For the first time in his fledgling managerial career, Lampard will be in the opposition dugout against the club where he won 11 major trophies - including three Premier League titles and the Champions League.
His Derby side booked their fourth-round berth with a penalty shoot-out win over Manchester United at Old Trafford, the Rams drawn against Chelsea in the subsequent draw.
Essien played alongside Lampard for the Blues and expects the 40-year-old to get a huge welcome from the fans, but does not expect another cup upset.
"We all know what he did for Chelsea, he is a legend," he told Omnisport. "He's coming home so it will be a big night.
"I'm sure he's looking to win but it's not easy at Stamford Bridge."
Chelsea go into the tie having progressed from 18 of their last 19 EFL Cup matches against non-Premier League sides, and the Blues have won their previous eight home matches against the Rams.