Chelsea have now lost two of the last three top-flight matches and host table-topping Manchester City on Saturday.
Maurizio Sarri rotated his squad for the second of three games inside six days, but Eden Hazard was retained in the starting lineup and he squandered a good early opening for the Blues when he shot tamely at Rui Patricio when in space at the back post.
The Chelsea goal on 18 minutes will be credited to Loftus-Cheek, whose shot was on target but heading comfortably into the gloves of Patricio before Conor Coady diverted it into the bottom corner with his head to gift the England midfielder a second in as many matches.
There would have been nothing fortunate about Willian's free kick four minutes later had it gone in, with Patricio getting his fingertips to the dipping strike to prevent it from dropping into the top corner.
Teenage midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White was impressive for the hosts on his first Premier League start and may have marked it with a goal on 38 minutes had Cesc Fabregas, of all people, not made a vital block as the Wolves youngster ran onto a smart knockdown from Jimenez.
Ryan Bennett was required to make an equally important intervention at the other end moments later, when Hazard released Willian into the right channel. The Brazilian advanced into the box and was preparing to pull the trigger when Bennett came out of nowhere to take it off his toes.
Wolves's defenders continued to keep them in the game in the second half as Willy Boly's last ditch slide at the back post denied Alvaro Morata what would have been the simplest of tap-ins within 30 seconds of referee Jonathan Moss, who dished out eight yellow cards in a tempestuous game, restarting the contest.
One card that Moss decided not to brandish was a red to Romain Saiss, who had already been booked when he cynically tugged the shirt of Willian on 55 minutes.
Chelsea seemed in complete control at the start of the second period but could not kill off Nuno Espirito Santo's side as Willian blazed over on the half-volley from Fabregas's dink over the top, and N'Golo Kante dragged a 25-yard shot wide after being teed up by Hazard's incision from the left.
The game was then turned on its head with a rapid Wolves double, starting with Jimenez's equaliser on 59 minutes. Gibbs-White was the provider with a through-ball from which the Mexican unleashed a powerful drive under the body of Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who should have done better.
Jota's first Premier League goal followed in quick time as Joao Moutinho knocked Willian off the ball in the Chelsea half and spread the play to Matt Doherty, who delivered a perfectly-weighted cross to the back post for the Portuguese winger to slot home from six yards out.
Chelsea never recovered to mount the rally that one would have expected but did have a couple of chances to rescue a point, with Hazard drilling a 20-yard shot just past Patricio's post on 79 minutes.
Fabregas had their best opportunity to equalise on 87 minutes but could not capitalise on Bennett's poor clearing header as he curled his effort over the crossbar.
Wolves climb only one place in the table to 12th but will feel they have got their season back on track with this result, while Chelsea face slipping out of the top four unless they can get something against Pep Guardiola's imperious champions this weekend.
WOLVES (3-4-1-2): Patricio; Boly, Coady, Bennett; Vinagre, Moutinho, Saiss, Doherty; Gibbs-White (Costa 72'); Jota (Cavaleiro 88'), Jimenez (Dendoncker 81')
CHELSEA(4-3-3): Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Christensen, Alonso; Fabregas, Kante (Kovacic 77'), Loftus-Cheek; Willian (Pedro 65'), Hazard, Morata (Giroud 65')body check tags ::