Ciaran Mathewson fired home a dramatic goal in the 70th minute as Donegal snatched victory, having lost the previous two finals.
It was an outstanding day for Mathewson, who was the hero for the men from north-west, finishing with a tally of 2-3.
It was a memorable afternoon, too, for Donegal captain Colm Breathnach, whose early sending-off in the 2010 decider left his side with too much of a mountain to climb against Longford.
This time around, the man from the Waterford gaeltacht of An Rinn led a stout defensive resistance that ensured Donegal's goal was not breached and kept them in position to provide supporters with a thrilling ending.
Donegal manager Andrew Wallace had been close to standing down after last year's defeat, having also tasted disappointment at the hands of Saturday's opponents as a player in 2009, but thanks to his wife, he was still around.
"I'd been there for years and never won something as a player. Basically, time ran out for me and I'm delighted to be involved in some way with a Donegal hurling team to win an All-Ireland," he said.
"I was sat in the dressing-room last season and I was completely gutted again. Gutted as a player the year before, and gutted as a manager last year.
"I had a young child and I sat down with my wife and fair play to her, she's a camogie woman. She played all her years and she said to me, 'Andrew, go back another year for me, please.' And I want to thank her for that because it's a huge commitment, but it's all worth it in the end."
Tyrone played their part in a game of high quality and, with Rory O'Neill prominent, led 0-7 to 0-2 before Donegal finished strongly, with help from Mathewson's first goal and Niall Campbell's accuracy from frees.
Justin Kelly, impressive substitute Peter O'Connor and Conor Grogan enabled the Red Hands to edge clear again with time almost up, before Mathewson collected Enda McDermott's delivery.
He rounded his man with ease before rifling an unstoppable shot to the Tyrone net to exact revenge for their defeat in the 2009 decider at the hands of their Ulster rivals, in the most dramatic manner.
"It's a disappointing way to lose, disappointing most of all for the players," admitted Tyrone manager Tom Magill.
"They're a fantastic bunch of players and they've worked so hard... When you get here you want to win it."
Scorers -- Donegal: C Mathewson 2-3, N Campbell 0-6 (4f, 1 '65'), S McVeigh, P Sheridan, M McCann 0-1 each. Tyrone: J Kelly 0-5 (3f), C Grogan, A Kelly (2f), P O'Connor 0-3 each, Rory O'Neill 0-2, G Fox 0-1.
Donegal -- P O'Brien 7; S O'Connor 6, C Breathnach 8, A McDermott 6; J Donnelly 7, C Dowds 7, J Boyle 7; S McVeigh 7, P Sheridan 7; E Organ 6, S Boyle 6, C Mathewson 9; M McCann 6, E McDermott 7, N Campbell 8. Subs: P Hannigan 6 for Organ (47), L Henderson 6 for McCann (63), M McGhee 6 for S Boyle (68).
Tyrone -- J Devlin 7; Ryan O'Neill 6, D Maguire 7, R Winters 6; SP Begley 7, S Donnelly 7, M Grogan 7; C Gallagher 7, M O'Gorman 6; G Fox 6, J Kelly 8, A Kelly 7; C McErlean 6, Rory O'Neill 7, C Grogan 8. Subs: P O'Connor 8 for McErlean (h-t), T Hughes 7 for O'Gorman (60), M Winters 7 for A Kelly (60).
Ref -- F Smith (Meath).