Newcastle got the first score of the evening and flanker Brent Wilson's try was converted by former Auckland Blue Jimmy Gopperth to give the visitors the edge at half-time - 7-6.
However, Ulster dominated the scoreboard in the second half.
Winger Clinton Schifcoske's third successful penalty put Ulster in front early in the second half before second row Dan Tuohy got the Ravenhill crowd on its feet with a breakaway try in his first appearance for his province.
That score was converted by Schifcoske and Ireland-capped centre Darren Cave added the hosts' second touchdown in the far corner.
McLaughlin's men will look to build on this win as they continue their warm-up programme with another friendly at home to Italian Super 10 side Viadana at Ravenhill on Wednesday evening (August 26, kick-off 7.30pm).
Tickets for that match are available by clicking here and gates will open at 6pm.
ULSTER: Bryn Cunningham; Clinton Schifcoske, Darren Cave, Ian Whitten, Simon Danielli; Ian Humphreys, Isaac Boss (capt); Bryan Young, Andy Kyriacou, BJ Botha, Dan Tuohy, Ryan Caldwell, Chris Henry, Willie Faloon, Robbie Diack.
Replacements: Nigel Brady, Declan Fitzpatrick, Neil McComb, TJ Anderson, Paul Marshall, Niall O'Connor, Nevin Spence, Timoci Nagusa.