Alan Pardew’s side never looked like losing as a Yohan Cabaye brace sandwiched Papiss Cisse’s 11th goal in 10 matches since arriving in England this winter.
Stoke, for their part, were poor, defeat leaving the 14th, although well clear of the relegation zone.
The big story is Toon’s rise to fourth place, three points clear of Tottenham - who lost to QPR - and four ahead of Chelsea - held by Arsenal - with four matches remaining for the trio.
Newcastle fans must be wondering what went right as their unlikely chase for a Champions League place reaches a thrilling, Cisse-inspired climax.
While they started the match relatively slowly - the first effort on goal was Stoke’s as Matthew Etherington fired a long shot over the bar - Toon were soon in the ascendance as their organised, quick-breaking style reaped dividends.
Just before the quarter hour the hosts went ahead thanks to some wonderful wing-play from Hatem Ben Arfa, who left Marc Wilson for dead on the left before curling over a wicked cross: Cisse was denied his 11th goal in 10 games by the woodwork, but late-arriving midfielder Cabaye gobbled up the rebound.
Four minutes later Cisse did get his mandatory goal, Cabaye returning the compliment with a fine through ball that the Senegalese met with a sliding, first-time finish low inside the far post.
It was the kind of opportunist’s strike, expertly taken, that Cisse has made his stock in trade since joining from Freiburg in January. It also effectively ended the match as a contest, as Stoke failed to create anything of note into half-time - the Potters did not have a single effort on target in the first 45 minutes, while Newcastle racked up 68 per cent possession.
Spearheaded by some crowd-pleasing trickery by Ben Arfa, Newcastle went close as Demba Ba saw an effort blocked, while Davide Santon’s run from left-back could have yielded a better finish than a low shot straight at Asmir Begovic.
The second half started ominously for Stoke as Ben Arfa immediately whipped over a fine cross that Ba should have converted but for a slight hesitation and smart keeping from Begovic.
Cisse had one chalked off for offside for straying half a yard beyond the last man after Ba’s initial shot was spilled by Begovic, but the win was sealed soon afterwards as Cabaye struck for a second time.
His finish from the left side of the box was low, crisp and perfect, but the build-up play - which included wonderful skill from Ben Arfa and Ba but comical defending from Stoke - was both sublime and ridiculous.
Going three goals down seemed to inspire Stoke into their best spell of the match, as Peter Crouch’s half-volley was brilliantly blocked by James Perch, who had replaced Cabaye seconds earlier, while Jonathan Walters fired just wide after wooden defending by Mike Williamson.
Toon for their part should have got a fourth, Fabricio Coloccini heading wide with a free header at a corner while Cheick Tiote forced two flying saves from Begovic with long-range screamers.
There was a late rally for Stoke as Walters fired just wide, a corner was almost converted by Robert Huth and good defending from Williamson and Santon denied Crouch on two occasions.
But it was far too little far too late and Toon easily closed out their 11th home win of the season, putting them on 62 points with four matches left and with a great chance of playing in next season’s Champions League.