Jones, 19, had produced a late rally to land her trademark head-kick and stun world number one Tseng Li-Cheng of Chinese Taipei 10-6 in the semi-final.
However, the opening against Hou - who had beaten Jones in last year's World Championships final - was tense, as each fighter tested their range during a scoreless first two minutes.
A low blow from the Chinese fighter accrued a second penalty which resulted in a point for Jones towards the end of the second round, and another shot to the body on the buzzer made it 2-0.
The Briton continued to go on the offensive and opened up a 5-1 lead heading into the final 30 seconds, closing out a stunning 6-4 victory.
Jones said she owed her success to her coach.
'My coach Paul Green is a legend. Without him I wouldn't be nowhere near where I was today,' she said.
'To win the Olympic Games gold is obviously special but for my family and friends to be here ... to perform has been amazing.'