 64), Stevenson, Zemmama, Fletcher. Subs Not Used: McNeil, Gathuessi, Noubissie, Shiels, McCormack.
Booked: Stevenson, Jones, McCann, Kerr.
Goals: Benjelloun 77, Antoine-Curier 82 pen.
Dundee Utd: Szamotulski, Dillon, Dods, Wilkie, Kalvenes, Flood, Buaben, Kerr, Gomis, David Robertson (Robb 75), Daly (Kenneth 24). Subs Not Used: McLean, Duff, McCord, Pope, Don.
Sent Off: Dillon (80).
Booked: Dods, Buaben, Kenneth, Kalvenes, Kerr.
Goals: David Robertson 66, 74.
Ref: W Collum (Scotland).