Playing his first singles event since winning Wimbledon in July, Djokovic landed a 6-3 6-4 victory, improving his career head-to-head winning record to 19-2 against former US Open champion Cilic.
He broke serve to lead 3-1 in the opening set, and then struck immediately in the second set to tighten his grip on the contest, completing the task with a service winner on his first championship point.
This indoor hard-court success goes down as a third title of the year for Djokovic, who won the Internazionali d'Italia on clay before triumphing on the Wimbledon grass. He is the first man to win a title on all three surfaces in 2022 at ATP Tour level.
Prevented from playing the North American hard-court stretch of the season, due to his refusal to accept a COVID-19 vaccination, Djokovic sat out the US Open.
He made his first post-Wimbledon appearance at the invitational Laver Cup team event in London last week, which doubled up as Roger Federer's retirement party.
At the age of 35, Djokovic hopes to be a presence on tour for a good while to come, and Sunday's straight-sets picking apart of Cilic was a fresh demonstration of his enduring prowess.