United looked set to move to within two points of leader Liverpool after man-of-the-match Bruno Fernandes put them 2-1 ahead in the 79th minute. But Jamie Vardy’s deflected effort, later given as an own goal, salvaged a point for the home side.
Leicester remained in second place in the standings, with United a further point back having played a game less.
Marcus Rashford made amends for a glaring early miss by putting United ahead in the 23rd minute after an assist by Fernandes but the lead did not last long as Harvey Barnes rifled home the leveler for the Foxes.
United’s impeccable away form has proved the catalyst for its burgeoning title challenge and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw it as an opportunity lost in missing out on three more points on the road.
“Disappointed that we didn’t win, we had loads of big chances that could have finished it off, but they are a dangerous side and the goal from Vardy showed his quality,” he told BT Sport.
‘He knows the first chance was a glorious one, missing that is just one of those things,” added Solskjaer.
Barnes’ superb strike, his seventh of the season, lifted Leicester and home side started the second half strongly but it was Rashford again who came close to adding to his tally.
Sent clear down the right by Fred Rodrigues, his fierce effort was brilliantly parried away by Kasper Schmeichel to keep the scores level.
Edinson Cavani came off the bench for Anthony Martial and he was soon in decisive action, finding Fernandes with a neat pass before the Portuguese international drove in his 10th Premier League goal of the season.
Leicester, so impressive in its 2-0 victory at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, showed its fighting spirit and from an Ayoze Perez low cross it was Vardy who found the space to get away his first time shot on 85 minutes.
The ball found the United net via the leg of substitute Azel Tuanzebe, the effort officially recorded as an own goal by the Premier League, denying Vardy his 14th of the season.
“I don’t think I’ll get credited for that goal, I think it was going wide — but it’s got us a point that I thought we thoroughly deserved,” he told BT Sport.
United was looking to equal Chelsea’s record for consecutive away wins, set in 2008, but came up just short.
Chelsea, playing later on Boxing Day at struggling Arsenal, can leapfrog into second place with a victory in a congested title race.