The match was brought forward so the Blues can face Europa League champions Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup on August 31 but thankfully for the European champions, the change to a Wednesday night did not disrupt their form to make it two from two to start their title chase.
Earlier in the match, however, Roberto Di Matteo's men were staring down the barrel of an embarrassing defeat when Brian McDermott's plucky Royals came from behind to lead 2-1 by half-time.
Frank Lampard slotted his second penalty of the campaign after he scored in the 2-0 win at Wigan Athletic on Sunday, this time beating Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici after livewire Eden Hazard was brought down by Chris Gunter inside the area prior to the 18-minute mark.
Seven minutes later, the visitors were able to get back on level terms when Garath McCleary supplied a dangerous ball form the right wing for Pavel Pogrebnyak to head home in sensational fashion, angling the speedy ball over Petr Cech and into the top corner.
Less than five minutes later, Reading found themselves ahead when Danny Guthrie hammered a free-kick from the left flank towards goal with the pace of the ball too much for Cech who spilled it into the back of the net.
For all their positive play though, Reading were made to sit back and watch when Blues defender Gary Cahill got forward and smashed a 30-yard drive goalward which Federici failed to get a glove on, sending the home fans into hysterics.
That paved the way for Di Matteo's charges to complete a hard-fought comeback when a string of intricate passes ended with left-back Ashley Cole picking out Fernando Torres just yards out in the 81st minute for the Spaniard to open his Premier League account for the campaign despite there being a hint of off-side.
Nevertheless, the goal stood forcing Reading to pick up the urgency as time progressed with Federici coming all the way up to the final third for an injury-time corner but Chelsea managed to clear with Torres finding Hazard who advanced with one defender to beat before squaring up for Branislav Ivanovic to tap home for his second of the campaign.
The win temporarily has Chelsea sitting on top of the table ahead of the weekend's full round of matches whilst the Royals feel it will be an opportunity missed after scoring a late equalizer to force a 1-1 draw with Stoke City at home on Saturday.
Stamford Bridge, London - 41,733
Match notes: - Jem Karacan (Premier League debut)