It is a tenth All Ireland title for Cats manager Brian Cody and for veteran star Henry Shefflin.
Tipp had the better of a tight first half with Seamus Callanan's goal giving them 1-07 to 0-8 lead at half-time.
But Kilkenny took control of the match in the second half with goals from Richie Power and John Power.
Callanan scored another goal for Tipp with a minute of normal time to go.
But Kilkenny held on for a 2-17 to 2-14 victory.