The 21-year-old Leesburg, Georgia native scooped the recording contract prize over fellow contestant Jessica Sanchez in tonight's live finale of the Fox competition.
Both singers had performed three tracks on last night's show: one chosen by them, one selected by the judges and another which would serve as their debut single should they win.
Phillip's original song is called 'Home'. His performance last night had prompted Randy Jackson to compare him to Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes, while Jennifer Lopez marveled at his passion and artistry.
The episode opened with the return of this season's Top 12 contestants, who took to the stage in all white for a rendition of Bruno Mars' 'Runaway Baby'.
The girls later performed a medley of Chaka Khan songs with the singer herself, while the boys took the stage with Neil Diamond. The men also performed a tribute to the late Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb, who passed away last week.
Rihanna appeared to perform her new single 'Where Have You Been', while the judges also got involved in the festivities - both Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler's Aerosmith took the stage for two songs each.
Former Idol contestants Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo shared a surprise special moment when Young proposed to DeGarmo live on stage.
For their final performances, the finalists were given the opportunity to sing with two of their musical heroes, with Phillips singing twice with Credence Clearwater Revival's John Fogerty and Sanchez singing 'And I Am Telling You' alongside Jennifer Holliday.
A record-breaking 132 million votes were received ahead of the finale to determine the winner of the competition.
American Idol will return in 2013 on Fox.
Watch Ryan Seacrest name Phillip Phillips as the winner of American Idol season 11 winner - plus Phillip's performance of 'Home' - below:
Picture gallery - 'American Idol' season 11 final:
Copyright: Fox Michael Becker