In this study we propose a new method called the cessation time approach (CTA) for interpreting recovery tests in confined aquifers, which is based on the Theis solution. The CTA method involves selecting a residual drawdown measurement from the recovery phase and linking it to its dimensionless counterpart through simple algebraic steps. This approach is then incorporated with a regression model to estimate aquifer parameters. The performance of several parametric polynomial and non-parametric machine learning regression models was investigated using various datasets. Results show that CTA with third-order multivariable polynomials produced highly accurate parameter estimates with a normalized root mean squared error (NRMSE) within 0.5% for a field dataset. Among the machine learning algorithms tested, the radial basis function and Gaussian process regression achieved the highest accuracy with NRMSEs of 0.6%. We conclude that CTA can be a viable interpretation tool for recovery tests due to its accuracy and simplicity.