In foggy conditions and on soft snow in the women's downhill at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Vonn recorded a time of 1 minute 39.61 seconds, beating Austria's Elisabeth Goergl by 0.32 seconds.
The victory tied Vonn with Austria's Annemarie Moser-Proell's, who set the benchmark between 1970 and 1980.
"I was a little bit nervous in the start", the 30-year-old said in an interview with the International Ski Federation website.
"I thought I skied really well on Friday, but it was tough conditions and I wasn't able to be on top of the podium. Today was kind of the same, the snow was soft but at least it was sunny. I just tried to keep my feet underneath me and not to push the skis against the snow too much and it worked out."
The victory marks an incredible comeback for Vonn, who had been out with a serious knee injury for 18 months. In a desperate attempt to get fit for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Vonn aggravated her knee and needed a second operation.
Much of the talk since her comeback has concerned the World Cup record, which has proved something of a distraction.
"Every time I'm in the starting gate I'm trying to win, whether it's 60, 61, 62 or whatever it is, I just try to ski my best," she said.
"So it was more frustrating just talking about this record in the media. But for me, mentally, it was the same as any other race. Now I'm happy we can stop talking about it."
Although few will actually stop talking about it. Vonn now has the chance to hold the record outright, with 63 wins, in Monday's super-G.
"I've surprised myself how far I come," Vonn told CNN after her victory.
"I'm really excited for another race tomorrow. Hopefully I can break the record tomorrow. I love what I do. I want to win as many races as possible. I have a lot more to give the sport."
The was one last question to ask: had she spoken to her boyfriend, Tiger Woods?
"Yeah I talked to him and he said he's really proud of me," she confirmed.
"He was watching with his daughter early in the morning. I was sad he wasn't here but he's training. He's a professional athlete too."
Tina Maze, the overall leader, took fifth place and increased her lead in the standings.