The Whites were full value for their 2-0 interval lead given them courtesy of goals from Chris Wood and Tom Adeyemi.
With Alex Mowatt also hitting the crossbar United produced their best first half of the season at Elland Road and were ahead for the first time at the break this season.
But they were forced into a rearguard action in the second period as Hull hit back early through Ahmed Elmohamady then laid siege to the home goal, but could not get a second to give them a point.
Hull started brightly as Leeds looked to be getting used to a different formation in which Liam Bridcutt sat just in front of the back four and Chris Wood was asked to play a lone striker role with Mirco Antenucci left out to allow an extra midfielder to start.
The tactic change was to pay dividends, but initially the visitors had the first chance when former Leeds player Alex Bruce saw his close range shot from a tight angle saved by Marco Silvestri.
Stuart Dallas hit a shot wide from the edge of the box and Giuseppe Bellusci saw a 30-yard free-kick saved by Allan McGregor as United eased themselves into the game.
Hull got some dangerous crosses into the box, but were unable to capitalise with a Mohamed Diame shot from the edge of the box that flashed just over being the closest they came to a goal.
Leeds gradually got on top as Wood’s 25-yard shot was saved at two attempts and Adeyemi ran clear into the box off Dallas’s pass only to fail to get a clean shot away.
But there was no mistake on the half-hour as Lewis Cook’s superb ball sent Dallas free down the right and the winger’s low cross was turned in at the near post by Wood’s flick.
Three minutes later Mowatt seized onto a loose ball and was unlucky to see his snap shot from the edge of the box hit the crossbar with McGregor well beaten.
Leeds did make it two just before half-time when Cook’s controlled volley from the edge of the box was saved by McGregor, but Adeyemi was quickest to react to the loose ball to slot the rebound in.
The second half saw Hull step up several gears and they were quickly rewarded within six minutes as Elmohamady got above Charlie Taylor to head home.
Leeds responded as they were denied in a big shout for a penalty as Cook appeared to be pulled back in the box.
But it was all Hull for the next 15 minutes and United to defend well and ride their luck a little to stay ahead.
Silvestri was called upon to make saves to deny Jake Livermore’s shot from range and to parry Mohamed Diame’s curling shot.
He then kept out Sam Clucas’s near-post effort and another Livermore effort while Harry Maguire headed wide when well placed in the area and somehow Leeds survived.
Hull continued to make the running and after Chuba Akpom headed wide the same player then had a golden chance in the 89th minute only to see his glancing header send the ball just wide to the relief of most of the near 25,000 crowd.
Leeds successfully saw out five-a-half minutes of added time and were denied what looked a penalty in the final action when referee Chris Kavanagh chose to blow for full-time instead of acknowledge a foul on Bridcutt following Sam Byram’s pull back.
Leeds head coach Steve Evans felt his side were worth the victory.
He said: “I think the level of the intensity in the performance deserved the three points.
“We had to work hard against a quality team. You knew they would gamble and have a go and we had to see it out, but there was not one player who didn’t play well today.
“It’s great for Chris Wood. You saw what the goal meant to him and for the club.
“I thought he was exceptional and for me was the man of the match. He brought other players into play and gave their defenders a hard game.
“Tom Adeyemi was excellent as well. He got his reward with the goal.”
Leeds United 2
(Wood 30, Adeyemi 45)
Hull City 1
Saturday, December 5, 2015
Sky Bet Championship
Leeds: Silvestri, Wootton, Bellusci, Cooper, Taylor, Dallas (Murphy 79), Bridcutt, Cook, Adeyemi, Mowatt (Byram 73), Wood (Botaka 90+3).
Hull: McGregor, Odubajo, Bruce (Davies 20), Maguire (Akpom 71), Robertson, Elmohamady, Livermore, Huddlestone, Clucas, Diame, Aluko (Snodgrass 81).
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.