The third seed wrapped up his 19th Grand Slam crown in the space of one hour and 41 minutes, courtesy of a thumping 6-3 6-1 6-4 victory on Centre Court.
Cilic struggled with blisters on his feet throughout the contest but battled on until the end, earning the respect of Federer who last prevailed in this competition five years ago.
"It is cruel sometimes," BBC Sport quotes the Swiss, who was competing in front of his wife and four children, as saying. "But Marin fought well and is a hero, so congratulations on a wonderful tournament."
"I think the younger twins think this is a nice view and a nice playground - hopefully one day they'll understand. They come for the finals. It's a wonderful moment for the family and my team. This one is for us. Thank you to Wimbledon, thank you Switzerland."