Pennant fell out of favour with Tony Pulis last season and made just two appearances for the Potters before being sent on loan to Wolves.
He returned to the Britannia Stadium in January, but he failed to break back into the first team and was released when his contract expired at the end of the season.
But new boss Hughes has given the 30-year-old another chance to impress this season, and believes Pennant will make the most of it.
"He's been given another opportunity here," said Hughes. "He loves the club, he didn't want to leave. He thought possibly he would have to but things change very quickly in football and he's got another chance.
"I'm sure he'll take it because he's a good guy and he works hard. I think people sometimes get the wrong impression of Jermaine but he wants to play football and he wants to make an impression for us."
Pennant was unable to travel with Stoke for their pre-season tour of the United States because of his criminal record, but Hughes liked what he saw against Wrexham on Sunday.
Hughes added: "Unfortunately we couldn't take him to America, everybody understands the circumstances, but he's been with the U21s and he's been first class.
"Glyn Hodges gave him a glowing report in terms of his attitude to the games he's played and being in and around the under-21 guys. I was really pleased to hear that."
Wilson Palacios has made only 18 starts for Stoke since joining from Tottenham two years ago, but he also appears a part of Hughes' plans after he played 45 minutes against Wrexham.
"Wilson hasn't really surprised me because my view was always that he was a very good player and I was pleased he was still in the building," Hughes said.
"Obviously he's had a difficult time for whatever reason but he's an accomplished player, a good international player who understands the role. He's certainly in my thoughts."